4) Those who carry influence are expected to have a perspective on the world, or are held to account.
Once a world of celebrated exclusivity and far-fetched aspiration, luxury has started to find new heroes – frequently from quirky, niche grassroot communities that celebrate distinctive interests.
Take Francis Bourgeois: an endearingly-dorky 21-year-old who has gathered a huge following on his trainspotting videos, becoming the star of The North Face’s recent collaboration with Gucci.
The ability to tap into these audiences, making the uncool cool, is garnering worldwide attention and glory in popular discourse – a far cry from the elusive (often slightly cryptic or elitist) adverts of yesteryear. Brands are celebrated for being a bit ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and playful, whilst lightening up a traditionally very serious, standoffish comms style.
Gucci paved the way for fellow high fashion houses with their dive into meme culture, launching a campaign tagged #TFWGucci on Instagram to promote a new line of watches in 2017.
Two years later, designers Victor&Rolf incorporated meme culture into their Spring 2019 collection, adorning their gowns in popular acerbic phrases that quickly became viral sensations.
The shareability and relatable nature that are woven into these forms of meme marketing is what makes them so appealing to audiences; humourous takes and witty remarks make couture fashion accessible for everyone and, in return, brands who utilise this tool will unlock access to the masses with viral campaigns.
As both dictators of taste and mirrors of society, brands are increasingly required to take a stance on socio-political matters. The brands people choose to wear represent far more than their style, they are echoes of their ideological and political beliefs.
As a result, brands are being held accountable by their customers across a global stage, now expected to show a dedicated commitment to making the world a better place, both internally in brand values and their outward actions.
So take note: silence on matters that matter to your audience is truly deafening.