Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kate Spade NY-Leading the Creative Marketing Pack

I consider myself a huge Kate Spade fan.  My first knock off purse I bought in New York at 11 was a teeny denim "Kate Spade" shoulder bag with a coordinating multicolor striped wallet. The past year I've lusted for their sunglasses, "sparkler" clutches, bowler-style bags, their sea foam patent leather wallet, rain drop print laptop case, and every single purse they make with chain-detail straps. I seriously love it, but I can only pretend to own such items on my Pinterest boards at my current income level :)  Still, what I adore almost as much as the products themselves is their graphic design and marketing strategies.  I firmly believe this company is on the top of the technology wave through their use of social media, graphic design, and advertising strategies.  A lot of brands should really take note. 

Interactive Advertising Strategies

I'm no advertising major, but it's easy to see that Kate Spade harnesses current technology and uses it to creatively promote their products instead of alternatively cowering away from it and relying on the weight of their name alone like some of their counterparts.
 With consumer society all together lowering their attention span, Kate Spade has remained on top of it through their use of interactive advertising, month-to-month design themes, and bringing in guest artists. In April 2012, Kate Spade's Blog released their interactive video titled: SWAN DIVE or CANNONBALL? seen here.  It's a very cool choose-your-own-adventure type ad that goes far outside the box of current video commercials.  There's even a free download at the end! They also have been paving the way with their use of Gif Images as design elements.  Gif images have become increasingly popular in 2012 through Tumblr and jokey meme sites, and not since the MySpace era have they been used decoratively on websites. However, the creatives at Kate Spade looked through the reputation and used the moving images as a design opportunity, like for example: fireworks. The idea of advertising being an entertaining activity for the consumer is what brings it to new heights.

Frequent Campaign Shake-Ups

The marketing concept also plays out with Kate Spade's month to month pattern campaigns.  Instead of picking a three color theme for the year, or even for many years, like some retail companies. Kate Spade changes up backgrounds and buttons to match patterns associated with the month's pattern theme.  The periodic color changes flow very well with the products they've historically carried, but mixing it up once a month drives more visitors to the site and drives more intrigue in general to the brand. Although Kate Spade has always been a leading name in creativity, in an increasingly globalized society, it's hard to stay creatively cutting-edge, especially when you have monthly themes that penetrate into blogs, social media accounts, daily email blasts, advertisements, etc.. In today's society, there's so much visual information available, it's hard to say anyone is the best at something. So Kate Spade, again, confronts the issue head-on with their commissioned guest artists, like Mike Perry. It's a great way to parlay interest in the artist at the same time as your brand, and it keep things fresh.  It also establishes a generous, positive vibe for the company, which is really hard to find in a cut throat economy like this one.

More On Thinking Friendly

Furthering this positive energy for Kate Spade is their use of Social Media.  A lot of companies have jumped aboard the fast-moving social media train, but many can learn still from the practices at Kate Spade. They don't just tweet promotional website links, they also respond to their fans pretty regularly.  It probably takes a lot of man-power on their part, but people SEE the kind effort, thousands of people see it.  Also, instead of having a Pinterest account based solely on their products, they also pin items that go with the vibe of their marketing.  Again, it's win-win mentality of helping-others-help-you that I respect so much from this company; they deserve their success.

Hiring the Best

There's lots of little lessons any company can take from the Kate Spade technology strategies I've commented on here, but none of it would work if you didn't have the right people laying the groundwork.  The graphic designers play by the book at Kate Spade, using only the best typography and cleanest layouts, leaving room for them to play with their updated patterns, media, etc.  The social media reps have to be excellent writers to be able to keep their content interesting and responses consistently going.  Most of all, the products at Kate Spade are known to be high quality and beautifully designed, without that, there would be nothing to advertise.

Kate Spade, to me, just looks like a land of smart cookies. They have years of credibility going for them, but that doesn't mean your company can't operate on the principals and priorities that they do.  If there's any one thing to learn here, don't be afraid of technology! Anyone can use it to their advantage, and it doesn't mean all the rules of design and business have to get thrown out.

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