I’ve recently become a huge fan of the UK brand & Other Stories, and it’s not just because of the retailer's eclectic and lovely women’s fashion (sadly, the H&M-owned company doesn't yet ship outside the United Kingdom).What caught my attention is how the company is utilizing cross-channel marketing - specifically their optimizing multiple social media platforms to foster special relationships with its current and future customers.
The moves that & Other Stories is making aren’t very complicated, but they showcase how today’s technologies have opened opportunities for brands to add depth and texture to customer experiences — if they’re willing to invest just a bit of time and resources.
Here are three simple but meaningful & Other Stories moves that any brand can make now:
1. Make it possible for customers to interact with your brand content in ways reminiscent of their interactions with social media content.
The & Other Stories site features an irregular tile layout that mirrors Pinterest and, when clicked, responds similarly. This creates overlap between customers’ online social interactions and their online shopping experiences.
Companies don’t need a complete homepage overhaul to learn from this: instead, they can think about ways that individual elements could optimize the behaviors that your customers have already learned from social media.
2. Collect creative assets around product or service development, and then leverage them into backstory pieces upon new releases.
Granted, the & Other Stories brand name demands some storytelling, but it does some cool stuff with this by using images to add depth to the customer experience. The below photo, posted to Facebook and Tumblr, traces a shoe style from conception to reality:
3. Make it someone’s job to respond to customer comments and questions on social media pages.
A quick look at the & Other Stories Facebook page emphasizes the value the brand places on cross-channel relationships with customers and fans. Rarely have I seen a brand that responds to customer comments and answers customer questions with the consistency of & Other Stories. The company even interacts with people in other countries who can’t yet purchase their products.
I’m not sure what & Other Stories has planned in terms of business expansion, but it’s hard to think of a simpler strategy to ensure successful international storefront openings than to drum up an invested fan base before moving beyond the United Kingdom.
Each of these moves reinforces & Other Stories’ brand identity (from its “about” page: “Today, a woman with a love for fashion creates her own style. . . . & Other Stories is about bringing everything she can wear into one place, focusing on the whole look.”). However even brands that aren’t about personal style or fashion could benefit by emulating this brand’s approach.
There’s no reason that any brand can’t take a few scraps of video and turn it into something special, or trace a product or service from draft to reality. It’s time to see more brands following the customers’ lead in making the most of social media platforms and new technologies to promote their identity and projects.