Tall Tales: 3 Online Men’s Retailers Using Lifestyle Content to Engage Customers

e-commerce, retail, menswear, influencer marketing
Image source: skyword.com

By Shannon O’Neill | Skyword

While some e-commerce retailers are turning to pop-up locations to engage with consumers, popular online men’s retailers like Mr Porter, Huckberry, and Best Made Co. are taking a different approach to influencer marketing, connecting to their customers through lifestyle content in the form of travel and adventure stories and even fashion tips.

Men Shop Differently

According to a study by IBISWorld and shared by Quartz, more men than ever are shopping online and online menswear shopping is projected to grow faster than other e-commerce verticals, beating out even computers for the top spot. Between 2010 and 2015, men’s online clothing sales grew by 17.4 percent, compared to computers and tablets at 11.4 percent.

Graph of Men's Online Shopping Habits

“The top way apparel shoppers like retailers to communicate with them is via email and the best way for menswear retailers to connect with male shoppers is to customize their email campaigns,” explained Eric Feinberg, VP of marketing at ForeSee, a voice-of-customer company, in an interview with CPC Strategy.

Not only do men shop differently than women, says Feinberg, women are more likely to be motivated by sales, while men are motivated by content. That difference, in turn, can influence loyalty: “Bought loyalty is coupon-driven, instant gratification for a retailer—it feels good. Earned loyalty results in lifetime value, but it takes longer. It requires more content, nurturing, education, and differentiation.”

Show, Don’t Tell

When it comes to building a relationship with content and education, Mr Porter was early to the game with magazine-style articles to engage with their customers. Launched as the modern, stylish men’s version of women’s fashion and accessories retailer Net-a-Porter and geared toward a high-end luxury consumer who prefers Tod’s to Toms, Mr Porter customers still spend time reading fashion and lifestyle advice articles, watching video content, and keeping up with their online magazine, The Journal.

“We knew we had to create a men’s world that didn’t seem too fashiony,” Jeremy Langmead, brand and content director at Mr Porter, told the Wall Street Journal in 2016. His experience as a former editor-in-chief of the longstanding men’s lifestyle bible Esquire informed not only their editorial direction but the direction of the company overall. The site’s most popular articles tend to be the how-tos, like How To Trade Up Your Skinny Jeans For Wide-Leg Pants.” But the lifestyle section covers everything from cooking to work life, much more like a magazine than a sales promotion. Stylish and aspirational content is the goal, from the helpful “Holiday-Booking Hacks from the Experts” to the thought-provoking “The End of Sharing Dishes.”

Mr Porter The Journal

“With women, you can say, ‘the Celine bag is the must-have bag of the season,’ but if you say something to that effect to a guy, you’ll just a get a blank stare,” Langmead explained to GQ. “Five different ways you can wear something, where you can wear something—it’s about facts and practicality. It’s more information than inspiration.”

Whatever it is, it’s working. According to the WSJ piece, Mr Porter’s typical customer spent around five minutes reading articles and other content before shopping, where they spent on average of eight to ten minutes selecting purchases.

When it comes to online shopping, companies like outdoor and lifestyle brand Best Made Co. are not afraid to engage with this desire. Founder Peter Buchanan-Smith, a former art director who felt the need to be outside more, started Best Made Co. as a workshop, but soon turned it into a catalog-driven business.

“My love is storytelling, and a print catalog is one of the best and least expected places to tell stories,” Buchanan-Smith recently told Forbes. “Catalogs have become so product driven, formulaic, and transactional. We are giving our customers a much more meaningful experience.”

Best Made Co Adventure Series

With stories told in beautifully shot, high-quality, large-format photo slideshows, the result is akin to visiting a friend who has just had the most amazing trip to Belize. In a sense, it’s influencer marketing done by individuals who are marketing their own lifestyle. In addition to products, the company also offers actual adventures, trips, and workshops at their NYC and LA locations (like knife-sharpening or indigo-dying). Best Made Co. is not just selling an experience, it’s literally selling an adventure. Their story resonates because it is true to their aesthetic and purpose—get outside, learn and do things, survive—not just a slick maneuver to purchase their products.

Social Influencers Impact Buying

One reason that adventure and lifestyle content is connecting is most likely due to a generational shift in how men engage with fashion. The second reason is pretty simple—men take fashion tips from other men.

According to a 2016 Boutique@Ogilvy Men’s Shopping Report, millennial men are more likely to take tips from friends, Instagram, or celebrities when it comes to inspiration for fashion. By comparison, 18 percent of millennial men favored Instagram, compared to only 4 percent of gen Xers and 0 percent of baby boomers.

