Merrick, NY—John Wanamaker is famously credited with saying, “Half of my money spent on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
The 19th century merchant, credited with originating not only the modern department store, but also modern advertising, surely would have had a blast with digital media.
Can you imagine Wanamaker on Twitter? “@johnwanamaker: organ concert today at 3,” (referring to the grand pipe organ in his Philadelphia store; still in use today in what is now Macy’s.) His Facebook posts might have shown society swans lunching in the store’s famed Crystal Tea Room, and he would have had the store’s famous holiday light show up on YouTube before the end of the first performance. (Many YouTube videos of the show do, in fact, exist.)
Branded YouTube pages have the power to directly drive sales both to e-commerce and brick-and-mortar sites, and it is a huge phenomenon in the luxury industry right now. According to this article in Luxury Daily, YouTube now is a fashion hub, and has taken off as a place to not only view new styles, but also to interact with luxury brands. Sales via YouTube could be an easy way for luxury brands to use social media for monetary gain, and it makes sense to have a direct path in place from video to buy, says the article. Social video is eye-catching, interesting, and shareable, and tends to be shared more than static photos.
Joining the ranks of Cartier, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and others, Dior is the latest luxury brand to put a focus on video. A new series of videos called “My Dior” feature its jewelry collection of the same name, and model Raquel Zimmermann talking candidly about life, fashion, beauty, relationships, and, of course, the jewelry, which incorporates Dior’s signature cane motif in gold and gemstones. The videos appear on a Dior microsite and YouTube.
At R.F. Moeller in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, YouTube is a key part of the firm’s marketing. “Like all marketing, it’s hard to quantify with hard numbers, but our bridal is up 25% in the past two years, and that’s where we focus YouTube,” says Bob Moeller. But anecdotally, he says, people comment every week about the videos, and they’ve created a great deal of awareness, especially among the younger demographic that’s they target.
The jeweler has been using YouTube regularly for more than three years. Videos include education and information, humor, and also the store’s regular ads. In addition to being housed on YouTube, R.F. Moeller makes great use of pre-roll online video as an advertising vehicle. (Pre-roll are video commercials shown before the destination video.)
In a still from the humorous Mischke Hockey video, R.F. Moeller says getting ready for a wedding is like getting ready for a hockey game--you get all your equipment ready but you can forget the most important part: the diamond (or, in this case, the ice.) Click on the link or the image to watch.
YouTube marketing is both effective and cost-effective, but it’s not free. The Moellers bought a high definition camera, but the biggest challenge has been the audio, which is difficult to get right, says Moeller. They do use a local professional broadcast personality, who also produces the videos and hires a professional camera operator. The result, says Moeller, is “not Coca-Cola or Nike, but not grainy home video either.
“You have to spend some money,” Moeller told The Centurion. “Your store is going to be judged by what it [the video] looks like.”
YouTube now accounts for about one-third of the firm’s total ad budget, he says, and he doesn’t see that retreating, only growing. Radio is the other primary medium for R.F. Moeller advertising; the store uses very little print and not much TV, either, says Moeller.
Consumers don’t think in terms of channels, they expect a consistent brand experience regardless of where they’re experiencing the brand. According to a white paper published by software developer Oracle, they’re not getting that seamless experience as they glide between the Web, mobile, social networks, and search engines. Instead, says Oracle, they’re getting a mishmash of experiences. But prepping your store for agile digital commerce is not only going to be critical, doing it early conveys first-mover advantages.
Moeller’s advice for other luxury jewelers is, in the words of Nike, “just do it.” Shorter is better than longer, he advises. “You don’t have to get all the information in the world out there,” something he learned as R.F. Moeller’s videos evolved from early efforts to present.
Timeliness is important, too. For example, when a popular radio personality in the Minneapolis area was fired, Moeller immediately picked him up for the videos—he’s their main producer now—and created one with the soundtrack of James Taylor’s “You’ve Got A Friend.” People in the know knew what it was about, says Moeller, and people like feeling like they’re in the know.
It’s easy—and important—to keep track of your page views and use Google analytics to see a pattern of what works, he added.
“Just get started. Open your own [YouTube] channel, link it to your website, and do something. It’s better than nothing.”