Fashion companies know it’s not enough to have a product of excellence, an excellent reputation in the market, and a distribution machine that works. A brand's appeal also depends on the relational quality you establish with consumers, the way you talk with them–the so-called “tone of voice”.
How can a company you find the right tone to beguile new potential customers and retain the loyalty of aficionados?
A question that Marc Sondermann, CEO and editor-in-chief, Fashion Magazine/The SPIN OFF, addressed on stage at the CEO Roundtable on Business Acumen to Arianna Casadei, general manager of the family business; Alessandro Pescara, CEO, Borbonese; Antonio Comelli, head of Revenue, Thron; and Diego Caldognetto, co-founder and managing director, Fashion Words.
Appointed general manager of Casadei last January, Arianna Casadei is the representative of the third generation of the family luxury footwear brand and company, called upon to be the custodian of a 65-year history and to tell it today through a multiplicity of channels–from single-brand to multi-brand boutiques, from e-commerce to social media, and to the new Web3 platforms.
"The tone of voice and the language must go along with and adapt to the medium used and to the end customer you are addressing. What does not change is the message of our values, the passion and dedication behind each and every product, and the authenticity guaranteed by our family heritage, without unnecessary superstructure,” explained Casadei.
"We are from Romagna, but we are not an orchestra, although the metaphor sounds perfectly for the way we operate. In fact, the making of a shoe requires about 200 steps. Yet there is no dispersion in this process, because we manage to compose a melody following the same conductor. Inside as outside the company, it is this fixed point that gives strength to the message and communication, even if differentiated according to the channels,” she added.
On the same wavelength is Alessandro Pescara, at the top of the historic leather goods brand Borbonese, who insisted on the fundamental topic of the set of values.
“It’s right to focus on the customer experience, correct to profile the customer in order to build loyalty, but there is no loyalty if you are not able to transfer the brand's distinctive assets. In our case, keywords such as elegance, femininity, warmth, sensuality, together with assets such as Italian style, craftsmanship, and the use of proximity districts are key,” explained Pescara.
"Technological levers and CRM are very important, but first comes that engagement given by the sense of belonging to a brand, by recognizing oneself in its identity, by the desire it arouses, the dream and the aspirationality it recalls. This is the competitive advantage to be translated into the different touchpoints, physical or virtual, that connect the company with the end customer,” he continued.
The multiplicity and complexity of channels, especially digital channels, can, however, water down and sometimes take persuasive power away from brands. And this is where technology comes in, an indispensable ally in managing, tidying up, minimizing efforts and maximizing results for players active in the market.
"The most important asset of a company is undoubtedly the product, but in the digital sphere it is instead the so-called digital twin, i.e., the set of digital content accompanied by information, the experiential and the IT part," commented Antonio Comelli of Thron, a Veneto-based reality in the Dam (Digital Asset Management) market, who insisted on how crucial it is relying on technological tools.
"What Thron does is to put companies in a position to best serve the consumer, guaranteeing two pluses: on the one hand, the consistency and uniformity of information in the diversity of touchpoints, and on the other hand, performance, that is, an adequate experience in tune with the image that the brand wants to convey,” he added.
Fundamental to this view are not only visual content but also words–a challenge for companies, despite the arrival of powerful (but still controversial outcomes) technologies such as ChatGpt.
"In order to get the right tone of voice, it is not enough to please the tastes of our clients, but we have to go a step further and gather information about the brands' founding values. Our aim is to create messages that allow them to stand out from their competitors,” explained Diego Caldognetto of Fashion Words, a company that deals with translations and copywriting for online fashion.
“We have started a new project. We classified brands according to 12 Jungian archetypes, identifying the characteristics that each text should have in order to be incisive, recognizable and representative of that particular brand,” continued Caldognetto.
“This approach will definitely make a difference, because if a text is written in a way that is not only creative, but also scientifically-based and not exclusively personal, it will have an edge."