I’ve been reading through the years that luxury and social media don’t go hand in hand. This was reinforced when many international luxury brands such as Chanel stayed away from Instagram until 2014. When I decided to transition my brand from Koëcsh, which was launched as an e-portal for expressive clothing and accessories to Krésha Bajaj, a luxury occasion-wear brand, I was told to take the traditional promotion approach; market my pieces and brand through print media, luxury magazines and celebrity sourcing. I was also told to place my products in all the multi-designer stores across the country.
But I had a different plan. I have always wanted to control and be in charge of the narrative of our brand – the experience and feeling of being in the space, which includes lighting, the colours of the wall, the hooks of the hangers, the bold and fruity fragrance of the pret area, which blends into a soft floral node as one walks into the bridal space and personal interaction with clients. It is one of the main reasons that we decided not to have our pieces in a multi-designer store or be a part of a fashion week. Then came the decision to not sell Krésha Bajaj pieces online. The intricate and detailed embroidery of our dresses takes one to eight months and it is done by third-generation artisans. I strongly believe that these pieces need to be seen, touched and tried, for people to understand their worth.
Putting these online as a mere transaction would take away their value and exclusivity. Social media platforms, and in my case Instagram specifically, being an extremely visual platform is the perfect tool to create online presence for Krésha Bajaj, the brand. Here I was going against all the advice I had gotten and focussing on the exact thing I was asked not to.
Through my learnings, I believe that social media, and Instagram particularly, is an extremely strong tool for the luxury industry, if used effectively and correctly. If brands do not embrace these tools, they face the risk of not being talked about.
An interesting article that I read spoke about how tough it is for a brand to translate its unique in-store environment and service through the online world, and how it could find a way to transition these clicks (people discovering the label on social media) to bricks (people coming in the store to experience the brand and its products). This was extremely relevant in my case as the entire purpose of marketing my product was to get people to come to the store and experience what we have created.
I have a few strategies that I follow when it comes to growing my business through Instagram. Instagram can target a much younger audience that may not walk into the store today, but will in the next few years, when they have the buying capacity. These aspirational buyers and tomorrow’s clients are crucial for any luxury brand.
We always post original content, ensuring that it is attractive enough for people to gush over it. As our store is only physically present in Mumbai, it is important for us to help an online viewer feel that they are in the actual space while browsing through our online posts. We always make it a point to ensure that every single post is well shot and has the same whimsical aesthetic. We mix it up with some behind-the-scene images that show the design process, from sketching to swatching and embroidery. These are followed by professionally shot campaign images and pictures of store customers in different outfits.
The most important thing is consistency. It is also important to have a clear thought process on what you are trying to achieve through your brand messaging.
For us, we want to use Instagram as a look book of a wonderland that people enter through their phone, but feel the need to come explore in person. A lot of people also believe that Instagram doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming, but I would like to differ. The platform is free, but when it comes to creating content for Instagram it’s extremely important that it is of high quality. There have been many times when we have spent days or even weeks on creating content and have scrapped it at the last minute because it doesn’t live up to the aesthetic or standards of the page. Staying loyal to your brand vision and identity is the most important thing for us as a label.
Another extremely important thing is to engage with the audience, answering their questions and giving them as much information as necessary. Having a beautiful page is irrelevant if it doesn’t garner the right kind of attention and encourages conversation.
Krésha Bajaj is a leading couture designer and an Instagram influencer. Her handle @kreshabajajofficial has a massive following of 153K, while the handle only follows eight accounts