LONDON FASHION WEEK-MENS TAKE OVER
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Laura Hinttula
As the latest edition of London Fashion Week Men's takes over the capital, engagement-hungry brands, media titles and fashion week attendees alike will be fighting over visibility on social platforms such as Instagram during the 4-day event. We caught up with Instagram Strategist and Dazed Media Studio’s Editorial Director Laura Bradley to get her tips on how to make the most of the vertical during the event, the importance of quality storytelling and maximising engagement.
Before your current role as Dazed Media Studio’s Editorial Director you worked as the Editor of anothermag.com. How do you feel social media has changed the media industry over the past seven years?
It’s changed dramatically. In early 2012, Dazed’s Social Media Manager recommended we launch an Instagram account for AnOther. It was early days for a platform that has now become the industry’s social media channel of choice – most of our competitors hadn’t even signed up. The potential of the platform quickly became clear. Not only because of its storytelling and audience engagement opportunities but also it was a brilliant source of inspiration and tool for sourcing creative collaborators. I now work in Dazed Media’s in-house creative agency, working with luxury brands and spending a lot of my time helping luxury brands with social – it can be overwhelming for them, but I always recommend Instagram as the priority platform.
On the subject of the growing influence in digital, what would you say are the biggest challenges magazines are facing?
Digital – specifically social – has created lots of problems across the industry but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a great opportunity for media companies and brands to realign and consider their audience’s needs. A clear brand vision, which encompasses digital, is more important than ever. Social is becoming increasingly important, but there’s still a place for magazines and websites. Quality storytelling, innovation, and consistency should be the common threads. Dazed turned 25 last year and is part of an independent publishing group that produces four magazines and four websites. We recently moved into 180 Strand to house our growing teams, and we are very excited about what we can achieve in 2017.
You established the @anothermagazine Instagram account in March 2012 which today has 784k followers. What would you say has been the secret to this growth?
I’m really proud of the creative collaborations that have happened through Instagram. One of my favorites, and an early example is with the photographer David Luraschi (@davidluraschi) who I discovered at the beginning of 2014. His street portraits of people from behind caught my eye and we commissioned him to cover Paris Fashion Week. I think it was one of his first big commissions. He’s now approaching 40k followers, shooting for brands such as Hermès and Jacquemus and has even set up a separate Instagram account (@lurasching) to showcase submissions of his trademark portrait-from-behind style. Consistency is also important – every @anothermagazine post has a distinct aesthetic and tone of voice.
The best in class examples in luxury communication are rooted in editorial. Storytelling is a word that gets bandied around a lot, but an authentic brand story and use of narrative is key. This is when the merging of editorial and commercial worlds are incredibly important: magazine and website editors are expert storytellers. Dazed Media Studio is made up of a team that straddles editorial and commercial, and our key mission is to help brands think and behave like publishers.
What are the key points for a brand to consider and remember when planning a social media strategy for an event such as London Fashion Week Men’s?
Make Instagram your priority platform – it offers so much, from long-form captions, tagging and direct links to live Stories. Work on a strategy and be creative. Stay true to your brand values. Introduce trademark formats like the #evachenpose or #glossierpink. Collaborate with photographers, illustrators, and writers. Always ask yourself: Would you want to see this content in your feed?
Many labels are fighting over visibility on Instagram during LFW Men’s. What would be your tips for them to succeed and stand out?
Aim to be unique – Instagram content has started to become generic and predictable. Be brave! Focus on quality over quantity. And use your data in smart ways – review what worked and what didn’t, and keep in mind for future.
In your opinion which brands are doing this extremely well?
Dazed Media Studio is in an extremely privileged position: we have insight to our audience behaviour and a long-standing history of storytelling. Brands need to listen to their audiences – grow with them, learn from them and collaborate with them. We’ve been working with Miu Miu on its Instagram account for the past year – I’m a big fan of the brand and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved so far. A lot can be learnt from younger brands, such as Glossier and Palace. They have very different audiences but their individual success can be tied to community, culture, consistency and a relaxed, relatable tone that makes their customers feel at ease. Customers feel that the brands understand their wants and needs, like a close friend. Social is where these relationships are formed and come to life and it’s really interesting for luxury brands to explore this.
Engagement. One of the hottest words in social media. What is your advice for brands to maximise this on Instagram?
One of my favourite examples of Instagram engagement is the Dazed emoji polls – a format that started in 2014, as an extension of polls that featured on Dazed Digital. The @dazed and @dazedfashion accounts aren’t just about strong imagery – they are about starting conversations and debates. People can either vote with a simple emoji or use it to voice their opinion. We’ve covered topics from favourite fashion week trends to student grants.
How do influencers feed into the digital strategy you create for your clients?
Our approach to working with “influencers” is always authentic, with a focus on diversity and inclusivity. Audiences are savvy and see right through any inauthenticity. Throwing a high-profile influencer into the mix to promote a product is no longer enough. Our teams work hard to source rising creatives from across the globe, for our editorial and commercial projects. For @miumiu, we’ve commissioned a variety of creative talent, such as collage artist @bethhoeckel and miniature designer @phillipnuveen.
You featured in Instagram’s inaugural Feed Fashion report. What excites you the most about this social media platform? What’s your view on Instagram Stories?
It’s an incredibly rewarding platform – for publishers, brands and creatives. Instagram is constantly introducing new features which encourages us to be nimble and creative. The Instagram team is super supportive. It was a clever move for them to employ Eva Chen who has an editorial background and a smart take on storytelling.
What do you see as the big trends in social media in 2017?
Social is a key opportunity for luxury brands: it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instagram’s shoppable function will be the real game changer, particularly because it’s tied to the platform’s ‘discovery’ focus rather than a hard sell. It’s a natural next step: a platform that inspires and engages, will now become a place for purchase.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: Laura Hinttula