sign up

Get a free fashion PR plan template and special offers exclusive to insiders!

ModCloth: The Holiday of Your Dreams Stylebook - Chapter 3

ModCloth Series: Social Media Philosophy & Freakonomics

ModCloth: The Holiday of Your Dreams Stylebook - Chapter 1
ModCloth: The Holiday of Your Dreams Stylebook - Chapter 1

ModCloth is one of my favorite places on the web, not only because they stock new items throughout the day (perfect for an online shopping grazer, like yours truly), but because they have sustained a healthy, thriving community and retail presence for over a decade, spurred in no doubt by a healthy appetite for trialing out the latest in digital and mobile tactics, social media included. It's also a wonderfully romantic success story - high school sweethearts bond over vintage and battle their way through the ranks to emerge, beautifully-clad and victorious, surpassing $15 million in annual revenue in 2009. Where are my smelling salts?

Although I was only able to stay for a short visit, I can say that it did involve hula hooping,  a bit of harmless pug flirting with the ModCloth mascot Winston (he started it!), and enough goodies to develop a series of posts, which will be rolling out in the next few weeks.

This company started in a dorm room and now we have three locations and it’s crazy and big. Social media where we work to keep that girl in the thrift store voice, so no matter how big we get people know that we are still [at heart] those good old girls from Pittsburg who just have a really great website. So if we do a twitter contest or if we are talking to people online it should never sound like a marketing or broadcast-type voice. The game should be something we would want to play with our friends, the conversation one we would like to have with our friends. - Natasha Kazi

ModCloth: The Holiday of Your Dreams Stylebook - Chapter 2
ModCloth: The Holiday of Your Dreams Stylebook - Chapter 2

Social media was never a decision at ModCloth, rather it was wrapped into the very fabric of the company (like that?!). Back in the early part of the decade, Co-Founder Susan and early ModCloth buyers were post-college kids working out of Susan's basement, using social media for personal use.  Leveraging these tools to connect as a business was a natural progression. Around 2006, Susan joined a number of communities like Polyvore and Facebook, and launched the ModCloth blog. As the company received funding and grew to include a marketing department, ModCloth joined Twitter and began working with fashion and style bloggers. About a year and a half ago, Natasha Kazi, ModCloth's Social Media Coordinator, was hired to formalize the company's social media strategy. In August, she was joined by Social Media Specialist, Ashley LaFerriere.  Based on the company's Social Media Philosophy, developed in early 2010, the duo has been hard at work to extend and innovate in the social media space.  Below are a few of the highlights:

Active vs Passive Listening

We hear all the time that listening is a crucial step in the social media process. And that insights gained from listening should be used to inform strategy. Natasha makes an important distinction here between passive and active listening. At ModCloth active listening includes responding to indicate that someone at the brand is actually paying attention. In addition, the social media department at ModCloth collects the conversations and commentary happening about the brand online and brings it to the company at-large.

We have an internal idea box where we talk about things we can do to improve the company. If we see a good suggestion from a customer [through social media] we will put that into the idea box and it carries equal weight to an employee suggestion. If something is produced or changed from that suggestion then we go back and tell that customer, this is what we did because of you.

ModCloth: The Holiday of Your Dreams Stylebook - Chapter 3
ModCloth: The Holiday of Your Dreams Stylebook - Chapter 3

Curation vs Marketing

A buzzword out of social media in the last year or so has centered around the concept of curation, particularly with regard to a brand's role in helping to organize and present a somewhat cohesive view into brand conversations, and brand advocates online. For ModCloth, this concept of curation means looking beyond the product into the full lived experience of the ModCloth customer, an understanding that comes from an ongoing feedback loop with customers that has existed from the beginning. Currently, the social media department does a lot of testing through quizzes and polls as well as keywords though Facebook advertising to figure out what resonates strongest with their customer.

We know that there are certain things about ModCloth women and one thing they typically have in common is this love for nostalgia. So for example, whether you are into indie, folk or pop music, if you like Jane Austen, then there's a high probability you're going to like ModCloth.

Don’t say it, get them to say it to each other.

The ModCloth website and social media channels provide multiple opportunities for customers to connect with one another and the brand. From customer reviews that can include customer measurements, to Be The Buyer, where customers vote on the items they want the site to carry next, dialogue abounds.

Social media is amplifying the oldest marketing tool in the book, word of mouth. We know the value of our customer's social graph and that what they say [to each other] is way more important than anything we could say. So we give [our community] the tools to share information, and we give them content that they want to share.

Thank you so much Natasha and Ashley for sharing your thoughts!

Next up: ModCloth Shares 5 Ways to Co-Create a Kick Ass Website with your Customers

About the author: Crosby


Known as the "fashion publicist's most powerful accessory," (SD-UT) and the "West Coast 'It' girl of fashion PR," (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks is a brand strategist, author and founder of PR Couture. Crosby was included in the iMedia 25 Class of 2012 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, and enjoys helping fashion and lifestyle brands connect with their audiences in meaningful and creative ways.

5 Comments

  • Posted December 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    You really captured it! Great article.

  • Posted December 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    LOVE ModCloth.

    Whether you’re a customer or just an online gawker, communication through Twitter, Facebook, the ModCloth Blog and not to mention their kick-ass website makes you feel like a member of one very well dressed family.

    They’ve done an excellent job of creating an emotional attachment to the clothing they sell. I particularly like the comments the clothes make when you add them to your wish list or cart. It’s bad for my bank account, but brilliant for ModCloth.

    You guys rock my world!

    From a loving customer and dedicated gawker – muwah!

    ♥ Rebecca Jean
    Midnight Maniac

  • Colleen Brogan
    Posted December 21, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    This is a very eloquent article with a lot of great points about how ModCloth creates a successful brand image online. I’m always impressed by their forward thinking strategies–especially the practice of customers curating their own favorite pieces and ModCloth taking that seriously. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about curation and the power of brand “voice”, this article has given me a lot to think about. Thank you PR Couture!

    Colleen Brogan
    http://www.aprizi.com

  • Storch Kirill
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Super good article, I am very happy to see someone finally address the interface between social media and fashion. I want to start a fashion business myself and have a question on the social media site. I want to create an iframed social media app that allows people to custom design their own outfuts. Kind of like this app allows people to build their own branding concepts off of Facebook. Do you think this is a good idea? How would I go about doing it?

    EXAMPLE OF FACEBOOK APP I LIKE

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mindflash-Advertising/180033020422?v=app_4949752878

    Also, if that makes a difference this is actually streaming from

    http://mindflashad.com/branding-concept-quiz/

  • Storch Kirill
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Super good article, I am very happy to see someone finally address the interface between social media and fashion. I want to start a fashion business myself and have a question on the social media site. I want to create an iframed social media app that allows people to custom design their own outfuts. Kind of like this app allows people to build their own branding concepts off of Facebook. Do you think this is a good idea? How would I go about doing it?

    EXAMPLE OF FACEBOOK APP I LIKE

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mindflash-Advertising/180033020422?v=app_4949752878

    Also, if that makes a difference this is actually streaming from

    http://mindflashad.com/branding-concept-quiz/

5 Trackbacks

Add Comment Register



Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, the founder of PR Couture and a fashion brand strategist. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping rad companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixer sessions or shoot me an electronic communiqué.