As the mastermind behind Matthew Williamson’s current digital overhaul, Head of Digital, Rosanna Falconer, has a wealth of experience under her belt.
Formerly at the British Fashion Council, Rosanna rolled out their digital platforms, including London Fashion Week’s successful online presence. In her new role at Matthew Williamson, she has already launched the brand’s Twitter presence, and has a website and e-commerce relaunch in the pipeline.
The first in our series of Decoded London speaker interviews, we caught up with Rosanna to share some of her excellent insight!
EDITD: You’ve been at the helm of some pretty major digital overhauls at the British Fashion Council and now Matthew Williamson. What does rolling out a digital strategy involve?
RF: It’s essential you know the brand inside out and back to front. I had been at the BFC for 5 years, so my own knowledge, teamed with a close-knit communications team meant there was a clear vision for us to push out digitally. As for my current role, Matthew and Joseph, the CEO and co-founder, have such a strong brand identity – it’s thrilling to now market this digitally. This may just be my first month but I have been a lifelong admirer of the brand since its launch in 1997 – I remember Kate Moss and Jade Jagger in Matthew’s first London Fashion Week collection on the cover of The Times. I have followed the brand closely ever since, and gave weekly guided talks on his exhibition at Somerset House back in 2010.
You also have to be up-to-the-minute with the latest tech developments. At the British Fashion Council, the Digital Committee met biannually to brainstorm ideas and how we could keep London at the forefront of the digital revolution.
Spend time over formulating your briefs and strategy. Brainstorm with colleagues in every department – their opinion and brand insight is crucial.
EDITD: What’s the transition like from events-focused digital strategy to being product-focused? Is the tone of communication a big shift?
RF: My tone has changed because they are different brands, with different values. Matthew’s social media will not just be a push to product but an insight into his world. His studio is based here in Mayfair, so I have access to a rich archive of content. As well as the brand tweets, Matthew is tweeting from @MWWorld with his inimitable charm, sharing his personal perspective and signing off with ‘MW’.
EDITD: Do you take a holistic approach to social media, or are some platforms more critical than others?
RF: Each has their value, the trick is to align them with your brand values, assets and aims, and use them in a way personal to you. Avoid the scatter gun approach and opening social media platforms just for the sake of it.
For example, at the BFC, we teamed up with Twitter since 2011. This was critical as the platform is at the centre of London Fashion Week for show goers. We harnessed this power to share show running time updates and hold live Q&A sessions with everyone from Alexa Chung and Olivia Palermo to Anya Hindmarch and Matthew Williamson.
EDITD: How deep do you think transparency in a brand’s social media should go? Dinners?! Cats?!
RF: I was part of the Twitter Fashion School last month with Twitter, ELLE and Henry Holland – we all agreed that a picture of a cute dog is a failsafe win on your personal Twitter account. However for brands, it all comes down to your core values. If you are an aspirational brand, a casual picture of a takeaway session in the studio on a late-night pre London Fashion Week, will not align with your brand’s sophisticated image! But then again, this is all part of the conundrum facing luxury retail brands today… Many have found the right balance, personalised to their brand.
EDITD: What emerging technologies are you most excited about?
RF: Aurasma is fantastic. I worked closely with them at the BFC, bringing together our print and digital worlds via their augmented reality app. Using a mobile device, visitors simply needed to download the free Aurasma Lite app and then hold it over the LFW image, at which point it sprung to life with exclusive video content – for example the cover image of The LFW Daily newspaper would link to the catwalk video of the show pictured, or an exclusive interview with the designer.
I’m intrigued by Viddy – the bite-size video style means that followers get a quick, digestible glimpse into the world of brands like Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg. I want to watch how Pheed progresses. As users have to pay to upload, the emphasis is on high quality content, if not, why pay the premium? Though many forget it, as brands throw out a heavy stream of content to gain followers, all content should always be worthwhile and meticulously proofed.
EDITD: What’s a good place for small brands or retailers to start when building their digital strategy?
RF: The very core of the brand: 3 buzzwords that sum up your brand. 3 ways you can translate this to your digital brand voice. Most importantly, get the basics top notch first. There is no need to launch a high-tech campaign with pioneering new technology when you have not yet defined a consistent brand voice or a strong, cross-platform website.
EDITD: Thanks Rosanna!
Keep up to date with Matthew Williamson at @MWWorld.