Luxury and social media : crafting brand identity through Facebook posts

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)32_Refereed conference paper (with ISBN/ISSN)peer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 Global Fashion Management Conference at Florence Proceedings
Publisher Global Alliance of Marketing & Management Associations
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGlobal Fashion Management Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2288-825X


Title2015 Global Fashion Management Conference at Florence (GFMC 2015)
LocationUniversity of Florence
Period25 - 28 June 2015


New professions, highly specialized in web communication, have therefore emerged lately, such as: blogger, copywriter, social media manager, especially in the fashion industry, where every detail is meaningful and consequently every word inevitably matters. The aim of this paper is to investigate the strategies used by luxury fashion brands on social media to construe their brand identity and build up global awareness. The empirical study presented is based on the analysis of a corpus of posts retrieved from internationally renowned luxury fashion brands’ Facebook fan pages selected according to an official global top list of luxury brands.

Social networks are nowadays one of the most efficient tools to make a brand globally successful and luxury fashion brands owe their popularity to them, although at the beginning they were suspicious towards those media of communication (Okonkwo, 2010: 4). This was due to the fact that mass media, by definition, are characterized by features like wide accessibility and volatility that do not match with the peculiar exclusive, unique and timeless nature of luxury goods (Okonkwo, 2010: xviii). The following table (Table 1) compares luxury features with the Internet ones in order to show that they are two opposite worlds that do not share none of their characteristics.

The presence of luxury online is then a paradox itself, this is due to the fact that the features attributed to luxury that can be summarized into the word “exclusiveness” do not match with the main characteristics of Internet that is a “mass” medium of communication where the main idea is that one formula fits all. The clear contrast between the features attributed to luxury and Internet is evident in the oppositions reported: for instance we have “niche clientele” versus “mass availability” to emphasize that luxury itself cannot satisfy everyone’s desire if it aims to maintain its status and in any case it is not a short time process (Rambourg, 2014); then “exclusivity” versus “mass accessibility” is to highlight the fact that luxury cannot be accessible to everyone; and the extremely relevant difference between luxury products that must or at least give the idea to be “made-to-measure” versus the “one-formula-fits-all approach” and “mass appeal”, typical of the mass media of communication, that distinguishes the use of Internet, where what you share is designed to be widely accessible from luxury that represents uniqueness and exclusiveness.

The study conducted will try to identify if luxury brands have overcome this channel conflict and later investigate their performances on social media particularly focusing on the construction of the content. The analysis of the data will be run by taking into consideration marketing literature review, and the use of theoretical frameworks based on genre analysis, corpus linguistics and discourse analysis. Furthermore the analysis will be done with the support of statistical linguistic softwares Wordsmith and Wmatrix, and it will show how luxury fashion brands shape brand identity online through words.

The results will offer an overview on the construction of content particularly used to rely on storytelling, heritage marketing, and “glocalization” strategies. Moreover, interesting insights will draw the attention to the specific strategies used to target different markets (Hollensen, 2007: 220-221) while taking into consideration the cultural differences and at the same time emphasizing the features directly connected to the “Made in” identity of the brand.

A further section will focus on the interplay between different semiotic systems employed to construe the brand identity online, and on some examples of strategies specifically designed for emerging markets and created through transmedia communication (Jenkins, 2006). The evidence gathered, which also sheds light on the use of pronouns and verbs to stimulate the users’ engagement in brands’ life and in the production of the content, can provide interesting insights into web communication.

Further interdisciplinary researches combining different approaches will develop significant strategies particularly interesting for the training of new professional profiles involved in the design of marketing strategies.

Research Area(s)

  • web communication, social media, fashion industry, fashion brands, luxury brand

Citation Format(s)

Luxury and social media : crafting brand identity through Facebook posts. / Nervino, Esterina.

2015 Global Fashion Management Conference at Florence Proceedings. Global Alliance of Marketing & Management Associations, 2015. p. 506-509 (Global Fashion Management Conference Proceedings).

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)32_Refereed conference paper (with ISBN/ISSN)peer-review