Increasingly, it seems that consumers want participation and interactivity in their brand experiences. While in the consumer packaged goods industry, participation successfully takes the form of Twitter and Facebook accounts, the industry lacks in several areas of Web 2.0. If you think about it, when was the last time you purchased Oreos online? Where some sectors of the consumer packaged goods industry fall short, lessons can be taken from the catwalk. In a 2011 research study detailing how the fashion industry has improved its usage of social media since 2006, the researchers consistently stress the importance of making brands – even luxury brands – seem inclusive and increase participation among the brand’s fans.

This was done first and foremost through the development of ecommerce, or an online marketplace where consumers could purchase luxury clothing rather than having to go through a third party site such as ASOS or Net-A-Porter. Brands struggling in Web 2.0 can increase direct participation by allowing customers to purchase from brand sites rather than third party. Establishing “brand communities,” such as Burberry’s Facebook community that reached over three and a half million fans in approximately two years, also encourages participation with brand enthusiasts and can help provide helpful feedback and suggestions about what customers are interested in purchasing. This also helps to create an inclusive environment, where those who might not otherwise be able to afford the goods, can feel as though their voice and support matters to the company.

A great example of the luxury fashion industry harnessing social media to increase fan participation is noted in CNN’s 2012 article, “Social media bring fashion to the masses.” Author Emanuella Grinberg covers the smart move on the part of New York Fashion Week, who gave away two tickets to the Rebecca Minkoff Runway Show to a fan with extreme Instagram participation. Kate Ogata won the social media contest in which she was encouraged to engage with the brand, although she was not in a target demographic as a regular customer. The contest allowed for creative thoughts regarding the brand and sparked a conversation among fans. The prize functions as an incentive to create brand loyalty among customers. It is clear that Ogata will remain loyal to Minkoff for the rest of her life. High fashion, which was once highly unattainable, is now a household name thanks to the platforms like Instagram and Facebook that help publish these promotions.

The consumer packaged goods industry is evolving quickly in Web 2.0. By taking the concept of participation, as well as lessons from the Fashion industry, into account, CPG can easily skyrocket their success and build a loyal fan base for even the most luxury of consumer brands.

-Jen Parravani


~ by goodpackagedconsumers on October 21, 2012.