Instagram as a Tool for Wedding Gown Retailers

Good evening everyone!

I assume that my post today will be read more intently by the female population of Prof Shim’s two SMS classes, given that it centers on an industry most of us girls should be rather intrigued with – the wedding gown retail industry. Granted, most of us do not have any need for a gown as of yet, but I’m sure you’ll find my research interesting and informative in the future when you eventually embark on the search for your dream dress 🙂  I hope you’re excited to read on, as lots of gorgeous dresses are set to follow.

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Source: Google Images 

In my project, I chose to focus on the Social Media platform Instagram and its use as a marketing and communications tool for the wedding gown retail industry. For comparative bench-marking purposes, I bought in 3 retailers which have similar business activities in the industry value chain (namely bespoke designing, manufacturing and retailing) and geographical scope (their client bases mostly originate from Singapore).

They are: Jessicacindy, Time Taken to Make a Dress and Le Grand Wedding (JC, TTMD and LGW for short respectively).

JC
Jessicacindy
ttmd w
Time Taken to Make a Dress
Le Grand Wedding

Source: Google Images 

To provide some background, all three pride themselves on bespoke gown designs and their strengths differ to some extent. LGW focuses on bringing in the latest international style trends, JC focuses on soft, ethereal designs and customer service and TTMD leverages on its technical skills to provide gowns catered specifically for each bride, as opposed to following fads.

The brand of focus would be LGW and my strategies are largely aimed at improving its performance on Instagram given its ailing number of likes and followers, and consequently, the low “talk rate” for each of its postings.

My research question is thus: What kind of content on Instagram can garner the greatest brand engagement for the wedding gown retailer industry in Singapore, and specifically for “Le Grand Wedding”? Before we delve into the strategies, let’s take a closer look at the special characteristics of Instagram and how this social media platform lends itself to my focal industry.

PLATFORM

Did you know? #1: 30% of Instagram users buy items after viewing them on their Instagram feeds (Hobbs, 2015)

  • The visual appeal of content on Instagram works best for industries with heavy focus on their products’ appearance
  • Brand identity results from careful curation of posts and followers follow a brand out of “brand love”, which makes for a smoother transition to purchase intention

Did you know? #2: Instagram has delivered 58 and 120 times higher brand engagement relative to Facebook and Twitter respectively (Marshall J., 2014)

forees

  • A major differentiator for Instagram is that brands’ presence is welcomed (Most on Facebook would see this as brand intrusion!)
  • Instagram’s user base skews towards young females, who are the most receptive to brand involvement and communication

Did you know? #3: The direct messaging feature on Instagram could aid in the cultivation of a brand community

  • Brides worldwide use the opinions of virtual community members for consumption sharing and emotional support (Nelson & Otnes, 2005)
  • DM function allows brides-to-be to ask previous brides about their experiences. If gown retailers can identify previous clients as brand ambassadors, the possibilities of their reach could be immense

VALUE OF RESEARCH

I aim to uncover the different facets of successful Instagram content to garner stronger customer engagement rates for LGW. The results can also be extrapolated for the greater Singapore wedding industry on the whole. Little research so far means that unguided retailers often post overly-generic content which get lost in the mass of feeds!

METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS

Analysis of the commonalities and differences of the 3 brands’ Instagram image content, type, frequency, caption type and style etc were examined over 3 weeks of tracking to distill the following findings: relative to JC and TTMD, LGW on Instagram suffers from:

  • Irregular posting frequency
  • Irrelevant content from sister brand (Z-wedding) and other wedding-related vendors (e.g.: wedding table settings and wedding heels)
  • Lack of personal touch – no brides featured and their bespoke service is rarely mentioned
  • Lack of audience-initiated conversations
  • Large-scale events were held with celebrities in attendance but full potential on social media is not realized

SUGGESTIONS

Hence, I came up with a couple of suggestions to highlight LGW’s strengths and am of the opinion that they should go back to their roots of embodying Bespoke Luxury Couture.

