When Luxury Fashion Brands Meet Social Networks

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When Luxury Fashion Brands Meet Social Networks
Introduction
“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” -Coco Chanel

In the fashion industry, it’s about going ahead and setting the trend or run as fast as you can to not be out of date. What’s happening right now is that the way people communicate and keep connected has been changing because of the internet and so called social networks. At the end of 2011, 10 billion social media accounts were created (Athow, 2011). It just becomes more popular when people start to see social networks as their private channel to keep up, share links and discuss with friends (Fournier & Avery, 2011). In their private spaces, it allows them to express their identity and reinforce their individuality and enables them to satisfy social needs through sharing of consumption related experiences (Christodoulides, 2009). Whatever people talk online from blogs, Facebook, Twitter to LinkedIn and YouTube offers firms a chance to involve in a conversation with millions of customers around the world every day (Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, n.d.).

Every company in every industry to jump into social networks and change their marketing strategies by focusing on talking to customers aiming for deepened relationship. Nevertheless, not every business appreciates this new channel even though building the deepened relationship via social media is cheap and it means brand loyalty which can be referred to generate sale because brands will completely lose control and the power will shift to consumer side (Fournier and Avery, 2011) especially in a luxury-brand industry. However, to not become a part of social media can make brands absent from customers’ minds as well, so with many opportunities that companies could achieve through social media activities and bunch of risks that companies could have avoided are such challenging to marketers in term of how the industry should make use of social media. Also, this paper is contributing to the field of branding in social media in a luxury fashion industry.

Literature Reviews & Discussion
The compilation of published literature focuses on the impacts that social media tools have on organizations and the interrelationship social media has with the luxury fashion world.

The Era of a Digital Runway
Social media can be defined as interactions between organizations, communities and individuals where they produce, share and transfer information or opinions in virtual networks (Ahlqvist, Bäck, Halonen & Heinonen, 2008). In this Internet era, traditional communication channels are replaced by a many-to-many communication where consumers are able to interact with brands and other mind-liked consumers to share their generated contents around brand experience (Christodoulides, 2009). They consider social networks as cafés to exchange/explore their lives and thoughts to other if products are suitable for their lifestyles or not (Barwise & Meehan, 2010) (Armelini & Villanueva, 2011).

The online communication model as shown in Fig.1 illustrated that in social media environment, individuals are connected to a company, social media and other consumers where content’s control power is largely shifted to consumers (Winer, 2009). Such environment creates opportunities to develop brand recognition, brand engagement and WOMs (Hoffman and Fodor, 2010).

Armelini and Villanueva (2011) stated that social networks are where people start conversations by posting, rating or commenting. They’re definitely not just message receivers anymore. Thus, companies can obtain advantages in brand recognition via those online interactions (Armelini & Villanueva, 2011). Moreover, ‘‘consumers use digital media to engage the companies they buy products from and other consumers,” said Hanna, Rohm and Crittenden (2011). With the...
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