It’s been a rough year for pop culture fans. Between the death of David Bowie and the resurgence of the pandora’s box known as TikTok, it can feel like the world has changed in a flash. Gone are the days when music fans could spend their nights and weekends going to concerts, being social media driven fangirls or fanboys and getting a tiny piece of plastic wrapped around a CD or vinyl LP. Now, musicians can enjoy the spoils of their popularity while the people who love them have to find ways to fill their days.
In the midst of all this change, one thing remains the same: the thirst for popular culture. The need to be among the “in” crowd. The desire to consume what everyone else is enjoying. Unfortunately, this means that those who love luxurious brands and expensive goods have had to keep a close eye on the economic ramifications of the current situation. For those who love luxury items, the opportunity to purchase them has come with a catch–there’s a condition attached.
The luxury industry has shifted from a luxury item–ownership to a license-agreement kind of relationship, reserved mostly for brands such as Prada and Louis Vuitton. The result is that expensive-looking brands have popped up everywhere. From luxury real estate to luxury furniture and lifestyle goods, it’s been a real opportunity for consumers looking for that extra bit of luxuries in life. But at what cost?
When a pop icon as recognizable as Robert Pattinson chooses to align himself with a brand new project, the interest is definitely piqued. Especially when that choice is associated with a phenomenon that’s redefined the music industry as we know it. The phenomenon, of course, is TikTok. With over a billion downloads worldwide and counting, TikTok has practically created its own ecosystem, complete with a robust community of users, influencers and media personalities.
Forbes has ranked the top 30 celebrity Instagram accounts based on engagement. Many of the accounts are associated with music and the arts, but one of them stands out above the rest. That would be none other than pop singer-songwriter Robert Pattinson’s Instagram account.
Despite his relatively small following (just over 150,000 Instagram followers as of November 2019), his feed is filled with exclusive shots of himself dressed in extravagant outfits paired with luxurious products. There are also plenty of opportunities for fans to win prizes, make purchases or even have their picture taken with the British actor.
Pattinson’s Instagram account is an ode to luxury. But it’s not just about showing off the expensive items in his closet. It’s an opportunity for fans to engage with him on a more personal level, getting to know his tastes and passions, as well as what drives him creatively.
An Instagram account doesn’t make a brand. Nor does it guarantee success. But it does provide a snapshot into the mind of an artist, if used correctly. With over 30 million followers, Kia is making a statement about brand loyalty with their animated Instagram posts. Each image in the series is captioned with a declarative statement about the brand’s relationship with its customers (“I think you’ll love what we’ve got in store for you!”)
The account uses the platform’s “stories” feature, which gives users the opportunity to share short-form content. This content is usually animated, utilizing either a car-like silhouette or cartoon characters to highlight a product or service. Although Kia has over 30 million followers, this isn’t just any old account. It’s a brand account, reserved for the family and friends of Kia customers. The brand makes a point of saying that these are the kinds of stories they want to share, not marketing or sponsored content.
And it’s not just about showing off the latest products. Instagram users can also engage with brands through lifestyle content, such as Vogue’s account, @vogueworld, which documents the glamorous lifestyle of its readers. Using the story format, the fashion magazine highlights the most stylish events and individuals, as well as the latest trends and fashion statements. Not only is this content usually fronted by well-known models and celebrity photographers, but the content creator is often a well-known brand, such as Burberry.
The point is that, although these accounts have large followings, it’s not always about the number of followers. Instead, it’s about how engaged the audience is, whether it’s through liking a brand’s posts or interacting with them through a live chat button or Instagram’s new “check-in.” In many cases, these accounts aren’t even owned by a celebrity but are brand-sponsored, meaning that the content is promoted through monetary compensation.
Why Are People Embracing Luxury On TikTok?
If you’ve spent any time at all on TikTok, then you’ll know that it’s a crowded space. With over a billion downloads worldwide, it has spawned countless imitators and clones, all vying for your attention. If you want to stand out amongst the rest, you need to do more than just post bikini pics or behind-the-scenes footage from your next music video – you need to develop a brand identity.
That’s what Robert Pattinson has been doing. The British actor has been dressing in extravagant outfits and displaying his luxurious accessories, whether it’s a Hermès scarf or a diamond necklace, for his followers on TikTok.
What Is The “Superbrand” Phenomenon On TikTok?
It’s a bit of a mystery how Robert Pattinson managed to build such a large audience on TikTok. No one is quite sure how the platform’s algorithms work, but the results are certainly there. According to TikTok, their users are watching an average of six hours and 40 minutes per day on the app, with over 75% using it daily. If you go by the number of followers alone, it would appear that most of those users are following a fairly standard celebrity Instagram trend. The problem is that, on top of all that, they’re also following a brand or brands that are much more established, such as Prada and Louis Vuitton.
What sets Gabby Agbonlaha’s account apart from the rest is his use of “superbrands,” whether it’s Dolce & Gabbana or Gucci, which he pairs with matching motifs. Agbonlaha is essentially using the “superbrand” trend, which he first spotted on TikTok, to stand out amongst the rest, similar to how PATTINSON is using his account to stand out.
Building A Brand On TikTok
The best way to stand out on TikTok is to establish yourself as an authority in your chosen field. In the case of Agbonlaha, it’s luxury fashion. With his account, he has an enormous following of almost two million people, who are eager to see what he has to say next. As the name would suggest, the account is heavily tilted towards men’s fashion, with a focus on luxury.
It’s not just about what you post on the platform, either. How you engage with your audience is key. For instance, Agbonlaha often posts images of himself, wearing a luxury brand’s products. But what’s really making the account stand out is the fact that he’s responding to comments and interacting with his followers. This is an opportunity for a brand to “become more human” (to use Instagram’s parlance) and provide a personal touch to their followers, as opposed to a brand account that is often controlled by an agency.
Can You Be Too Luxurious On Google?
It’s becoming more common for celebrities to have their own television shows. Since the premiere of The Twilight Saga in 2008, celebrities have been capitalizing on their newfound fame, developing successful YouTube channels and publishing bestselling books. As a result, today’s celebrities have found a new way to communicate with their audience: through live chats and video blogs.
Whether it’s Jared Leto’s Dallas or The Office’s Michael Scott, these are the kinds of channels that celebrities can leverage to have open, two-way conversations with their viewers. As a result, people are able to get more from their celebrity, whether it’s their opinions or their style. On the surface, it would appear that these are the kinds of accounts that Instagram wants to emulate. The problem is that, on top of all that. these are the kinds of accounts that Twitter wants to get rid of.