Global Message, Local Channels: Tory Burch’s Content Marketing Strategy Extends to China

    As more luxury brands embrace online content marketing, Tory Burch's creative director Honor Brodie shares her thoughts on reaching a Chinese audience through this medium.
    A screenshot of Tory Daily's feature on Shanghai stylist Leaf Greener.
    Homa ZaryouniAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    Tory Daily's feature on Shanghai stylist Leaf Greener.

    Recognized as one of the top apps in the 2015 “Best of Mobile Insight Report” by digital intelligence firm L2, Tory Burch’s Tory Daily app is one of the best examples of how commerce-driving content can be global. The app has been downloaded 700,000+ times to date and is a daily destination for the majority of visitors to the Tory Daily blog. A third of traffic to the site comes from outside of the United States, with sizable groups of engaged users in China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Japan.

    At the heart of Tory Daily’s success is a commitment to storytelling. Rather than simply promoting Tory Burch items, the blog has become a destination for curated lifestyle content with book reviews, artist interviews, lifestyle tips from the founder, and playlists. Further proof of the blog’s journalistic bent: Creative Director Honor Brodie, who oversees the blog, is a former Vanity Fair and InStyle journalist.

    But how does an English-language blog attract a global audience? Brodie says that the emphasis on visual storytelling helps expand the blog’s global reach, as a picture can tell a story without the need for translation. Appropriate distribution channels—such as consistent posts on Sina Weibo and WeChat—maximize Tory Daily’s engaged Chinese audience. Additionally, the brand employs a three-dimensional approach to marketing content. For example, for the opening of the Tory Burch flagship store at the Kerry Center in Shanghai, Tory Daily launched a Shanghai issue featuring local talent such as stylist Leaf Greener, PR and events maven Melvin Chua, and Elle Décoration’s China editor Leon Sun.

    Content marketing—or product-driven storytelling—is becoming the focus of marketers worldwide. Just between 2012 and 2013, the number of marketers who prioritized the medium rose from 19 percent to 37 percent. This has translated to opportunity in China, where original content published on Sina Weibo and WeChat outpaces blogs. Organizations have recognized the potential, and as a result, 65 percent of marketers reported plans to increase investments in WeChat and 53 percent reported plans to increase investment in Weibo. Meanwhile, just 12 percent of marketers plan to invest in blogs in China.

    As shown in the graph above, a content marketing strategy for China requires a presence on different social, web, and mobile channels than those in the United States or Europe. Brands that create content that resonates globally, and adjust distribution channels by country are most likely to create a following among Chinese consumers.

    Keep reading for a full Q&A with Honor Brodie below.

    Tell us about your background in print.#

    I started my career in print in the West Coast office of Vanity Fair. As the West Coast editor’s assistant, I learned the art of putting Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood Issue together—from booking celebrities to organizing photo shoots to orchestrating the Oscar party. Two years later, I joined InStyle, where I was an editor for 12 years. At InStyle I started as a reporter and celebrity booker. When I moved back to New York, I graduated to writing cover stories and editing features. I learned the importance of deep reporting, packaging issues, and extending print content to television and the web.

    What do you take from your experience and how do you mix it with Tory Burch’s commerce goals?#

    A magazine background teaches you how to edit—to focus and sharpen the messaging around an idea—be it a seasonal launch or an editorial feature. It also teaches you how to be consistent (or deliberately unique) in every medium you communicate from digital to editorial, social, print marketing, or store windows.

    I love to tell stories and at Tory Burch there is a real story to tell. Tory’s lifestyle defines the vision for the brand and creates a clear focus for the type of content we create both commercially and editorially. Every collection has an inspiration—be it a trip to Marrakech or a film from the late 60’s. We take that inspiration first seen on the runway and blow it out across our channels when the collection arrives.

    Tory Burch Creative Director Honor Brodie. (Courtesy Photo)

    Where are most Tory Daily readers based? How does content translate to audiences in different countries?#

    We syndicate our Tory Daily content across all of our social channels; however, each has a specific goal so the content is interpreted differently. In China, we utilize our Tory Daily content on Weibo and WeChat on a consistent basis. As a company, our point of view is global, which extends to our daily editorial content.

    When we open a flagship, we create dedicated issues celebrating the city where we are opening the store. For our Kerry Center opening, we created a Shanghai issue that featured local talents and insiders like blogger Leaf Greener [editor's note: Greener is actually a stylist], Melvin Chua, and Elle Décoration China editor Leon Sun. These tastemakers gave their tips to local restaurants, museums, and interesting boutiques. The content on Tory Daily is global. It is available on our international sites. One third of traffic to Tory Daily comes from outside of the United States.

    We see a lot of engagement from China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Japan. We are working on translations, but since we place such a premium on visual storytelling, the content is still engaging to non-English speakers. A picture tells a story and needs no translation.

    One of the standout features of your app is the find in-store feature next to add to cart. When was that added, and how often is it used relative to the e-commerce button?#

    We added Find In Store to our product detail pages at the end of last year. Because it is a new feature we are still gathering performance data, but anecdotally, the feedback from customers and our retail team has been very positive.

    Tory Daily posts music, interviews, and other types of content not directly related to Tory Burch clothing and accessories. What drives these posts?#

    Our editors cover a wide range of topics: style, culture, entertaining, music, business, and philanthropy. A playlist from Randall Poster, a feature on Oscar de la Renta’s resort, or an interview with entrepreneur Misha Nonoo do not directly relate back to commerce, but they are an extension of Tory’s own interests and those of our team. And when editorial content does support the business, we want it to be interesting and authentic. For instance, when we photograph a tastemaker dressed in a look from our collection, we prefer she wear it with her own accessories. This is how people dress. The stories that perform the best consistently include our style guides, interviews with tastemakers, and any content that features Tory’s personal style and inspiration.

    We launched Tory Daily in 2008 and followed with the app in 2012. The majority of Tory Daily visitors read our content daily through our app. We have received nearly 700,000 downloads to date. Newer readers find us through the or through content syndicated to our social channels, in particular, Instagram, Pinterest, and Weibo.

    What are some of the challenges of creating the Tory Daily site and app?#

    It often takes longer to create a new layout in digital than in print. And what’s labor-intensive to develop is not always intuitive. This is why it is so important that a strong relationship exists between the editor, art director, and developer. To drive innovation and efficiency, our editors, art directors and developers collaborate closely on anything new. What’s exciting is when we launched the site, it was a super small team and it took a long time to create a story. We have grown, expanded our coverage and reach. Tory is as excited and involved as she was when we launched. The editorial team, led by Anne Monoky, interacts with the entire company. Ideas come from everyone.

    Homa Zaryouni is the editorial director at L2 Inc.

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