As more and more influencers dominate social feeds, they bring their fashion sense with them. “Digital media and a constant stream of imagery of stylish iconic men—from successful entrepreneurs to funny YouTube personalities—have encouraged the socialization of men’s fashion,” Tammy Smulders, global managing director of LuxHub, a division of Havas Media Group, told Digiday. “Social media and being ‘always on’ has made it so that everyday men have become more focused on their look.”

When it comes to lifestyle and influencer marketing, Huckberry’s combination of retail and lifestyle inspiration makes you forget that you even came to this place for clothes. The company defines itself as “an online shop and journal that inspires more active, adventurous, and stylish lives through members-only sales, original story-telling, and unique experiences,” and their site does just that. The journal offers the men’s guide of how-tos and Q&As, but they also have a highly cultivated influencer community of “ambassadors” and “artists” with whom they collaborate on products and ask to tell their own adventure and craft stories.

Huckberry Journal

Rather than just having a community of influencers, the site shows you the community of customers who are seemingly living the lifestyle that the brand is selling—creative, adventurous, and willing to spend money on well-crafted products. With a strong Instagram presence, the ambassadors and artists allow the Huckberry story to spread and increase its audience.

Like the retail catalog giants before them (think L.L. Bean or J. Crew), these brands are selling a lifestyle story: You too can be adventurous or stylish and learn how to live this story (and BTW, please wear our products). Whether through newsletters, online journals, social media, or email campaigns, they are tapping into a market of male consumers who are increasingly ready to be influenced.

Article source: https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/creativity/tall-tales-3-online-mens-retailers-using-lifestyle-content-to-engage-customers/

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Nike teamed up with Snap and Darkstore to pre-release Air Jordan III ‘Tinker’ shoes on Snapchat

Nike, Athletes, Tennis Shoes, Social Media
Image Source: Tech Crunch

by  | Tech Crunch

Snap, Nike’s Jordan brand, Darkstore and Shopify teamed up in a collaboration of epic proportions to pre-release the Air Jordan III “Tinker” on Snapchat with same-day delivery last night after the NBA All-Star game. This is the first time a brand other than Snap has sold a product via Snapchat.

The thousands who attended the Jumpman All-Star after-party in Los Angeles last night were able to scan exclusive Snap codes to receive the shoes by 10:30pm that same night. Once they scanned the Snap code, they were brought into the Snapchat app, where they could then purchase the sneakers.

Within 23 minutes, all the shoes sold out, Darkstore CEO Lee Hnetinka told me. Darkstore, a startup that aims to become an “invisible retailer,” facilitated the deliveries.

“This is the Holy Grail of the experience [Nike is] trying to intend, which is direct to consumer — to the actual consumer, versus a bot, — and same-day delivery,” Hnetinka said. “The Snap code introduces a new paradigm for commerce.”

Darkstore works by exploiting excess capacity in storage facilities, malls and bodegas, and enables them to be fulfillment centers with just a smartphone. The idea is that brands without local inventory can store products in a Darkstore and then ship them out the same day.

In addition to the exclusive Snap codes, Snapchat geofenced the area over the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles during the All-Star game. Within that geofence, fans had access to a special 3D augmented reality Michael Jordan lens.

The official release for the shoe isn’t until March 24, but Nike wanted to do something extra special in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s slam dunk in 1988. That dunk is often referred to as the moment when Jordan “took flight.”

This isn’t Nike’s first time selling shoes via app-based experiences. Last June, Nike’s release for the SB Dunk High “Momofuku” required people to go a Momofuku restaurant, or to the Momofuku website, and then point their camera at the menu in order to see a sneaker pop up in augmented reality. From there, sneakerheads could purchase the shoes. Similar to what Nike is doing with Snapchat, you have to physically, or virtually, be somewhere in order to buy a pair.

“Jordan Brand and the Jumpman represent greatness, so we hold ourselves and our partners to that standard to create distinct and meaningful experiences for our community,” Jordan Brand Senior Director of Global Digital Dan Harbison said in a statement to TechCrunch. “To execute on that, we worked with some of the industry leaders in this space. Snapchat had an existing partnership with Shopify to create the frictionless commerce experience, so we felt that would make sense. We had also talked to Darkstore and liked their same day delivery solution and learned they had partnered with Shopify in the past, so that became an easy decision.”

This collaboration also marks Snap’s moist aggressive move into the in-app e-commerce game. Snap launched the Snap Store within the Snapchat app’s Discover section earlier this month to sell the Dancing Hot Dog Plushie, Snapchat winkface sweatshirt and other Snap-related products. At the time, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine noted Snapchat could position itself as a way for top brands to reach their audiences in a medium that bridges both shopping and social experiences.