To emphasize that their service is top-notch and customized:

  • Create short time-lapse insta-videos showcasing the personal touches they add on each gown for individual brides, highlighting these details in the captions. These can be done via Hyperlapse, which was created by Instagram, Inc.
  • Ask for customer feedback on Instagram. Feedback could pertain to theme suggestions for their biannual runway events with the best suggestion rewarded with free entry into their exclusive runway shows

To increase organic and inorganic reach:

  • Formulate a content calendar to regulate posting frequency and maintain an active presence
  • Have an easily recognizable trademark photo-taking backdrop in-house, where brides can take a photo after fittings. Brides are encouraged to post their pictures with the hashtag #legrandjourney
  • idea 2 idea 1
    Source: Google Images 
  • Collaborate with other wedding vendors for special shoots (think: wedding jewelry, cakes, venues) and get featured on their Instagram accounts. For instance:
    tagging frenzy

To launch a forum to foster a brand community:

  • Leverage on their existing network of A-listers who attend their events – get a celebrity who is about to get married to be their brand ambassador and announce LGW’s new online forum and also any subsequent events

As you might be able to tell, I had lots of fun thinking up all these strategies because I got the chance to put myself in the shoes of a bride on the lookout for her dress and thinking “What might appeal to me if I were shopping around for a bespoke gown?…”. So, that’s all I have for today and for everyone who’s read thus far, I hope this gave some insight into the world of wedding gowns and thank you for the time!

– Julia, G2

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G2 Häagen-Dazs

HD PHOTO.png

Morning everyone, here’s a short overview to our group’s project on Häagen-Dazs (Singapore)!

Since its inception in Singapore in 1983, Häagen-Dazs has become one of the leading super-premium ice cream brands in Singapore. The brand has immersed Singaporeans in a world of indulgence with their delectable ice cream offerings made of premium quality ingredients.

For our project, we identified a gap in Häagen-Dazs’ marketing communication towards a particular age group of consumers, youths. Through our focus group discussions (FGDs) and surveys, we were able to glean insights about youths’ perception of Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s as its competitor of focus. We also carried out a field study at Häagen-Dazs latest pop-up store in iLight @ Marina Bay, which many youths patronised. In light of the increasing spending power amongst youths and their renewed demand for sophisticated desserts, it is imperative for Häagen-Dazs to strategize so that its brand is communicated clearly to target this segment of customers

As part of our research, we analysed both Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s social media accounts, namely Facebook and Instagram. We discovered interesting similarities as well as stark differences between the 2 brands in terms of their content strategy and social media initiatives. Both brands made use of user-generated content by reposting their customers’ pictures. They also promoted their new flavours through their social media accounts. However, Ben & Jerry was better at engaging its consumers and creating buzz by infusing the local Singaporean culture into its brand.

We came up with 3 main objectives that we plan to achieve with our Häagen-Dazs Youth Outreach Project.

  1. Increase engagement on social media with youths
  2. Improve brand attitudes amongst youths via special events
  3. Improve purchase intent with a call to action in a CSR campaign

This project will last over a period of 14 months, beginning in January 2017 till February 2018.

Our strategies will be rolled out in 3 stages and utilises social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Apart from that, our strategies integrate both the digital world with the physical through special live events, to create a unique experiential brand experience for everyone.

Stage 1: Artisan Collection Video Sharing & Native Advertising
Stage 2: Häagen-Dazs Artisan Showcase
Stage 3:#meltingmoments CSR campaign

Each stage of the Youth Outreach will have its own metrics to measure its success. Of course, we know that risks are involved in a long-term strategy as such, but we have also come up with a holistic evaluation of these possible challenges and how we look to solve them should they occur.

We can’t wait to share our ideas with the class and we hope you look forward to it! 🙂

Cheers,
David, Julia, Courtney, Darshini, Yujun
G2

Snapchat as a business model

Hi everyone!

Sharing a really interesting article on one of the newest kids on the block today – Snapchat. The following article touches on its history and background as well as its various revenue sources. For brevity’s sake, I’ve provided the link here instead of the lengthy article.

http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-how-snapchat-built-a-business/

The below is an infographic outlining the social media platforms’ various activities. While many might denounce it as a flash-in-the-pan phenomenom, it does not take away from the fact that Snapchat’s most recent valuation put it at a hefty $16 billion. With current demand for slots in its “Discover” tab rising exponentially, advertising on the platform is expensive and only reserved for major players, for now. It’s seen as exciting and fun and able to provide instant gratification; even veterans of the advertising industry are clamoring to learn how to harness the power behind this more-or-less unexpectedly successful social media tool, in the wake of its explosive popularity.

