Digital Brand Experience - Trends
In reference to our findings, trends in the street style space of fashion in regard to online digital brand experience include utilizing the "drop" concept when releasing new products, using social media as the main advertising platform, working with influencers to amass consumer engagement, increasing user-generated content, and using digital tools and the online environment to create a following by creating the illusion of exclusivity.
We started our research by exploring fashion magazines and online street style publications such as GQ and Hypebeast. We also searched for information in business magazines (such as Forbes) and news resources (such as BBC). With this strategy, we were able to find resources that held valuable information on topics like the increasing popularity of street styles and the key role social media networks have played in spreading the popularity of street style fashion. Using this information, we identified five trends in the street style space of fashion in regard to online digital brand experience.
TRENDS IN THE STREET STYLE SPACE FASHION In regard to ONLINE DIGITAL BRAND EXPERIENCE
1. STREETWEAR BRANDS USING THE DROP CONCEPT IN PRODUCT RELEASE
The "drop" concept which is used by a number of streetwear brands to supercharge the traditional supply-and-demand model. This concept refers to the release of a limited number of specific items. Brands use this sales tactic when they announce the release of a new item or the release of a limited edition popular item on social media. The brand's message is then echoed by social media utilizers, celebrities, fashion influencers, and collectors.
Once the hyped products become available, they are usually sold out within a matter of minutes. Among streetwear brands, the drop is proven to be a "tried-and-true strategy." Additionally, marketing, sales, and consumer behavior experts believe the drop concept works because it is based on the principle of scarcity, thus when the product in question is scarce, the demand ends up being higher. The drop concept also appeals to younger audiences and generates excitement because of its non-conformity characteristics.
2. UTILIZING SOCIAL MEDIA AS THE MAIN ADVERTISING PLATFORM
In comparison to other industries, the retail market in the street style space of fashion is based on internet hype rather than traditional advertising. On Facebook, there are numerous groups and blogs that have been built around the streetwear phenomenon and as a result, social media seems to be maintaining and augmenting the hype surrounding the culture.
Streetwear brands use social media as their main platform for advertising and reaching consumers instead of creating complex advertising campaigns or relying on celebrity product endorsements. According to a report by Trendanalytics, several streetwear brands including Bape, Vetements, and Palace Skateboards noticed that their social media posts had the most engagement from their customer base. This can be attributed to the fact that streetwear brands usually have cult following as customers become loyal, long term fans of brands. The customers then create hype around a brand resulting in a brand's message being echoed in consumer circles.
3. WORKING WITH INFLUENCERS TO GARNER CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT
Influencer marketing is a popular strategy within the streetwear industry. When it comes to consumer engagement, working with influencers has time and again proven to be more efficient than working with popular celebrities. According to the Trendanalytics report, well-known influencers like Laura Enever and Kelly Slater have seen ten times more engagement per mentioned post than popular celebrities like Kanye West.
When talking about Instagram influencers and consumer engagement, experts take into account three different dimensions i.e. the total number of Instagram followers, the engagement rate, and the rate at which the Instagram account is growing.
4. INCREASED USE OF USER-GENERATED CONTENT
ASSC gives its followers a voice by posting their messages regardless of the content. The brand reposts messages such as “where’s my s**t and put my s**t in the mail!” on its Instagram page as a way of celebrating customers that are behaving rudely or anti-socially.
Consumers post Instagram selfies while wearing certain products resulting in the increase of a brand's hype. In recent years, this trend has been more prevalent in marketing and this is particularly so in the fashion industry. For streetwear culture, which is based on brand authenticity and originality, marketing strategies that are centered on user-generated content have proven to be very successful among consumers.
On YouTube, user-generated videos that are made by fans get 10-times more views than content that is created and uploaded by the actual brands. In general, when it comes to user-generated content, 92% of consumers turn to the people they know for referrals over any other sources while "88% of consumers trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from their personal contacts."
In addition, 84% of consumers noted that they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising. Word-of-mouth marketing generates more than twice the sales revenue of paid advertising. Lastly, 74% of consumers rely on social media for information before making a purchasing decision and people that are referred by loyal customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
5. USING DIGITAL TOOLS AND THE ONLINE ENVIRONMENT TO CREATE A CULT FOLLOWING THROUGH THE ILLUSION OF EXCLUSIVITY
By purchasing an exclusive item, consumers feel like they have become part of a highly-regarded social group. Brands create a cult-like following through a combination of two factors: releasing a limited number of items that are difficult for consumers to access and the fact that these items represent a brand, its specific backstory and meaning.
ASSC and Frenzy worked together to create an online pop-up shop that could only be accessed from a specific physical location. To make purchases, consumers had to find one of the pink billboards that the company had rented in the Los Angeles area. After finding one, consumers would then call the number on the billboard to get a Morse code that contained the product drop details. The customers would use this information to arrive at the location, unlock the product, and make a purchase.
In the case of Supreme, when a drop was scheduled, buyers had to subscribe to a mailing list to receive an email containing the address of the location where they could purchase a ticket. After purchasing a ticket, buyers could then stand in a queue at the physical store. Supreme also has an "online word-of-mouth" marketing strategy that appears to be very successful in driving buyers to physical stores.