Dr. Sunita Gupta Konwar, Course Leader - Associate Professor, Fashion Business Management, Indian Institute of Art and Design (IIAD)

Dr. Sunita Konwar has over 30 years of experience in teaching. She completed her PhD in Economics from Mumbai University and thereafter headed the Department of Economics at a college in Mumbai University. She went on to work as Dean PGDM with IILM-Management Institute at Lodhi Road. She also shared her knowledge with students in other institutes such as ISBF, JIMS, IIPM, Asia Pacific & TERI as a visiting and contract faculty. One of her many distinguished accolades includes researching and publishing papers globally in the field of Public Finance, laying emphasis on Internal Public Debt.

 

Fashion marketing is where fashion and business intersect to build awareness of brands’ core philosophy and products, connect with the target audience, drive sales and boost revenue. Fashion entrepreneurs need to be thoroughly abreast of marketing communication trends and position their brand as the top choice for customers. Unlike other sectors, fashion communication campaigns should be able to achieve their goals and objectives within a short timeline after their launch.  Thus, the short cycle is the salient feature of fashion marketing campaigns. The fashion industry is highly dynamic, with trends rapidly evolving. The competition is also stiff marked by the entry of several new brands. Here are some marketing communication trends redefining the fashion industry.

The acceleration of digital transformation has reimagined the fashion communication landscape. Marketers are increasingly leveraging digital tools such as search advertising, email marketing, search engine marketing, etc., to build brand awareness and recall. Nevertheless, mobile-friendly websites, advertisements and landing pages are among the top trends for the fashion industry due to increasing traffic from mobile devices over any other channels. Mobile marketing provides personalised, location and time-sensitive information to customers on the go. Nevertheless, the rise of digital platforms in no way implies the death-knell of traditional marketing. While digital platforms help to boost engagement and reach, traditional media build awareness and recall. Both mediums will co-thrive as fashion brands ramp up their communication strategies to achieve tangible outcomes.

COVID-19 has catalysed digitisation, paving the way for fashion shows to go digital. Designers are collaborating with tech companies to harness computer-aided models to showcase the new collections. A salient feature of these events is the harnessing of innovative technologies such as Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, etc., to offer curated experiences. For instance, The Fabric of Reality simulated an experience of guests moving down a purple carpet in a futuristic museum toward the exhibition hall. The hallmark of the show was a 360-degree immersive experience, including a mix of fashion, music and graphics. It also leveraged the power of collaboration among digital experts and designers to produce animated videos.

Technology has also emerged as a panacea to enhance efficiency, ensure cost-effectiveness and maximise ROI on fashion communication campaigns. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence help marketers gain insight into behavioural and purchase patterns of their target audience, segment them and customise their strategy accordingly. For instance, leading fashion retailer Revolve uses data-driven insights to determine the factors for boosting sales, tracking users’ behaviour on websites and curating personalised item recommendations. AI-powered chatbots help in soliciting feedback and addressing customer queries and grievances in real-time. Similarly, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, etc., simulate larger-than-life experiences to engage with the target audience.

Social shopping is among the relatively new fashion marketing trends. Fashion brands are linking their social media handles with their websites to enable viewers to make a purchase at one click anytime and anywhere. Brands such as Natori reported a 1416% increase in Instagram traffic, while Magnolia Boutique clocked a 20% increase in revenue via Instagram through the Instagram Shopping feature. Personalities with a vast social media following significantly impact the brand by giving them mentions, reviews, or endorsing their products. Fashion bloggers/vloggers help reach out to new markets, increase lead generation and drive sales for businesses.

Live streaming is another avenue with constant growth. Live streaming videos help fashion brands amplify their reach by enabling netizens to tune in to events from their devices in real-time. The fashion communication strategy should be geared towards establishing their official Livestream channels instead of relying on third-party players, besides YouTube, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Vimeo Livestream, Streamshark, Ustream, etc., are fantastic live streaming platforms. Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Nike, Levi’s are already leveraging Instagram Live to expand visibility and reach untapped audiences.

The penetration of e-commerce, the proliferation of emerging technologies and increasing social media consumption have prompted marketers to rethink their marketing communication strategies to monetise existing platforms more effectively and maximise their ROI from them. Nevertheless, great content with powerful storytelling and emotion will continue to be the key ingredient of successful marketing campaigns.

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