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Why Fashion works

Studied art and fashion design at Manchester then Westminster University. In the past 15 years Colin has been part of the buying team at Burberry, an Angel Investor, corporate film and TV producer, and for the last 6 years has run his own digital agency. An online social adoptee from 2005. He’s an exhibited artist.

Maybe you’ve heard of Seth Godin – I would say he’s a fairly well known marketing thought leader who has written numerous books that have inspired many thousands of people. If you are in marketing to any degree you would do well to study or at the very least read some of his output. If you’re a bit tight for cash read his blog.

The reason I mention Seth is because I recently recommended to a friend that they watch his interview with Loic Le Meur from early 2009 – the reason was due to his explanation or comparison between Nokia and iPhone – quite simply Nokia have for years attempting to come up with a phone that is very cheap or free and appeals to the mass market – those in charge of the marketing of that product have struggled to find features that make it stand out because by its very nature is bland. Compare that to the designers behind the iPhone who were designing a phone with multiple features that very few people could afford but loads of us would wait up all night to queue outside a store for the release or launch of the product. A bit like the release of GMail – if you didn’t have an invite you had to wait months… to get an email address.

This tells us that to build real momentum for your product or service is not about making damn sure you speak to every audience on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Blog….. what you want to be doing is defining the product for a select group – but your select group must have huge or established followings on those networks – not necessarily you. I’m not talking to everyone here but those smaller businesses that don’t have the man power or resources to listen to every network – your fans will do that for you. As the manager of the product or service you need to be refining the product and ensuring that your select group (or as Seth calls it your Tribe) have real weight.

From a social media point of view your marketing needs to be about finding those influencers – seeking those passionate candidates with big groups of fans that hang on their every word.

Which is why fashion works – we’re coming to the end of the Spring Summer 2011 catwalk shows: New York, London and Paris Fashion weeks have been and Milan is wrapping up – brands are built by those one or two signature pieces that adoring fans then have to rush out to get – those of us that are mere mortals put up with difussion lines or if we decide to support Terrorists we buy fakes.

My background started in fashion and I get it – I understand the extreme desire for Laboutin summer pumps, the Lamb skin Chanel bag and the Armani Blazer, they are brought out season after season with slight tweaks here and there because there’s a whole new market that have just discovered them and are now able to afford them. And so the desire, momentum, exclusivity, passion… continues.

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