Michel Campan, Director, Client Marketing at Christian Dior Couture
Michel Campan offered a fascinating and surprising look behind the scenes of one of Dior’s major social media initiatives. He showed part of a short film, The Lady Noir Affair, whose screenplay and plot were written by fashion bloggers, and it starred Marion Cotillard and was directed by Olivier Dahan. Amazingly, the cost was roughly that of a (print) advertisement in a major publication. However, the engagement with people who matter cannot be compared.
Michel has represented numerous luxury brands, and he was voted by peers as the “E-Commerce Man of the Year” in France last year, so he speaks from a broad perspective. Dior’s haute couture clientele is conservative, prizes discretion and interacts very little in social networks; however, they do appreciate the points of view of fashion bloggers who provide behind the scenes tidbits of emerging trends. Therefore, Dior gives bloggers exclusive or restricted information to share, which drives traffic to their blogs and increases enagement with the brand. Dior’s success in creating mutually rewarding relationships with bloggers drove them to take it to another level with The Lady Noir Affair.
When Dior decided to make Lady Noir, they reached out to a select group of bloggers who were highly engaged and well read. They explained the concept and asked them to weave the Hitchcockian story which, of course, highlighted the Lady Dior bag. Cotillard and Dahan loved the story and the process, too. When the six minute film came out, it created tremendous viral buzz (200,000 mentions in the first week). It was one of the first Internet feature films produced by a major luxury fashion brand.
Getting Support for Social Network Initiatives
- Introducing social networking to Dior and other brands with which Michel has worked has not been easy because fashion is a very conservative industry. It has been challenging to open it up using social networks.
- Fashion executives prize their trusted relationships with editors and advertising executives of major media brands, and the lack of control that characterizes Web 2.0 makes them hesitant to adopt.
- Fashion is a very emotional industry. Michel gets things done by using a personal approach and networking with executives’ personal influencers (let’s just say an influential younger generation ,^). Don’t underestimate the option of approaching highly trusted influencers.
- Michel has tried to use a quantitative approach to building support for social network initiatives, but he stated definitively that the numbers approach does not work, no matter how well researched or presented.
- It is difficult to convince management to let go of yesterday’s conventional thinking and ways of working because the company has succeeded with the old way.
- One challenge is that “the old way” has diminishing returns; Michel related that social media is becoming more influential and it is the only marketing investment that is increasing; it is very promising, and the investment is modest compared to legacy approaches (print, television).
That said, I’m sure that the success of Lady Noir will certainly go a long way in demonstrating the value of social networking! Three more installments in the series are in the works (Lady Rouge Affair due Christmas).