See it now, buy it now, pay for it now, receive it now. The “Now Culture” is upon us; technology has enabled consumers to access products, services and information in an instant. Not only has it allowed access for consumers, it’s giving brands the opportunity to “show it now” through personalised banner adverts, emails and social media posts.
When it comes to fashion marketing, our favourite retailers are tracking our cookies, delivering dynamic banner ads and encouraging us to head back to their site and purchase those wish list items. The fashion trends of the marketing world suggest hyper-personalisation across digital experiences is an imperative consideration to increase brand loyalty and enhance the “fan experience” on every level.
The scary part is that consumer expectation is starting to transcend marketing, consumers want to be engaged and feel part of your brand; consumers want to know that you are designing products with them front of mind.
Product Development can involve customers in a number of different ways, customer involvement as an information source – surveys, feedback etc, customer involvement as co-developers, working with the brand to develop products together or customer involvement as innovators, allowing customers to personalise their products in a custom build, we’re talking BMW Mini or Nike Trainers1.
Many of us marketers struggle to deliver a personalised banner advert to the right customer at the right time, so how are we ever going to make the most of customers and data when it comes to product development?
Consumer data is increasing exponentially on a daily basis, with every social post, purchase and click online containing valuable insight into your customer preferences. With this happening for 1,000s upon 1,000s of customers how is it even possible to analyse this data in time, for personalised marketing, never mind product development.
AI gives us an answer to instantly gratify with personalised products
Luckily AI is tackling this problem. This technology is giving us as brands the ability to analyse trends in real time, match brands with influencers, determine product matches based on personality and allow consumers to find the product or service that is right for them through simple search terms.
Brands such as North Face2 are using this technology to help their customers navigate their vast product range. Macy’s3 is using AI to provide a personalised instore experience, similarly Hilton Hotels4 have introduced Connie, the robo-concierge powered by AI, to help customers with their needs whilst visiting cities around the world.
But what about using AI for product development?
Virgin Holidays5 is just one brand that has turned this into reality. They used customer emotions about holidays, documented on social media to influence the flavours required to create a new rum.
Alex Da Kid6, a UK Music producer analysed sentiment, music and culture to influence a song he wrote at the end of 2016. Even the movie business7 is interested in what AI can do for them, and created a trailer based on previous “nail biting” moments.
Imagine if you could take it one step further – showing your customers in real time that you are listening to what they’re saying and visualising this through your products…
Fashion & Tech take on tailoring at Marchesa
That’s exactly what Marchesa did.
Typically known for ‘exquisite detailing with supreme femininity’, the use of AI technology with fashion house Marchesa was a surprising partnership.
When considering the design of the dress, and with the belief that colour and images can indicate moods and send messages, Marchesa selected five key human emotions – joy, passion, excitement, encouragement and curiosity – that they wanted their dress design to convey8.
AI technology enabled the brand to showcase what they stand for in a variety of ways. As fashion is experienced through visuals, the power of photography, be it on the runway or the red carpet, is essential when identifying the key brand elements of a fashion house.
As part of the collaborative process, the technology analysed hundreds of images associated with Marchesa dresses in order to understand and learn the brand’s colour palette. Technology was also used to help pick an appropriate fabric, true to the Marchesa brand but that would also enable the final technology element of the dress come to life.
This final signature moment for Marchesa meant that the dress incorporated LED lights allowing it to change colour in real time, at the Met Gala, where the dress debuted. Through analysis of social sentiment, the LEDs changed colour in real time as the conversations unfolded throughout the course of the evening; “the idea that a dress could change colours, or that lights could come on, it has this magical component – now this is possible” – Georgina Chapman, Marchesa.
Start collaborating with your customers
This is just one example of how technology is creating unique brand experiences and taking personalisation to the next level. It’s back to the drawing board, embedding consumer and brand data into developments from day one, not just when we take products to market. As consumers we want to design it now, buy it now and experience it now – and we can – thanks to AI – reasoning, learning and understanding the vast amounts of data available.
Having seen such advancements in the fashion world, it will be intriguing to see how technology impacts during the AW17 catwalks across the world. Will other brands be bringing this magical element to their designs?
And it’s not just fashion powerhouses who can take advantage – the potential to apply AI across all industries is huge. So, as Marchesa, Virgin Holidays, Hilton Hotels and North Face take to the catwalk demonstrating how they are making the most of AI, make sure you’re not the brand that’s left backstage…
Learn more about how brands are using AI to put their customers first, and be fashion forward.