By focusing on individual influencers and local culture, H&M has positioned themselves as more than just an international fast-fashion brand. Creative content marketing offers their customers a multitude of chic perspectives, and sets the brand ahead of the ever-changing sartorial curve.
The digital fashion space is filled with rich content, and brands from Calvin Klein to Kmart are creating and promoting their brands through videos, blog posts, photo galleries and social media.
One brand in particular has successfully fused clothing and character together via multimedia, and that’s Swedish clothing manufacturer, H&M. Their digital content publication, H&M Life, serves as an online source for the latest trends in fashion, culture, and, of course, all things H&M.
Below are four ways in which H&M has successfully built their latest content marketing campaign and relevant tips you can take away from it:
1. Focus on the client, not just the brand
Knowing that the typical H&M customer values on-trend fashion at low prices, H&M Life highlights the work of higher-end brands such as Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent in addition to Brooklyn-based street wear line RHLS, or Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snotty. In doing so, H&M demonstrates their unique viewpoint, rather than simply hawking their independently designed wares. Although H&M is inexpensive and accessible, that doesn’t mean their audience eschews expensive, exclusive clothing.
With inclusive content and regular in-store collaborations with high-end designers like Maison Martin Margiela and now Isabel Marant, H&M positions their brand as one with overarching style. Their customer is chiefly interested in accessibility, but not to the detriment of luxurious ideals. Their content conveys an understanding of their audience, and an appreciation for the world of fashion that extends far beyond their brand.
2. Assemble a roster of influential tastemakers
The latest issue of H&M Life features Elodie Russo of Elle Yeah, Bonnie Barton of Flashes of Style and Celia Ellenberg, of Style.com. These women are respected voices in the fashion community with access to engaged, knowledgeable audiences.
When Elodie Russo posted about her recent H&M Life feature, with a list of her favorite items, both her personal brand and H&M’s corporate identity gained clout. Both brands benefit. Elodie’s voice is confirmed as influential, while H&M gains authenticity as an enabler of young, well-respected fashion insiders.
Partnering with bloggers and editors is content marketing in and of itself, since the creators and collaborators multiply a brand’s audience and increase the “shareability” of their content. An individual article can take on a life of it’s own, but it will always connect back to H&M Life, amplifying the brand’s voice in a positive light.
3. Procure engagement through added value
H&M provides an editorial experience that gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at their production process. We’ve come to expect these “bonus features” from DVDs or On Demand television, but here they provide added value in the form of what feels like exclusive content.
This added layer deepens the consumer’s connection with the brand’s identity, showing us how the creative minds behind H&M make their decisions and execute their ideas. Plus, it’s an easy way to include more content without the worry of incremental cost or resources, since it can be created at the same time as the final product. Remember, the act of content creation is often interesting in and of itself.
4. Consider varied audiences and interests
Leaning on their multi-faceted brand roots, H&M reports on bike trends in Miami and futuristic fashion in Brooklyn. Although H&M sells the same clothes in cities all over the world, the content they produce shows that they recognize and appreciate locality. It speaks to their interest in the world at large, and appeals to the individual personalities and interests of their consumers.
Learning curve: Whereas other commercial editorial sites prioritize elegant (Net-a-Porter’s “The Edit”) or fun (Alice + Olivia) web design, H&M seems to have created a cluttered page. Exploring isn’t enjoyable; it’s more like flipping through file folders to find the right one, which detracts from user experience. Especially when Pinterest has become a go-to format, H&M’s site seems outdated and difficult. It’s functional, not beautiful.
Though they could do better on design, H&M has compiled interesting, varied content, showing a mass-market fashion brand can be both accessible and smart.