THE GLOBAL DIGITAL AGE - THE FOUR ENDURING TRUTHS OF CALVIN KLEIN
Melisa Goldie, Calvin Klein’s Chief Creative Officer, clearly understands the fundamentals of the happy marriage between fashion and digital. Calvin Klein has been a dominant fashion brand for four decades, and is now also leading in the digital sphere and in social media marketing.
Fundamentally, Calvin Klein has always flirted with controversy. From their debut of 14 year old Brooke Shields in 1980 to their ads featuring the juxtaposition of the (then) innocent Kate Moss and Marky Mark in the 90s. From pioneering the concept of branded underwear (#mycalvins) to highly sexualised ads which spark heated debate - CK has mastered the art of leveraging cultural and societal tensions to communicate their brand message.
In an ever globalised world, CK now faces the challenge of navigating these tensions on a global scale - managing the intricacies of language and culture while still maintaining the consistency their overarching “accessible fantasy” brand.
CK has also grasped the importance of tailoring their advertising to the Millennial generation, where culture is “digital first”. CK is no longer limited to telling consumers how they feel but they can how see how they react, putting the conversation inn the hands of Millennial and allowing them to become part of the brand. Their #mycalvins campaign is an excellent example of this - recognising the importance of body language on social media - using visual platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Vine to encourage fans to share images of themselves in their Calvin underwear.. Literally making consumers the face and voice of the brand online.
Goldie shared with us the 4 key brand truths that have remained consistent over the last 20 years…
1) Seek Simplicity; it’s the key to how the run the brand today.
2) Dance with Controversy; according to Goldie, controversy means you’re connecting with people and creating sides. It means you’re relevant, modern and interesting.
3) Leverage Tension; this is the fuel on which the CK brand has been powered on over the years, and has allowed them to build deep and meaningful relationships with their consumers.
4) Embrace Culture; CK has truly “gotten into bed with pop culture”, shaping it and changing the way we see things.
Goldie concluded with these inspiring words; “You have to be passionate about your beliefs to provoke people and create meaningful behaviour and engagement. It takes passion and courage, but how your story ends is entirely in your hands”.