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Topshop and Google show fashion its future

Fashion shows have long remained a closed industry event despite digital innovation and adoption.

To date the only brands to have offered live streaming on their own sites and some inclusion of the ‘at-the-moment’ view of the catwalk were Burberry and Louis Vuitton.  Therefore, I was delighted and excited to hear about this brilliant campaign by Topshop and Google. The campaign breaks down the exclusivity and elitism of fashion shows and brings it direct to the public via networks and access points that are most akin to their audience.  For Google+ this could be a landmark moment when they win over the younger, fashion-savvy generation that may have previously shunned Google+ in favour of Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook.

The Topshop and Google collaboration is not only an innovative use of the very best technology and Google products but it also presents the opportunity to turn the PR and buying process entirely on its head.

One of the smartest aspects of the campaign is not just the opportunity to engage and share, and therefore create a lasting value of the show and the experience long beyond the live event, but it is the Be the Buyer app that will provide valuable data on what consumers love about the collection. The colours, styles and outfits that prove popular with the audience can provide a necessary science to the selection of items and volumes that may be purchased and created – not only by Topshop, but the high street overall.

In the first five days since the collaboration’s live video initiative began, there have been more than 4 million views across a multitude of platforms.  The show was streamed not just to Topshop’s own site, but also via embedded media players on news sites and top fashion bloggers and, of course, in the window of the iconic Oxford Circus store.  In the first five minutes of the live show there were more than 200,000 social media shares across all the social networks using the Shoot The Show feature and it was easy to see why.  The digital execution of the whole event and show were brilliant – from model cams, being able to download the show music immediately, to the opportunity to customise the catwalk.

The true success of the collaboration will most likely be realised over the coming months as Topshop builds on the good social value gained with its fans and the high volume of engaged users, while the data from the shows will inform business decisions of which we will hopefully see the success in the autumn sales figures.

As for Google, the success of the collaboration and most importantly whether they have shifted perceptions of Google+ among the fashion public will most likely be seen more immediately.  The number of Topshop followers on Google+ remains below a million, far behind its competitors on the same platform (500,000 less than Asos and a million less than that other fashion digital supremo, Burberry).  The Google+ audience also remains dwarfed by the Facebook community and fashionistas proved that they still love to take to Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to express their thoughts and views of the shows and looks.

However, I wouldn’t want a few stats to cloud the fact that this collaboration is a great example of a truly integrated digital campaign from show to shop to online to mobile.  The innovation was excellent and the bar has just been raised again. Justin Cooke, Topshop’s chief marketing officer, promised the potential of “digital wildfire” and I think he may have been right.

I can’t wait for the next London Fashion week this autumn.

Nishma Robb is chief client officer at global digital marketing agency iProspect

Readers' comments (1)

  • Martin O'Toole

    Olga Savina, in our office, had quite a bit to say about this piece. It went a little like this:

    “What's great about live streaming is the synergy between digital and social which creates a 'straight from the catwalk' shopping experience - Burberry and Topshop are well known for pioneering it.

    “This experience doesn't just bridge the gap between the consumer and luxury brand, but changes the purchase process and cycle of production.”

    She’s written about this very concept just this week, as part of our branding, marketing and design blog, which is posted here, if anyone fancies a look:

    http://mcgrathotoole.com/digitalising-the-catwalk-the-best-digital-marketing-practise-in-fashion/

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