As the world of social media becomes more and more saturated with content of all types, brands are going back to basics when it comes to their social strategies. In the case of Barbour, the go-to outerwear brand for British royals, celebrities, city and country folk alike, this means reinforcing the quintessentially British identity that’s at the heart of the label.
The brand, which identifies itself as ‘a global brand defining the essence of true British style’ across its social media bios, uses its heritage as a family business with roots firmly placed in Britain’s countryside where it was founded, to create captivating stories which are then narrated through original imagery, video and written content across its social platforms.
Even though a global retail presence is among the company’s main focuses as it expands beyond countrywear and its classic wax jackets to knitwear, shirting and accessories among others, Barbour continues to highlight its Britishness as a unique selling point across the international markets, using it to lure consumers in.
A consistent, honest message from the part of the brand is key to attracting consumers, regardless of their origins and background, and Barbour’s consistent content marketing initiatives have increased reach in major international markets such as Japan, Canada and the U.S., where the brand is currently expanding its retail presence.
A case in point? The brand’s latest campaign Barbour Tartan, aimed at promoting the brand’s latest collection of tartan clothing, inspired a video created in partnership with British GQ featuring Sam Heughan wearing a shirt from the collection in a countryside home. The video was posted on the brand’s Instagram and Twitter accounts and in addition, the Barbour Twitter account was filled with links to blog posts sharing travel advice to Scotland, land of the tartan.
Travel content is one of the most prominent elements in Barbour’s social strategy. From images of Scotland’s magnificent Isle of Skye to ignite followers’ wanderlust, to photo albums on Facebook highlighting Bristol’s best spots, the brand aims to create a lifestyle around its product. Even though travel imagery and blog posts do not directly encourage sales, they are essential in creating opportunities to interact with the consumer and nurture a more meaningful relationship.
— Barbour (@Barbour) March 21, 2017
Real engagement is what Barbour also looks for when it comes to choosing the influencers it partners with for its ongoing series Barbour’s People. Instead of opting for the most-followed style bloggers or vloggers to promote its product, Barbour seeks out people whose look, background and hobbies fit the brand’s ethos. Some of those featured as part of Barbour’s People cannot necessarily be identified as influencers per se; for instance, scuba diver Evan Gavin, who has a modest following of 469, is featured on the brand’s Instagram feed wearing the classic Bedale jacket in Balquhidder, a small village in the South of Scotland.
Other members of Barbour’s People include photographer and ecologist David Sutherland who has 17.2k followers, and Chantal Coady OBE, founder of the London-based luxury chocolate company Rococo Chocolates. Coady is pictured in classic Barbour gilets and shares her first interactions with Barbour products and her journey in discovering her personal style in an accompanying blog post on the brand’s website.
By including lesser-known individuals and micro influencers of different ages and professional backgrounds and creating more raw imagery, Barbour manages to stand out in users’ feeds in a sea of over-filtered images of 20-something influencers promoting an image of perfection that users are increasingly disapproving of.
The Barbour’s People series also invites customers to become part of it, encouraging followers to share images of themselves on social media with the relevant hashtag. The brand sees user-generated content as complementary to its own content and aims to offer a clear consumer call to action in order to further communicate its brand message online.
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Words by Natalie Yiassoumi.
Featured image source: Barbour