How Donna Karan invented content marketing

Seriously. At the very least Donna Karan was one of the first companies to use content in their luxury marketing strategy. Not only was it successful, but the branded content publication gathered a cult following. I should know, because I was there. I tell you this because I want you to understand that content marketing is nothing new. Also, especially when it comes to luxury marketing, the cost-effective and brand positive attributes of content marketing is a bonus. Some of today’s most successful online marketing programs include some of the best luxury real estate web sites, interior design brands, and other business in the home interiors market and luxury world. These success stories prove luxury brand can be online, maintain their brand integrity, and grow their business in new and powerful ways through digital marketing.

How to do luxury digital marketing the right way

Isn’t there enough evidence that digital marketing and content when it comes to business success today? Nonetheless, more than 50% of business leaders still don’t have a good digital strategy in place, let alone one that is content-driven. I totally understand that many marketers are trying to sort it all out–they have a business to run and definitely do not have time to also run a publishing platform. Posting regular blog articles is overwhelming, producing video–same. Maybe you’ve been working your social media handle, but haven’t really seen the return on investment. And then when it comes to luxury digital marketing I think some brands have a hard time seeing their band in the digital world–and they aren’t wrong, . You’re not alone–many businesses have yet to fully invest in their content programs.

If you’re one of the 50%, I hope I can help you change your approach to content marketing and make it a priority. I think the best way to convert brand leaders to the power of content is to show them how cost-effective content marketing can be.

For real. I know, because the first time I did a content marketing program was 20 years ago as an employee of Donna Karan New York.

The year was 1995 and I was working as a Marketing Assistant at luxury fashion marketing for  Donna Karan New York.

I spent my days assisting the brand managers and helping my boss–the VP of Marketing–with her own marketing initiatives, one of which was the Woman to Woman newsletter. As far as I’m concerned, this was the first branded content program ever.
Woman to Woman was an editorial magazine for Donna Karan’s high-net-worth customers,  a relatively small list of women who were Donna Karan’s collection pieces.
What is Haute Couture? There are about 4,000 haute couture clients in the world today and that number is up by 20 to 30 percent in recent years according to sources at Chanel. Couture is a rarified experience and comes only out of Paris. Everything else is considered “custom” or “made to measure” rather than actual couture.
Woman to Woman became a luxury marketing vehicle for some of the most discerning customers in the whole world, and the the publication had to reflect the elevated style of these women. In addition to Marketing Assistant, I was also the Editorial Coordinator for the Woman to Woman publication. Content was purely editorial with a strong focus on Donna’s designs. Each edition included a personal letter penned by the “voice of Donna Karan”, writer Kathleen Boyes.
Woman to Woman was incredibly successful, featuring images from our ad campaigns which were shot by the likes of Bruce Weber, Annie Liebovitz, Peter Lindbergh, etc.
Pro-tip: Measure the value and success of your digital marketing campaigns the same way you always have–are you closer to your revenue goals?
My point in telling you this is that, yes digital seems like a whole new shiny thing. And yes, it most definitely has and continues to change the world of marketing. However, you’ve got this. You are the best marketer for your business. You know your business, your brand, any professional Content Marketing Forum and better than a room full of Digital Marketing Experts.

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