Images Are the New Language
Apparel brands and retailers have always been adept at catching the eye of the consumer. From age-old window dressings to the latest photo recognition software, fashion businesses know the power of visual appeal. Never is that call to our common love of “eye candy” stronger than during the holiday shopping season.
But in today’s fashion industry, there is so much more opportunity to leverage this language of images — not just in advertisements, web sites and the selling floor but in the global supply chain.
Step back for a moment and consider just how much the advent of social media is anchored to imagery. Can you imagine Instagram without images? Facebook without pictures? Vine without videos? The sites would seem almost dead, their remaining content hard to grasp. It would be like the Dark Ages of the Internet again.
Valentino recognized the importance of digital images when he invested in a digital fashion archive of his designs. In covering this 2011 development, The Business of Fashion aptly observed, “For each garment there is a rich back-story of videos, editorial images and sketches.”
Investor confidence in image-centric social media confirms the importance of pictures and video in modern communications (i.e., Pinterest valued at $3.8 billion, Snapchat at $800 million, and high-dollar acquisitions abound).
Yet social media technology is no longer relegated to the B2C realm. It can be leveraged for greater B2B productivity and profitability. The cloud-based apparel workflow solution FastFit360, for example, features instant communications and highly visual content associated with Instagram, Vine and Snapchat.
This new breed of B2B technology gives professionals the flexibility to work the way they desire — chatting via social software, easily sharing images and video, using mobile devices anytime, anywhere — but with the benefit of analytics and data for the employer.
Remember Valentino’s digital archive? Just think how much more efficient it would have been for the designer to create his library if style images, notes and videos were saved along the way, during the development and approval process. That digital history of product imagery is what FastFit360 provides out of the box (or cloud as we should say!).
Match Drive’s Liz Crawford recently told RetailWire, “We are evolving to a new language of symbols — universal hieroglyphs — a visual grammar, which can be read by people in various countries, cultures, generations, educational strata, and income brackets.”
Images have a way of telling the truth, highlighting the best and worst in people and products. They aren’t complicated by differences in culture and written and spoken words. Is your fashion business ready to embrace the full power of B2B social communication and its visually oriented language? We hope so, and are ready to help. Fluency will yield big returns in efficiency, speed, savings and sales.