For a campaign to be shared in all the right group chats (and secure that viral momentum), a brand needs to know the intricacies of their audience’s behaviours – who they are, where they are, and what they’re talking about.
Also known as the ‘research & insights’ stage of our brand development process, learning your audience is the number one way to win fans.
Here’s our take on why they smashed their most recent collab with iconic trainspotter @ FrancisBourgeois:
They did the research
Fashion brands everywhere have picked up on the momentum of ‘lockdown-isms’ – habits, passion projects and lifestyle changes we adopted to keep our heads above water, and have proved themselves here to stay. But, for the most part, their insights have culminated in a selection of beautifully-dressed models watering their beautifully-pruned houseplants in an east London warehouse.
The research behind this campaign cast the net wider than the brands’ competitive set, and looked into much more real influences on our daily lives. They ‘plugged in’ to social platforms across the UK and saw what was capturing the hearts of young people – and it wasn’t your archetypal influencer fodder, it was the genuine joy that is Francis Bourgeois and his love of trainspotting.
In order to connect your brand to relevant conversations happening in real time, social listening is key. By plugging in your brand and monitoring it over the course of a month, you’ll discover golden nugget insights about your customers, real life sentiments and attitudes – and get there before the competition. Like Gucci and Northface demonstrate here, it may give you a nudge to embrace the unexpected (and have it pay off).
They knew where to find their fans
There’s no point coming up with a sexy, strategically-sound campaign if it’s totally lost on your audience. It doesn’t take much digging to find out who your audience are going wild for online – Francis already had 2 million TikTok followers and had been shared by A-list celebs – but Gucci x Northface went a step further than that.
They knew that keeping Francis in his element was exactly what their fans wanted to see. Not a posed shoot against a colour-pop backdrop. And a scroll through his comments will tell you as much: “protect this man at all costs”, “francis’ happiness is my happiness”. They knew how their audience were talking, clocked the general sentiment, and ran with it.
They knew when trends stop #trending
No matter what kind of brand you are, you need to understand those things that make people tick – and why. Your sector could be affected by politics, the weather, a sudden surge in the housing market. The trouble is, once a trend is widespread, it’s on its way out.
Luckily, @FrancisBourgeois already proved he was more than a one hit wonder. As he became a viral TikTok sensation, people launched a witch-hunt into the evolution of his own style over the years. In response to some unearthed social media pics, he told the world that who he is (and how he looks) now is his most authentic self.
That’s how Gucci x Northface got the timing right – this campaign picks up on more than just a fleeting ‘trend’, it capitalises on changes in our collective mindset: that self-expression is always something to be celebrated.
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