Originally posted on voguebusiness.
Balmain, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are experimenting with low-key marketing strategies to engage with key opinion customers. Unexpected ad platforms are also coming into favour.
Louis Vuitton and Gucci quietly hosted pop-ups in lower-profile locations of Somerset in rural south-west England and Brooklyn respectively, in the past 10 months. While traditionally, a new launch is followed with media interviews and influencer previews, both of these pop-ups were left to be discovered by their local communities. In turn, this prompted user-generated social media responses, says Todd Sachse, founder of Sachse Construction, who built the stores for both brands. For Gucci, it was part of its continual “test and learn” approach to engage with its community. Louis Vuitton declined to comment.
Similarly, Balmain halted print campaigns in fashion magazines including Vogue this year, in favour of spending some of its marketing budget on full-look styling. Clothes are presented on a model as directed by the brand for a fee instead of being chosen by the magazine’s stylist, sources close to the company told Vogue Business. It’s not the only luxury brand to have invested in full-look styling in recent years, industry professionals say.
As consumers seek out newness and authenticity and designers look to stand out from crowded advertising channels, luxury brands are using more subtle marketing tactics to get their message across. Low-key marketing strategies that are less interruptive and, ideally, more organic are being tested. No longer should a brand’s main focus be the key opinion leaders (KOLs) or influencers, instead it should be on connecting with the key opinion customer (KOCs) – highly engaged, everyday customers of a brand – experts say. For luxury companies it marks a continual shift away from a top-down approach of selling the luxury ideal, towards so-called “stealth marketing” where consumers are made aware of a brand without realising it.