Luxury brands are the big cats of commerce. They are too elegant and sophisticated to root around for the raw and gritty masses. They want more refined consumers, who are eager to give themselves over to vainglorious spending for the off-chance they’ll be lifted to an edgy, en vogue swashbuckler status.
Because there’s no real practical value in buying a billion dollar handbag, or haute couture faux fur dress, demand must be conjured on an aesthetic, emotional level.
Once veiled behind burgundy pleather curtains, luxury brand titans have been caught casting their red acrylic high heels aside for a seminal barefoot entry into the “social media commons.” Among the dwarfs, bearded ladies, unemployed, middle class, college students, and under-aged, there saunters a leggy, stunning hedonist, exquisitely layered in Oscar de la Renta or Roberto Cavalli.
In this September, 2011 The eTail Blog article, “Luxury Retailers Seeing Online Potential…Finally? ,” the authors light a candle in the make-up room, which was heretofore cloaked from the ever-wide eyes of the internet:
…many luxury retailers have been historically reluctant to adopt online initiatives for fear of compromising a prestigious brand image. The idea of making everything so available and transparent to everyone turns some luxury brands off.
And they go on to explain that previously cloistered luxury brands must step out of their inner circles to mingle with the public:
…But the days of these questions seem to be coming to an end as it has proven nearly impossible to escape the digital world, and only hurtful to any brand – luxury or not – in the long run. Thus is evidenced by some recent moves made by luxury brands like Roberto Cavalli and Oscar de la Renta…The Oscar de la Renta design house has made its involvement in social media quite public by announcing plans to use Facebook as a major e-commerce channel, according to Alex Bolen, CEO, in an interview for Mashable…Roberto Cavalli will be launching a special e-commerce initiative in October called The Glam Gallery, which will be a selection of iconic Cavalli red carpet gowns available for sale at RobertoCavalli.com. With this launch, consumers will be able to purchase actual gowns worn by celebrities and film stars on red carpets across the world. Before this, the only way to get such an opportunity would be at a Cavalli brick and mortar boutique.
When we take a look Roberto Cavalli’s Facebook Page, one of the aforementioned luxury brands, we see they are indeed strutting social without too much of a pout.
Out of Roberto Cavalli’s 266,068 Fans (as of 11/1/2011 at 7:51pm), over a thousand fans liked the post featured above, which equals a .37 engagement rate–not too shabby! The red arrows pointing to the sizzling new designs on the headline marquee, and custom branded company logo show the great lengths these fashion flagships are going to. The frequency of the most recent posts, which amount to two or three posts on most business days, indicate a deep level commitment to the platform.
However, it’s worth noting that unlike many big brand retailers, they have cut the public off from posting on directly to their wall, limiting commoners to responding only when this fashion leader speaks.
Just because the muses are soiling their image of seclusion, it doesn’t mean they’ll be dropping the run-way ropes or getting garrulous with the help anytime soon. What do you think?