Luxury Brands and Social Video

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Luxury Brands and Social Video

Key Findings

  • Three social video best practices for luxury brands include communicating authenticity, brand storytelling with long and short-form videos, and optimizing the visual and audio elements of each video to drive consumer engagement and communicate quality, luxury, and exclusivity.
  • The "Clear Cut" is a DTC diamond brand, targeted to younger consumers, that successfully leveraged Instagram Stories to convey its brand messaging: "transparency, a better way of buying, personalization, and great individualized experience."
  • Sofia Coppola created a :30-second "film" for Chanel, to showcase "The Chanel Iconic." Coppola discusses the focus on creating an emotional connection for consumers with the brand within the film: "That bag is a star, it’s such a symbol of womanhood —and makes you feel a certain way. Your first Chanel bag is an unforgettable moment, it’s a rite of passage. I wanted to focus on the bag, how it’s made, and how it makes you feel—how you notice women passing by in Paris who seem to be going somewhere and have a life…and some mystery."
  • A Dior Rose 'n Roses Instagram video ad leverages "light and airy" visuals, coupled with a color scheme that reinforces the brand's image
  • Gucci's two most-viewed YouTube videos feature musical artists, including "A$AP Rocky, Iggy Pop and Tyler, The Creator in the New Gucci Tailoring Campaign" (9.7 million views) and an Aria runway show including a soundtrack by Alessandro Michele (7.5 million views).

Introduction

This research discusses three best practices that successful luxury brands leverage to develop social video content. For each, we have described the best practice, its importance/relevance, and provided a summary and link to several brands that are employing the best practice. We have also included several "stills" (related to the videos) when relevant, to visually demonstrate the best practices described below.

Best Practice #1: Offer Authentic and Unique Content

  • Creating authentic video content, in which a brand can showcase its "brand personality" and values is a "best practice" in luxury brand social video marketing. Authentic and unique content may help reach a younger consumer as well as support and communicate brand values.
  • Luxe Digital, an online magazine targeted toward the luxury consumer, suggests authenticity drives brand affinity, particularly among younger consumers. The publication reports that 86% of consumers consider authenticity in their brand choices, emphasizing that luxury brands have an opportunity to "embrace real, less polished conversations [that] will win with the younger consumers."
  • Authenticity can be communicated in a number of ways, including "behind-the-scenes" video or "creative and original content."
  • A Chanel Instagram video with over 615,000 views demonstrates the creation and modeling of a bolero jacket. Lucas DiPietrantonio, an entrepreneur and investor focused on the luxury sector, highlights this video example as a brand that effectively "communicate[s] the luxury status of [its] products by taking customers behind the scenes with [its] social media posts."
  • Luxury designer, Balmain, created a unique Instagram Reels video (with Eiffel tower imagery) to highlight the luxury image of a handbag collection. The video received over 100,000 likes.
  • DTC diamond brand "The Clear Cut" has experienced significant success with Instagram Stories, showcasing special deals on diamonds through Instagram Stories (for between $5,000 to $40,000+). Olivia Landau, who launched the brand in 2018, notes that "Instagram Stories have been huge for us," helping connect with customers in support of its brand messaging:"transparency, a better way of buying, personalization, and great individualized experience."

