Have You Joined The New Era?
Fashion has gone through many eras, each one fundamentally changing the business model that brands followed and having far reaching consequences for all other subsidiary industries. But the previous eras only truly served larger brands with the financial acumen to attract big money and invest in the conventional methods of attracting potential clients such as print and media advertising. That was until now. We are finally in the era of the artisanal brand.
Do you have a social media account?
Facebook? Or Instagram? Or maybe even a Twitter.
You should if you’re a designer.
Even more if you’re an amateur designer, starting to build a brand from scratch.
Over the last decade, the fashion world has unfurled to accommodate all kinds of people. From publishing to manufacturing to presentation and retail, the scope and reach of consumers and their ability to choose what they want to wear and how they want to feel has expanded. This scope brought about by technological innovation has made information and access readily available to consumers, usually for free. Eyeballs equal advertising value and advertising value equals money. Don’t believe me? I’ll let this infographic do all the talking.
This power shift has been incredibly beneficial in Africa, especially here in Nigeria where until recently the fashion elite that had all the access and opportunities to court clients. The vast amounts information available on the internet and the erasure of limitations such as distance and language barriers have allowed cottage designers connect with consumers who understand and value their aesthetics. Mega social interaction sites like Etsy and the insanely popular Pinterest have sprung up, forming communities where enthusiasts can find each other and even more sell their creations.
Designers have come to realise that $1000 spent by one client and a $1000 spent by 10 clients in one day still amounts to the same revenue. Being able to connect with consumers from around the world is an added perk. Even better, social media allows designers with smaller budgets market themselves by creating a personality and more importantly a narrative for their brand, instantly accessible to millions of discerning consumers. Something mega brands pay thousands of dollars for.
So, what kind of brand are you?
If you’re the kind of designer who offers a family friendly, easily accessible product that won’t ruffle any feathers, Facebook should be your starting point. Facebook recently surpassed Google as the primary source of News in the world, well ahead of print and media publications and with 5 million Nigerian users (as at 2013), you’ll definitely find someone who resonates with your product there.
For a designer with a more vocal (and possibly socially conscious) product like graphic tees or merchandise inspired by social issues, twitter is the sure fire way to go. With picture and video integration and primarily driven by 140 character microblogs, Twitter will allow brands initiate conversation and foster an active community around the message behind the brand.
And if you’re a visual brand who prefers to let the product do all the talking, then Instagram is the app for you. Offering a variety of filters, integration with all the other social media apps, and an unlimited data bank, Instagram allows brands dazzle consumers with visual stories.
Get to it already. And Tag us. We’d love to see what you’re up to.
Okolo Edwin writes to explore concepts that he wrestles with but cannot directly experience.He used to serve as a contributor at large at Omogemura.com and blackfabulousity.com .Okolo was chosen for the Chimamanda Adichie-led Farafina Trust Creative Writer’s Workshop in 2011 and has written one and collaborated on another experimental fantasy novel on www.wattpad.com.