To understand the integrated communication approach, we need to know the main areas of action where to build the brand’s communication strategy. Today we share practical aspects and tools for fashion and lifestyle businesses.

A brand must have a communications roadmap to fulfill its purpose, a systematic message and appropriate tone aiming to connect with customers building awareness in the long-term. Communication frameworks are essential to integrate all possible tools to release our brand’s message. 

Communications are related to sales, however, sales are not their primary objective. When we think about action, leads, and tactics, we are talking about marketing. When we deal with reputation, perception, and dialogue, that is communications’ territory. Each of them requires our attention and creativity to get the best from both worlds.  

“Phygital” strategies, employer branding, transmedia, and corporate social responsibility activities, have become crucial pillars to develop a significant and coherent global brand message. If we build our brand communication according to immediate results, we are starting with the wrong foot. 

Communication Strategy and the Brand’s Value Equation

Branding and business identity are beyond daily communication activities. It requires top management involvement to shape and determine a brand’s expression and tone according to the values and the brand’s personality. It is a change of perspective from a traditional communications point of view. If we see the brand as a financial asset – the most important intangible to preserve- investing on it and creating a network of influence will increase brand’s value, whether might be through brand culture or brand’s associations.  

For example, according to Statista, Chanel’s brand value amounted to “13.7B US dollars, an increase of more than two billion in the previous year”, a great performance for the French luxury brand despite the pandemic, and a strong proof of a distinctive style (some of it under trademark) that is paying off. 

Another case of significant brand value related to a communications strategy, is Tiffany & Co., LVMH’s latest acquisition for an amount of 14.7B Euros. The transaction included intangible assets which are essential to the core business. For instance, colour trademark, an item included in the 5.8B US dollars brand valuation, according to Brand Finance. 

For Tiffany & Co. “the iconic robin’s-egg blue hue known around the world today as Tiffany Blue® has been synonymous with the luxury house since the iconic Tiffany Blue Box® debuted”. The colour, “1837 Blue,” named after Tiffany’s founding year is a fundamental part of the brand, as well as its communication strategy. As stated by The Fashion Law “it is undeniable that the colour has played an integral role in helping Tiffany & Co. to achieve the status of one of the valuable jewellery brands in the world…Tiffany has not only “monopolized” a colour for itself, as many publications assert, but has monetized it in a big way”.

Brand Communication Areas: Tools and Activities to Deliver Our Message

A practical brand’s framework regarding the integrated communication approach is useful to oversee and to have “the big picture”. Below you can find seven areas of action where you can apply ideas to in order to set up a strategy:

  1. Corporate Communications: all communication efforts are about the brand explaining itself. Think about creating an “About Us” page, crafting a particular brand story to tell, designing Corporate Social Responsible activities, creating a communication campaign through brand values and personality. Cartier for example, has created well-remembered video campaigns regarding its heritage.
  2. Product Stories & Services: in fashion, the product itself communicates a lot. You can communicate the collection development, inspiration, product attributes, product services or benefits, customers want practical information. Think of Stella McCartney’s vegan leather made in partnership with Mylo Unleather; the firm developed an alternative material to leather made from mycelium (the roots of mushrooms), essential information to communicate. 
  3. Traditional Promotion: any brand can rely on classical tools for communication, such as, advertising, point of purchase materials, visual merchandising, and runways. Having new channels does not mean traditional ones will no longer work. Tangible events are what clients are waiting for, besides getting back to stores to live an experience.
  4. Press and PR: dealing with magazines and online media outlets in our strategy can bring status and reinforce our brand positioning. If we develop newsworthy editorial content or information, and partner with the right channels, we will be able to build a strong reputation that will serve the brand’s interest. PR can be a smart tool, using key people relationships, making celebrity endorsements, giving wardrobe loans and setting ambassadors, can all make our brand desirable for the audience. 
  5. Social Media: a field in a constant transformation and evolution. The social media landscape integrates the best way to reach our client base closely. It gives us the capacity to listen to what they are saying, what they want, what they care about. Whether it is by text, photo, video, giveaway, ephemeral content, engaging with communities, it is mandatory for any brand in the digital age. Think of the Telfar social media channels. Designer Telfar Clemens created a strong bond with the African-American community in New York through social media campaigns and star products; his number one hit “The Telfar Bag”, or “The Bushwick Birkin” as the press has dubbed it, always sold out. 

The consistent brand communication approach used effectively and efficiently, can deliver a wide range of positive outcomes. Integrating tools and messages across the communications strategy strengthens its position, and serves its purpose in a holistic way. Brands and strategists must prepare for a more integrated future.