Fashion is a constantly evolving industry, with seasonal peaks and large scale trends that shape consumer interests and online searches.
When New Look identified that Kimonos were set to become a hot trend in UK fashion, we set out to support them in becoming market leaders.
According to UK Google Trends data, ‘new look kimonos’ was the 3rd most used kimono search term over the last 12 months, demonstrating the level of success that New Look enjoyed in building brand association with this on-trend product.
Having identified the Kimono trend early, New Look PPC traffic actually grew at a faster rate than the overall interest growth in May 2014. This displayed the successful optimisation and brand building that would allow New Look to benefit from the peak in interest that occurred over the Summer months.
New Look’s PPC impression share also gained the dominant position during the most lucrative period of heightened Summer interest in Kimonos.
In terms of organic search:
In order to achieve our objectives, we followed a three stage process that dovetailed with the growing consumer interest in kimono products:
Firstly, the demand for Kimonos was identified. Secondly, we worked to efficiently meet this demand, and then finally, as demand peaked, we looked to maximise New Look's brand association and focus the demand for these products in a more general sense onto the New Look range specifically.
While kimonos featured heavily in the Spring/Summer shows of Roberto Cavalli, Valentino, Gucci and other leading designers, there was already evidence that the trend was gaining pace.
In October 2013, early adopters were stepping up their product ranges, and as we moved into 2014 it was evident that the number of kimono products that were selling out across retailers was on the rise too.
This growth in mainstream consumer interest leading towards the Summer of 2014 could also be assessed by monitoring the growth of ‘Kimono’ as a search term.
Our research suggested that retailers were stocking an expanding range of kimono products, more consumer searches were looking for these products and an increasing number of kimono products were also selling out. The signs all pointed to Kimonos becoming a hot trend for the upcoming Summer.
After the kimono trend was identified as a definite opportunity, our first move was to conduct an audit of existing paid search campaigns. Paid search fundamentally links consumers searching for a particular product with quick and easy access to what they’re looking for, and is therefore an obvious first step in meeting demand.
A key first stage of our testing was optimising the ad copy:
Both traffic and conversion rates saw considerable uplifts over the subsequent two weeks as we optimised ad copy and expanded campaigns.
The Summer months saw the peak in the trend as kimonos became one of the season’s ‘must have’ items. We launched activity across channels that would intensify and focus this demand for Kimonos specifically onto the New Look product range. With interest at an all time high, short fuse calls to action would become increasingly effective, as would helping New Look to channel existing online conversations onto the brand.
A strategically timed on-site sale was launched by New Look to coincide with the peak period of interest. PPC ads were produced to help capture the attention of customers looking to make a quick purchase.
Fueled by the momentum of the trend and New Look's strategic promotion, July and August had the highest PPC conversion rates and were also the largest overall sale driving months of the year for kimonos too.
Riding the crest of the wave in terms of interest, we launched direct response campaigns across other channels too.
Social, Display & Video Creative
We launched paid social activity across Facebook and Twitter focusing around the Kimono product range. These posts performed strongly in terms of CTR and overall clicks, but also in winning the brand new followers.
Banner activity also ran across relevant networks such as Hearst, IPC and Premium female sites including Grazia, OK!, Heat, Closer and Glam, ensuring that these audiences would continually associate New Look with Kimonos.
We used two major content campaigns to build further awareness of the New Look product range - a Fashion Festival timeline and a Holiday Personality quiz. Both projects would encourage followers of New Look’s blog to engage with infographics by choosing preferred styles in order to receive personalised product recommendations.
We launched Vlogger campaigns to help increase the exposure of New Look’s product range. These user-generated campaigns boosted the impact of direct response channels by ensuring that influential fashion bloggers and vloggers were providing extra exposure to a relevant follower base and again, bringing those with an interest in the trend back to discussing New Look products specifically.
During the peak of the Kimono trend, the kimono campaign had become successful enough to be newsworthy. New Look’s success in brand association with Kimonos gained national coverage with the Guardian, the BBC, and the Daily Mail (among other publications), referencing New Look as having inspired the summer Kimono trend, selling 40,000 a week.
After accurately identifying Kimonos as a big trend for the Summer of 2014, Forward3D supported New Look across multiple channels to become market leaders for this ‘must-have’ product.
To achieve this success, New Look ran promotional activity across paid search, paid social and display, as well as placing a heavy emphasis on SEO, influencer outreach and two major content campaigns. This activity was strategically timed and scaled to maximise each channel's effectiveness as consumer interest in Kimonos emerged, grew and peaked.
This multichannel campaign was so successful that during the peak of the trend, the Guardian ran a headline of “New Look sells 40,000 kimonos a week to boost sales 9%” and credited the brand with inspiring the association of the Kimono with the 2014 Summer music festival scene.
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