How Luxury Fashion Brands Utilize YouTube to Engage Consumers and Promote Brand Identity

By Melissa Hanke
Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications
2015, Vol. 6 No. 1 | pg. 2/3 |

IV. Methods

This study used the content analysis to analyze Chanel, Dior, and Burberry’s YouTube channels. Content analysis is a tool to guide research where something specific such as an article or case study is quantified and its meaning is related to the culture to which it belongs (“An Introduction to Content Analysis”). Analysis of three brands’ channels showed the category of their content as brand entertainment. According to O’Guinn, Allen, Semenik, & Close (2012, p. 383), brand entertainment is defined as, “embedding one’s brand or brand icons as part of any entertainment property in an effort to impress and connect with consumers in a unique and compelling way.” Chanel, Dior, and Burberry’s YouTube channel all have video content that aims to provide the consumer with a special experience. The most apparent ways in which the three brands chose to market their brand was through brand entertainment using three forms: musical performances, historical narratives, and behind-the-scenes footage.

This study analyzed the companies’ YouTube videos to determine how effectively they used the three forms listed above to satisfy consumers with a unique brand experience. The category under musical performances is defined by videos that showcase a musician performing. The historical narratives content is defined by videos that are centered on promoting brand history through accounts of the historical significance of various attributes of a brand. Behind-the-scenes videos are defined by any video content that provides the viewer with a raw and intimate peek into the thought process of something the brand created.

V. Video Content Analysis

Review of the three luxury brands’ YouTube channels put nearly all of the video content into the category of brand entertainment. The overwhelming majority of video content on these luxury brands’ channels was not advertising any specific product or service, but was instead providing the consumer with entertainment- based footage. Whether it was a behind-the-scenes segment, a tutorial, a music video, or a mini film, each brand focused on making its YouTube channel a place for luxury consumers to come and feel as though they viewed something intimate about the brand.

Chanel, Dior, and Burberry all chose to convey their brand entertainment videos in relatively similar ways, with some variations in their levels in the three forms: musical performances, historical narratives, and behind-the-scenes videos. While the categories are different in terms of the tactic used, they are all belong to the bigger category of brand entertainment that helps to engage the viewer and foster a relationship between the brand and the consumer.

Brand Entertainment through Music by Burberry

While many of the brand entertainment videos on all three channels incorporate music, Burberry has an entire playlist dedicated to showcasing British acoustic artists. This page, entitled “Burberry Acoustic,” is the largest and most viewed playlist on their YouTube channel with 85 videos and 1,195,962 views as of February 3, 2015, on this playlist alone. This playlist is a series of British artists performing a song, all while sporting Burberry attire. These artists do not directly advertise a specific product; however, at the beginning of each video the artists name is depicted in the classic Burberry font. Introducing themselves, artists say they are playing for “Burberry Acoustic.” Besides that mention of Burberry, there is barely any direct advertisement of a Burberry product in this strategy.

By using music entertainment as a way to communicate and engage with their viewer, Burberry is not only marketing their heritage, but also the Burberry lifestyle. These videos communicate British heritage and the relaxed yet luxurious brand image that Burberry portrays. By showcasing Brits in the British brand’s clothing, the user is able to get a glimpse at the lifestyle that people who own the luxury brand’s clothing follow.

More than the other two forms of brand entertainment that luxury brands used to engage consumers, music has scientifi c implications on the brain and its processing of information. Because Burberry chooses to showcase its heritage and portray its lifestyle through music, the viewer is more likely to learn and remember these videos. Many studies have been conducted to reveal that music enhances one’s ability to learn. A study performed in 2002 by Campabello, De Carlo, O’Neil, and Vacek aimed to examine the correlation between music and students’ ability to learn. After conducting this study, they concluded that adding music to a stimulus not only increases students’ ability to learn information, but also increases emotional involvement with what they were learning (Campabello, De Carlo, O’Neil, & Vacek, 2008).

Burberry’s strategy of incorporating music into its brand entertainment videos is strategic because when one hears a song that is featured on the company’s YouTube channel, they will associate it with the Burberry brand. Even deeper than associating the brand with a song, the music allows the viewer to become emotionally involved with a brand, thus strengthening Burberry’s relationship with its target audience. Below is a screenshot taken from the Burberry YouTube channel that shows how popular this playlist is.

