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'Online offers the chance for a better brand connection'

Patrick Gardner, Chief executive of international creative agency Perfect Fools

With online sales exploding and an undeniable shift in brands’ investments from traditional to digital media, it’s clear the internet is now a key arena for fashion brands seeking richer customer connections.

But while shoppers spend more time and money online, and brands are now paying attention, many of their digital efforts have so far met with mixed reviews.

According to a recent Adobe survey, most US consumers say they’re “annoyed” by online ads, prefer TV ads to online and want a social media dislike button.

The reason? Many brands employ traditional advertising formulas grafted to the internet from older media, consisting mainly of paid placements supported by broadcast-style engagement activities.

Instead of looking at the web and mobile merely as new advertising channels, fashion brands need to see the internet’s true potential to enable one-to-one connections between brands and customers.

Today’s typical investments, like paid and social media, will continue to be important. But by also bringing their brand experiences directly to customers, fashion brands can finally profit from the internet’s power to make communication more direct and democratic.

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