For some reason no one I know can fathom (including myself) I have an affinity for New Look clothes that outstrips all other high street allegiances (and it’s not because I’m cheap!). This has led to my being highly interested in their online delivery, from their flat brochure-ware days (only just over) to their fully-fledged social network.
I find them an interesting brand for a variety of reasons. Because they deliver low priced clothes that are on-trend but they are still a member of the ETI. Because they appear to take that more seriously than most (oh I so hope they don’t turn out to be another Primark – where will I buy my killer heels?). Because they have a long standing designer relationship with Giles Deacon which delivers longer term loyalty than the Hennes equivalent and more authenticity than the Kate Moss collections for TopShop.
I actually signed up to be notified about this new community because I was so interested in what it would be like and how they might service a community around a store brand rather than a product brand.
It’s not all that really.
There are lots of polls that are designed for us eg How stylish is [insert name of celeb]? and lots of surveys that are designed for them eg what do you like about the New Look shopping experience? You win points by filling in such surveys and blogs, loading up photos, writing blog entries, making friends etc.
At the end of the day I am being exploited – butI don’t care! Because I can tell the designers I want thicker soles on the wonderfully designed New Look shoes; I can tell them how much I value the fact that they are part of the ETI; I can moan about in store experiences and for doing all that I get to move up the ladder of cool, well the ladder they’ve established.
It’s the first social network I have been involved in that is so blatantly about garnering free user research and I think that unless you were a dedicated user of the brand it wouldn’t hold any interest. But I am actually and as such I can see the value to both myself and the store.
Anything that could be improved? Well, I think we should find out about things at the same time as the press, or a little after. Surely as dedicated participants we deserve a little more love than the current wheeze which is another open push to get us to recruit more members to the network with the bribe of some vouchers? Exclusive events, evenings etc that would be nice too. I hope they are listening.
I would be interested to know about any other research focused networks – beyond fan sites for cars and music brands. It would be intruiguing to compare them. So please send me links if you know any.
BTW – if you do want to join then visit this page, mention my name and we might both get some vouchers!!