[Interview] Decoding Lifestyle's social media strategy with Srinivas Rao

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[Interview] Decoding Lifestyle's social media strategy with Srinivas Rao
Established a year before the onset of the millennium, Lifestyle, one of India’s leading chain of retails has gone from strength to strength, making the best out of the marketing opportunities at their disposal.

With the advent of social media in the past decade, Lifestyle have leveraged the medium successfully to yield fruitful results for the brand, forging a bond with their audience through the interactive and far reaching capabilities of social media.

Social Samosa speaks to Srinivas Rao, VP of Marketing at Lifestyle on the buoyant alliance between their brand and social media, and the surprises that Lifestyle holds for their social media strategy in 2017.

Srinivasa Rao, Head of Marketing, Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd Srinivasa Rao, Head of Marketing, Lifestyle International

How important has social media been in creating a direct connect with the consumers?

Social media plays a critical role in our customer outreach efforts. From brand building perspective, it provides us a dynamic platform with high reach capabilities wherein we can pick and choose intended audience for different messages and campaigns. From customer service perspective, it provides an instantaneous two way channel where we can get feedback from our customers as well as share information, thus helping us connecting with them in an even better manner.

Most of content posted on Lifestyle's social media content, speaks directly about the product and sales. How much does this work, given the interactive nature of the platform?

We are cognizant that on social media people are not looking for direct product information or company information and thus create content that taps into the consumption patterns of our followers on that platform and doesn’t come across as obtrusive. Our primary, goal on social is to help people discover the latest fashion trends, decode and own them in their own unique way. We also create content around the trending topics that add further interest. For e.g. our blog features articles on how to wear different trends, create makeup looks etc that we feel will interest the visitors. YouTube channel and instagram has a mix of DIY and How To videos, one of the most searched topics today. Our strategy has worked well and we have seen good engagement across all our social platforms.

Has social media been helpful in generating leads in this era of competition? If yes, how much per cent of your leads are generated from social media?

We have seen good engagements across all our social platforms and often customers walk into our stores looking for a particular product they saw on social media. While there are no special measurement metrics, we’ve seen significant jump in sales around our youth focused promotions around valentine’s and beauty activations.

Do you work with influencers often? How has that worked out for the brand? What are your key learning from influencer outreach campaigns?

We recognize the prominent young fashion bloggers have on our customers and work with some of the leading bloggers of the country who help us showcase our collection to the fashion loving community at large. We’ve seen higher engagements on our social platforms as well as increased enquiries about featured products whenever we’ve collaborated with these influencers for showcasing our fashion offering. We’ve taken multiple initiatives to leverage this opportunity. One such initiative, StyleCircle was started two year ago and allows our customers to interact and get personalized style tips from some of the leading bloggers in the country such as Scherezade Shroff, Santoshi Shetty, Kritika Khurana & many more in our store along with the opportunity of trying out our new collections. We saw increased footfall, social conversation and sales and host this as a regular feature during our season launch.

Do you believe in platform agnostic content or platform-centric content?

We do platform-centric content.

What were the major social media trends seen in the fashion and lifestyle space in 2016? What are your expectations from 2017?

2016 saw a lot of apps such as PokeManGo, Prisma etc gaining popularity and then fading out fast. Livestreaming on popular media platforms like facebook & twitter also gained some traction while brands are yet to fully explore the possibilities this offers. Mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic for the first time this year leading to further pushing brands towards a mobile first strategy.

In 2017, Progamatic for social as an area to watch out for which may see increased usage as more innovations come in. Chatbots for fashion brands like us, especially if there’s an online ecommerece presence, will be an area that will see a lot of action. Personalization on content will continue to gain further traction as we’ve seen in last few years – the platforms like facebook, LinkedIn, Google etc will continue to leverage their predictive analytics, profiling and data slicing capabilities to help connect brands with most relevant customers.

What are your plans for 2017? Are there any campaigns in the pipeline?

Snapchat is a platform where we see great opportunity to grow and connect with our younger customers. Our Autumn Winter’16 campaign – Snap This Trend was inspired by Snapchat and made an impact at the intended audience. We have some interesting content integration, online events & innovations and influencer collaborations in pipeline which you’ll see in action soon.

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