Article source: https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/19/nike-teamed-up-with-snap-and-darkstore-to-pre-release-air-jordan-iii-tinker-shoes-on-snapchat/

Disney World, Perdue Chicken ‘Most Loved Brands’

Disney World, Purdue Chicken, Brand Marketing
Image source: mediapost.com

by  | Media Post

Disney World and Perdue Chicken are the “most loved brands,” offline and online respectively, based on positive conversations and referrals, according to Engagement Labs. 

When consumers love a brand, they don’t just purchase its products and services, they are more likely to recommend that brand, talk about it with friends and engage with its marketing content. In a recent analysis of more than 500 consumer brands in a variety of categories, Engagement Labs ranked the most loved brands based on positive conversations happening online (via social media) and offline (via face-to-face conversations), as part of its TotalSocial Brand Awards series.

Disney World, Wegmans and Febreze were the top finishers offline, and Perdue Chicken, CVS and Hampton Inn were the top finishers online. 

The awards are based on the company’s proprietary TotalSocial data, which continuously measures the four most important drivers of brand performance. These are: sentiment (having more positive than negative conversations), brand sharing (the extent to which people are sharing or talking about a brand’s marketing or advertising), volume (a measure of how many conversations mention a brand) and influence (the extent to which an influential audience is talking about a brand).  

“While creating a beloved brand is, first and foremost, predicated on having a good product or service, it also requires the cultivation of a passionate fan base that is encouraged to evangelize for the brand,” said Ed Keller, chief executive officer of Engagement Labs, in a release. “The country’s most loved brands aren’t just big marketing spenders. In fact, Wegmans, which ranked second, made our list of most beloved brands without a large marketing budget. Wegmans chooses to invest in recruiting and training employees. The brand has been able to create a positive customer experience that consumers are eager to talk about with friends and family, both offline and online.”

Disney World topped the list of most loved brands offline—or those which are spoken about positively during face-to-face conversations. Disney World and Febreze, which ranked first and third respectively on the offline list, are big spenders on advertising. In 2017, for example, Febreze launched its “OdorOdes” campaign and debuted its first Super Bowl commercial.

Perdue Chicken tops the list of most loved brands being talked about during online conversations. Perdue’s marketing campaign featuring its multi-generational family business resonated with consumers in 2017, according to the study. Similarly, when it comes to budget-friendly hotels, travelers have plenty of good things to say about Hampton Inn, which ranked third for its high sentiment in online conversations.

“Brands need to be aware that you don’t have to be an e-commerce or digital company to have consumers speak positively about your brand on social media,” Keller says. “You just have to inspire consumers enough that they want to engage in conversations about the brand, and that is exactly what the brands in our most loved online list did.”

Article source: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/314762/disney-world-perdue-chicken-most-loved-brands.html

How REI Is Keeping #OptOutside A Black Friday Tradition

#OptOutside, Outdoor Activities, REI
Image source: courtesy of sduncanvideo/REI

When it launched in 2015, many of the bajillions of media impressions REI racked up with its #OptOutside campaign were a result of the sheer counter-intuitiveness of it all. A major retailer closing its doors on one of the biggest shopping days of the year is news worth talking about. For the co-op to make good on its commitment to the outdoors by closing down to give employees a paid day off that they could enjoy in the fresh air was cool in and of itself. But what took #OptOutside to a higher level was how the brand also created content and tools for people to use in their pursuit of fun outside: trail guides, expert advice, and more. What could have been an admirable stunt became an entire platform.

This year, REI is keeping #OptOutside going with what it calls an “experiential search engine,” essentially a hashtagged library of pictures, videos, and more from people all over the world who are offering up their favorite places and activities in the outdoors for others to discover. The images are pulled entirely from #OptOutside user-generated content on Instagram, augmented with real-time information about locations and experiences. For example, if you click on an image of a hiker, you’ll also see the name of the specific trail featured, the trail’s difficulty rating, directions to the trailhead, recent user reviews of the experience, and related expert advice from REI. Leading up to Black Friday, the brand is also releasing 20 films featuring this type of community-created content.

In its first year, #OptOutside got tons of attention and won almost every major advertising award. For REI’s chief creative officer Ben Steele, the strategy behind keeping its momentum going starts by focusing on its original purpose.

“Why did we make this decision? Why did we take this action? It is about closing our doors, paying our employees, and inviting the world to join us, but it’s really about enabling more people to get outdoors, in more ways, more often,” says Steele.

