How social media powers big brands to success

You will probably be familiar with this famous quote from John Wanamaker who said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Wanamaker was referring to the challenges of marketing in the early 20th century, however with its claims of accurate prospect profiling, social media marketing today attempts to tip the scales more in favour of the advertiser.

Social media icons on a smartphone

It is companies that embraced this shift towards engaging with their prospective customers online, that are benefitting from some spectacular growth. Unfortunately, some famous, long-established, brands like Jaeger and Austin Reid have paid a heavy price by relying too heavily on traditional marketing and failed to adapt to fast-moving markets.

How Gucci succeed in social media marketing

Gucci is an example of a luxury brand that has had its’ ups and downs over the years, but has enjoyed a spectacular change in fortunes recently by embarking on highly successful social media campaigns, as reported by authorised Gucci retailer The Watch Gallery.

Gucci Dive watch

A change of creative director and CEO in early 2015 saw Gucci update their collections to bring them more in-line with their customer expectations and to, crucially, find ways of engaging with consumers outside the fashion world with innovative social media marketing strategies.

A key part of their strategy was to create a hashtag to help promote their watch collection across a range of social media platforms. Using the #TFWGUCCI, hashtag, Gucci invited leading artists from around the world to re-interpret some of the brand design elements, creating memes that could potentially spread virally across social media accounts.

Using facebook to promote the brand

You can see how this approach is proving successful in promoting the Gucci brand to new and potentially profitable markets.

For example, a Spanish artist called Rozalina Burkova was commissioned to create a new design that she published onto her facebook page recently. This has already garnered almost 120 likes and a number of comments from her page alone.

This and other memes published under the #TFWGUCCI on facebook are attracting thousands of likes, hundreds of shares and huge consumer engagement via discussions in the comments.

It is not just facebook – Twitter and Instagram work well too

To my mind, the genius in the #TFWGUCCI campaign is that the memes created by this diverse range of artists, and the diversity of the art that they create, not only lends itself to facebook, but appeals directly to Instagram and Twitter users who are familiar with viewing images on these platforms.

This is a scattergun approach, of course, however it may well be sowing seeds to recruit future customers by making the brand appealing, even to those who cannot, at present, afford to buy any of their products. This Tweet is particularly telling in this regard.

A tweet illustrating virality of the Gucci campaign

By adopting this strategy across different social channels ensures that Gucci are successfully propagating their brand in a highly innovative way and indirect way that encourages user engagement without besieging users with marketing messages.

This approach is proving successful

I can’t find any information about how much it is costing Gucci to commission the various artists to develop their artistic interpretations, but presumably these are one-off charges with the additional on-going staff costs to manage the social media campaigns.

Stock chart with Ssacked coins

The quality and innovation behind this campaign means that very little effort is required to allow these memes to spread from user to user in these social environments. To reach these users with conventional print and TV campaigns is likely to be far higher, and if John Wanamaker is to be believed, half of those costs would be wasted anyway!

This creative approach to marketing that so successfully embraces the virality and consumer penetration of social media is having a dramatic impact on the figures that really count – turnover and profit.

Gucci’s like for like annual sales grew by 12.7% and operating income rose by 21.7% as reported in the latest trading results. So as some luxury brands have faded away, the creative and innovative tactics used by the new Gucci management team have re-vitalised their business, making them one of the most successful brands in their sector.

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