“When I started ModCloth way back in 2002, in the summer between high school and college, I had big dreams. But I had no idea we would grow to become one of the largest independent online fashion retailers in the world.” _Susan Gregg Koger – ModCloth’s co-founder_
Started from a humble start in Susan’s dorm room with an incredible love for vintage and retro clothing, her passion has taken her, and her online fashion brand on an unbelievable journey. Last year, ModCloth celebrated its 15-year anniversary. That’s an impressive milestone for a brand that was built solely online and went through the dotcom boom and bust.
A large part attributing to their great success is accounted for ModCloth’s genius content marketing team. With creativity and dedication, they have been providing a fun and engaging shopping experience for their customers. They give us a strong example showing that correctly applying content marketing strategy will make the audience form loyalty to the brand while also engage in meaningful interactions with the community surrounding the brand. More than anything they organically developed a brand with a clear and defined personality.
ModCloth’s strategic success comes from knowing their audience very well and understanding how and where their audience consumes content. Today I’m going to show you exactly how ModCloth have used content to let the true colors of the brand shine out and create a very devoted customer base.
A splendid web that defines the brand personality
I am sure I am not the only one who has a girl crush the first time entering ModCloth website. The impression is so cheerful and positive. Looking through the pages of energetic models in colorful dresses and patterns, you can hear the voice of a very familiar friend that anyone could have: She has a confident posture, a great loyalty to her friends, and an affinity for an early to mid-twentieth century female icon in literature or film. You know the type of friend, right?
Modcloth makes content becomes an extension of its brand. It enables the business to express its unique personality. It shapes ‘who’ a business is, and ‘humanises’ it.
The clothing is deliberately unique. It is viewed as content, not just merchandise
“In honor of your favorite academic subject, you arrive to class in this intergalactic, cotton dress! Part of our ModCloth namesake label, this classic A-line calls on a notched neckline, pockets, and an astronomical print to participate in your precious appearance.”
This is the description of the ‘Heart and Solar System A-Line Dress’ that is a part of the range featured online at ModCloth. Every product on ModCloth has its own name and tell its own story.
Reading the copy on ModCloth feels like listening to your best friend tell you how gorgeous you are and how great that dress would look on you. The company seems to be ‘cheerleading’ your fashion choices rather than dictating them, which is a smart strategy that makes the customers respond. As Ms. Koger puts it in an interview, “Instead of telling our customers what to wear, we lead a conversation.”
Deliver a strong message of body positivity and feminism
ModCloth is famous for delivering a message of inclusivity and body positivity conveyed in its marketing. This is what makes the brand unique. Instead of professional models, they invite individuals with no modeling experience to audition. They select individuals representing the day-to-day women, they cast and shoot with inspiring (and yes, aspirational) women of all shapes, sizes, religions, races, and ethnicities. Also, they are the first retailer to sign Anti-Photoshop Pledge. It was celebrated for how raw and honest it was.
They carefully curate content that portrays women of many different body types and appearances having fun in stylish clothes and surroundings.
Where traditional sites might show professional models (who are quite likely photoshopped), ModCloth shows the “someone like you”; instead of being marketed to by a company, you’re being encouraged by your peers.
Customers are also the website builders
First launched in 2012, ModCloth’s Style Gallery enables customers to upload photos of themselves wearing their ModCloth outfits, and makes the items “shoppable.” In other words, if you like the way another customer has put her outfit together, you can click on the pieces and order them immediately from the site. Smart indeed.
This highly interactive platform gives users a sense of ownership in the fashion-conscious community and allows them to engage in meaningful social interaction with other like-minded people.
Use content to build a strong social media presence
When talking about social media, ModCloth is the queen!
- 1,616,238 Facebook fans
- 2,241,650 Pinterest followers
- 563,000 Instagram followers
It was no coincidence that the brand has achieved such a success on social media. They know their audience and they understand the platforms. These are crucial if you’re looking to rouse any engagement.
Modcloth’s greatest strength lies in its ability to draw on the creativity of its fan base, and social media gives them the unique ability to leverage that. It’s human nature that every individual has the desire to showcase their personality, their point of view about every aspect of life. This is especially true when it comes to social media and fashion. By initiating inspiring fashion related topics, ModCloth built a sense of community between themselves and their customers and then interacted with them as unique individuals.
If you search for the hashtag #marriedinmodcloth on Instagram, you will see a feed of happy girls in ModCloth’s wedding dresses. They are real, beautiful, they are emotion evoking, they stay in our mind and they are generated by ModCloth followers.
It would be a big mistake if we do not talk about ModCloth’s Pinterest account. With more than 2 million followers, the majority of ModCloth’s customer base is already on Pinterest and their vintage and indie products make the perfect content for Pinterest. They have a ‘Guest Pinner Gallery’, a user-generated Pinterest board that allows users to be a guest and share photos on ModCloth board. They also pick up pins from many different blogs and DIY websites which leverages their influencers and affiliate programs.
The brand does not only use social media to display their products and direct traffic back to their sites, they know social media isn’t solely about brand promotion and advertising products. ModCloth tells us stories of inspirational women (models, actresses, designers, artists, businesswomen), the inspiration behind its brand, the feelings its brand engenders, and the lifestyle it promotes.
Modcloth’s social media presence is inspirational, fun, creative, and attractive. It gives people a glimpse at the side of the brand they can’t see simply by browsing clothes on its website. They found the strength of each of these platforms, adapted and specialized certain features of their company in each of them, and finally connected all of these platforms together to build a massive office suite. If you ask me where their business is based, I wouldn’t say that they are mostly active on Instagram or Facebook or Pinterest, but instead, I’ll simply say that ModCloth is online.
Content has always been fundamental to any marketing activity.
“What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” – David Ogilvy – the Father of Modern Advertising
Though it may have changed in shape, form, and transmission – content marketing is still an asset that is sorely under-utilized by many businesses. The language, images, and social interactions resonate powerfully with their millennial target audience – and most importantly, drives purchasing.
ModCloth has created a brand that is easy for its audience to connect with. It starts with curating and creating products that fit their audience, but it’s the tone, approach, and copy that has taken them to the next level of building a loyal customer base. Whether you’re involved in the fashion industry or not, Modcloth’s content marketing strategies can likely be applied to every business. It might take a lot of time and effort but it is worth it.
I hope you will take this post as the inspiration for your content marketing strategy. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.