WRITTEN BY MediaMonks
Consumer behaviors have changed dramatically throughout 2020. We’ve become dependent on digital to discover, engage with and purchase from brands like never before. As consumer behaviors and expectations have undergone several years of accelerated (and irrevocable) change in a matter of months, it’s clear that brands must be prepared to draw the offline and online experience closer through premium digital experiences moving forward.
The fashion industry has been especially affected by this hyperadoption of digital, and across the end-to-end value chain—from supply logistics to buying & merchandising, all the way through to the consumer’s point of purchase. As fashion brands address the need to virtualize their processes, both creatively and operationally, MediaMonks stands ready to offer the industry a range of bespoke solutions with its new fashion and luxury practice.
This new team of strategic and creative category experts is helmed by the former leadership team of specialist fashion agency Wednesday, and is backed by our global team of multidisciplinary talent. Led by Liam Osbourne, formerly Group Business Director at Wednesday London, the team will bolster fashion brands’ efforts to infuse the customer decision journey (CDJ) with cultural relevance and resonance, and create the kinds of premium experiences online that customers have come to expect offline.
With purchase decisions being made increasingly online, the tactility and physicality of the experience has never been more important, whether it’s evoking the feel of the materials up-close, or the excitement of trying on an outfit. And this is especially true when it comes to premium brands, who excel in providing unparalleled craftsmanship and service to loyal audiences. “A premium customer experience within the fashion and luxury industry is one of the most important elements of success,” says Victor Knaap, CEO of MediaMonks. “Technology plays an instrumental role in conveying both the tangible and intangible aspects of luxury that are so important.”
Having long honed brand-consumer relationships in person and through retail, fashion brands must rethink the CDJ to meet customers wherever and whenever they’re in the mood to shop, from offering premium digital shopping experiences like experiential ecommerce, producing enticing original content, partnering with influencers who drive conversation and more. And what’s true for consumers is equally true for industry professionals, as buyers unable to visit the physical showroom turn increasingly to virtual experiences to evaluate the brand’s collections, and inform their wholesale purchase decisions.
Our own expertise in 3D content and AR empowers customers everywhere to examine the products up close, and from every angle. We brought these skills to bear for Nike earlier this year, helping them to unveil the latest Air Jordan release to an eager fan base unable to view them in-store. And in establishing our specialist fashion and luxury practice, we will continue to take this kind of work to the next level.
One way or another, Fashion Week has evolved in recent years into an increasingly consumer-facing event. And, in the face of reduced travel and social distancing rules, 2020 has seen brands forced to reimagine the fashion show itself, exploring new formats through which to unveil their new collections.
Even as the industry returns to something like business as usual, we expect the fashion show to remain increasingly untethered from the physical catwalk, empowering each brand’s creative director to experiment more freely with how they express their vision. This will enable them to deliver an exclusive, real world experience for key opinion leaders and category decision makers, while continuing to reach a wider audience of highly engaged fans virtually.
“Technology plays an instrumental role in conveying both the tangible and intangible aspects of luxury that are so important.”
Moments like this are defined by the confluence of creativity and technology. Our existing expertise in live streaming, experiential, VR and digital installations will be supercharged by the arrival of our specialist team, allowing us to stage breakthrough events that reflect the very exacting and highly nuanced codes of fashion and luxury. Consider how we turned any environment into a virtual catwalk for Tommy Hilfiger using volumetric AR, or how Circus (who merged with MediaMonks earlier this year) helped beloved Brazilian brand Havaianas drive real cultural impact by hosting virtual weddings during Pride month. Imagine what else could be achieved by some of the category’s most premium brands.
This category has always existed as the pinnacle of expression in a commercial context—expressive imagery, evocative language and exquisite products, all providing the ultimate platform for aspiration. As brands rely increasingly on digital to reach consumers, we will be concentrating on aesthetics and innovation in equal measure.
“This is a pivotal moment for the fashion world, and the digitization of the industry is more important than ever before."
But just as digital is transforming consumer behaviors, so is it also shifting attitudes. Matters of sustainability, longevity and more ethical standards of production are an increasing priority, and not just for younger audiences. These shifts encourage fashion brands to find new ways to exhibit their ethos through retail, content and digital platforms. And as craftspeople ourselves, we have an ambition to support brands by reinforcing the purpose and quality they promise to consumers whilst weaving digital into their social fabric.
“This is a pivotal moment for the fashion world, and the digitization of the industry is more important than ever before,” says Osbourne. “Together we can supercharge luxury, bring the brand’s purpose to life and elevate consumer experiences—both in the physical and the digital world.”
While the way in which we all, as consumers, engage with the category may have changed substantially—and will continue to change from season to season, year on year—fashion has always been a powerful conduit for creative expression, enabling each of us to explore and convey our individual identity. Fashion is more than just fabric; it’s about how it feels to be you. And just as style is unique to every consumer—and specific to their day-to-day situation—brands must be equipped to cater to those multifaceted needs.
Fashion is, by definition, intrinsic to culture and individual self-expression. As fashion labels aim to enhance the cultural relevance of their brand and products within a fiercely competitive industry, our team of experts is primed to create indelible digital experiences, services and content at speed and scale, helping premium brands make their mark on the most discerning of audiences.