Fashion has been notoriously slow to take to the online world (particularly on the editorial side), but some brands are really getting it right. A smart digital strategy can translate to brand awareness, and ultimately, lots of sales.
L2‘s Digital IQ Index took this concept to the next level and released its third annual report card assessing brands’ “digital IQ.” The ratings they give range from Genius to Feeble. Digital strategy is often uneven, and this can hurt a brand. Per the report: "Although 94 percent of brands in the Index have a presence on Facebook, one in five brands still lacks e-commerce capability." How annoying is it to try to buy something online, only to discover you actually have to leave your home? That kind of thing really matters to consumers these days.
So who’s excelling online and who needs a lot of help? Here’s the top ten list:
1. Burberry 2. Kate Spade 3. Coach (tie) 3. Gucci (tie) 5. Dolce & Gabbana (tie) 5. Tory Burch (tie) 7. Ralph Lauren 8. Hugo Boss (tie) 9. Louis Vuitton (tie) 10. Michael Kors
Number one this year is Burberry, given a Genius rating. Their Burberry Body Facebook campaign, which ultimately helped earn them over 8.6 million Facebook fans, is cited as one of the success stories; live tweeting their spring 2012 show before the looks hit the runway was another. Per the report: “Digital births an icon: Proof that digital investments translate to shareholder value.” If you need further proof of this, WWD reports today that Burberry has had a 29.5% increase in sales.
In second place is an upstart “newcomer,” Kate Spade. Being an “iconic” heritage brand automatically gives you an advantage, but Kate Spade proved it isn’t necessary. They were given a Genius rating, on the strength of their Facebook online store (dubbed “F-commerce”) and being one of the first brands to hit Tumblr. Same for Tory Burch, whose Facebook store is exemplary.
Coach and Gucci hung on to their Genius ratings, and Dolce & Gabbana got a Gifted, thanks to their website relaunch. Ralph Lauren’s iPad New York Times “take-over” was lauded, as was Louis Vuitton’s domination of Foursquare. Donna Karan has @DKNY PR girl to thank for the company's Gifted rating, citing her Gossip Girl updates and new-ish Tumblr presence.
So which brands need help? L2 gave Challenged grades to both Prada and Hermés, two brands who should be killing it online because their name recognition is so strong. Both were listed as Gifted in 2009, but lost their rating. Scott Galloway, the founder of L2 said in the report, “We believe these brands are victims of their own success, believing iconic status can be a substitute for innovation and investment online. This hubris will haunt them, and their shareholders.” Yikes. Ditto Chanel and Christian Dior, who were given Average ratings. The issue there? Lack of e-commerce, except in beauty.
The take home message? Sell online and be creative while you do it.