While I fully attempted to live blog the second half of #fashion140, the strict restrictions on outlet use in Lincoln Center and dying laptop battery restricted me from doing so. The notes were taken in real time, so I’m going to still consider this a live blog post. The second half of #Fashion140 conference was decidedly less enriching as compared to the first half; however, it still had some great moments.

Brand Personas and Embracing Brand Identity

Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell of Beekman 1802 gave a great presentation on how creating a personality for your brand and truly embracing it both personally and professionally will set your company apart. Their advice included to using every resource available to break through the clutter that is social media.

The Beekman Boys successfully launched a brand during the recession playing on trends and puns, including creating heirloom items that referenced Twitter’s 140 character limit (see: Heirloom Love Letter). Furthermore, the duo stressed the importance of eyeball aggregation and creating partnerships, as well as taking the time to become a trendsetter rather than always following the trends.

Stacy Igel, founder of the green clothing line Boy Meets Girl, discussed how her personal attitudes play a huge role in her brand’s identity. The environmentalist that she is, Igel created a brand that revolved around her own personal practices, which set her apart from many designers. This dedication to passion helped create a successful brand, both online and off.  In the words of Amanda Greene, a brand ambassador, “Passion is contagious.”

Social Media ROI

As with many professionals in the social media industry, I am well aware that measuring social media ROI is no easy task. That is why I was super excited when David Sutula of 9threads stood up and pointed out that, for a long time, businesses often invested in traditional media (magazine, TV, billboard ads) without knowing the ROI of their investment.

In a world where ROI is king, it’s appalling to know that rough estimates show that companies lose money on TV advertising. This makes me wonder why big companies like AT&T, Chrysler and Merck would blow their precious millions on a dying marketing form. Sutula did point out that online marketing and social media are the only marketing outlets to allow for, be it hard to measure, a tangible ROI.

By basing measurements off of time, traffic and conversions of campaigns post-mortem, social media ROI can be measured.  “Social media,” explained Sutula, “Is descriptive, not predictive,” meaning that you can’t measure a social campaign’s predicted results beforehand, only the final outcome.  On that note, another great point brought up by Sutula was that ROI has different definitions, and that the ROI should be decided upon by levels interaction among a brand’s followers, not sales numbers.

Social Change through Social Media

It was really nice to see a segment of the #fashion140 Conference dedicated to social change, as many designers and professionals within the industry use their influence online to support different causes. Marc Ecko, creator of the Ecko Unlimited brand, gave an energetic and passionate presentation on how his Unlimited Justice campaign used Facebook, Twitter, and iPhone apps to lobby against corporal punishment in the twenty different states where it is still legal. In only three months, Ecko’s campaign successfully lobbied to have corporal punishment banned in the state of Arizona.

Cam Balzer, CMO of Threadless (a favorite site of mine) and Jessica Coghan of Starworks Group, spoke about their social media campaign for the Demi and Ashton (DNA) Foundation to end child sex slavery and human trafficking both nationally and globally.  The campaign used viral celebrity videos to spread the message “Real men don’t buy girls.” By allowing video personalization and sharing through a Facebook platform, the campaign successfully increased the awareness of sex trafficking.

Threadless’ role in the campaign was to host a t-shirt design competition, promoting the same message. The campaign was organized using the inverted triangle for social sharing, where addressing awareness was the top concerning which trickled down to the end result, the ROI.

To Infinity and Beyond

I, unfortunately, had to leave #fashion140 early to catch the bus home. The Tween Panel towards the end of the day lost my attention quickly as I had no interest in hearing twelve-year-olds talk about how much clothing they made their parents buy for them. I missed the better part of the Menswear Panel; as well as the whole of the Investment and Luxury Panels. I am pretty confident that I was present for the most notable presentations of the conference.

Did you attend the #fashion140 Conference or even live stream it? If so, what were your favorite highlights of the event?