For retailers selling luxury goods, social media is an essential tool to reach their audience – in fact with 70% of luxury purchases now preceded by at least one online interaction, a robust social strategy is critical for high-end brands today. But this niche market is at risk of a unique set of threats online.
The prestigious nature of these brands - with exclusive products, a strong heritage and a passion for the finest materials - often places them at a higher risk than most other industries to fraudulent posts. Luxury brands receive higher numbers of links to counterfeit versions of products, or non-branded versions of products that infringe on the brand’s intellectual property, than any other sector.
In fact, according to the latest research by Crisp Labs, counterfeit sales, IP infringement and legal issues were the main risks faced by global luxury brands on social media in Q3 this year (July to September), accounting for 39% of all the risk-categorized content posted on the social media pages of leading luxury brands.
Counterfeit goods in particular result in a significant amount of lost sales. In 2016 imports of counterfeit and pirated goods were estimated to be worth nearly half a trillion dollars, with US, Italian and French brands the worst hit. They also seriously damage the brand’s reputation and the perceived exclusivity of the label.
In arguably even more serious cases, brands can also find their new design leaked online before their multi-million-dollar investment is officially launched. Earlier this year, Rolls Royce found brochure shots of their eighth-generation Rolls Royce Phantom leaked on a French fan forum site. The grainy spy images did nothing to excite expectant customers and undermined the long-awaited reveal scheduled for nine days later.
One in 12 posts contain potentially damaging content
In all, Crisp Labs’ in-depth review* of social media accounts held by high-end brands across the world found that for every 12 posts left by followers, one contained a phrase, link, image or video that posed a risk to the brand’s reputation. These risks ranged from spam and customer complaints to attacking the brand’s ethics and using abusive language.
What can luxury brands do to protect themselves from social media risks?
Luxury brands can combat this damaging content by using a social media risk monitoring and moderation service. With this your social media team can benefit from:
- Early detection: detect risky content, attacks, opinions and links within minutes and in multiple languages, before they can damage your brand, by using a 24/7 managed social media risk service.
- Human review: a skilled team of analysts to understand the context of suspicious content. This will greatly reduce the amount of irrelevant alerts that result from simply relying on keyword monitoring.
- Effective alerts: make sure the right people get the right alert around the clock when an issue that’s potentially detrimental to your business, such as a brand attack, cybersecurity threat, or PR issue, strikes.
- Streamlined reporting: quickly see where risks have been identified and captured on a range of nuanced issues, relevant to you and your brand.
You can access the free Social Media Trends for Luxury Brands report here, which provides unique insight into the full range of issues facing luxury brands on social media, as well as analysis of the most successful luxury social campaigns in Q3 2017.
*Crisp Labs conducted an in-depth review of over 755,000 pieces of user-generated content posted on 40 social media accounts owned by the leading luxury brands from July to September this year.
If you would like to read more about what motivates people to buy counterfeit goods and how social media helps to build a connection with luxury consumers, these research papers can provide an excellent grounding (note: access to the full articles may be via paywalls):
Eisend, M., Hartmann, P. and Apaolaza, V. (In press) Who Buys Counterfeit Luxury Brands? A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of Consumers in Developing and Developed Markets. Journal of International Marketing, In press.
Marticotte, F. and Arcand, M. (2017) Schadenfreude, attitude and the purchase intentions of a counterfeit luxury brand. Journal of Business Research, 77, 175-183.