PreviousZekebits | Blog
24 January 2013
How do premium interior and lifestyle brands strike a balance between engagement within social media whilst retaining their exclusivity?
New research from the Acquity Group analyzed customer engagement among Interbrand's 2012 Best Retail Brands they discovered that, while every brand on their list except one has a Facebook Page, and almost all (45 out of 50) are on Twitter, just 12 brands had a presence across all major social outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube).
According to research by the French Digital Luxury Group, reviewing trends across 151 Luxury brands from last year: 97% of those luxury brands are registered on at least one social network. Twitter accounts for 86%.
However, Twitter is proving hard for many premium and luxury businesses to fathom, at least in terms of the level of engagement required. Despite almost all (90%) brands in their survey having a presence on the micro-blogging platform, a little over a quarter (27%) actively engage with consumers on the platform.
This gap between adoption and engagement illustrates the problems associated with jumping on the latest social media bandwagon without first assessing the impact and resources needed to use it effectively. At the end of the day, it is better to have no Twitter presence at all than a non-active, non-responsive account.
If a premium home interest business does not plan to engage followers on Twitter, a simple tagline in their descriptor explaining that the handle is meant to be a news channel and used for outward communications could solve the problem, but in many ways that does hugely limit the potential impact of Twitter as a one-to-many and one-to-one form of communication.
The important take away for interior businesses is to avoid haphazard or sporadic use of social media. When a new social media channel is introduced, designer makers need to take the time to analyze the potential impact and return, and develop a solid strategy from there.
Luxury interior and lifestyle businesses looking to develop a digital presence online with the 'many' brings into question the essence of the luxury industry which has traditionally been defined by exclusivity - the antithesis of a mass market, ‘open to all’ approach. In this light, how do they strike a balance between an active presence on Twitter whilst retaining their exclusivity?
In a white paper – The Luxury Marketing Myth: Exclusivity is critical to maintaining luxury’s allure – Pam Danziger explains that the tight coupling between luxury and exclusivity is “an old-European myth.” For younger, more democratic luxury consumers, “exclusivity” has negative connotations of snobbery and manufactured scarcity. Exclusivity for its own sake is not what the growing market of young luxury consumers value. What they prefer, according to Danziger, is “an exclusiveness derived from the ability to express a personal point of view, an attitude and one’s uniqueness.”
The solution to this conundrum is for luxury and premium interior businesses to use their Twitter channel as an extension of their brand identity. Twitter for them should be used to showcase all aspects of their brand and their brand values. We call this Content marketing. In addition, companies should curate Twitter content around four key areas of 'Brand news' – or outward broadcast (one-to-many)
The other complimentary content that companies should also consider communicating as 'Brand conversation' – relationship (one-to-one)
By engaging their audience in this way luxury interior brands position themselves as trendsetters, opinion shapers and a beacon of knowledge within their industry. Whilst their social following are receiving hand-picked suggestions from a respected, premium brand. This approach generates a greater conversation between the brand and their social following. Simultaneously, it helps raise the brand’s profile socially whilst building trust and loyalty.
For all luxury interior brands it is vital to consistently connect their Twitter content to their offering. It is imperative to achieve this without adopting an overtly sales focused approach. Whether its furniture or fabrics, the customer’s interests should underpin the approach to content to ensure engagement relevant to the audience. Tweets should strive to be succinct and sophisticated whilst remaining informative and useful.
In most cases, social media for premium and luxury interior brands should be considered a customer service communication tool, especially since a phone call is a one-to-one conversation, but social media creates a one-to-many conversation that everyone sees.