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BENCHMARKING THE DIGITAL PERFORMANCE OF LUXURY FASHION BRANDS

by Borja Bartolom Carrin, Business Development Manager, iCrossing Munich

THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY:

The majority of luxury fashion brands are aware of the importance of digital marketing presenting their collections online or streaming their catwalk shows, for example. Some are early adopters, and others are laggards, but all of them have similar handicaps that generally can be attributed to a late adoption of digital marketing. We believe CMOs of luxury brands have a major opportunity to improve their brands' digital performances by implementing a converged media strategy that combines owned, earned and paid media activities across all channels of digital marketing. Those are the conclusions of iCrossing Germany after evaluating luxury brands against five categories of connectedness: visible, useful, usable, desirable, and engaged. We examined brands included in Interbrands Best Global Brands 2012 ranking for the Luxury vertical, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Herms, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Prada and Ralph Lauren. We applied metrics established by the iCrossing global organization in a 2011 report, Building a Connected Brand: How Brands Can Become Publishers in the Real-Time Marketing World.

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

We found four common points that are still challenging for most of the brands:
LACK OF LOCALIZATION
Few brands offer their websites, online shops or social media accounts in local languages, and yet by doing that, a brand can maximise growth. A Spanish client will feel more comfortable buying online in Spanish rather than English, a Russian user would rather connect with a brand on Vkontakte instead of Facebook, and a French fan of a brand will probably prefer to read a French version of a company blog in his/her own language.

INCONSISTENT BRAND POSITIONING


Most of the brands analyzed experience problems using the same logos, images and messages across all the social media accounts. A uniform perception of a brand across all touch points is essential. A current fan of a brand on Facebook, who would like to connect with the same brand on Twitter, will probably search for the same account name on Twitter, and expects to find the same logo there.

DISENGAGED AUDIENCES DUE TO INCONSTANT ACTIVITY


The majority of brands dedicate all their efforts to the most popular social networks: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Other relevant ones, such as Instagram or Pinterest, that attract fashion savvy audiences display a low level of activity or even no presence at all. Brands should deliver relevant and engaging content on a regular basis as publishers do.

FAILURE TO OFFER A PREMIUM AND TAILOR-MADE ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE


Most of the brands eShops offer nice, but not user-friendly, designs, with high quality media to present their products, but far away from the optimization level of the travel or electronic retail industry. With their offline stores, they flourish by placing their stores in exclusive buildings and offering first rate customer service with personal advisors. They should adopt the same philosophy with their digital customers.

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

DETAILED ANALYSIS
FOCUS
At iCrossing we believe every brand should be a Connected Brand. Nowadays, to become a successful digital brand, the digital marketing strategy needs to have a key focus: the user. A Connected Brand speaks to and listens to its users, at the same time a Connected Brand engages with the users, offering them a unique digital experience. The Connectedness of a company should be seen as a high-level approach within digital marketing, using a consistent cross-channel strategy to connect with its audience.

CATEGORIES
iCrossing analyzes how brands are performing from the digital users prospective by evaluating each brand according to five categories that establish a brand as a Connected Brand: Visible, Useful, Usable, Desirable and Engaged.

BRANDS
The selection of brands includes Interbrands Best Global Brands 2012 ranking for the Luxury vertical: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Herms, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Burberry, Prada and Ralph Lauren.

COUNTRIES
The framework of this benchmark includes the top ten European countries in terms of internet population, and represents 77% of the total European internet users: Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands and Ukraine.

NETWORKS
iCrossing analyzed the performance of each brand on the three leading networks by the number of users: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; the fastest growing and most influential ones in fashion: Instagram and Pinterest; and finally, the biggest network in Eastern Europe: Vkontakte.

OVERALL RESULTS
iCrossing found that there was no relation between the performance of the analyzed brands on the Connectedness Index and their rank on the Interbrands Best Global Brands 2012 ranking. In fact, none of the top three brands in the Interbrand ranking Louis Vuitton (1), Gucci (2) and Herms (3) are among the top three positions in the Connected Brand Index.