Figure 3. Screenshot taken from “Burberry Acoustic” YouTube playlist

Figure 3. Screenshot taken from “Burberry Acoustic” YouTube playlist

Historical Narratives by Chanel

More than Dior or Burberry, Chanel emphasizes and illustrates the history of the company in its brand entertainment videos. The best example of this historical approach is their widely known “Inside Chanel” videos. Although this page is the third largest playlist in terms of number of videos it contains on their channel after No. 1 “Fashion” and No. 2 “Makeup,” the “Inside Chanel” playlist has more views than any other playlists. These short videos all document a specifi c aspect of the Chanel brand and link it to the company’s history. From the childhood of Gabrielle Chanel to what the symbol of the lion represents to this iconic brand, these historical narratives captivate the viewer. The “Inside Chanel” videos aim to provide the viewer with deeper insight into the historical aspects of this timeless brand. The image below is a screenshot of the header on the “Inside Chanel” playlist.

Figure 4. Screenshot taken from “Inside Chanel” YouTube playlist

Figure 4. Screenshot taken from “Inside Chanel” YouTube playlist

While the “Inside Chanel” videos strive to entertain and inform the viewer, there is a deeper meaning behind the brand’s emphasis on history. By providing the viewer with meaning and history behind various symbols, colors, and famous icons of Chanel, the company aims to foster an emotional relationship and personal connection between the consumer and the brand. The “Inside Chanel” videos help to enrich and enhance the meaning behind details of the brand, thus making the consumer more aware of and engaged with Chanel’s antiquity.

Neither Dior nor Burberry places the same emphasis on history that Chanel does on their YouTube channels. Because Dior and Burberry do not choose to highlight the history of their brands, the viewer is left not knowing how either brand came to be or what aspects of each brand represent.

The strategy of providing brand history to the consumer is extremely important because knowing the history of something enriches its meaning. Without knowing where a product came from, its consumer would feel hard to associate a greater significance with a product or brand. Because Chanel focuses on the history of the brand, the customer is able to understand the significance behind the product, thus fostering a deeper relationship with Chanel. This strategy of providing the consumer with historical narratives allows the consumer to gain insight into the true heart of the brand.

Behind-the-Scenes Videos by Chanel, Dior, and Burberry

The communication strategy under brand entertainment that all three brands utilize on their You- Tube page is providing the viewer with behind-the-scenes videos. Chanel, Dior, and Burberry have all posted videos that give the viewer sneak peeks at what is happening backstage at one of their fashion shows, or the thought process used to create advertising campaigns.

Chanel chooses to focus its behind-the-scenes videos on two main subjects: advertising campaigns and fashion shows. To give the audience a peek at creating one of Chanel’s mini movie campaigns, they provide the viewer with a video on each aspect of the ad. For a recent ad campaign for the infamous Chanel No. 5 fragrance, Chanel posted eight separate videos that all focused on a different aspect of the making of the ad. These behind-the-scenes videos included the subjects of “The Director,” “The Costume Design,” “The Cast,” “The Film Behind the Film,” “Making of the Film,” “The Song,” “The Fragrance,” and “The Locations.” Each of these videos contains interviews and behind-the-scenes footage that shed light on different aspects of the creation of a Chanel ad campaign. Chanel also provides ample footage on depicting what is happening backstage at their fashion shows. They show footage of the models going on and off the catwalk and often interview them. Both of these behind-the-scenes categories provide the viewer with a more real, intimate, and raw look into the brand instead of only viewing footage that has been edited.

Similar to Chanel’s behind-the-scenes content, Dior also utilizes YouTube as a means to provide the viewer with a glimpse into the making of its advertising campaigns. Dior has multiple videos that start with “Making-of” and then reveal the creation behind one of their ad campaigns, such as the “Be Dior” campaign or the “Diorskin Star” campaign. They also share footage of a behind-the-scenes look at their fashion shows; however, they center these videos specifically on the creation and actual construction of the set. On the other hand, Chanel focuses these videos on the actual show.

In congruence with Chanel and Dior, Burberry also posts behind-the-scenes content to make the YouTube viewer feel as though they were getting an intimate look into the happenings of the brand. Burberry focuses their behind-the-scenes videos more on the company’s fashion shows than on the creation of its advertising campaigns. They post videos on the inspiration behind their clothing lines. They also post videos that are centered on revealing their main guests of their shows including famous fashion models or editors in chief of the most famous fashion magazines.

Behind-the-scenes films are the one category of brand entertainment videos that Chanel, Dior, and Burberry all post on their YouTube channels. These videos are extremely important and crucial in establishing a relationship between the luxury companies and their luxury consumers. This type of video goes beyond the traditional and edited brand image of a company and provides the viewer with a story behind the product.

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