Guest Post by: Katie Glass

A recent report has revealed that social media adoption by the fashion industry has exploded over the last three years. The latest L2 Luxury Digital IQ Index report which was led by Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern, reveals that there is now widespread adoption of social media channels by fashion brands.

The 49 brands studied in the report were given a Digital IQ according to how they scored in four areas of digital; their websites, digital marketing, social media and mobile capacities. They were then ranked “genius”, “gifted”, “average”, “challenged” or “feeble”.

Here are the top 20 luxury brands:

1. Burberry 11. Donna Karan
2. Kate Spade 12. Diane von Furstenberg
3. Coach =13. Calvin Klein
4. Gucci =13. Marc Jacobs
5. Dolce & Gabbana 14. John Varvatos
6. Tory Burch 15. Paul Smith
7. Ralph Lauren =17. Alexander McQueen
8. Hugo Boss =17. Jimmy Choo (client)
9. Louis Vuitton 19. Chanel
10. Michael Kors 20. Yves Saint Laurent

As you can see, there are some unsurprisingly big names in the top twenty. However, interestingly Kate Spade – ranked number 2 in the report – is a relative new-comer in the world of fashion.

As the report reveals, there is less correlation between Digital IQ class and the size of a brand’s offline business, suggesting that if you use digital and social media strategically, you could potentially have the same capacity for success as some of the main players in fashion.

So why has interest in digital increased?

Simple – because brands have discovered just how essential it is for their shareholder value. Have a listen to what Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry (ranked with the highest Digital IQ) has to say:

“To any CEO who is skeptical at all: you have to be totally connected with everyone who touches your brand. You have to. You have to create a social enterprise today. If you don’t do that, I don’t know what your business model is in 5 years.” – Angela Ahrendts

More and more data is becoming available to support Angela Ahrendts’ statement. The Digital IQ report reveals that 67% of EU consumers and 50% of American consumers say that they research luxury items online before they buy them – which suggests that if you can influence that audience online, it can have a positive effect on your sales.

Which social platforms are luxury brands using?

Whilst many brands have established Facebook and Twitter accounts, it is interesting to note that a number of big names have been keen to adopt other platforms.

Tumblr

Only eight brands in the Index are on Tumblr, yet anecdotal evidence suggests that engagement rates surpass those on other social media platforms. Not only can it increase consumer awareness, but it is also a great way to establish and develop relationships with key fashion bloggers. Currently leading the way on Tumblr in terms of reblogs per post are Alexander McQueen with 520 and Oscar de la Renta with 313.

Instagram

Instagram is perfect for an audience which is passionate about beautiful images. More than 20 percent of brands in the Index are use Instagram to filter and share photos from fashion events and editorial shoots. As with most other social networks, Burberry is currently leading the way in terms of numbers, with almost 85,000 followers.

Polyvore

Almost a quarter of the brands surveyed have an account on Polyvore (22%), although only 5 of the 11 are deemed to be active users.

Polyvore offers brands in-depth analytics, which enables detailed measurement of success. The platform is well suited for special events and contests – Michael Kors’ contest to create a holiday look generated 280,000 impressions, 46,391 likes and 2,921 created sets.

What's next? E-commerce and further social integration

Interestingly, the report highlights that 20% of the studied brands still don’t sell online, and that brands who do offer e-commerce gain 19% more visits per user on average.

A key opportunity is for brands to offer sharing features on their individual product pages, as those that do register more than twice the traffic growth (year on year) than those who don’t.

Image by: thinkretail

Original Post: http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2011/10/the-top-20-digital-luxury-brands-burberry-lead-the-way/