Connected Brand Rank


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Interbrand Rank 2012


6 8 5 2 1 7 4 3

Brand
Burberry Ralph Lauren Tiffany & Co. Gucci Louis Vuitton Prada Cartier Herms

Visible
5.21 4.34 3.34 5.56 4.41 3.67 2.93 4.34

Useful
6.82 6.58 7.15 7.66 5.84 6.18 6.77 6.73

Usable
6.29 6.71 5.90 3.38 3.86 4.14 2.38 2.29

Desirable
6.48 7.90 9.19 6.38 6.14 5.62 4.10 3.71

Engaged
7.06 4.15 3.64 3.07 4.79 0.98 1.99 0.77

Overall Score
6.37 5.94 5.85 5.21 5.01 4.12 3.63 3.57

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

On the overall scores we find three high performing brands Burberry (6.37), Ralph Lauren (5.94) and Tiffany & Co. (5.85) that rank around one point above the average (4.96), followed by two brands that rank near it Gucci (5.21) and Louis Vuitton (5.01). There are three latecomers that occupy the lowest positions in the rankings, all of them scoring below the average Prada (4.12), Cartier (3.63) and Herms (3.57). Connected Brands Index: Overall Score
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Average

Burberry

Ralph Lauren

Tiffany & Co.

Gucci

Louis Vuitton

Prada

Cartier

Herms

VISIBLE
The visible score gives an idea of how present a brand is in the digital world, and how easily users can find it on the social media networks and through search engines. iCrossing analyzed onsite parameters such as the Google Page Rank, quantity of backlinks or coverage of local languages in connection with the website of each brand, as well as offsite data that includes their presence in social media networks, organic and paid search, etc. The top performers in this category are Gucci (5.56) and Burberry (5.21), thanks, in part, to the high coverage of local languages and the wide presence that they have on most of the social networks. Connected Brands Index: Visible Score
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Average

Burberry

Ralph Lauren

Tiffany & Co.

Gucci

Louis Vuitton

Prada

Cartier

Herms

iCrossing found out that all of the brands have an English, French and Spanish version of their websites, especially Gucci and Burberry, which are the brands that cover the highest number of markets (8/10). There are only three brands offering a Russian version of their global sites, and Ralph Lauren is the only one that has an official Vkontakte.com account. The rest of the brands are not officially active on this network, undervaluing its potential to connect with users and potential clients in Eastern Europe.

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

USEFUL
iCrossing analyzed how useful each brand is against two main user types: the first wants to navigate and get to know more about the brand, its new collections, or to find a retail store. The second user wants to shop online and navigate through the online shop of the brand to find out more about the new products, materials and colours; to view images; and to buy the product online. Useful is the category in which the analyzed brands had their best scores, due to the rich user experience that most of them offer on their websites and the detailed information of each collection that they display. The top performers in this category are Gucci (7.66), Tiffany & Co. (7.15) and Burberry (6.82). Connected Brands Index: Useful Score
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Average

Burberry

Ralph Lauren

Tiffany & Co.

Gucci

Louis Vuitton

Prada

Cartier

Herms

Louis Vuitton was penalised on this subcategory due to the low performance of their online shop, which lacks important information at the product page such as availability or shipping costs of the products. All the analyzed brands present their product collections with high quality images, but there is plenty of potential to improve the luxury experience, by offering a personal online shopping advisor, for example, which was a feature not found for any of the brands.

USABLE
In this category, iCrossing evaluates how good the usability of a brands website is: from a user-friendly design of the navigation menu, to the presence of a search field to find products or information in the website faster and easier. There are three brands in this category that scored higher than average (4.37) on the usability test Ralph Lauren (6.71), Burberry (6.29) and Tiffany & Co. (5.90). There is a second group of brands Prada (4.14), Louis Vuitton (3.86) and Gucci (3.38) that do not reach the average line due to common problems, such as bad structure of the navigation menu, buttons and links not being prominently displayed and shapes and colours of the design that cause the user to get lost. Connected Brands Index: Useable Score
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Average

Burberry

Ralph Lauren

Tiffany & Co.

Gucci

Louis Vuitton

Prada

Cartier

Herms

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

Ralph Lauren is the best contender (6.71) and reflects the best practices of a user-friendly design on its website and especially in the online shop, where there is an above average optimization of the eCommerce platform, and the users have all the necessary information at a glance.

DESIRABLE
The desirable score reflects how well a brand is positioned across all channels, from the website to the social media accounts. iCrossing evaluated the consistency of a brand and the way it facilitates a dialogue with the users through the design, logos, message, images and layout. Most of the brands with the exception of Cartier (4.10) and Herms (3.71) obtained a score of above 5.00. They offer an attractive design in most of the channels in which they are present, although some of them are lacking in consistency; on the name of the account and design of the logo and background, for example. Connected Brands Index: Desirable Score
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Average

Burberry

Ralph Lauren

Tiffany & Co.

