What the right fashion media strategy looks like post-COVID-19.

By Balthazar Malevolent


The global pandemic has been a chastising experience for a fashion media that is already facing its own crisis. And as we move into the uncharted realms of the 'new normal,' we will need some sort of road map to help us navigate our way – hardly a simple matter if you don't even know the land's lie.

The inherent tension driving the future of fashion.

However, fashion brands are already broadly in agreement about what the first steps should be. With a form of social distancing still in place for the foreseeable future, fashion weeks will inevitably have to change, with more emphasis on digital and a diluting of the seasonal schedules' endless march. There is also a need to tackle the crazy cycle of discounting and underpricing head-on, with the emphasis moving toward longevity and quality, locally produced goods over cheap imports. All of these are interrelated and it is clear that agreement must be reached on a united, consensus approach.

There are some strong questions which need to be addressed for marketers:

– Where are we going to spend the media dollars (or what media dollars are left) as we come out of the lockdown?

– What are the best solutions for brands to have their voices known and have their presence known? (Many will work with severely reduced budgets, particularly given that).

– Where are the solutions to replace the previously earmarked spending on billboards and events? (While the incremental return to work will begin to justify some advertising spending again, the amount of eyeballs on each platform will remain significantly lower; meanwhile, ongoing social distancing laws will contribute to the need to reimagine experiential events.)

'If marketers don't already do that, we'll see dollars moving to a rise in audience-leading channel purchases (programmatic, display, social, mobile, CTV, video),' says Ashley Bowles (Director, Digital Media – Planning and Collaborations at 360i). 'Brands are going to have to decide who they are focusing on is and how their lifestyle is going to be changed, map it out and figure out how best to target them. What is its emotional background?

The fact is that more digital solutions need to be considered, no matter in which industry. Mobile will be huge – if we haven't started seeing that shift already. Social use is getting bigger and bigger since that's where a lot of consumers spend most of their time. There will be also more proliferation of viewing platforms like live events. It'll be key to bringing an experience to a consumer at home.

Digital helps brands make their advertising messages and dollars more flexible, we explore how in-store experiences can be translated into online; stay ahead of innovations and seek to lead where possible.

Digital has become incredibly important during the lockdown, and it will be helpful to be able to go super-local – and segment into various customer niches with a snap, personalized strategy for each.

By all means, big brands such as Yohji Yamamoto, located in the thick of things in Paris, although applying modern Japanese technologies on their business operations, already have a direct plan how to proceed in the new world of fashion.

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