You will find here an extract of my forthcoming book "Luxury Retailing" (written with my friend Michel Chevalier) to be published by Wiley.
In a recent A.T. Kearney study (“Socially Awkward Media”, Novembrer 2010) of Interbrand’s Top 50 Global Brands, they analyzed on Facebook 1,115 posts that had 60,570 replies across the top 45 brands, which boast an aggregate total of 70,016,541 fans. The results are fascinating:
- 5 of these brands have no presence on Facebook
- 7 – including Gucci and Louis Vuitton – allow only company initiated conversation
- Only ONE routes fans to an unfiltered Facebook wall – the 45 others initially choose to show consumers and fans a filtered selection of company posts only!
This means that these brands (amongst which are luxury brands) use social media as a variant of traditional marketing: a one-way communication channel – which is digitally irrelevant.
But there is more.
89% of consumer replies on Facebook go unanswered – “Gucci, for example, did not respond to a single consumer reply within the past three months” – and only 11 brands responded to more than one customer!
When brands respond – only 15% of these answers invite further conversation: this means, “we acknowledge you, but please do not bother us!”. This definitely has nothing to do with a conversation, and surely not with learning: this means that most brands do not really want to relate nor learn from their customers. We are a far cry from the 5 phases described earlier – and there is ample room for improvement.
We are once more faced, not only with a fear of loss of control, but with what can be labeled “marketing laziness”: 71% of company posts were promotional – offering discount coupons, free prizes and other amenities!
The 5% of company to consumer posts that engaged discussions are really insightful. They show that there are 3 major techniques – all involving emotional connections – that work:
- Invoking Nostalgia – like discontinued products, history of the brand, etc…
- Engaging in product discussions – and soliciting evaluations or even new colors, flavours, products..
- Rallying around common causes
Luxury brands - who are built on emotional bonding with their customers - have an open boulevard here.