Monsoon has ‘enormous’ potential to become a Redbull-style content house – says marketing director Eilidh MacAskill

Fashion brand Monsoon and Accessorize has “enormous” potential to follow Redbull’s lead as a media and content house, the brand’s marketing director Eilidh MacAskill has said.

Speaking to The Drum at the Making Fashion Content Count event hosted by Rockabox, MacAskill said that while Monsoon doesn’t “have the appetite” to become the next Hearst or Time Inc, the rich heritage and brand awareness of Monsoon means that it has a huge volume of content to push out.

“I think Monsoon has enormous potential [to become a content producer],” she commented. “It’s kind of one of those story book brands that has an incredible heritage, brand awareness and people are very fond of it. There are the loyal customers that are always there, but even if you don’t shop at Monsoon all the time you know about the brand and it has a very distinct flavour and that’s quite hard to find.

“There is a lot of homogenisation out there, be it in product or brand identity, so actually when you’ve got a brand that has an authentic style, that has an authentic heritage then it makes it much easier; you’ve got a personality to talk about, you’ve got a story to talk about you’re not going to manufacture something just because everyone is doing content.”

The brand recently shifted its marketing strategy to take an editorial approach, and launched two digitally-focused seasonal campaigns – Three Decades of Accessorize, created by Digital Natives and Swoon for Monsoon created by Rockabox Studios – to provide an editorially led e-zine and interactive shopping experience.

MacAskill revealed that while there are no immediate plans in the works, but the idea of becoming a media house is something that is being mulled at the brand.

“I can’t pretend it’s on strategy for next season,” she said. “But I have actually sent links about that to our marketing team and we have talked about what that might be like for Monsoon – We have a few answers for that. I’d love to have something like that.”

Partnering with bloggers is another “fertile” area in which Monsoon and Accessorize is keen to dive further and it is gearing up to launch its own new personality next season for Accessorize.

However it has so far shied away from teaming with prevalent bloggers in the vein that Mulberry and Burberry have, as a strategic move.

“Basically we didn’t want it to be just one blogger. It’s a bit like having a media partner; if you just go with one the other magazines aren’t going to feature it, so that was strategic but it doesn’t mean for a big launch we might not link up with one blogger.”

Going forward Monsoon and Accessorize will focus its marketing drives on the individual categories that it has, such as occasion and beach wear, and MacAskill revealed that spend for both brands has been increased, with plans in the works to continue creating content, both editorial and film, for Swoon and Three Decades.

Speaking to The Drum about the challenges of creating Swoon for Monsoon, Seb Royce, chief creative officer at Rockabox, said the main hurdle was the fact that the retailer hadn't necessarily grasped all opportunties within digital.

"I think Monsoon hadn’t embraced all the opportunities that digital was going to give them," he commented. "So they still had printed brochures which they would hand out. When they came to us they said, 'We want to modernise our marketing for the digital age, how are we going to do it?'

"So we said get rid of the brochures and suggested an interactive platform that would be full of video, where it can be shared on any social platform and the whole thing than can be pulled apart and shared wherever the audience wants. It was quite a big ask for them but to give them credit they took the plunge and went with it."

Also speaking at the event, which took place in London last night were Roy Edmondson, partner MD at Ketchum and Michael Greenless chairman of Rockabox.

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