Before an event takes place it is vital that there is a marketing strategy in place in order to promote the event to the target audience. Marketers need to seize every opportunity before an event takes place to build relationships, generate goodwill and earn the trust of prospective buyers and customers (Legal, 2016).
Over recent years, social media has been used actively for advertising events and businesses and has been said to increase brand awareness and therefore increase sales. According to HubSpot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites (DeMers, 2014). Social media marketing also has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing and therefore having an active social media site for the event will help promote and encourage involvement (DePhillips, 2010).
GFW currently has active social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Vimeo, Email, Linkd in and Pinterest. It is important for GFW to have active accounts across all social channels because the event needs to be promoted in as many ways as possible so it can reach a wider audience and needs to be regularly interacting with its followers. All of these accounts are active however some are more effective than others. Therefore, before the event all of these accounts will feature images and videos in order to promote the event. Primary research has also shown that majority of the target market have heard about GFW through social media and therefore shows that this is the best way to promote the event.
Instagram will be the main platform within social media to advertise GFW 2017 because there are more than 400 million active users on Instagram every month and everyday 3.5 billion photos are liked (marketer and marketing, 2013). Engagement with brands on Instagram is also 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest and 84 times higher than Twitter (37 interesting Instagram facts for 2016, 2016). There is an official GFW Instagram account which currently has over 18,200 followers and posts images and videos frequently throughout the year and this will instantly engage with its followers. Instagram will be used to post frequent pictures and videos leading up to the event to help promote it and to try and gain more followers. Primary research has also shown that over 60% of people who completed the survey use Instagram most out of any other social media account. This again shows why Instagram will as the main part of the GFW 2017 strategy.
Snapchat will be another one of the main social media accounts used as a GFW marketing strategy as it has 100 million daily users and 45% are 13-24 years olds and this is within GFW’s main target market. It will also be used as within the app there are 7 billion videos viewed per day (Fontein and Hootsuite, 2016) and according to Vidyard (2016), 70% of marketers claim video produces more conversations than any other content. Therefore, snapchat will be used for the lead up to the event to provide exclusive daily videos and pictures of the setting up of the event to generate conversations within the public to help increase awareness. Primary research has also shown that 28 out of 53 people who took part in social media use snapchat the most out of any other social media account and therefore shows that is it a popular form of social media and that is why it will be used for the GFW 2017 strategy.
Hashtags are also a good way to get people engaging with the event before it has taken place. The official GFW hashtag is ‘#wearegraduatefashion’ and currently has 2,705 posts. Hashtags are a major way of how users will be able to find GFW through online searches and individuals can see a 100% increase by using them (Written and Lee, 2015). Using the GFW hashtag on all forms of social media and any other form of advertising makes it unique to the event and enables users to feel more connected.
Gaining sponsors for GFW is important as it is an effective way of boosting visibility of the event. Because GFW is also a charity event it is important for them to gain sponsors in order to keep the event running and make it successful. According to Hackley (2010) Growth in sponsorship has been rapid over the past three decades. The sum spent on sponsorship in the UK rose from £105 million in 1982 to £781 million in 2001 and the growth has continued. This is why sponsors will be used for the GFW strategy as it is important because it is a charity event and will help to raise money and market it.
Associating and using celebrities for events can be seen as an effective marketing strategy. However, they can cost an event a vast amount of money (Yunos, 2013). Using celebrities for marketing works out to be extremely effective as it attracts paparazzi and it means the event can connect with the celebrities following to increase its own. Research states that sales will likely increase by 4% (on average) after signing a celebrity (Bradic, 2015). Therefore celebrities will be used for GFW in order to help boost awareness and popularity of the event by them promoting it on social media.
Over the past couple of years, bloggers and digital influences have reshaped the fashion and beauty landscape down to the boom of social media. Unknown individuals are now becoming ‘tastemakers’ (WGSN, 2016) and creating their own personal style blogs and have even created their own brands through this. According to FashionBeautyMonitor.com “57% of survey respondents say they have an Influencer Marketing strategy in place” and this is only going to increase.
Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) will be able to easily contact these influencers and use them to their advantage to promote the event for 2017. This is because recently, brand-driven advertising has had a sharp decline and now consumers prefer the opinion of trusted individuals and influencers (Bardic, 2015). As a result, GFW’s target market and more will be reached through these influencers as they will be giving their ‘authentic’ and trusted opinion of the event.
Image C shows a table of fashion influencers that will be used to promote GFW 2017. These have been chosen because of their large followings on social media and because they are UK based and therefore easier to contact and within budget. Both females and males have been chosen so the event appeals to a wider audience. Primary research has shown that 70% of people who answered a questionnaire about GFW follow bloggers on social media which again shows how popular fashion influencers are.