Valentine’s Day Courtship Tips for Brands

Social-Media-Valentines-DayA staggering 72 million adults will buy Valentine’s Day cards this season. That’s 40% of all cards sold. And while that’s an impressive figure, 60% of folks are still untapped. We can only image what the numbers look like for money spent on dinners, flowers, chocolates, jewelry and more. Again, while huge, a large number of the adult population still doesn’t budge. In time for the big day, outlined are four Valentine’s Day courtship tips for brands to be more relevant to customers this season.

Don’t make the same mistake

It’s pretty obvious, but even a Harvard University study points to the fact that people are more accurate at predicting emotional reactions to negative events than positive ones they have experienced in the past. Just like humans try to avoid repeating terrible relationship mistakes, brands too need to learn from bad marketing decisions made in the past. The good news for brands is that through a variety of technological techniques and advances like predictive analytics, brands can now foresee what’s coming ahead and how to react. Again, making it easier to not only not make the same mistake again, but preventing one from ever happening in the first place.

Be relevant to your target

Don’t be scared to ride the wave of trends. In fact, marketers should leverage what’s happening during the season – whether it’s Gangnam Style, wedge sneakers, Pinterest, or the latest handbag, marketers have a better chance of making the sale if they stay on top of what matters to their target audience. Last year’s Michael Kors #fallinginlovewith campaign is an outstanding example of a brand that capitalized on being relevant and timely by tapping nearly every social media medium, including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and ultimately, bridging the gap between mobile and social.

Know what you’re doing

Too often, marketers carry out campaigns purely on a hunch or good idea. Smart marketers should go that extra mile and tap market researchers to reach out to community panel members for a gauge on how Americans will feel about specific marketing campaigns, themes, ideas, etc. prior to cupid’s arrival. As market researchers start reaching out to community panel members, it’s important for them to ask the right questions. Many researchers today are asking respondents for basic information that they should already know like their geography and general interests. As a result, response rates go down and the overall strategy falls through the cracks. Reexamining how to best ask meaningful questions will provide marketers with better insight into the attitudes and opinions of respondents so that they’ll know to plan for the big day, which is exactly what we help brands do here at Vision Critical.

Target the outliers

Almost half of Americans have negative feelings towards Valentine’s Day.  Most marketers are so busy focusing on how to sell to the population that enjoys it that often times they leave the non-lovers hanging. Marketers should consider a duel, or ubiquitous approach to targeting those in love (or like) and those that are single.

Holiday Communication

If you sell a product or service, think about a way to talk about what you sell in a way that might make it a great Valentine’s gift. Offer a sale or package price, particularly if it can bundled and wrapped. You might consider sharing some links to blogs and news articles relating to Valentine’s Day cooking, recipes, attire, decorations, crafts – anything you think your readers and fans will enjoy and share.

Holiday Images

When looking for images to share, it’s best to either purchase the image from a site like iStockPhoto (because yes, you are using it for commercial purposes), or use Flickr to find images that the owner has stated that the image can be used for commercial purposes. Go to Flickr.com, start a search, and then use the Advanced Settings to filter out the images that you shouldn’t be using (the setting is at the bottom of the page). Note that you still need to pay attention to each image and what the owner states – some require that you attribute the image to the owner, like Image courtesy of Mike Allton, Flickr. Sprinkle some of these quotes and images into your social media activity and marketing leading up to Valentine’s Day to keep your customers smiling. More importantly, look for ways that you can provide value to your readers and your efforts will be appreciated. For instance, you might offer some alternative ideas to the typical “dinner and a movie” that both husbands AND wives will appreciate. Poll your employees about their best and worst Valentine’s Days and then share those stories in a blog post for our readers to enjoy.

Sources:

iMedia Connection

Yahoo Small Business

Fashion 2.0 | Topshop and Google Plan Data-Savvy Digital Runway

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LONDON, United Kingdom — In recent cycles, fashion shows, once closed industry events, have become something of a spectator sport for the hundreds of thousands of people who follow the play-by-play online. Now, British high street brand Topshop has teamed up with technology giant Google to stage a realtime consumer extravaganza around the live stream of its Topshop Unique show — to be presented as part of London Fashion Week this Sunday — that promises connected fashion fans an unprecedented, all-access entertainment experience.

While megabrands like Burberry and Louis Vuitton have live-streamed their runway shows for several seasons now, the Topshop initiative, dubbed “The Future of the Fashion Show,” aims to bring consumers even closer to the action, employing wearable, high-definition micro-cameras and a slew of Google platforms, from YouTube to Google+ Hangouts, to let users virtually inhabit the privileged perspectives of fashion industry archetypes — the model, the guest celebrity, the retail buyer, even the designer — and experience the show through their eyes.

Realtime ‘model cams’ are set to capture and transmit what it’s like to walk the runway, while a “Be the Buyer” app will let fans compose, remix and share mood boards featuring their favourite pieces. A Google+ Hangout will give fans the chance to view and interact with the Topshop design team as they put the finishing touches on the collection.

There will even be something of a pre-game show in the form of a “red carpet hangout,” featuring celebrity arrivals at the impressive Tanks at Tate Modern show venue, broadcast on Google+ and YouTube, as well as in the digital window displays of Topshop’s Oxford Street flagship. Inexpensive souvenirs, like the beauty products and music tracks featured in the show, will also be available for immediate purchase.

“We wanted to create an experience for the many millions of Topshop fans all over the world that delivered part of the experience in the venue to the customer, but in a new and exciting way and one that would live beyond the moment,” Topshop’s chief marketing officer, Justin Cooke, told BoF.

Indeed, the experience is likely to attract a sizable audience and generate social buzz for the brand that will extend and sustain the marketing impact of the runway show. Last season, over 2 million people from over 100 countries tuned into Topshop’s digital runway.

“We gained so much insight by working with Google. We understand better than ever how people want to interact with content and the subtleties related to that interaction on different platforms at different moments,” said Cooke. “The Google+ team have worked on the US elections and some of the most engaging events in social media history and, so, using that insight, balanced with the creativity and excitement of our show, really opened up a new way of thinking.”

But driving social buzz is only part of Topshop’s strategy. Equally important is data. In fact, the large amount of data generated by millions of consumers interacting with the various elements of “The Future of the Fashion Show” has the potential to be valuable, if captured, sifted and analysed correctly.

Indeed, the brand’s “Be the Buyer” app alone promises to be a useful source of timely insight into what pieces resonate most with consumers long before they hit the shop floor, data that can be used to make more efficient business decisions, like how much of a particular type of product to manufacture and stock — and in what colours.

“With our unique customise the catwalk technology we see what looks customers engage with and share most; which colours they want. And the ‘Be the Buyer’ app will be a great indicator of their favourite styles,” said Cooke. “We learn so much because we are really putting the show in their hands.”

Vikram Alexei Kansara is Managing Editor of The Business of Fashion

Source: Business of Fashion February 13, 2013

Lady In Red

Valentine’s Day may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but for those who do choose to indulge in the day of love, here are a few inspirational looks that will surely make you the belle of the ball. Whether you are going for all out glamour, or would just like to add a little bit of spice to your look – we have you covered. Top off your dress with a few cute accessories and you are date night ready!  All of the items featured can be found on asos.com

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1. Rare Lace Sweetheart Prom Dress

2. ASOS Skater Dress with Chiffon Sleeves and Belt

3. Three Floor Look See Fit & Flare Dress with Cutout Detail

4. Hybrid Peplum Dress with Lace Insert and Sweetheart Neckline

5. Hybrid Dress with Bardot Neckline