An Inside Look at Alexander Wang’s Playful, Inclusive Social Strategy
With over 6 million social media followers, designer fashion brand Alexander Wang maintains an irreverent, playful, and authentic personality across their social channels. “We like to say that we take our work seriously, but not ourselves,” says social media manager Brooke Bunce, previously of Coveteur and Fuse TV. “The same sort of attitude comes through in our social.”
The brand is most active on Instagram, where eye-catching images are always appreciated, but they also have a presence on Twitter and Facebook. “I like to think of Twitter as a conversation, Facebook as information, Instagram Stories as a short-term narrative, and Instagram as a visual narrative,” says Bunce. When thinking about how Alexander Wang content fits on each platform, “you really have to study your specific audience on each platform and analyze what they want. Sometimes it comes down to choosing a one-word ‘thesis statement’ for each.”
Because AW is a global brand marketing to customers across the world, they also have two Chinese social media platforms, Weibo and WeChat. The content there is “highly specific and targeted for our audience on the other side of the globe.” The AW strategy on those platforms has been a bit of trial-and-error, but Bunce says the successes have led to a more effective strategy overall.
“If (one strategy) doesn’t work, you can build on an idea and try again.
The nature of social is ever-evolving.”
Trial-and-error, like in the case of Weibo and WeChat, is something the Alexander Wang brand embraces. When considering new platforms, they look at how brands and audiences are already using them, but they’re not afraid to carve their own path and try something new. “One huge advantage to working in social media is that you can try new things with relatively low risk,” explains Bunce. “If it doesn’t work, you can build on an idea and try again. The nature of social is ever-evolving, and luckily, our memory is short.” It’s still important, however, to factor in the limitations of your social media resources, and not to get caught up in the pressure to try every new platform. “There isn’t any harm in stepping back and making sure it’s the right fit for your brand,” says Bunce.
One new platform that has been an exceptional fit for the AW brand is Instagram Stories. It enhances their coverage of runway shows and events and helps them give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the brand. “Stories has recently been a chance for us to explore parts of our identity that wouldn’t necessarily live permanently on our other social media channels,” explains Bunce, who has extensive experience using social media at live events from her past roles working in journalism and entertainment.
“To stay ahead of the curve, you have to
give people a perspective they won’t find anywhere else.”
“The key thing to keep in mind (when using social at events) is what you can offer people that they can’t find anywhere else.” Bunce advises giving your audience “inside access” to achieve social success at live events. “These days, anyone attending an event with a smartphone can show outsiders what it’s like. To stay ahead of the curve, you really have to give people a perspective they won’t find anywhere else.” She suggests putting yourself in the viewer’s shoes. If you were sitting at home, wishing you were at the event, what would you want to see or engage with? Tailor your event strategy to the viewers at home, and make sure it tells a full, inclusive story – those users don’t have the context that event attendees might have.
Although Alexander Wang is a luxury brand, it’s important to the company that their social media platforms be inclusive to all types of people. “We love clothes, but we don’t think fashion should be limited to a select group of people, and we want our social channels to reflect that.” Sometimes that even means joking about their own brand, as was the case when AW collaborated with @Siduations on an Instagram grid series.
The creator of @Siduations, Sidney Prawatyotin, overlays runway images onto stock images and makes collages, “often to show just how ridiculous fashion can be out of context,” explains Bunce. “To both poke fun at ourselves and further tell the story of our Fall 2018 collection, which was influenced heavily by female CEOs, we worked with Sid to create 5 different images that ‘teach’ our followers how to live like a Wang CEO.”
That focus on storytelling is a key aspect of the Alexander Wang social brand, a priority that stems from the founder himself. “A large part of what we do on social media is try to expose our followers – new and old – to the story behind our brand,” says Bunce. “We also have the added bonus of Alex himself, who is highly engaged on social media and is a large part of why so many people are fans of the label.”
While the brand’s “bottom line” may be to sell clothes, Bunce says, “a larger part of AW’s social initiative is to tell stories about our product. Our brand has so much history, but is also continuing to evolve and change with each new collection.” When measuring social, the team thinks about how social engagement and brand moments can be translated into sales, whether that be online or in one of their stores around the world.
“All social has some sort of purpose,
whether that’s to inform, excite, or tell a story.”
At the end of the day, the most important thing is what matters to their community and followers. “That’s what keeps your accounts healthy,” says Bunce. “Social is the last stop of communication for your brand, no matter what the content is. It’s important to remember that all social has some sort of purpose, whether that’s to inform, excite, or tell a story.”