Fashion and design partnerships are one of the strongest opportunities being leveraged by brands to market products to those cutting edge trendsetters and influencers that closely follow – and lead – today's fashion trends.
Fashion partnerships result in an enhanced image and an overall sense of innovation and hipness to the brand. These partnerships are typically different enough to break through the clutter, gain consumer interest, attract press, and generate consumer buzz. In fact, fashion, like music, is globally one of the most popular categories in terms of online consumer interest as it too transcends culture and breaks down barriers.
No longer are fashion events and content limited to fashion brands – today you see brands of all types leveraging fashion, ranging from title-owning Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Subway's runway dress made out of wrappers, Moët & Chandon on the Golden Globes Red Carpet to Intel and HP's multi-year long partnership with fashion-themed television series Project Runway.
A fashion initiative has the ability to elevate the brand and provide the perception of appearing out-of-the box and cutting edge to consumers. It is important to remember that there needs to be a rhyme or reason behind the partnership. By looking at the core fundamentals of the brand's objectives and messaging, a mutually beneficial campaign will result in success for both the brand and the partner when identifying the common ground in messaging.
For savvy brands and marketers of all types, opportunities are available at a wide range of fee levels (read: very affordable to quite hefty) to create noteworthy partnerships that will get notified by both media and consumers, while also providing content to significantly drive social media conversations. Brands no longer need to go to Paris to find success with fashion, and almost any brand can create a successful and sales-impacting organic partnership through one of these four platforms.
• Partnering With Fashion Events
Fashion event opportunities exist with large scale events, such as the "official" partnerships with Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week to smaller Fashion Week offshoots that are often just as press worthy and impactful, including runway shows and celebrity gifting lounges. There are fashion weeks held in cities all over the world, the most prominent in the US being New York Fashion Week and Los Angeles Fashion Week held twice a year, in February and September. Also included in the fashion event category are fashion designer showcases held at locations year round or celebrity driven award shows where the red carpet is often the highlight of the night.
Fashion events provide immense traffic and engagement in social media. Based on data collected by Social Curation and Analytics company Curalate, it was found during during New York Fashion Week 2013, there were 100,000 related Twitter and Instagram shared by more than 33,000 unique users. On average, the top NYFW brand photos generated 37,448 interactions per photo, most of which were product-driven. Marketing campaigns are extremely effective when they take place in real-time, live at an event or location. Out of the 100K + posts that drve the most engagement, 90% were taken on site at the NYFW.
As an example of this social success, Harman-Kardon created a NY Fashion Week partnership 3 day event to launch their fashion-friendly white headphones, based on their 'beautiful sound' platform. During and following the event, the brand's social media traffic increased by 970%, and they received over 19 million social media impressions and 370 million national press impressions.
• Partnering with Fashion Designers
Whether brands want to establish themselves as risk-taking and groundbreaking, or more proven with long-standing character, custom aligns exist with fashion designers and events whose personality reflect those same valued practices. Celebrity and newly emerging designers offer opportunities to create endorsements partnerships and to liven up brand campaigns, trade events or event point of sale.
• Partnering With Fashion TV Series
Fashion in Television is a constant theme, with series devoted to covering and showcasing fashion trends. Networks such as Lifetime (Project Runway), E! (Fashion Police), Bravo (Rachel Zoe), NBC (Access Hollywood, Extra) all offer sponsorship opportunities as well as options to integrate brands directly into the content. Even daily talk shows typically have a fashion segment, which brands can creatively become part of. Additionally, scripted series can provide the basic storylines of fashion similar to the previous hit Sex In The City format. The targeted viewer is typically the coveted female demographic, with an average age 25 to 49.
Pilot Pen created a 4 month long digital partnership with NBC's Fashion Star television series. A branded customized fashion trivia game was developed with a grand prize trip to NY Fashion Week, supported by ad units across the NBC platform along with the series website and print. Additionally social media drove conversations both from the show's designers and the brand's fan base. The partnership reached more than 14 million consumers, with website visits 184% over goal and sweepstakes entries 85% over goal.
• Partnering With Fashion Bloggers
Fashion bloggers provide a very strong platform to share brand fashion driven strategies, and can include consumer sampling and sweepstakes components.
Once upon a time, New York Fashion Week was only for a very exclusive group consisting of the fashion elite and insiders. Today, large with the help of fashion bloggers – "everyday" girls who have managed to become big time influencers – everything is much more accessible with wider public appeal. In fact, fashion – above technology, food, sports, travel – is one of the most popular blog categories, with 3 million Google searches a day, second only to music.
The proper strategic alignment within the fashion world can elevate and solidify a brands image, while tapping into a following that is enthusiastic and eager to engage online. To create a partnership that is relevant and makes sense, it is important to work with industry experts who understand the landscape and what kind of opportunities are out there to identify and activate exactly how your brand can harmoniously and successfully partner with a fashion initiative.