Best Practice #2: Short and Long-Form Video Storytelling

  • Luxury brands should leverage both short and long-form videos to convey the brand's "story," which allows brands to communicate their values and consumers to develop a connection with a brand. A Luxe Digital article notes that "Affluent consumers are ready to spend more on luxury brands who tell a compelling story that customers can relate to."
  • YouTube's data and insights team highlight a trend toward luxury brands using long-form video, with some luxury designers producing documentary-style films to drive user engagement and others creating long-form videos that provide "information and expertise." Younger luxury consumers, in particular, seek education and "how-to" insights and some luxury fashion brands are responding with backstage content and interviews on YouTube.
  • Short-form videos, delivered as "storytelling in micro-moments" or "content snacking" also provide the opportunity for luxury brands to provide "authentic, bite-sized stories" that are impactful and generate consumer engagement.
  • Premium beauty brand Glossier, leverages both short and long-form videos, with the short-form videos driving awareness and attracting new buyers and the long-form videos (largely on its YouTube channel) strengthening engagement. Glossier's "Get Ready For Me" video series on YouTube focuses on being authentic, personal, and informative. One recent video in the series, nearly 5 minutes long, has amassed over 162,000 views.
  • Sofia Coppola created a :30-second "film" for Chanel, to showcase "The Chanel Iconic." Coppola discusses the focus on creating an emotional connection for consumers with the brand within the film: "That bag is a star, it’s such a symbol of womanhood —and makes you feel a certain way. Your first Chanel bag is an unforgettable moment, it’s a rite of passage. I wanted to focus on the bag, how it’s made, and how it makes you feel—how you notice women passing by in Paris who seem to be going somewhere and have a life…and some mystery."
  • A Hermes 2020 shoe collection video (with over 350,000 views) demonstrates the use of very short (5-second) clips to convey a "compelling and fun" message.
  • Gartner highlighted Gucci's use of multiple video formats in its top-10 luxury brand rating, noting that the"luxury label also leveraged its social media expertise in scaling campaign content, posting previews of campaigns to IGTV, longer cuts of the previews to its YouTube channel, and yet more versions to TikTok that included trending transition effects specific to the platform."
  • Burberry's YouTube channel is designed to cultivate the "experience and emotions that help the customer to connect with the brand." By using "longer-layout video content material," the brand focuses on its history, personality, and brand values.

Best Practice #3: Optimize Visual and Audio Elements

  • Luxury brands should leverage "visually distinctive" elements (color scheme, lighting, graphics) in social video to convey the impression of quality, luxury, and exclusivity.
  • This may also include leveraging "fast, accurate camera movements" to engage the audience, aspirational locations and backgrounds, or imagery that helps convey the brand impression and value.
  • The integration of music into luxury brand videos can also be an important element of maximizing success on social platforms. Leona Farquharson, global partnerships lead at YouTube, comments on the benefits of music as a backdrop to a luxury video: "We’ve seen brands almost take a back seat and present musical artists. It’s a nice way of subtly having that relationship with an audience that loves and respects and admires your brand, without having to be like, ‘Hi, here is this handbag.'"
  • A Dior Rose 'n Roses Instagram video ad leverages "light and airy" visuals, coupled with a color scheme that reinforces the brand's image (still shot from the campaign below).
  • A Luis Vuitton #LVMenSS20 Instagram video leverages a visually impactful location (Morocco), coupled with colors that provide "contrast" for the product line (still shot below).
  • Content marketing agency, Moondust, highlights Tiffany as a luxury brand that has successfully embraced visual elements in its social videos. This Tiffany Knot YouTube video (with over 10,000 views) leverages Tiffany's trademark black and white background to ensure the product stands out against the backdrop.

Research Strategy

For this research on social video best practices for luxury brands, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including expert insights in news publications (e.g., Vogue, Luxe Digital, Entrepreneur, Forbes), consultancy reports (Gartner), and case studies and examples (largely focusing on YouTube and Instagram).

Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "Communicate the luxury status of your products by taking customers behind the scenes with your social media posts — like this post from Chanel....Video as a medium of communication cannot be understated here."
Quotes
  • "Gucci’s highly engaged Instagram audience grabs the second highest score for total grid page interactions, as it rolled out creative campaigns throughout the year that focused on less formal content, like having its employees model its new Epilogue collection. The luxury label also leveraged its social media expertise in scaling campaign content, posting previews of campaigns to IGTV, longer cuts of the previews to its YouTube channel, and yet more versions to TikTok that included trending transition effects specific to the platform. Its creative approach to content early in the pandemic enabled Tiffany & Co. to maintain high Instagram engagement rates when other brands decreased posting, using reposts of upbeat, archival campaign content while embracing informal, episodic IGTV video content. "