Princess versus Auntie: who’s the biggest influencer for your fashion brand?


Princess, right? No-brainer.

But when niche, cool, ethical denim brand Hiut enjoyed some enviable visibility either side of Christmas, one source of influence seems to have the biggest impact. Dear old Auntie. The Beeb.Okay, some clarification. First of all, Meghan Markle isn’t quite a princess. Yet. But still, she’s landed straight into the hearts of the nation with a charming manner and a well-cut pair of jeans. As a brand owner, you’d be flick-flacking with delight to see her out in your strides, and all across the tabloids on-and-off-line. That’s what Hiut bagged a couple of weeks ago.

It was hot-on-the-heels of a great piece of story-yardage pre-Christmas, when the BBC ran a piece about the ethics, mission (and struggle) of this business, trying to re-start an industry, and rebuild the skills and the workforce around a proud product in Cardigan. (GQ ran an article in December too, so it wasn’t just the Beeb.)

And my measure of impact is pretty crude. Google trends. Because - full disclosure - they’re not a client (we wish) but we have a couple of Hiut admirers here at Bottle. And because I was talking to a mate, who is a lover of the real selvedge stuff, about this cool brand in Wales, I had a little look at their search activity when I came into work the next day. Nothing, for months, then one big spike, and one significant, but much smaller one. The Beeb beat Meghan. By a factor of eight.

It’s given me pause for thought. I’m just not sure what to do with it. It defies all my pre-supposes about what kind of visibility would most translate into action. Or it’s reminded me about the reach of the BBC, versus the sum-total of the Evening Standard, Mail, Vogue, Huffpost, Mirror and Grazia. Or the value of a deep - meaningful - story, versus the splashy picture story and headline. Maybe if the guys at Hiut want to share their measurements in GA, we can share some measurements of our own, we could do a swap. Insight-led for Inside-Legs. We’ll see what more we can learn, and they could send us a pair of beautiful denims.

BlogColin Cather