One of my favorite ways to get people talking and excited about your products is a lookbook! These originated in the fashion industry, and have since been adopted by home goods and other types companies. I believe lookbooks are a highly effective form of brand storytelling; especially as our attention spans get shorter and shorter. The goal of the lookbook is to make your target audience want to shop. A good book can help get your brand noticed for all the right reasons. Make sure to follow my design guidelines to make the most of yours!
Ok so you’re probably thinking, ‘what is a lookbook?’
A lookbook is a blend of a product catalog and an e-zine. It includes high quality photos displaying a select grouping of your new items. Lookbooks are a way for brands to gain excitement with their new collections; which is why the fashion industry has used this marketing strategy for years. I call it a lookbook, but you may have heard them called Pitch Book or Pitch Kits, Brand Book, or even Vision Book.
If you’re an e-commerce business, you miss out on the experience of being able to touch, feel, and try on that brick and mortar stores have. Therefore, a lookbook is a good way to provide some of that experience to the consumer.
Your buyers love to interact with and share this type of content because it’s seen as a form of entertainment to them. And since these generally a preview of what’s to come while it’s reminding customers of your brand, products, and services in a non-salesy, non-spammy way. Lookbooks are the perfect thing to start off the new year with a call to action to remind shoppers to visit your store. By implementing these into your content marketing strategy, you have another opportunity to sell as well remind buyers of the value proposition for your brand.
If you’re looking to add to the marketing mix, I highly recommend using this marketing tactic! It’s a medium that you can use online, or if you have the printing and direct mail budget could be tweaked to mail out to your list.
It’s easy to see how a lookbook can be an effective tool, but the task of designing one can be a whole other story.
Some common considerations I help clients with as we design their lookbooks are:
Who’s the target consumer you’re trying to appeal to? This will not only impact what items you include, but also the models you hire for the photo shoot. It may also influence the photographer you bring on board if they tend to project the style you’re after in their work.
What is the personality of your brand? An effective lookbook helps your target audience differentiate between you and other brands out there. If it doesn’t do that, then what was the point?
What story should the lookbook convey? This is a piece of visual storytelling for your customers. Every item, photo, and description should be a part of the overall story. This means when designing there is a clear beginning, middle, and end present so buyers feel complete with your visual representation.
Now that you know what key questions to ask before you start sketching, keep reading for my guidelines on design.
Guidelines of Good Lookbook Design:
Keep it short! If you’re just starting out or you have a small collection then 4 pages is perfect. Most companies will end up with 8-15 pages however so use them wisely.
Use high quality imagery and graphical elements; however, I wouldn’t recommend using stock photography!
Keep the style consistent with other branded items so you continue to build and support your brand design. This includes your fonts and your colors.
Important items should go on the outside of pages (we look outside to inside in this format).
Up-sell or Cross-sell your products and services and make the same recommendations your sales or account management team would use when speaking with customers.
Don’t try to include too much! Lookbooks are where you select a few products to feature; it’s not a product catalogue. Use the white space so people can take in what you’re recommending.
Analyze and track your ROI with predetermined KPIs, hashtag usage, social shares etc. and follow up with surveys for another way to gain insights on your lookbooks.
Now that you have a better idea of the considerations and guidelines on design, let’s examine what are the must-have items in any lookbook.
An intro to your Brand
An explanation of the theme-it can be as few as 4 or 5 words, but this sets the expectation for the viewer of what they’ll see next.
A single photograph page- here you can show a model interacting with multiple products from the collection showcased together. It guides viewers’ purchase decisions by letting them imagine themselves using your products.
A product-focused page-the focus is on the products and there may not be a model present in the photo. One example is when a furniture brand has a person walking out of the room so the focus is still on the products.
A group shot page-If you sell dinnerware or food, you could opt to show a variety of meals and serving dishes along with a small group of models that are similar to your target audience.
Contact information, and where/when they can get their hands on what you presented them.
There you have it. Once you have your first lookbook, you can easily share it through your social media and email channels. This is valuable information for your existing contacts that helps to set you apart from the competition. You can also use it as a way to entice potential leads to opt-in to your list in exchange for this piece of content that shows you understand the trends in your field.
I recommend that you create more than one! Each lookbook will be received differently so you’ll want a good variety to show a better representation of the impact on your marketing mix. Since they are short pieces of content they are an easy way to build excitement for an upcoming sale or new product launch. You can even create one for each season and show the story of a year-in-the-life of your brand! This is a great visual way to keep your leads and buyers engaged and in the know about what’s next; all while positioning you as a thought leader in your industry.
Want help creating a series of lookbooks for your brand? Contact Charisma Communications today!