Burberry leads digital luxury charts

13 October 2011

NEW YORK: Burberry, Kate Spade and Coach are the luxury fashion brands making the most effective use of new media to engage consumers, a report has argued.

L2, the specialist think tank, assessed 49 high-end brands in this sector based on the quality of their websites, digital marketing strategies, social media presence and activity on mobile and tablets.

Burberry led the charts on 144 points. Its Facebook fanbase expanded by 448%, to over 8m people, in the last year, and the firm was an early adopter of Instagram, a photo-sharing app.

The company was equally praised for live streaming shows at New York Fashion Week on Facebook and Twitter, where it boasts more than 500,000 followers. Elsewhere, an official video, "Burberry Brights", secured 1.8m views on YouTube.

Kate Spade, part of Liz Clairborne and a debutant on the list, claimed second with 143 points, pioneering "shareable" shopping on its own site and Facebook. It also uses Instagram, the blogging platform Tumblr and geo-location service Foursquare.

Coach and Gucci tied in third on 141 points, and were the only two other brands attaining "genius" status, defined as operators that have achieved real differentiation thanks to their new media output.

Another 12 players were seen as being "gifted", combining effective experimentation with consistent messaging. Dolce & Gabbana and Tony Burch constituted the leading members of this group, on 136 points apiece.

By contrast, Manolo Blahnik and Givenchy were "feeble", generating 44 points and 46 points respectively, having essentially failed to embrace the opportunities afforded by the web and mobile.

Prada was one level up from the lowest rung of the rankings, albeit still "challenged". It received 73 points, but remains "the digital disappointment in luxury", according to L2.

More broadly, the six brands belonging to LVMH logged an average score of 81 points, while the PPR-Gucci Group's five assets yielded 107 points. Privately-owned firms had an average of 92 points, and their publicly-traded rivals posted 83 points.

Currently, 94% of the featured luxury lines utilise Facebook, standing at 84% for Twitter, 78% for YouTube, 24% for Instagram, and 18% for both Foursqaure and Tumblr.

Turning to mobile, 33% of brands had an iPhone app and 24% provided equivalent tools for the iPad, but just 5% did so for Google's Android. Similarly, while 35% possessed a mobile site, a modest 18% offered mcommerce facilities.

Data sourced for L2; additional content by Warc staff