From Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications VOL. 6 NO. 1
How Luxury Fashion Brands Utilize YouTube to Engage Consumers and Promote Brand Identity
Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications
2015, Vol. 6 No. 1 | pg. 3/3 | «
This study found that luxury companies are effectively using the interactive and digital platform of YouTube to engage their target audiences. The recent increase in social media marketing has led to a change in video content to promote luxury brands (Burgess & Green, 2009). While Chanel, Dior, and Burberry all thrive in the category of engaging followers via their social media platforms, each chose to entertain their consumers through different means on their YouTube channels. When looking at the video categories of musical performances, historical narratives, and behind-the-scenes videos, one can find that each brand flourishes in their own way. Chanel places great emphasis on promoting the antiquity behind the brand through videos that document brand history. Burberry promotes its cultural heritage through showcasing British musicians donned in the luxury attire. Dior’s sophisticated brand entertainment videos and behind-the-scenes footage reiterate the brand’s concentration on refined elegance.
This study demonstrates that the tactics of music and historical narratives have high entertainment value. These videos are more production based than a behind-the-scenes video, and therefore are more aimed at captivating the viewer. While Chanel and Burberry focus on using music and history in their video content, all three brands, of course, do not forget to provide the viewer with a behind-the-scenes experience. Because all three brands are high-end luxury brands, documenting raw and more intimate footage makes them more approachable to the viewer. After analyzing each brand’s YouTube content, the behind-the-scenes tactic appears to be the most effective in providing meaning to the brand.
This research also concluded that each brand stayed true to its brand identity in the way it showcased itself on YouTube. Chanel is famous for infusing brand history into its brand identity, while Burberry is known for displaying British customs and brand heritage. While the focus of Dior’s brand identity is less blatant than Chanel or Burberry, Dior is known for representing sophisticated French luxury, remaining consistent through its behind-the-scenes videos that showcase the lavishness of the brand. Chanel, Dior, and Burberry all stay true to their brand identity in regards to image and the overall tone in which they communicate through You- Tube.
This new marketing concept of brand entertainment has shifted the focus of what is being advertised and has placed the product in disguise (Hudson & Hudson, 2010). A study published in the Journal of Marketing Management concludes, “Branded products are no longer just ‘placed’; they are woven into entertainment content making a stronger emotional connection with the consumer” (Hudson & Hudson, 2008, p. 1). This is why luxury fashion companies are redirecting the focus of their social media marketing efforts from pure brand advertisement to brand entertainment. This new tactic not only engages the consumer, but also deepens and intensifies the relationship and connection that the consumer has with the product or brand.
As shown in this study, luxury brands are effectively utilizing YouTube as a means to engage their target audience and reiterate their brand identity. By breaking the mold of posting traditional product advertisements, and by instead creating clips that are rooted in brand entertainment, a company can leverage its content to absorb the viewer in a deeper and more compelling manner. Brand entertainment videos have the ability to go further and develop a relationship that a traditional advertisement cannot.
Future studies in this area may use human subjects to help categorize the content of these videos and see what they believe the most prominent brand entertainment categories among what luxury companies depict on YouTube channels. Future studies may also look at other markets beyond luxury companies to see if the former are utilizing brand entertainment in their advertising efforts as the latter have done.
The author of this study would like to thank Dr. Don Grady, associate professor of communications and associate dean in the School of Communications at Elon University, for his mentorship and for overseeing this work. This study could not have been completed without his unyielding patience and expertise in the field of communication research. The author is also thankful for Associate Professor of Communications Dan Haygood and his advertising knowledge and assistance in her content analysis categorization.
- An Introduction to Content Analysis. (1993). Writing@CSU. The Writing Studio, http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1305&guideid=61
- Burgess, J., Green, J. (2009). YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. YouTube Digital Media and Society Series
- Campabello, N., De Carlo, M., O’Neil, J., & Vacek, M. (2002). Music Enhances Learning, 1-66.
- Cormode, G., Krishnamurthy, B. (2008). Key differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, First Monday, 13.
- Hader, S. (2008). Wooing Luxury Customers. Marketing Management, 27-31.
- Hudson, S., Hudson, D., (2010). Branded Entertainment: A New Advertising Technique or Product Placement in Disguise? Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 22(5-6), 489-504.
- Kim, A., Ko, E. (2010). Do social media marketing activities enhance customer equity? An empirical study of luxury fashion brand. Journal of Business Research, 65, 1480–1486.
- O’Guinn, C., Allen, C., Semenik, R., & Scheinbaum, A. (2012) Advertising & Integrated Brand Promotion, 7, 1-362.
- Reyneke, M. (2011). Luxury, as the Opposite of Vulgarity: A Trio of Perspectives on Luxury Brands. Doctoral Thesis, 1-9, 26-54.
- Saravanakumar, M., Lakshmi, T. (2012). Life Science Journal, 9(4), 4444-4451.
- Shields, M. (2014, November 3). Fashion Brands Like Chanel and Dior Are Starting to Figure Out YouTube, The Wall Street Journal.
- Thackeray, R., Neiger, B., Hanson, C., McKenzie, J. (2008). Enhancing Promotional Strategies Within Social Media Marketing Programs: Use of Web 2.0 Social Media. Health Promotion Practice
- Qualman, E. (2013). How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. Socialnomics, 1-217.
- Note: All YouTube images were taken as screenshots from www.YouTube.com
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