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28 November 2012 - 9:24am | posted by | 3 comments

Twitter: giving luxury brands a voice

Daniel Stern, social strategist at Essence, discusses the role of premium brands on Twitter. Previously, Stern worked at Walker Media, part of the M&C Saatchi Group, working on digital campaigns for London 2012 Olympics, Weetabix and Barclays with a focus on social media and paid search.

Over the past few years Twitter has evolved to become a fundamental social media channel. During this period we have seen a rise in the number of luxury brands joining the conversation. However, their digital presence has brought into question the essence of luxury industry which has traditionally been defined by exclusivity - the antithesis of a mass market, ‘open to all’ approach. In this light, how do premium brands effectively straddle the balance between an active presence within the Twittersphere whilst retaining their exclusivity?

The solution to this conundrum is for brands to use their Twitter channel as an extension of their brand identity. For Essence clients – MR PORTER and Veuve Clicquot - we recommend that their Twitter channel should be used to showcase all aspects of their brand and their brand values. In addition, we encourage both companies to curate Twitter content around lifestyle, cultural and entertainment recommendations tailored to the profile of their target audience. By engaging their audience in this way luxury brands position themselves as trendsetters, opinion shapers and a beacon of knowledge within their industry. Whilst their social following are receiving hand-picked suggestions from a respected, premium brand. This approach generates a greater conversation between the brand and their social following. Simultaneously, it helps raise the brand’s profile socially whilst building trust and loyalty.

For all luxury brands it is vital to consistently connect their Twitter content to their offering. It is imperative to achieve this without adopting an overtly sales focused approach. Whether their business is champagne or cashmere, the customer’s interests should underpin the approach to content to ensure engagement relevant to the audience. Tweets should strive to be succinct and sophisticated whilst remaining informative and useful.

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For the luxury market Twitter is an important avenue to showcase the wealth of offline events they are involved in. For more traditional brands, such as Essence client Moet & Chandon, Twitter is a vital platform to share content from their sponsorship of tennis and film awards – two areas that are intrinsic to the brand’s ethos of celebrating ‘success and glamour’.

For forward-thinking, digitally focused brand Burberry, a company that is “as much a media-content company as a design company" according to chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, Twitter is an opportunity for innovation and impact. Burberry’s ‘Tweetwalk’ rewarded their followers with exclusive access to backstage photographs of every look prior to being shown on the runway. Whilst their social audience could place immediate orders from the collection with a seven-week delivery. From this perspective, Burberry are both digital savvy and business minded with a clear understanding of their ever-increasing popularity within Asia.

As an online conversation Twitter is a channel to express opinions, both negative and positive. For luxury brands Twitter can offer a digital avenue to showcase their customer service and care. The Four Seasons hotel group have a clear understanding of this with the creation of localised accounts with Tweets regularly sharing recommendations, welcoming customers and engaging in customer’s photographs from their experience at their hotel.

To summarise, luxury brands have an important place to play on Twitter. By sharing their brand voice on Twitter they can engage their social audience through exclusive, informative and insightful content. To achieve this successfully it is important to have an understanding of their audience and place this group at the heart of the conversation. Rewarding followers for their loyalty with incentives and behind-the-scenes content deepens brand affinity and social presence. Equally as Twitter is a place of constant conversation, and sharing photographic content, Twitter can offer brands an opportunity to demonstrate their first class customer service in a timely and impactful way.

You can contact Dan on twitter at @ds4dstern.

Comments

28 Nov 2012 - 10:38
alexander.judd's picture

Well said - luxury brands do well and truly belong on twitter. Aspiration is rife on social media and is particularly image led - whether it's a breathtaking skyline, a brand new dress or a huge party.

As a result, twitter gives the chance for these brands to showcase their key activities & messaging in a bid to both reinforce their current consumer perceptions and capture new customers as well.

Whether facebook is for every brand, I'm not too sure; but Instagram and maybe even Pinterest I'd also add as a must have for any luxury brand - especially those with a female focus.

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29 Nov 2012 - 11:08
mater38081's picture

While in general I agree that Twitter is a great place for brands, luxury or not (and the luxury ones still remain exclusive for financial reasons, which is the only real point of differentiation anyway), I kind of disagree on a personal level with:

"In addition, we encourage both companies to curate Twitter content around lifestyle, cultural and entertainment recommendations tailored to the profile of their target audience. By engaging their audience in this way luxury brands position themselves as trendsetters, opinion shapers and a beacon of knowledge within their industry."

I get really annoyed by brands who do this. I've come close to unfollowing MrPorter several times because they post irrelevant content about bars in London or interviews with "celebrities". I'm really not interested in the lifestyle opinions of a twenty-something social media specialist who knows no more about the topic than I do. MrPorter is a clothing store so I want their stream to be information about their products, sales, special offers etc. Photos and discussion are great, but keep it to the point. If I want restaurant advice I'll follow a restaurant critic whose opinion I trust, or ask my friends who know just as much as the MrPorter staff...

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30 Nov 2012 - 09:57
gabri12194's picture

Yes, Twitter is also for luxury brands. Why ever should it not be? However, what I?m missing here: Twitter is a tool for social dialogue, not only for continuously posting about your wonderful events and gorgeous brand personality!

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