Market research and data analytics firm, YouGov, has released data showing that Charles & Keith’s brand health metrics have risen significantly since a recent incident where a teenager went viral on TikTok last week for labelling a Charles & Keith bag a “luxury” item.
The 17-year-old, Zoe Gabriel, had initially posted a video on the social media platform thanking her father for gifting her first luxury bag from Charles & Keith, but was later mocked online by some users who insisted that Charles & Keith is not a luxury brand and that the bag was inexpensive. The backlash prompted Gabriel to post a second video where she tearfully explained that her family did not have much while she was growing up. This prompted the fashion brand to release a statement praising Gabriel for her graceful response and invited the teen and her father to visit their headquarters to have lunch with one of their founders. The brand later sent Gabriel two bags, a black Charlot bag as well as a personalised Gabine leather saddle bag.
The brand's response to the teenager clearly earned it points, according to new data from YouGov BrandIndex, a research, data and analytics group. In terms of media and communication metrics, net buzz scores, which measure whether consumers have heard more positive or negative things about a brand in the past two weeks, soared by 19.7 points. It shot up drastically from 7.9 on 8 January to 27.6 by 16 January, according to the release. Buzz scores were based on the following question: “Over the past two weeks, which of the following brands have you heard something positive/negative about (whether in the news, through advertising, or talking to friends and family)?"
Meanwhile, the brand’s word of mouth (WOM) exposure, which tracks the percentage of consumers who are talking about a brand in the past two weeks, also rose by 12.3 points – from 8.4 on 8 January to 20.7 by 16 January – indicating that consumers were not just reading about the incident but also talking about it, according to YouGov BrandIndex. WOM Exposure scores were based on the following question: “Which of the following brands have you talked about with friends and family in the past two weeks (whether in person, online or through social media)?”
Both metrics started on a sharp upward trend after 12 January, when news of Gabriel’s tour of Charles & Keith’s headquarters broke, YouGov said. In terms of consumer perception metrics, Charles & Keith’s net impression scores, which measure whether more consumers have a positive or negative impression of a brand, gained 13 points. It went from 8.2 on 8 January to 21.2 by 16 January.
Impression scores were based on the following question: “Overall, of which of the following brands do you have a positive/negative impression?”. Consideration scores are based on the following question: "Which of the following brands would you consider buying from, the next time you are purchasing fashion retail?". Figures are based on a one-week moving average.
At the same time, its consideration scores, which track the percentage of Singapore residents who would consider buying from the brand when they are next in the market for a fashion product, increased by 8.3 points – from 11.5 on 8 January to 19.8 by 16 January – indicating that more consumers are interested in shopping for Charles & Keith products following the incident.
Saying that, when the story first broke last week, media intelligence company CARMA noted the difference in the keywords most associated with Charles & Keith across two different time periods. Namely, the few days before and after the first TikTok video was published by Gabriel. Where Charles & Keith was never necessarily associated with luxury in Singapore, it has been a dominant theme associated with the company over the last few days. Not ignoring the white elephant in the room, the other keywords associated with Charles & Keith include “mocked” and “shamed” as of last week.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE then spoke to industry professionals last week to find out how the brand could swing the narrative in their favor while lending Gabriel its support.
When asked how the brand could support Gabriel, Edwin Yeo, general manager of SPRG Singapore said that the first move would definitely be to show support for Gabriel publicly on their own social platforms. “The brand should stand up for the fact that people should define what luxury means to them and that everybody has their own circumstances,” said Yeo. He added that with proper research done on Zoe, a potential follow up could be to engage her as an influencer to help her financially. Of course, the caveat is to ensure that all that she’s mentioned is honest and true. “The last thing the brand would want is to get bitten should she have made any untrue comments,” he said.
Agreeing with Yeo, Kristian Olsen, managing director of social media firm Type A said the brand definitely needs to respond and clarify that luxury means different things to different people. Moreover, Charles & Keith itself is a home-grown brand that built itself from the bottom up to become a staple in the industry. “Charles & Keith is really the epitome of a local success story that should not be discounted or disrespected by our own people,” he added. “This would be a great opportunity for the brand to tell its own story.”
Clearly, according to YouGov BrandIndex, this is exactly what Charles & Keith has managed to do and has won many fans in the process.
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