How Facebook is wooing luxury brands

Facebook is a paradox for luxury retailers. On the one hand, its size makes it hard to ignore. But on the other, there’s nothing more mass — and less exclusive — than Facebook.

Karin Tracy, former InStyle publisher and now Facebook beauty industry lead, is charged with wooing luxury brands. Yesterday, Tracy led Facebook’s inaugural luxury forum, making her case that high-end brands need to embrace social marketing. Speaking to an audience comprised primarily of fashion and beauty executives, Tracy and other members of the Facebook team weren’t shy to admit their previous faults, conceding that the platform’s capabilities were not in line with the needs of luxury brands until now.

“I know you’ve maintained tight control over your brand identity and your messaging and that’s understandable,” Tracy said, speaking to audience members. “The luxury industry is built on legacy, heritage and craftsmanship. But we must understand that these one-on-one relationships that you’ve built for years are shifting.”

The shift she alluded to is the continued push to mobile commerce and online shopping, one she asserts Facebook is uniquely qualified to assist with given that 20 percent of time spend on mobile is directed to Facebook and Instagram.

“People go to their phones first and most frequently, like a hummingbird throughout the day,” said Thomas Puckett, creative strategist at Facebook. “And [brands] can be there every time, bringing content to them.”

Facebook has recognized that part of appeasing luxury brands is acknowledging the importance of the in-store retail experience and ensuring it isn’t left by the wayside. Spencer Mandell, a fellow creative strategist, explained that a key component of bridging this gap is experimenting with new technologies like virtual reality that can transport users to events like the Met Gala in real-time or get behind the wheel of a Bentley for a test-drive.

“We know that luxury is largely an…

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