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Data Done Differently: London Fashion Week Audience Research


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6 min

Digital Analytics

Building an Audience Persona with Custom Audience Research

I love London Fashion Week. It’s one of my favorite events of the year. The event is a great celebration of European fashion blending creativity and culture. Like most events this year, they’ve created a “digital first” version with an awesome line up of designers and brands. This years’ fashion event will be focused on environment, people and community, and craftsmanship. I explored the world of fabulous fashionistas to show a glimpse of how you can use audience research to uncover more about your target audience in this London Fashion Week themed Data Done Differently blog. Building an audience persona is something you should be doing for all of your core brand audiences. For those who are new to audience personas —> a persona helps craft the specific behaviors, affinities, demographics, and other information in a consolidated profile. Where do you start? Here are five key questions you should answer to separate your audience targeting and build better brand personas (using data from our enterprise partner, Global Web Index):

Before you dive into all the types of affinities and behaviors that make your audience unique you need to define who this audience is. In this case, we’ve defined a “fashionista” as someone who buys clothes and shoes even if they don’t “need them” AND has purchased a luxury/designer brand item at least every six months. You want to separate some key behaviors that represent your audience as a starting point for your audience research. This will include some preliminary baseline research to help you define your audience. In some cases this will be very straight forward and in other cases you’ll want a deeper set of criteria to define your audience.

For those who are new to audience personas: a persona helps craft the specific behaviors, affinities, demographics, and other information in a consolidated profile. Where do you start?

1. What are their affinities?

First, find out what they like and the interests in which they over-index. In other words, what do they do more than the average person? This can not only help you inform your audience targeting but will allow you to better understand your audience for content development. For fashionistas, I found some things that were surprising and others that seemed like natural fits like photography (126x), personal health care (111x), beauty & cosmetics (164x), dance (166x), and urban & modern art (170x). I was surprised at the significance of the economy, technology, and investments to this audience. They over-index for the economy (115x), technology (133x), and investments (132x) significantly more than the average Internet user.

As you’ll see later, sustainability and environment is a clear theme throughout for this audience who cares deeply about how a brand prioritizes social issues and the environment at large, which extends to many environmental affinities and behaviors. Sustainable fashion is likely to be very important to this group and something you should be talking about and prioritizing.

One of my favorite checks within Global Web Index is to see how they compare to the persona you are developing and collect food for thought about other potential interests and persona criteria. Fashionistas are most comparable to the following personas: gig workers, parents, social fashionistas (check!), culture vultures, and business travelers.

2. What are their most frequent behaviors?

Now let’s go a step further and look at their most frequently done behaviors and activities. Again I found some that weren’t surprising - shopping (140x), fashion and clothing (185x), exercise and getting fit (108x), and healthy food and drinks (149x). But some others that were interesting like they clearly love to travel (101x), want to volunteer (162x), and over-index for tech and investment related activities such as mobile payment services (120x), tech podcasts (267x), and smart homes (182x). They also significantly over-index for food/drink festivals, comedy podcasts, and music podcasts (over 170x). They find shopping and browsing for new products enjoyable, and free shipping with an easy returns policy is a must.

I went a little deeper on some travel behaviors and found some of their favorite travel brands. They use Expedia, Airbnb, and most often for travel. Preferred hotels are Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt and they like to use American Airlines, Delta, or United Airlines to fly. This type of information can be good for building future partnerships and choosing programmatic websites to display future ads to your target audience.

There are so many ways you can use affinity and behavior data for content development and audience targeting overall - especially if you have an interest-based paid media approach - but this can help narrow your audience into five key behaviors and affinities they consume. For fashionistas, they clearly are linked to travel, technology, health & wellness, environment/social causes, and art.

3. What are the top channels they use?

Channel behaviors and affinities can tell you a lot about which channels you should prioritize, your digital pecking order, and the type of content you should create. Fashionistas are active social media users with 63% of the audience spending at least one hour on social media daily. The top social media channels are led by Facebook/Instagram with an 147x on Instagram followed by Twitter (156x), Snapchat (177x), Pinterest (142x), and TikTok (181x). They want to be entertained with top social media behaviors outside of connecting with friends and family, watching viral/funny clips, music videos, or memes.

Fashionistas are active and engaged social media users who use less established and more video-focused channels like Snapchat and TikTok to watch and engage with video content. 42% of people on Instagram (and 23% of Snapchatters) watch video content above any other social action on the platform. 23% use Pinterest for style, clothing, and fashion inspiration. They aren’t just simply watching videos on TikTok either. They are liking and commenting on video more than any other action (168x more than the average Internet user).

Proof that social media needs to be a big focus of your strategy and approach, and channel behavior provides context of how you should design your channel strategy for this audience.

4. What are the key demographics among your audience?

You’ll want to breakdown gender, geography, income, and age to help set baselines for how you should target. Many think of fashionistas as “females” and even I was surprised to find out how evenly distributed fashionistas are between males and females with 47% female and 53% male. So if you were thinking a female focused strategy would work, the data would say that would be a mistake. This is one of the benefits of doing audience research challenging pre-conceived assumptions with data to actually prove if they are right. Your gut can be wrong.

The audience trends young with the largest age group aged 25-34 (32%) and people aged 16-44 representing 78% of the potential audience size. 153x are considered to be a high income bracket so not surprisingly you’ll want to focus on high income people (people who can actually spend disposable income on high end fashion brands). Unfortunately, we were not able to look at US vs. European (as this data set is only for the US) but we were able to breakdown the top US DMAs for fashionistas which were found (not surprisingly) to be: NY & LA. However, the following DMAs were right behind them: Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta. Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami, San Francisco, and Orlando round out the top 10 geo demos for fashionistas. For media targeting this information can be helpful to determine priority DMAs and inform any location specific messaging.

5. What top brands do they like?

Determining brand affinities can provide alternative competitors you hadn’t thought of before and provide a list of qualities and traits your target audience wants in a brand (and make sure you are doing those things). Fashionistas discover brands either from ads, TV commercials, or social media most frequently, and they want brands to be “smart”, “authentic”, and “cool”. Initiatives most important to them are: being socially responsible, improving day-to-day life, feeling valued, listening to feedback, and reducing environmental impact. Again, sustainability and social issues are quite clearly top of mind and things you should be prioritizing as a fashion brand looking to connect with fashionistas.

Top luxury fashion brands they are buying from: Calvin Klein, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Coach.

Audience research and building audience personas is a critical part of the digital strategy process and can be impactful for many parts of your marketing program. Knowing your audience to break through a very noisy digital conversation in a quickly changing digital environment requires a deep understanding of trends and audience behavior. Ask us about our proprietary Digital M.A.P.P.S. process to understand trends and audiences better.

*This data was built using a custom fashionista audience created by Ingram Digital Consulting and powered from Global Web Index.*

Digital Analytics
Digital Research
Audience Research
Megan Ingram

June 4, 2021