Day 7 - New York Fashion Week Fall 2014 - Mobile Google+ Hangout Lays Groundwork for User-Generated Video Content
On Sunday, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar took us live behind the scenes of Kate Spade’s FW 2014 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week show using Google+ #NYFWHangout. This was the first Hangout for NYFW that incorporated live interviews using smartphones.
We have seen fashion brands share video during New York Fashion Week (and even use Google+ before)–Rebecca Minkoff gave us raw behind-the-scenes video shorts of NYFW this season using Keek; Manolo Blahnik released cinematic “at work” videos on YouTube; DVF and Rachel Zoe both introduced their Fall 2013 collections via shoppable Google+ Hangout. But Elle and Harper’s Bazaar’s interviews did something more. They managed to take an accessible consumer technology (cell phones we all have in our back pockets) and produce something cool and new and innovative with it. That combination of familiar technology, easy production, beautiful products and sharability is actually the perfect set up for something else, too–user-generated content.
Engaging customers by incorporating user generated content is an increasingly popular content strategy among fashion and lifestyle brands. Written product reviews are practically a staple at this point. But from Free People’s integration of Instagram photos on product pages to Jimmy Choo’s microsite dedicated to user-submitted street style snapshots, multimedia content has been cropping up too.
It’s all because mobile technology has become practically ubiquitous (according to Pew 56% of American adults are now smartphone users). Not only are consumers familiar with taking pictures on their phones, the camera technology is sophisticated enough that anyone can produce high quality photography. And now with the growing popularity of Vine and Instagram clips (video shorts taken with mobile devices), it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing brands sharing user-generated video, too.
But high quality is the key. However cool and new and innovative, the technology has to be high functioning in order to engage and impress customers. It has to create a beautiful product or user experience. Elle and Harper’s Bazaar’s #NYFWhangout was a brilliant idea, but its low mobile feed quality left us viewers squinting our eyes to try to see the faces behind the animated voices of the hosts. I’ll definitely be tuning in to see how it will improve next season.
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