Gucci

Louis Vuitton

Prada

Cartier

Herms

iCrossing noticed that only Tiffany & Co. (9.19), Ralph Lauren (7.90) and Burberry (6.48), the best performing brands in this category, were using the same logo and design for all the social media accounts and websites. The rest of the brands failed on this part of the scoring, as there were several different logos and account names among the selected accounts Herms has four different logo designs in five of the analyzed networks, and mixes the names Herms and Herms Paris in the account name of the social media accounts. Use of the same names, logos and background designs are basic points that require little effort from the digital marketing manager and strongly influence the identification of the official channel of a brand from other unofficial accounts, groups and channels.

ENGAGED
The last part of the analysis focussed on how each brand engages its audience by publishing interesting content across the social media networks, generating conversations between their fans and the brand, and doing both things regularly. iCrossings findings are in accordance with the basic principle of engaging audiences: those brands that maintain a regular activity and publish curated content are the ones that have the highest number of fans, followers or subscribers and generate more likes, shares and comments across all networks. With an average score of 3.31 points, this is without any doubt, the category that offers the greatest potential for growth and where brands should dedicate more effort to improve their presence. Burberry (7.06) is the brand with the highest score in this category due to the high fan base count that permanently engages across all the analyzed social media networks a fan share of 28% in Facebook, 46% in Twitter, 38% in YouTube, 35% in Instagram and 44% in Pinterest.

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

This dominant position of Burberry could be reduced by the rest of the mid-performing brands Louis Vuitton (4.79), Ralph Lauren (4.15), Tiffany & Co. (3.64) and Gucci (3.07) if they had a consistent strategy for all social media networks, instead of having their efforts focussed solely on Facebook or Twitter, for instance. The same can be said of Cartier (1.99), Prada (0.98) and Herms (0.77), but added to their lack of social media presence is a shortage of regular activity and engaging content. Connected Brands Index: Engaged Score
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Average

Burberry

Ralph Lauren

Tiffany & Co.

Gucci

Louis Vuitton

Prada

Cartier

Herms

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

CONCLUSION
iCrossings Connectedness Index brings to light some interesting findings. Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Herms, which occupy the top three positions on Interbrands 2012 ranking, have not yet adopted the best practices of digital marketing, and are latecomers in this environment, as are Prada and Cartier which occupy the last positions in the ranking. On the other hand, Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Tiffany & Co., which rank number 6, 8 and 5 on Interbrands rank, obtained the highest scores in the Connected Brands Index, which shows that they are aware of the influence that their online marketing activities can have on the overall performance of their brands. The most important handicap with an average score of 3.31 was found in the Engaged category. The reason for that is that most of the brands have focussed their activities on a reduced number of social media networks, most of them utilising Facebook and YouTube, whereas other important platforms that concentrate on fashion savvy audiences, such as Instagram or Pinterest, are not utilised, resulting in a brands inactivity and thus users are not engaged resulting in less followers, likes, shares, etc. Most of the brands already show compelling brand positioning and present their collections with high quality media which emphasise the value of their products in their online stores. At the same time, most of the brands are still struggling to do so by presenting user-friendly designs that make it easier for their users to find and buy the products they are searching for. There is a big opportunity for CMOs to improve their brands digital performance and become Connected Brands by implementing a converged media strategy that combines owned, earned and paid media activities across all channels of digital marketing. In addition to that, especially in the luxury sector, brands should offer premium curated content to their audiences and become publishers to best communicate the value of their collections.

STAY CONNECTED
Find out more at www.icrossing.com Call us toll-free at 866.620.3780 Follow us on twitter @icrossing and @thecontentlab Become a fan at facebook.com/icrossing

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

METHODOLOGY
iCrossings Connectedness Index analyzed more than 75 data points which define to what extent a brand is performing for each of the Connectedness categories. For that, iCrossing used a standardised scorecard that evaluates each one of the selected KPIs from 1 to 10. For those KPIs that cannot be given an exact score, the evaluation was done by benchmarking against the average score, giving ten points to the brand that owned the maximum value for the analyzed data, and the rest of brands were scored against the top performing one. All the data was collected on either 1 March 2013, or within the first week of March 2013 for the KPIs that implicate an evolution or trend.

