Monday, 25 November 2013

on fashion brands (and why they could be left behind)

On my previous post, I mentioned how YouTube paid subscription models will become the new television, and also how many industries will be benefiting from it.

I also raised the question of why is the Fashion Industry not going along with it. Most big fashion brands' YouTube channels are an absolute failure, leave alone them launching a paid one. What fashion brands do not seem to understand is that having a YouTube channel isn't simply putting any videos up as long as related to their brand. It needs a strategy behind it, needs to be addressed at the proper audience and needs to blend with those people in the field that do have a significant presence within the platform.

Just to throw in an example, Dolce & Gabbana, one of the most well loved brands in the Fashion industry, has only 41,600 subscribers. To put this into perspective, say Jenn Im (aka Clothes Encounters on YouTube) who is a stylist with nothing else to make her famous but her YouTube channel, has 652,000 subscribers. I am sure Dolce & Gabbana have more than great stylists that can put some of their knowledge into videos on their YouTube channel. E.g.: "How to style D&G baroque earrings, by Yuri Ahn". Far from that, there is a random "D&G Channel" apart from the main one, with 540 subscribers and about 21 videos. Is that channel official? Is it the Dolce & Gabbana channel for a different country? Why is main Dolce & Gabbana channel following that other channel? Just a clear mistake of strategy and organisation, that will do nothing but confuse their followers.

Dolce & Gabbana SS13

No beef aimed at D&G, they are far from being the worst, try Prada or Lanvin. Not all is lost though, there are two I can say seem to have somewhat understood the platform.

The first one, Chanel, that benefits from Lisa Eldridge's well settled presence on YouTube, (as well as her 681,000 subscribers), featuring her as the make up star that presents all Chanel's new make up collections. They have a good variety of content that is organised clearly, although I would say they are missing some more ad hoc content, something thought to appeal and interact with their fans/subscribers, and not only to luxuriate in how divine Chanel is.

Lisa Eldridge on Chanel's YouTube channel

The second one is not a Fashion brand as such, but it is doubtlessly Fashion at its maximum expression, and that is Vogue. Vogue Americas, that is. They have good, varied content, incentives to keep audience coming ("The Monday Makeover", a weekly beauty look proposal), they involve Vogue staff in their videos to give a closer, more real image to their public.

Hanneli Mustaparta

Nonetheless, there are things that could be improved and are a no brainer: for their series Beauty Mark, they chose model Hanneli Mustaparta as the face. Nothing against her: gorgeous, talented, lovely blog. Does she have a massive YouTube fan base that she can migrate over to Vogue's channel? Nope, the girl doesn't even have a YouTube channel. Are there YouTubers in the US with an interest in styling, trends, fashion and beauty? Just to name a few, Ingrid Nilsen, aka Miss Glamorazzi (1,900,000 subscribers), Bethany Mota (3,800,000 subs), or, what's her face... oh yeah! Michelle Phan (5,300,000 subs). Fair enough they don't have the caché. Just YET.

Ingrid Nilsen
Miss Glamorazzi on YouTube

When it comes to fashion brands on YouTube, there is one thing that they should ALL do and that would be the main decoy to bring their fans over to THEIR YouTube channel; catwalks. The one thing that they righteously own and should be the very first to share with their audience as soon as it happens, the one event that impersonates the essence of fashion,... and they give it up. Not saying that some of the brands do not include some catwalk footage, but honestly, look it up, the easiest access to catwalk footage is FashionTV. And it is nothing special, just a channel devoted to offer what fashion brands' channels should be offering about what they, themselves, produce: catwalk backstage footage, make up artists on their inspiration for the make up and styling, interviews with the designers and models,...

FashionTV banner on YouTube

All this comes to say that YouTube is a very powerful tool when used wisely, not just a window for brands to display all their audiovisual content haphazardly. Can Fashion be left behind? Let's not let that paradox happen, brands, wake up into a YouTube world of interaction and customer fidelity with endless possibilities!

Follow your gut!

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