While the first year of the blockbuster campaign got most of its attention for closing the stores and giving employees a paid day off, last year the brand brought more partner companies into the fold, including Google and Subaru, and launched an outdoor activity finder on the campaign’s website, where people could find nearby trails and parks, upload photos, and find nonprofits that help protect the outdoors. This year the goal was to find a creative way to bring all of it even closer together.

“What started as a moment has kind of become a movement,” Steele says. “It’s about behavior change and giving people tools to do something different with their time. The experiential search engine idea is really about: if we’ve invested in helping people get out, enabling them to get out there, how can we connect those dots even more? Inspiring them with the stories of people living the life outdoors, enabling them with awesome trail content that gives them the functionality to get out there, augmenting that with classes and events and the best expert advice, and connecting the co-op into one place and one experience.”

Given the success it’s seen over the last two years, you’d think keeping #OptOutside going would be a cakewalk for REI marketers. But Steele says the challenge lies in making it even better and more useful without sacrificing simplicity.

“There are challenges in continuing this work on a couple of fronts, and the first is really being laser-focused on the purpose, the reason we’re doing it, ” he says. “We’re really lucky that we’ve got an 80-year-old co-op. It’s not like we have to invent what it stands for and what it’s all about. When we need to be reminded, we have generations of members and visionary leaders to look to. So the number one focus is to keep it simple. Why did we do what we did in 2015? Why are we adding to it? Does it help enable that? Does it make it brighter? Does it make it better? Or does it just make it more complicated?”

Trail guides and expert advice are great, but perhaps#OptOutside’s biggest draw, even among people who measure hikes in city blocks, is how it represented a brand putting its people and overall mission above short-term sales. Make no mistake, shutting down all retail and online sales on Black Friday is no small sacrifice. In the past, it was a Top 5 sales day for REI. But the payoff in putting action behind words has been invaluable.

“We talk a lot about the power of authenticity and the power of truth, and it’s got to be there in your stories, but it’s got to be there in your actions, too,” says Steele.

And that philosophy resonates just as strongly within the co-op itself.

“When we first announced this at the co-op internally, there were people who worked retail, with us and elsewhere, who had never had that day off,” says Steele. “The emotional power it had for them to know that on Thanksgiving they’re focused on their family and doing something awesome with the people [they] love the next day, versus having to go into work? That power hasn’t faded.”

Article source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40493417/how-rei-is-keeping-optoutside-a-black-friday-tradition

Why Maybelline is winning at social media

Maybelline, Beauty, Cosmetics
Image Source: The Gigi Hadid x Maybelline collection

Among beauty brands, Maybelline is the master of driving social media engagement.

The L’Oréal-owned brand has beat out its parent company, as well as competitors including Estée Lauder and Revlon, in cross-platform engagement since the start of the year, according to recent analysis from ShareIQ, a social analytics company. On Instagram, for example, Maybelline saw a total of over 59 million likes between the start of the year and October 20, compared to L’Oréal’s 27 million likes and Estée Lauder’s 5 million likes during the same period.

At the same time, Maybelline far outdid the competition on Pinterest, garnering 730,000 repins, compared to L’Oréal’s 167,000 and Estée Lauder’s 28,000.  (Most beauty brands find the volume of visual content that’s shared on Instagram and Pinterest, and the accompanying signals, to be more valuable than Twitter data, according to Jonathan Gardner, ShareIQ’s director of marketing who conducted the research.)

These results are all thanks to a combination of frequent, educational posts, savvy influencer relationships and a collaboration with Gigi Hadid.

“Maybelline has been keeping a baseline of fans engaged and are building spikes of excitement with new and influencer content, earning engagement with new audiences,” said Gardner.

Indeed, throughout the year, at least every other post on Maybelline’s Instagram account has either featured or mentioned an influencer, ranging from the beauty vlogger Melissa Flores(37,000 followers) to the fashion blogger Nicole Alyse (over 89,000 followers). Most of this content — which includes both pictures and short “get the look”-style videos — is generated by the influencers themselves and tagged with #mnyitlook, as encouraged by the brand in their Instagram tagline. The best responses have the chance of getting reposted.

swatches“Swatch” imagery is popular on Maybelline’s social accounts

“We know that our customer is looking to beauty influencers to provide beauty trends and education, so it’s important for us to incorporate their amazing content on our channels and partner with them to communicate to their audiences, as well,” said Marnie Levan, Maybelline’s vice president of integrated consumer communications.

