Post Apocalypse Opportunity: Sharing Control of Your Brand

Assuming the world doesn’t end as predicted by the Mayan calendar later this month, the additional time could serve as an opportunity to rethink how you position and promote your brand post 12/21.

The Gap has launched a new initiative called Styld.by, which leverages the talents and influence of the blogging community to promote its new clothing line.

According to Scott Symonds, managing director-media at AKQA, “So rather than trying to push out a message, we create something distributed instead.” Symonds continued in a recent Ad Age interview, “The driving force is the strategic insight.”

The Gap selected 6 of the most popular internet fashion bloggers: Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, FabSugar, Lookbook, Rue and MOG, which prior to the campaign already combined to have almost 1,000,000 visitors per month.

According to Katherine Leonard from lonelybrand, “Fashion bloggers with a small following and similar tastes are growing more and more appealing because they are easier to identify with than fashion magazines or celebrity icons.”

Leonard continued, “Each partner styled looks using items from the Gap’s Spring 2012 line as the basics, which they then complemented with items from other brands. The philosophy here is that normal people don’t dress head-to-toe in one brand, so why not be realistic and create eclectic outfits generated from different stores, eras and price ranges.”

Embracing the Obvious

People not dressing from head to toe in one brand is hardly a revolutionary concept, unless of course you’re a brand manager at the Gap considering a proposal from AKQA to allow bloggers to combine your clothes with clothes from other retailers.

Symonds continued, “For Gap, the brand wanted to regain style authority and positive trendiness … and Gap needed a way to rediscover it.”  By proactively working with bloggers, the Gap created something that would have  been impossible for the brand to generate on its own. Rather than pushing out a message with a targeted buy, the new line ended up being  distributed through a trusted network that co-creates a sense of style and drives sales.

This opportunity is certainly not limited to retailers. As Symonds sees it, “Now, the rise of social has created this awareness of sharing control of your brand with those supporters and evangelists. It doesn’t mean every brand has to let go of control, but it does mean you need to figure out your ‘distributed’ position and how to work with brand evangelists positively.”

The holiday book is a great time to think creatively about your brand and marketing strategy for the upcoming year. Do you know the bloggers in your format or market who are most influential to your audience? How about the listeners who are already regularly talking about your station?

Our playbook workshops are a great way to develop internal strategy, accountability and measurement to generate awareness and engagement amongst the listeners who drive ratings and revenue. For more information, contact Andrew Curran, COO, DMR/Interactive.

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