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Topshop was the most influential brand in the British Fashion community, edging out H&M for number one position and dominating all other competitors. They distinguished themselves through their immensely popular range of clothing, accessories and makeup and a portfolio of successful product-led marketing initiatives such as Topshop Unique and Kate Moss Design Collaboration. Topshop integrated multiple marketing initiatives into one connected program creating a ‘network effect’ which resulted in increased traffic through their sales channels.
We use patented technology and methods from our research partner Linkfluence – the world leader in social media analysis. To gauge who is the most influential woman’s High Street fashion brand in the UK, JOYN analysed all social media activity from the 1000 most influential social websites in the UK Fashion Community published from July to December in 2010. The most relevant opinions were selected, coded and analysed by our team of fashion experts.
Unpick the Market Leader
The most signficant finding of our research was high quality products and range are the foundation of a successful digital strategy. Almost 70% of all conversations about Topshop directly related to their products, their conventional marketing activities were a fraction of that figure. Top Shop’s products enjoyed a cult following in the British Fashion Community. Popular lines such as ‘Mainline’, ‘Premium’, ‘Boutique’ and ‘Unique’ position their brand as an astute follower and creator of trends.
This resulted in over 115 mentions every month amongst the most influential blogs, online magazines and traditional media, none of which they paid for. Topshop’s ability to ‘earn’ enormous media coverage from fans, influential bloggers and online magazines is proof of their position as most influential brand.
Topshop Success Stories in 2H 2010:
London Fashion Week
Engage emerging designers
Spread marketing investments
Author influential blog
A Clear Brand Position
A key ingredient in any successful brand is a clear and identifiable brand position that people trust and believe. Topshop set out to copy the catwalk, but what they have ended up doing is to develop something that has much more personality and character of its own. With many competing brands all offering fashion and quality at the best price, Topshop differentiate themselves as a fashion-led trendsetter inspired by London youth culture and fashion.
An example of the value of ‘taking a stand’ was Topshop being the only High Street brand showing at London Fashion Week. There commitment to this initiative extends to financially supporting and stocking emerging designers. The support and enthusiasm from the UK Fashion community was huge, Topshop Unique earned over 200 articles within the British Fashion Community reaching a potential audience of millions. “Earned media” coverage is a proven sales driver and created a halo effect of good-will and credibility to Topshop’s other ranges. This kind of media is fueled by consumer satisfaction and advocacy, it’s proof that Topshop have earned their space in their customers hearts.
Winning Design Collaboration
The Design Collaboration strategy outperformed celebrity endorsement. Topshop’s long-standing design collaboration with an outspoken and controversial fashion icon successfully drove word of mouth. The Fashion Community wrote 1069 online articles about Topshop between June and December 2010, 217 were in relation to Kate Moss. H&M attained similar levels of success. Their designer collaboration with Lanvin attracted 223 articles during this period – a fantastic result. However the pressure to go ‘bigger and better’ requires significant financial investment and carries increased risk. Mango and Uniqlo both pursued a celebrity endorsement strategy which barely registered amoungst key influencers. Their high-profile endorsements from Terry Richardson, Orlando Bloom, Charlize Theron, Scarlett Johansson and Olivia Palermo were largely ignored. The Kate Moss Collection set the benchmark for success demonstrating the value of authentic design collaborations.
What this means for your brand
1. Commit to social media
The leading brands are investing in social media because they realise their customers have stopped trusting advertising and are increasingly influenced by online word-of-mouth and customer recommendation. Thanks to the growth of social media, traditional advertising and celebrity endorsement is no longer leading consumers to your door, now, a multitude of bloggers, online magazines and social networks drive sales. This means traditional advertising strategies must be reconsidered, or scrapped to make way for a new understanding of when – at what touch points – people are most open to influence and how best to talk to them at those points.
2. Use social media research to learn about your customers
Evaluating perceptions of your brand in social media will reveal what people are really think about you- good, bad or indifferent. When we looked at Mango we saw their products and marketing failing to capture the imagination of the fashion community – a social media listening strategy would have alerted Mango to this problem. Most people assume Google Analytics does this job, but this simple tool only allows you to analyse visitors to your website. The real insights come from listening to the spontaneous conversations happening throughout social media that impact your brand. This can reveal current and potential groups of customers, popular online retailers, product preferences, online influencers and lead users.
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