It wasn't very long ago that fashion brands were few and far between on Twitter, Facebook Pages were created by fans, not brands, and somewhere far away from any marketing manager's consciousness, teenage girls were posting their outfits and sharing make-up tips on LiveJournal and peer-led forums. And I think I may have just dated myself. Anybody else remember Chickclick? That was my first internship.
In recognition of the addition of digital tactics to the modern fashion brand arsenal, Style Coalition and TheFind created the industry peer and fan nominated Fashion 2.0 Awards. Now in it's second year, finalists in the eight categories, including Top Innovator, Online Video, Twitter, Facebook, Mobile App, Blog, Website, and Next Big Thing in Tech, have just been announced. Garnering the most nominations, with four categories each, were DKNY and Bergdorf Goodman; followed by Gucci with three; Adidas, Armani, Bluefly, Burberry and Chanel with two each.
So much has changed in the digital space in the past year, and I was curious to learn more about what these finalists tell us about how fashion marketing is evolving and where we are headed. The ever-articulate Yuli Ziv, founder of Style Coalition, MyItThings and the popular fashion 2.0 meetups, had this to share:
I think the most noticeable fact about this year nominees is that a newcomer like Bergdorf Goodman, who wasn't even nominated last year, is leading the pack along with DKNY. It proves that with the right strategy even brands who embrace social media later in the game, have a chance to become leaders in the space relatively quickly. At the same time we see a brand like DKNY, who was nominated only for their Twitter strategy last year, is quickly expanding to dominate more categories with their great blog and Facebook page. It's a smart decision on DKNY's part to start strongly on Twitter, and then expand their fan connections to other platforms, keeping constantly in touch.
As a contrast to these two we see innovation forces like Burberry and Ralph Lauren focus their energy on new technologies rather than social media connections. Burberry does have a large Twitter following, but never interacts with fans, while Ralph Lauren doesn't have one brand centric Twitter account at all. While both brands still compete for the Top Innovator title, they are definitely less engaged in the social media landscape. It's hard to say what pays off more in terms of retail dollars - staging spectacular 4D shows or engaging with thousands of followers on Twitter on a daily basis, but if we judged based on fans nominations, it would definitely be the later.
Voting is now live through February 15th and the invitation-only Fashion 2.0 Awards ceremony will be hosted by the Style Coalition in partnership with TheFind on February 16th in NYC. Those of us not lucky enough to attend in person can watch live coverage on Twitter via the hashtag #fashion20 and live stream.
Which brands are getting your vote? Any surprises?