Rebecca Taylor Forgoes the Runway for Digital-Marketing

After 15 years of runway shows at New York fashion week, New Zealand-born Rebecca Taylor cancelled her autumn 2015 show. She used her roughly US$500,000 annual show budget to deploy a marketing strategy she believes is more in tune with the way consumers connect to fashion today.

She engaged a digital marketing consultant to work on strategies such as search engine optimisation and social media; she is spending more on attention-getting film and photography, and she is seeking to engage influential people to promote her brand.

“I don’t think our customers were seeing the shows,” Taylor said.

Early signs suggest the designer could be right. Rather than diminishing her sales to stores, her autumn-collection sales rose, showing “upper single-digit growth” over the year earlier, she says. That suggests retailers, who viewed her designs in a revamped lookbook and showroom visits, weren’t relying on her shows for her brand’s message. Yet to be seen is whether there will be any impact on consumers’ shopping decisions when the clothes arrive in stores late this summer.

She hired Shilpa Shenoy, a digital-marketing consultant who slings around terms such as “algorithmic specific ways to get in front of customers.” Her role, in part, is to mine the Internet for new shoppers and get them to engage emotionally with the brand.

For instance, Taylor’s banner ads are getting more sophisticated. Rather than simply buying ads on websites where fashion lovers congregate, Taylor’s banner ads will soon target specific consumers and types of consumers – physically active women, for instance – and may follow them to unconventional places for fashion, such as ESPN.

Is the runway dead or just dormant for Taylor? Her druthers are clear. “Fashion shows just feel sort of dated to me,” she says.

Originally from Wellington, Taylor is  based in New York.

Original article by Christina Binkley, The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2015.

Tags: digital-marketing  Rebecca Taylor  runway shows  Wall Street Journal (The)  

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