VISIBLE
+ Existence of company blog + Local languages covered + Domain popularity + Quantity of back links + Google Page Rank + SEO, SEM and Social visibility index + Official Facebook accounts (Global & Local) + Official Twitter accounts (Global & Local) + Official YouTube accounts (Global & Local) + Official Instagram accounts (Global & Local) + Official Pinterest accounts (Global & Local) + Official Vkontakte accounts (Global & Local)

USEFUL
+ Loading speed of the website + Important information available at a glance with instructions to fill in forms / search fields + Existence of an eCommerce platform and store locator with hotline support + Product page with description, HQ media, reviews, availability, shipping and payment terms + Breadcrumbs to orient the user and a visible shopping cart in all the main categories and subcategories

USABLE
+ User-friendly design with well-structured navigation menus + Main categories and subcategories being differentiated and links/buttons prominently displayed + Consistent look of the links, different from the rest of the content + Locations, shapes and colours in use, helping orient the user + Form fields and interactive elements logically placed

DESIRABLE
+ Consistent brand positioning, language, images, layout and general design in the website and across all channels and platforms + Facilitating and inviting dialogue between the brand and the user / customer + Home and product pages integrating social media links to increase sharing

ENGAGED
+ Facebook: fans, fans growth, followers, own posts, user posts, comments, shares, likes, talking about, engagement rate + Twitter: tweets, followers growth, following, re-tweets, engagement rate + YouTube: channel views, uploaded video views, subscribers + Instagram: uploaded photos, followers, following + Pinterest: followers, boards, following, pins, likes, engagement rate

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

APPENDIX
Presence in social media networks (1 March 2013) Brand
Ralph Lauren Burberry Louis Vuitton Gucci Herms Tiffany & Co. Prada Cartier

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Instagram

Pinterest

Vkontakte


Facebook: Share of fans
(1 March 2013)

x x
Facebook: Fans growth
(1 - 8 March 2013)

x x x x x x x

Burberry Louis Vuitton Gucci Ralph Lauren Tiffany & Co. Prada Cartier Herms Louis Vuitton Gucci Ralph Burberry Herms Tiffany Lauren & Co. Prada Cartier

Facebook: Quantity of shares


(1 - 8 March 2013)
15,000 12,000 9,000 6,000 3,000 0

Facebook: Quantity of likes


(1 - 8 March 2013)

Burberry Tiffany & Co.

Louis Vuitton

Ralph Lauren

Gucci

Prada

Herms Cartier

Burberry Tiffany Louis Ralph & Co. Vuitton Lauren

Gucci

Prada Herms Cartier

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

Facebook: Quantity of comments


(1 - 8 March 2013)

Twitter: Share of follwers


(1 March 2013)

Burberry Gucci Louis Vuitton Tiffany & Co. Ralph Lauren Cartier Ralph Burberry Louis Tiffany Lauren Vuitton & Co. Gucci Prada Herms Cartier Prada, Herms

Twitter: Followers growth


(1 - 8 March 2013)

Twitter: Quantity of retweets


(1 - 8 March 2013)

Burberry Cartier

Gucci

Ralph Lauren

Prada Tiffany Herms Louis & Co. Vuitton

Tiffany Burberry Prada Louis Cartier Herms & Co. Vuitton

Gucci

Ralph Lauren

YouTube: Share of subscribers


(1 March 2013)

YouTube: Quantity of video views


(1 March 2013, in Millions)

Burberry Louis Vuitton Cartier Prada Gucci Ralph Lauren Tiffany & Co. Herms Cartier Louis Burberry Ralph Vuitton Lauren Prada Tiffany & Co. Gucci Herms Millions

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THE CONNECTED BRANDS INDEX, GERMANY

JUNE 2013

YouTube: Quantity of channel views


(1 March 2013, in Millions)

Instagram: Share of followers


(1 March 2013)

Burberry Gucci Tiffany & Co. Louis Vuitton Ralph Lauren Prada Herms, Cartier Cartier Burberry Louis Tiffany Herms Prada Vuitton & Co. Ralph Lauren Gucci

Instagram: Quantity of uploaded photos


(1 March 2013)

Pinterest: Share of followers


(1 March 2013)

Burberry Louis Vuitton Ralph Lauren Gucci Herms Cartier Prada, Tiffany & Co. Burberry Ralph Tiffany Lauren & Co. Gucci Louis Vuitton Prada Herms Cartier

Pinterest: Quantity of Pins


3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0

(1 March 2013)

Cartier

Prada

Louis Vuitton

Ralph Burberry Gucci Lauren

Herms Tiffany & Co.

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