Getting emotional – the logical video marketing strategy for fashion retail

14th March 2017

Fashion retail marketing is more than just about the clothes on the hangers; there is truth in designer, Ralph Lauren’s comment, “I don’t design clothes. I design dreams”. Fashion is intrinsically linked with our emotional lives, revealing both our aspirations and ideal projected self. To be successful, it’s those dreams and aspirations of consumers that retail brands need to tap into.

Read on to find out how to use emotional stories and triggers in your video marketing strategy to help your fashion retail brand get results.

How to cut through in fashion marketing

In the crowded fashion market, telling a story that resonates with your target audience’s feelings is one of the most effective ways to change behaviour. Content that connects on an emotional level will be more likely to stick in consumers’ minds and build brand recognition: “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou).

A study by Headstream showed emotional videos (funny, dramatic or heart-warming) were the top performing content. More than 55% of their respondents were more likely to buy the product if they loved the brand story, and this triggered purchase intent in 55% of people, with 15% likely to buy straight away. If retailers make an effort to build an emotional connection with their audience, rather than look at it as a transactional relationship, there are the financial rewards of brand loyalty and conversions.

So what are emotional drivers?

Brand messages work best when they are in line with the emotional drivers of your audience. These could include: being an individual, achieving a better life, feeling more confidence, belonging and so on. There are different types of emotional benefits – auto-directed benefits (when I buy this brand I feel…), hetero-directed (when I buy this brand I am…) and social benefits, where consumers get a sense of belonging on joining a fashion tribe.

But your product cannot satiate all the emotional drivers of your target consumers. You need to know your audience, understand their motivators and then focus on these consistently across all touchpoints (both digitally and in-store) and in the different stages in the journey to purchase.

In terms of the kinds of content on offer, we advise creating a programme strategy around hero (big brand events, catwalk shows), hub content (behind the scenes, interviews, lifestyle videos) and help content (how tos). It is important to use hub content to keep connecting with the audience and reinforcing the brand messages.

The emotional urge to add a product to the shopping cart is both amplified and simplified with shoppable videos. This new tech allows brands to track ROI and the link between content and sales more directly than ever before. Consumers watch your products in action, focusing on the chosen emotional drivers, which will then trigger the viewer to click to buy minimising any disruption in the sales funnel.

Let’s look at some ways that fashion retail brands are getting emotional with video storytelling.

Storytelling and shopping

Kate Spade is a brand that has mastered the art of brand storytelling. They have created a whole series of shoppable films – Misadventure – featuring actor, Anna Kendrick as a quirky character getting into awkward situations.

Although the videos mention clothing and products in the narrative, they stand up as stories in their own right with the added benefit that viewers can click to shop or create look-books. This is a top global brand with a large budget, but there are two take-aways here. First to think like a publisher and ask what your audience would find engaging. These films all feature an identifiable character whom the audience can invest in, and this human element helps to build brand personality and an emotional connection. Secondly consider harnessing the power of shoppable content, where your viewers, already engaged in your content, can click to purchase.

What does your fashion brand stand for?

It is vital for brands to know who they are when creating content. What is your brand archetype and how will that help you make connections with your audience? Dr Martens has a strong brand identity which draws on the rebel archetype with their campaign strapline – #standforsomething. The brand story is tightly connected with subcultural movements which combine music and style. The video below builds on this by asking musicians what they stand for intercut with shots of the products without mentioning their style or footwear.

An insider view

Fashion retail marketing revolves around the desire to be in the know and ahead of the trends. Aimed at a young demographic, Diesel, created “The Road to Tokyo”, part of its #forsuccessfulliving series, and unusually released just before their Autumn/Winter catwalk show in Japan, giving users the chance to buy before the fashion event. The campaign was teased on the brand’s social channels, including Instagram, where it attracted 17,000 views. It’s a conventional fashion film with no dialogue following the models as they explore Tokyo before their catwalk show, but it uses a first person camerawork to immerse the viewer into the action.

There is an emotional pull of gaining access to the behind-the-scenes action, and an aspirational drive to be a fashion insider.

In a similar way, this video focusing on day in the life of a TopShop model (and her cute dog) revolves around aspiration and associating the brand with the glamour of a New York lifestyle.

An emotional connection with influencers

Influencers play a huge role in the psychology of buying, with consumers trusting their favourite bloggers and vloggers either identifying with them or aspiring to their lifestyles. Brands need to look at their messages and emotional drivers and assess which bloggers are the best match; these are not necessarily those with the most followers, rather the fit has to be right. It will do your brand no favours to try to make a match with an influencer that doesn’t feel authentic.

London fashion and travel blogger, Samantha Maria has almost two million subscribers. Here is an example of a partnership with Estee Lauder which tells the story of her everyday life in Primose Hill, including an “outfit of the day”. The video is marked as paid content but it stresses, without any overt sales tactics, the fact that her make-up helps her feel confident especially after the birth of her baby.  

Aspirational content

As with any piece of marketing content, it’s important to answer the question, “So what…? You’ve got a new fashion line, but what’s in it for your audience? With fashion, much of this revolves around the perceptions of what the style will allow you to achieve.

Here’s a short video from River Island offering tips on what to wear at an interview. This is a clever piece of content in that it’s easy to produce, focuses on the motivations of their audience to succeed, and curates the clothing on sale in a useful way.  It also keys into the user intent of all those people searching for “What to wear at a job interview”.

What are the take-aways for your ecommerce strategy?

In order to tell emotional stories, it’s about getting back to the basics and using the tech and analytics at your disposal.

  1. Know yourself – both your brand and your audience.
  2. Choose 2 to 3 key emotional drivers
  3. Tell stories that trigger these emotions
  4. Harness the power of shoppable video before your competitors.
  5. Maximise audience reach through seeding on owned, earned and paid channels.

For me one of the biggest video marketing trends of 2017 is shoppable videos which combine the power of storytelling with ecommerce. Watch my video here:

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