The recession is over, some say. Not everybody in the fashion industry will agree to that. Retail in general, especially offline retail, has suffered severely. We have all seen big names disappear like V&D, Maison de Bonneterie, Perry Sport, Aktiesport, HoutBrox, Paradigit, Macintosh schoenenwinkels, DA, Dixons, Schoenenreus, Free record shop, Oad. And the list goes on. It all started around 2008 and the situation that existed before never returned.
The world has changed. Europe has changed. Holland has changed. Even the people have changed. Just watch how your kids, if you have any teenagers, go on their first dates. There’s not a club or dancing bar needed. It’s all dating via an app on their mobile. Most definitely that was not the situation before 2008.
So what can we learn from all this? Could we have saved these retail chains? Most likely not. And some other companies also cannot be saved. Why? Because they’re selling bullshit. They’re not based in the real world. Where all their customers are living, loving, working. When you read our bullshit story you will understand that we’re not saying that they are living a lie. Bullshit is something different. It’s something people might want to believe in. But reality will catch up.
And for retail chains that really believe they can pick up the pieces where they left off in 2007 and continue like at that time, it’s too late. You need to drop the bullshit. The crisis is not over. Even if housing prices in Amsterdam are skyrocketing, it does not mean the crisis is over. It means maybe that Airbnb is a great startup that makes it attractive to rent your house out to tourists in one of the hotspots in Europe. That’s another big change with how we used to travel before 2008. For many Amsterdam people their house has become a rather interesting way to earn an extra income.
So what should you as a retailer, marketing manager, commercial manager do to drop the bullshit and live in today’s and tomorrow’s reality?
- stop believing that you have to wait for the crisis to pass and you can continue like the old days
- yes, believe us, the old days are over
- understand how the current customer wants to buy, live, love, work
- adjust your organization to the customers. Do not expect the customer to change for you
- drop the bullshit in your communication, tell your real story
- make sure that your entire organization lives in reality, and let them be present in all current platforms
- hire an agency that dares to work with you on your real story and understands that it might take a bit more time. But it is more durable. There’s a big difference between one night stands and an evolving relationship. It is all about give and take.
Just check out our IIZT flip the funnel model that we have been using way before the crisis even hit. A lot of people (yes, companies are people) did not understand what we were trying to tell them. They had always been successful and in the end they will be again. But the AIDA model is pretty overdue. You really have to engage with your audience and customers. You need to get the dialogue going with them. And with modern media that is totally possible. It’s even easy. Read the last part and you will understand where to start.
We will finish with a warning and hopefully a learning for you. It could be that you think we are vague. To the point where you might think we’re bullshitters. We mean it.
It’s in the little things. A small and young, Amsterdam fashion brand is making a lot of waves. This brand Filling pieces is totally in the center of its customer base. And they’re fully connected with them. You just have to check its founder and see what he’s actually doing on for instance twitter. It’s real, it’s not bullshit. He’s doing this himself and he has a huge following. Logical you might think.
Well, you wonder how the retailers are doing online and on social media that already existed, long before, 2008. Most ofter they’re not so cool and it looks not promising at all. This is for instance the twitter profile of the PR manager of C&A.
A concern with much more revenue and many more outlets. At the same time, they seem to lack in relevance when you compare it to a new brand like Filling pieces. Most likely the PR person cannot help it, as they have to adhere to old policies and probably were forbidden to talk on personal title. Or maybe even have contact with real people in the real world. Who knows.
It does not always go like this. We have worked for H&M and know them pretty well. Their social media department is constantly active and they are also personally very active on social media. It makes the brand more relevant.
The only thing you should be scared about is bullshit. Just tell your story and engage with your customers. And if you’re really lost, ask us for some help. Step by step you can grow into your new success.
De hype voorbij, het is de nieuwe mainstream
IIZT publiceert regelmatig findings uit het Social War onderzoek. Blijf op de hoogte en stuur je e-mail naar email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org of bel ons op 020 – 693 31 31.
Social war is het ongoing onderzoek dat IIZT doet onder meer dan 70 modemerken wereldwijd. Het signaleert de do’s en de dont’s voor merken op social media. Iedereen in de communicatiewereld roept en blogt over social media. Wij staven alles met feiten, zodat je ook echt kan leren van elkaar. De hype voorbij, het is de nieuwe mainstream.
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