Founded in 2002 by Susan Gregg-Koger and Eric Koger, ModCloth is “a top e-retailer of indie clothing, accessories, and decor.” Over the course of its history, ModCloth has become one of the most innovative companies in fashion and beauty merchandising and is particularly savvy with social media. The company’s claim that it is “Democratizing Fashion One Dress at a Time,” is not just a slogan, it’s also their business model. Their two biggest programs, “Be the Buyer” and “Make the Cut,” depend on customer feedback to inform the ModCloth team on what they should produce next. ModCloth understands the importance of listening to customers and that YouTube is the best platform to foster this unique relationship.
Fan Videos featuring ModCloth
ModCloth has a total of 156 official video uploads with 935,722 views but there are 813 fan videos talking about their brand that total 10,104,898 views.
Fans are doing their own videos showcasing ModCloth shopping sprees and it plays right into what ModCloth wants: customer engagement. Beauty Gurus are known for their “haul” videos, some even do special vintage hauls that showcase ModCloth, where they discuss the fit and feel of the outfits, and gush over the adorable dress names. Many also do “unboxings” of their ModCloth orders when they arrive in the mail.
Perhaps ModCloth can learn from the pattern of fan uploads and adjust their marketing strategy to match. Spring appears to be the high haul season, most likely because ModCloth’s specialty is vintage-inspired dresses, which would be too cold to wear in Fall and Winter, and because of the material, too warm to wear in Summer.
ModCloth Brand Integrations
Twice ModCloth has partnered with Pemberley Digital, the production house behind the web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice).
Though a deal was never created for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, there were several ModCloth items featured over the course of the 100-episode season (the actors are fans of the brand). When it came time to start working on Welcome to Sanditon, a spin-off show, the creators at Pemberley Digital officially worked in a partnership with ModCloth. Of the 28 Welcome to Sanditon episodes (including the series teaser), ModCloth had 17 products appear in 21 of them with direct links to the site in the episode description. It was the only brand featured during the series’ run.
Pemberley Digital’s most recent program, Emma Approved, a reinterpretation of Jane Austen’s Emma, also includes a ModCloth partnership. Emma Approved goes several steps beyond the Welcome to Sanditon deal and features a blog and Pinterest account that highlight the characters’ styling, providing links to each piece of the outfit, from earrings, to dresses, to shoes.
Learning from the success of their previous brand-integration deals, ModCloth has partnered with another web series, The New Adventures of Peter + Wendy, a modern retelling of Peter Pan. They’re credited in the descriptions as the show’s “hip clothing sponsor,” with a link to the product featured in the episode. That’s 24 additional videos that bring in 389,223 views for ModCloth.
Comments like the one above are proof of a successful brand integration. The characters in the show don’t mention ModCloth by name and there is only one line hidden in the description that tells the audience it is from there. Fans have taken the time to figure it out and without prompting are discussing ModCloth.
ModCloth stands as an important example of how brands can maximize exposure on YouTube without creating viral content. Their official channel is an incomplete representation of the discussion happening around their brand on YouTube. A few of their videos might gain some traction but most of their brand views come from fan uploads and their brand integration deals. ModCloth doesn’t need to make fresh content consistently because their success on YouTube is maintained by fan engagement with their brand outside of their official channel.
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