Welcome back to Teri’s Take — there’s a lot we have to catch up on this month. In March, we’re diving deep into Red Wing’s partnership with 2 up-and-coming fashion stars in their 80’s, Dove’s newest project to encourage diversity, and Clubhouse’s people-first landscape.
Legacy footwear brand Red Wing’s latest partnership features Sho-er and Wan-ji Chang, a husband-wife duo in their early 80’s who run the Want Show laundry in Taiwan’s Taichung City. With the help of their grandson, the Changs have built a fast-growing Instagram following by modeling abandoned garments left unclaimed at their laundromat. The images not only show off a funky and unique sense of style, but they also fit authentically with the messaging of Red Wing’s first global campaign, “Out of Fashion,” which promotes circular and sustainable fashion. Red Wing is also supporting the Chang’s Want Show Redefine Project, a new platform through which Taiwan’s laundromats can sell their unclaimed duds and, with some luck, continue influencing the fashion world.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The definition of influence is changing.
While the Changs are not your typical social media fashion influencers, they have immense influence over their own social community, as well as in Red Wing’s brand community. The duo’s unapologetic fashion statements as well as their goals around sustainable fashion make them the perfect content creators for Red Wing to collaborate with. But what stands out even more about this partnership is that the brand is going one step further in co-creating with the octogenarian influencers. By supporting the Chang’s Want Show Redefine Project platform, the brand is continuing to make an impact in Taiwan’s fashion industry in partnership with the Changs.
We urge other brands to do the same. Go beyond simply co-creating content with your community — design entire product lines with influencers, take feedback from loyal customers to improve products, co-host events with industry experts, and so on. That way, you can build a brand that people want to be a part of.
To encourage more brands to consider featuring more inclusive looks in their advertisements, Dove is offering to pay for its models’ appearance fees if included in other brands’ commercials. Dove’s “It’s On Us” campaign sends an open invitation to any brand and advertiser in the world to feature its diverse group of models in their campaigns and consider going against the default approach to advertising that often favors thin, white, homogeneous models.
Diversity in ads has become a down-right must-have for all businesses, but how do you put it into practice without it being performative?
Dove is a great example of a brand that gets it right. Since 2004, when the brand launched “The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty,” Dove has honed in on celebrating beauty across a broad spectrum — not just race, but also body type, age, sexual orientation, and other differences. Now, by putting their own budget towards other brands’ diversity initiatives, Dove is once again breaking barriers and making an impact in the advertising industry.
To follow Dove’s footsteps, brands need to unlock the power of their own community. A brand’s community is typically composed of people from different walks of life. So, instead of simply posting a picture of a person of color or risking playing into stereotypes, work with the real people in your community to celebrate real stories from varying perspectives. This means repurposing community-generated content, working with a well-rounded group of brand ambassadors, and more.
Clubhouse, which has seen more than 10M downloads since launching in March 2020, is swiftly becoming a hub for in-depth discussions on the ins and outs of streetwear and fashion. While streetwear luminaries like Virgil Abloh, designer Jeff Staple, and StockX co-founder Josh Luber are all regular users of the app, what’s notably less prominent on Clubhouse are brand-owned clubs. Instead, the app has become a space for brand founders and executives, both from established brands and new companies, to gestate new ideas and compare notes with fellow executives.
The best part about Clubhouse is that it humanizes brands. A growing number of fashion insiders and brand founders are active users of Clubhouse and even run weekly shows together, often boasting tens of thousands of followers. Users can tune in on multi-hour discussions with these industry leaders and gain exclusive access to insiders like never before — a huge draw to join the platform.
While there aren’t many brand-owned shows on Clubhouse currently, don’t write it off completely. We believe there will be a boom in brand-owned clubs as brands figure out a way to engage their communities on the app. Once established, these unfiltered conversations can be led by your CEO, creative director, social media manager, or really any other brand representative to build meaningful relationships — not just with other industry experts, but with greater audiences (read: your potential customers).
We’ve even started our own Clubhouse called “Aspire to Inspire,” where we analyze the most important trends and latest insights in social media and digital marketing. Hosted by our very own Madison Smith, Senior Marketing Strategist, and Bryan Brennan, Director of Sales Development, “Aspire to Inspire” goes live every Tuesday at 4pm PT / 7pm ET. Be sure to join us for the next one!