But with so many beauty influencers out there today, Maybelline has a few criteria: “We try to find those who authentically talk about and use the brand’s products regularly,” said Levan, “as well as those whose content is not just engaging but also educational for the consumer.”

This past August, the brand took that relationship one step further, launching its first influencer-driven product line with popular beauty blogger Shayla Mitchell, who boasts 2.5 million followers on Instagram. Curated by Mitchell, the “Maybelline x Shayla” collection included a shade extension of the brand’s Colossal Big Shot Mascara and a new rendition of its City Mini Palette. Mitchell’s goal, according to an interview with Refinery29, was to create products that worked for all skin tones.

The surrounding social media campaign — which saw posts shared across all of Mitchell’s social accounts, as well as Maybelline’s — was the brand’s most successful to date, said Levan. The collection sold out on Ulta.com within a few days of the launch and is continuing to sell impressively in stores, she said.

Outside of this influencer-centric content, the brand’s Instagram account features a stream of swatch posts — in which different shades and textures of a certain product are shown on a model’s wrists — as well as staged, artful product shots.

Another factor in Maybelline’s success is how often it’s posting: On Instagram, it shares an average of five posts per day, compared to L’Oréal’s average of four and Estée Lauder’s average of two, according to ShareIQ.

And then, of course, there’s Gigi Hadid. Although she’s been spokesperson of Maybelline for a few years now, Hadid launched her first collection with the bran in early October, soon after her makeup artist, Erin Parsons, became the company’s global makeup artist.

While relying on a celebrity for influence is by no means a novel idea, Maybelline has been particularly smart about leveraging the opportunity, said Garner. It ensures that Hadid posts frequent Maybelline-centric content to her own Instagram account, where she has over 36 million followers. In the 48 hour period surrounding the lines UK launch on October 12th, she shared 7 related posts.

What’s more, Hadid always mentions Maybelline in the tags and comments, a strategy that helps push her many owned followers to the Maybelline account, said Gardner. After the model announced the first online sale of the line on the Boots UK website, the product sold out in 90 minutes.

“Paying a spokesperson is one thing,” he said, “but effectively using the channel is another.”

Article source: http://www.glossy.co/new-face-of-beauty/why-maybelline-is-winning-at-social-media

A Digital Shift in the New Era of Customer Experience

Customer Experience, Age of the Customer, Digital, Customers

A Digital Shift in the New Era of Customer Experience
By Kym Gordon Moore

How do you define, and cultivate the behavior of your customer without overwhelming them? Organizations tend to obsess over ways to innovate and remain competitive as a leader in their respective industry. All too often, this obsession puts more emphasis on the operational and revenue strategy versus the welfare of their end-user, the customer. Customers are savvier, more creative and have consistently proven how the old marketing focus and platform is now obsolete.

The customer experience goes beyond the simplicity of good service. It involves engagement, trust, education, solutions, how well you treat your workforce, social responsibility, and customer evangelism. It’s about connecting to the emotion of the customer and treating them as a human and not a chatbot. How do you identify opportunities that focus on your customer, build core business data from them and better understand their behavior without disrupting their experience? The core of today’s business ecosystem puts the customer first. By initially engaging with the customer, you can get a better handle on identifying their problem through researching opportunities for finding solutions to satisfy their needs.

Here are 3 primary and important reasons why it is imperative to rethink the digital shift and plan of action in this new era of the customer experience.

1. Technology is driving change. Business is social and digitized. The language customers speak is different and faster.

2. Current customer journeys no longer comply with traditional marketing funnels. Traditional customer journey stages have become obsolete. Customers do not flow in a linear fashion with new journey models, nor do they experience each stage of the process in the same fashion.

3. Build relationships, trust and earn loyalty. Focusing on building relationships and earning loyalty through delivering exceptional experiences throughout the customer journey is key for marketers. Marketing and sales teams can effectively grow tribes of customers who will advocate on their behalf and help organically grow their business to strengthen their brand.

Over 3 decades ago we strongly connected to customers through a brick and mortar location. We were in the driver’s seat guiding them on decisions based on our suggestions of what we felt they needed. They trusted our expertise whether they needed what they purchased or not. Such transactions oftentimes resulted in buyer’s remorse, which worked against repeat business.

In our customer-led market, we appeal to a larger base of consumers. You must build your business around your customers instead of the other way around. Building relationships, harnessing your resources to create a consumer-friendly culture, earning customer trust and loyalty by taking touch points and interactions seriously, will not pigeonhole ideas but will encourage the customer to feel comfortable getting on board your current digital marketing vehicle.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?A-Digital-Shift-in-the-New-Era-of-Customer-Experience&id=9736608