Currently, social media platforms are an essential way to get connection with the users on a personal level and an important opportunity for the brands. Most brands need to have not only an account in one platform, but be sovereign and operate in multiple social media.
Social media are interactive platforms that allow the transaction of text, photos, audio, video and information in general between the internet users. With social media websites and applications the content are created, distributed and shared by individuals on the web. Social media are essential to the creation and exchange of content.
The company that I choose to analyze is H&M. The initial name of the brand was Hennes, founded in 1947, in Västerås, Sweden. In 1968, the founder Erling Persson bought Mauritz Widforss, a hunting and fishing equipment store. In that year, the name is changed to Hennes & Mauritz (H&M).
The H&M’s collections include clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, make up and underwear for women, men, teenagers and children. Currently, H&M stores are in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North and South America, in a total of 61 countries.
In a market of high competitiveness, the Swedish company is present on the most popular online platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Google Plus.
Besides these platforms, the brand has its own website, where the customers have the possibility to view by categories all the available articles, locate the nearest store, contact directly the company, get legal information or just know more about H&M. The website offers also the possibility to do online shopping in 21 countries. H&M has a phone application, where customers have the same possibilities of the website but in a portable mode. The brand sends also newsletters via email to their subscribers.
H&M is a brand related to the fashion world, dictating and influencing trends. Their target audience is modern people that like to be updated about the last trends. Most part of them is composed by young people, with ages between 15 and the 45, male and female. Their target is medium class costumers, with a medium purchasing power. The company has a global impact and, consequently, their target groups are localized all over the world.
I decided choose the H&M because of the connection that I have with the brand. H&M is a multinational company, with big influence in the fashion world. As women, I’m a H&M customer and fan of the brand. That was the principal motivation to my choice, my admiration for the brand.
The biggest competitors of the H&M are the Inditex Group companies, one of the world’s largest distribution groups. The international group is the biggest one in the textile industry, with eight stores: Zara, Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe. In my opinion, between the Inditex brands, the most competitive with H&M is Zara, for this reason that will be the competitor that I will compare with H&M.
Zara opened the first store in Spain (Coruña) in the year of 1975. The company was created by Amancio Ortega Gaona. The founder created in 1963 the company Inditex, working in the business as a dressmaker. Twelve years later, Amancio founded Zara. The brand was a success between the public, which led the company to the expansion, opening nine new stores in Spain’s biggest cities. After 1988, the company starts to open international stores, being the first one in the neighboring country, Portugal. Currently, the brand has over 2,000 stores across 88 countries. The Zara collections include cloths and accessories, to women, man and child. The brand was the first one of the Inditex Group and, currently, is one of the largest international fashion companies. The brand is distinguished by the unique business model, which includes design, production, distribution and sales. Zara’s creative team is made up of over 200 professionals.
The online communication of the Spanish company varied, from online platforms, official website, phone applications and newsletters via email to the subscribers. Zara has accounts on the most popular online platforms as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. The brand has also a website, where are available all the important information the customers. In their web are the details of articles, the stores location, the contacts of the company and legal information about the brand. The website offers also the possibility to shop online in 29 countries. The brand has also a phone application, where the customers can have all the possibilities that the website has, in a portable way.
Zara is an international brand with a world impact. Modern and trendy, the company has a worldwide dimension, consequently their target audience is all over the world. Woman, man and children are their target, specifically modern and young people, between 15 and the 45 years old. About the costumer’s class is of medium level.
The future of communication is definitely associated to the Social Media. The share of information is enhanced for infinity of different tools and online platforms.
In the general, H&M and Zara have a similar communication via the social media. Looking for the online platforms used by both companies their online communication I based in four ways. The companies use online platforms, websites, phone applications and newsletters to the subscribers.
In a world in change, the brands realized the opportunity of being in several communicative chains and, the last years, changed their online strategy. Different types of social media provide different types of experiences to the users and have several capabilities. In a competitive sector as the textile industry, both brands develop in the last year their social media communication, trying to be the closest they can of their customers.
The channel that I’m going to approach is the YouTube. This platform is a media sharing network, based in videos and images. YouTube is one of the most successful online platforms and an essential social media format to the brand communication. YouTube offers the possibility to have subscribers, a group of users that have in common the fact that they like the brand. This platform is a simple way to connect with the general public and get more fans brand. YouTube also gives to the brands the opportunity to promote their products and strengthen relations with the users.
Between the two brands, Zara was the first to create a YouTube channel, in the year of 2005. Currently, Zara channel’s has 24 182 subscribers and a total of 2 904 438 views. This channel helps Zara to connect with users in one of the most popular platforms, working in the creation of a relationship with the followers.
H&M created their official channel in 2007, two years after Zara. With this platform the users can explore the entire H&M world in only one place. They can subscribe for free to get the latest video and be updated about news. Currently, the channel has 156 119 subscribers and a total of 78 739 840 views.
In this platform, H&M is clearly stronger. The brand has more 132017 subscribers and more 75835402 views than Zara´s Channel. The H&M channel’s is a big success, having a great range.
In the YouTube channels both companies share their new campaigns and products. H&M and Zara clearly invest in attractive and dynamic videos, with a modern approach of the fashion world. H&M has also a folder with fashion advices to the users, the “H&M Life – Fashion Inspiration”, where they can find some tutorials about hair, makeup and trends.
In the general, both brands show a mature knowledge of social media, using the most popular social media to connect with their customers. The brands have a strong strategy, with a competitive approach. Both companies are international, with a huge power in the textile industry. They are between the most important, not only in the level sales but in their communication.
The last decade, the market of social media changed dramatically and we can realize that both companies are following the evolution, being present in the most important online platforms.
H&M has a strong communication in the online platforms, but there’s always improves to make. My first recommendation to H&M improve their online activity is to invest more in the national channels. The brand is present in the most important channels, but one way to get closer to their customers could be invest more in the national channels, for example in Facebook/ Instagram/ Pinterest/ Twiiter/ YouTube pages of each country.
My second recommendation is to enlarge the number of countries with online shop. The company is present in 61 countries and the online shop is available only in 21 countries, a third of the countries. In my opinion, could be a good investment increase the number of countries with H&M online shop.
The last recommendation is related with blogs. The brand could make a partnership with important bloggers in the market and create a blog with articles written by the bloggers about specific products of the brand, giving the feedback and personal advices.
Number of words: 1524
Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Ana Adi
Joana Regina Carvalho Fernandes
Session 2015/2016, 1st Semester