Digital transformation and fashion technology have been at the forefront of the conversation in the last 10 years for the fashion industry. However, it was not only once the Covid-19 pandemic began that many realized just how important it is for fashion brands to embrace digitization and utilize it for major events, just as this was predicted for Fashion Week 2021. Technology has provided a way not only to accelerate and optimize internal workflows between teams and departments working remotely but also to help brands connect with consumers all around the world and keep their business running as usual. Digitization tools have made it much easier for brands to collect data about campaigns and events with key insights into their performance in the media and with Influencers, as well as benchmark against competitors.
The global fashion industry growth rates are “predicted to slow further — down to 3 to 4 percent — slightly below predicted growth for 2019,” and therefore “Fashion players are under pressure to be digital-first and fully leverage new technologies,” according to McKinsey. In order to utilize insights, improve future marketing strategies, and avoid slow growth rate predictions, every PR department should have an array of tools at its disposal to ensure effective media monitoring, benchmarking, event management, contact bases, and overall digitization of content.
5 Fashion Technology Solutions any PR Department should have
Media Monitoring System
The fashion market is diversifying, especially following the pandemic which has shifted consumer consumption habits to a much more digital space. This has opened the door for an even wider consumer base of brands, across a variety of markets and languages. Therefore it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to use the right technology and tools to monitor their global performance.
To contend with the new digitally native players in such a highly competitive market space, not only throughout the usual strongholds such as Europe and the Americas, but also in China, brands are turning to 360-degree campaigns. Generating coverage and mentions in Online, Print, and on Social Media is key, and optimizing impact via partnerships with Influencers and Key Opinion Leaders.
This is why the first fashion technology to enhance your marketing efforts you should consider is a PR Monitoring tool to gain clear insight into how well your brand is performing, and through which Channels, regions or Voices. But at the same time It is also important to consider that all those mentions need to be compared in the same way, through a unified metric such as Media Impact Value™.
It is advantageous to have PR monitoring tools that can streamline and consolidate all media mentions from across Channels and regions in one place. These results should reveal through a variety of detailed reports the state of a brand’s performance as well as calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) generated.
A comprehensive monitoring tool that doesn’t miss a mention, whether it be a line in Print or a hashtag on Social Media, is the only way to truly generate reports that accurately quantify a brand’s ROI and validate PR efforts.
Digital Events Tool
The global pandemic has affected thousands of events, shows, and product presentations in the fashion and luxury space, leaving brands debating the options for launching future collections. So the past year has forced brands to reinvent how they carry out their business, and for events, in particular, many have needed to adapt to a more digital climate and introduce fashion technology.
In today’s more digital environment, a brand event might look more like a pre-recorded or live stream experience for an invite-only exclusive guest list, and so other digital considerations must be taken into account to ensure success, such as the RSVP count via email vs. the attendance figures, level of engagement, and any event documents uploads, among others.
Versace is a major fashion brand that embraced a new format to connect with their consumers with their “off-schedule” Fashion Week show earlier this year by creating a fully digital project. Their filmed runway show and related Influencer partnerships still generated impressive impact. For example, a top model returned to the runway for Versace which created quite a buzz with fans and followers of Gigi Hadid and Versace. Gigi posted 3 images for the brand which generated a total of $3.3M in MIV®, however, thanks to her media popularity, she was able to amass over 2x that MIV® for the Italian brand through her echo — which totaled $7.1M.
In order to create events that remain dynamic, in a primarily online space, brands need to explore how to create unique and impactful experiences through a screen. Utilizing specially designed event management software and technology to produce events from every aspect is pivotal, especially in regards to creating personalized invites, monitoring RSVPs, managing seating plans, tracking real-time attendance, and creating comprehensive post-event reports.
The right fashion technology and software tools can open up the possibilities of a physical event, especially for reactive PR efforts, such as last moment updates of any changes to the seating assignment, quickly recognizing VIPs from their ID photos, and easily identifying “No Shows” and filling the open seats before the start of the show.
Online Galleries Platform
The world of fashion is keenly adapting to a more digital space by moving collection launches online. Maintaining a digital archive of a collection via a digital asset management tool allows brands to share articles, create press releases, announce events, and disseminate this content with 24/7 access across a global audience, in real-time.
Fashion and luxury brands have a huge selection of assets that can be digitized for quick and remote consumption by professionals, editors, and Influencers, which brands only had limited access to in the past. Brands should make as many of these digital transformations as possible, not only for internal use and to share across different departments, but also to preserve for future collections and sharing with stakeholders and external sources like the media. Updating collections in real-time means brands can increase their chances of being featured in a news article of the day, and generate mentions that can build brand value and reputation.
These tools are particularly useful ahead of a campaign launch, to amplify the products and increase the likelihood of press mentions, sample requests, and features. Making an online version of the collection means editors no longer need to wait for a response to collect last-minute content. Simply via a private or public link, they could find a personalized digital gallery, an online collection, or virtual lookbooks where journalists can download images, request samples, search specific items and categories such as product type, color, season, fabric, and zoom in on the details.
With many professionals continuing to work remotely or from home as a result of the global pandemic, digitizing the process and utilizing fashion technology for brands and their collection launches is more relevant than ever. It also provides an opportunity to update strategies, adapt showcasing processes, and nurture existing relationships with Influencers and journalists to maintain communication.
Brand Benchmarking Tool
How can a brand determine exactly where they are positioned within the market and benchmark against competitors? By using the right tools and strategies to measure brand performance and PR efforts. Brands must evaluate where they are, especially concerning competitor activity, to ensure that marketing efforts are yielding the intended results.
A benchmarking tool that is adapted to the specificities of the fashion industry is valuable for guiding the evolution of a brand’s strategy. These tactics can be greatly affected by the results of the previous week, month, or quarter, and so must have a clear understanding of these findings and what they suggest about overall performance.
The constant analysis of activities and benchmarking results offer insights into a brand’s performance across a variety of metrics, including Engagement, Reach, Voices, Placements, and the monetary value of these achievements.
Media monitoring and detailed tracking of mentions on mainstream Social Media, as well as emerging Chinese applications, gives brands the chance to compare and confirm their position in the sector and evaluate which Voices bring the best results, such as Media, Celebrities, Influencers, Partners, and Owned Media. Understanding the Voices that influence customers on their buying journey from awareness and consideration to conversion and retention, is key to determining ROI following campaigns and ongoing marketing and PR efforts.
Benchmarking is a must for any brand wanting to optimize strategic marketing decisions, as well as use technology to produce a comprehensive view of its strategy, and its competitors, to gain a great competitive advantage.
Contacts & Email Solutions
A fashion brand’s foundation for a highly effective PR strategy comes from a curated and well-maintained contact base. Keeping a close track of the relationship history with important stakeholders and media, usually via email, helps brands to keep the lines of communication open and organized.
With hundreds of emails to send per day, PR professionals need the proper online tools to ensure that all key contacts, such as Influencers and journalists, are consolidated into a centralized database, and the history of personalized interactions, from event attendance to gift send-outs, and campaigns collaborations, are tracked.
An online tool to manage contacts is a safe place to store a database of many thousands, and maintain GDPR compliance for Europe. But more importantly, a contacts and email solution helps to effectively target media, Influencers and Key Opinion Leaders who will better connect a brand to their intended demographic, and help grow their network by transmitting brand messaging across different markets.
To learn some tips for emailing and managing your contacts, check out our eBook on PR emailing Do’s & Dont’s for Fashion, Luxury & Cosmetic Brands.