Be human or go home! These words seem to resonate with consumers these days. Although fashion (technological) advancement and its increased adoption thereof may seem to threaten the importance of human interactions, it is most certainly not the goal. The aim of technology is to facilitate the lifestyle of mankind by helping people stay connected irrespective of physical location or difference in time zones. Through the use of technology, consumers are now able to form deep connections with a fashion brand. Different from the past, it now matters less where you are physically and geographically. In fact, with access to technology, you can now connect with virtually.anyone, carry out complex research and make purchasing decisions in the blink of an eye.
Technology is undoubtedly the new way of living. Hence, lifestyle brands must now look to technology to show the brand’s human side. In order for a brand to survive today, it must have a well-developed site and direct to consumer relationship. As COVID-19 has swept across the globe and forced people to work from home, it has pushed brands to connect their technology with the human side.
Technology is not a one-sided solution
When intelligent personal assistants such as Siri by Apple and Alexa by Amazon were created, the idea was to help people interact with their devices, get stuff done quickly and easily. These tools have helped people enjoy better digital experiences at home or office. Despite all of this, lifestyle brands must now look beyond the experience their products create for people, to seek out ways they can use technology to connect more deeply and show that they care for the people. Consumers will always prefer to do business with brands they know, trust and more importantly, relate to.
Technology does not only provide tools for lifestyle brands to advertise their products, it also provides tools that would help brands display their human side. When properly deployed these tools help brands connect to the humans their products or services seek to serve.
The tides have changed
Now, more than ever, the need for fashion brands to diversify the use of technology cuts across all sectors, especially brands that deal with lifestyle products. Fashion entrepreneur, Tania Caringi, believes that social networks have revolutionized the fashion world with consumers having a means of contributing their opinions and calling the shots.
Fashion brands can now hear (loud and clear) what the customers are thinking in real time. On the fashion industry’s timeline, this is known as a customer-centric time. Consumers now are quite vocal about how they feel the brand (product ) may need to move forward. More than ever, luxury fashion brands are taking advantage of technology to showcase and market their products offerings. According to a Fashion Network report in May 2019, Italian luxury fashion brand Versace topped the social media ranking at the Met Gala for a second time in a row. Such a feat helps brands stay in touch with their human side while remaining top-of-mind with their target market.
Recent studies have proved that not only are consumers comfortable (window) shopping online, they are also ready and willing to purchase over the internet – this is the new norm. By increasing the value and impact of their online presence, luxury brands are able to show their human side, gain brand loyalty and achieve success.
Now, when I log onto developed fashion sites, I can easily start interacting with a brand whereas in the past there was a virtual wall. It’s as if the consumer is in the store with a sales person. Luxury lifestyle brands such as Gucci are seen on social media creating engaging content. The Gucci Official page is literally a work of art, with tons of 2D animated clips and beautifully executed photography projects. All of these accompanied by clear and concise captions that lead to both sales and enhanced brand perception.
Before now, conversations between brands and their customers/prospects was largely a one way affair, with the brands doing the talking and the customers listening. But in 2020, this has all changed. Beyond websites/blogs, fashion brands showcase their products and share educational tips —on how to use their products. Moreover, advancement in culture as influenced by technology, has mandated brands to open social media accounts.
Through these accounts, lifestyle brands are forced to take up human personas. For example, when a client makes an inquiry through a comment on a post, the brand is expected to respond in the most humane way possible.
According to a report, in August 2016 Mercedes ran a photoshoot in Germany to promote their AMG range. The official photographs from the shoot were breath-taking, with dramatic mountains and starry skies. But what gave this shoot an unexpected twist was the ‘behind the scenes’ footage captured to create an Instagram Story.
Mercedes went further by introducing their producer and giving people a glimpse of the effort that goes into their productions. This approach is what all lifestyle brands must embrace. With technology, it is a lot easier for lifestyle brands to be human. In fact, consumers now expect to see the brand DNA.
Technology to the rescue
Part of being human is having and showing empathy to others. The products and services offered by lifestyle brands are essential to the survival of people. People need these products whether it is for entertainment, leisure, prestige or as a necessity. It is therefore, empathy for brands to embrace technological solutions that make it easier and safe for people to access their products or services.
Online security using VPN
With increased online presence and payment processing options, the activities of cyber criminals are on the rise. Lifestyle brands must therefore do all they can to guarantee the safety of their customers.
This is where the VPN service comes in; offering to protect you and your customers online. For iOS users, Switcherry VPN is a very fast VPN Proxy that gives a seamless experience with no advertising. And unlike other service providers, they don’t restrict daily or monthly traffic, nor do they keep any record of websites visited and files downloaded. In case you are wondering, a virtual private network (VPN) is a series of virtual connections routed over the internet which encrypts data as it travels back and forth between client machine and the internet resources being used, such as web servers. This is a tool that ensures the safety of online users.
Farewell to foreign exchange barriers
Blockchain technology has come to stay and brands will soon have to embrace the possibilities that it offers. With the help of digital money, a fellow in the Middle East can buy the Jackie 1961 bag from Gucci for his wife without any exchange hassles.
Smart advertising solution
Consumers log-in online for many reasons, mostly for social connections and fun entertainment. When a fashion brand becomes too obsessive with marketing online, it more than often becomes a turn off for customers. To be truly human, lifestyle brands need to respect people’s time and privacy. With smart advertising, it is easier for lifestyle brands to track her best performing advertising campaigns, giving them a better idea of where to focus their efforts.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been talking with fashion brands everyday about advertising and marketing solutions moving forward. SaTT, the smart advertising transaction token, seeks to help monetize and quantify the performance of social media posts through a more advanced method. Technology is truly changing how lifestyle brands connect with their human side.
These days, many fashion brands are saying— sharing is caring. Sharing helps to strengthen the worth of human collective co-existence. With the sharing economy, humans can achieve much more. In my research and speaking with my fellow professors at The Fashion Institute of Technology, I found that in the fashion business, the platforms built for sharing are of great interest to large-scale fashion companies. The issue with most sharing economy is the reward system for participants. To tackle this, Fintech Firm Time Coin Protocol has built a decentralized sharing economy protocol using the EOS blockchain. TimeCoinProtocol provides a platform on which to build a fairer sharing economy.
And when I looked at fashion on the trading floor, it has changed drastically as well. I attended a forum at FIT to explain how this all works. In short, the business of cryptocurrency trading is dependent on fluctuations in rate, leaving traders at the mercy of the split second decisions. Every trader is wondering, ‘should I buy now? Should I sell?’ Crypto Accelerator, is the world’s first independent crowd-focused mining platform. The goal of the brand is to provide users with a successful on the go trading experience. Through this crowd-driven mining platform, users can relax assured that whatever the rate – high or low, they would earn.
With the help of technology, lifestyle fashion brands are connecting more with their human side, forming deeper bonds with her customers and building brand loyalty. Just by focusing more on the human side, any brand can rise to her fullest potential, powered by technology.