Do feel free to share any thoughts on this! Perhaps the most pertinent question to me at this point would be: will the profitability of Snapchat as a PR and marketing tool be sustained in the long term or is it simply going to be a fad among the millennials once it’s been milked for what it’s worth?

Social media strat pic.png

Quantifying results of Social Media Strategies in Marketing

Hi everyone,

Saw this article online a couple of days ago and I thought it was pretty worth sharing. In it, the author highlights how marketers have embraced social media strategies (be it pertaining to analytics or content creation for users) in the recent years, despite the difficulties that persist when it comes to quantifying these strategies’ results.

Marketers believe in their qualitative “sense of impact” and are willing to invest more heavily in the Social aspect, at an exponential rate, even (as evinced by the graph below). This echoes what we previously discussed in the IMC class, whereby using social media in a firm’s communications holds a key difference from traditional Marketing – the former focuses on increasing intangible brand value while the latter, direct tangible value of products and services sold.

In the meanwhile, practitioners in the field should relentlessly be on the lookout for upcoming data analysis techniques which are able to close this gap between strategy execution and performance evaluation. Having metrics would help tremendously in justifying higher spend, and the more comprehensive the better as they can further fine-tune the content that they push forward. I found a couple on this other site, so feel free to have a read (:  (http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29442/7-Crucial-Social-Media-Metrics-and-What-They-Mean.aspx)

Julia Lim, G2

 

ARTICLE

Marketers Keep Spending on Social Despite Lack of Results

Only 11.5% of Marketers Can Prove the Quantitative Impact of Social Media, Survey Says

By Lindsay Stein. Published on February 17, 2016.

Marketers are expected to nearly double their social media spending in the next five years even though most can’t show the impact of social on their business, according to the biannual CMO Survey released Tuesday by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the American Marketing Association and Deloitte.

The survey, based on online responses from 289 marketers, revealed that social media spend currently makes up about 10.6% of marketing budgets and that number is expected to jump to 20.9% in five years. In 2009, marketers allocated just 5.6% of their budgets to social.

pic for SM BlogSource: American Marketing Association, Deloitte and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Despite the increase in spend, almost half (47.9%) of marketers surveyed said they haven’t been able to show the impact yet on their business. More than 40% said they have a good qualitative sense of impact, while 11.5% said they can prove the impact of social quantitatively.

Christine Moorman, a Fuqua professor and director of The CMO Survey, said marketers are continuing to spend on social because of its important role in connecting directly with customers. But they’re choosing to put their dollars in specific areas, with 62.6% of companies saying they’ll invest in content creation this year and 43.6% focusing on analytics.

Ms. Moorman added that it makes sense for marketers to spend on analytics since they want to look at ways to improve their performance impact related to social.

On a scale from one to seven, companies in the survey rated the effectiveness of social being linked to their overall marketing strategies, with the mean rating coming out to 4.2.

“If companies really want to get the biggest bang out of social, it has to be better connected with the rest of marketing,” said Ms. Moorman. “Social media should be aligned to support marketing and they should be linked back to social.”

Another finding from the survey shows “consistent drop-offs for traditional advertising spending,” said Ms. Moorman, with companies reporting a negative growth rate of 3.2% in traditional ad spend in the next 12 months.

However, mobile marketing spend is expected to more than double in the next three years, going from 5.9% of the overall budget to 14.6%, according to the survey. Marketing hires are also expected to increase by 5% over the next year, and marketing budgets are anticipated to climb 6.9% in the next year.

One number that Ms. Moorman finds “really alarming because it’s not going up” is the integration level of how effectively companies think they integrate customer information across purchasing, communication and social media. On a scale from one to seven, the mean integration level was 3.4, down slightly from August’s rating of 3.6 and the February 2015 rating of 3.7. Ms. Moorman said the low numbers could be from each team listed — social, purchasing and communications — working in silos rather than collaboratively.