There is a great difference between presiding over space and conquering it. In the first case, you plant a flag and you are happy to be there: a bit like when we landed on the moon. In the other, we are off for an adventure, thinking of a strategy that gives meaning and a future to the landing: a bit like we are thinking of doing on Mars.
The steps that the world of design is moving when it comes to the Instagram TV (IGTV) exist exactly in this land between garrison and conquest – between the Moon and Mars. Because the big question here is: what should brands design in terms if content, in order to be successful?
Alessandro Mininno is the founder of creative agency Gummy Industries and works for many brands, including designer ones. “A common and naïve mistake”, he says, “is to liquidate the practice by borrowing content and approaches from other platforms and building around them”. It’s wrong, he continues, because in the glittering and algorithmic world of Instagram the medium is the message. And winning content is that which shows the same inventiveness and dedication that designers normally put into developing lamps and chairs.
Thus, in these months of pandemic upheaval and the discovery of phygital, we have seen Molteni&C (account @molteniDada, 251,000 followers) create a series of content pills in which the masters, from Rodolfo Dordoni to Vincent Van Duysen, explain their own pieces. And then Cassina (@cassinaofficial, 344 thousand followers) leveraging the show-room tour and the set images of the collections, Lago (@lagodesign, 370 thousand followers) launching the new Campus with the CEO Daniele Lago as house master. Outside Italy, Vitra (@vitraofficial, one million followers) posted its museum tour on the IGTV as well as the video announcement of its Summit that last Fall brought together the best world design experts to discuss the future of home and office. Kvadrat (@kvadrattextiles, 205,000 followers) enjoys looking at fabrics and showing the collections designed by Patricia Urquiola and Alfredo Häberli.
And this while the fashion industry flies high. For example, using clothes and collections to rattle off reflections on insecurity and personality (Miuccia Prada did it while talking to Raf Simons and students from all over the world on @prada, 27.7 million followers). Fashion is daring and doesn’t care about the golden advice such as the 3 seconds rule: in the conversation between Jared Leto and Jimmy Chin on @gucci (42.7 million followers) the two appeared after 47 seconds of intro yet no-one abandoned the show.
Comparing fashion and design is an overused practice when it comes to communication. The turnover of the former is very far from that of furniture. And its popularity and visibility is light years ahead. Yet the comparison continues to be made. “Because design can compete on an equal footing with fashion when it comes to ingenuity”, observes Mininno.
Designing a social presence is therefore a challenge as is bringing a winning product to the market. Where to start? “Certainly from brand awareness, at least for those who have it. You need to have a clear vision of what your brand represents for the public, then you can start planning opportunities for dialogue. Better still, to offer something to the public. Conversation can be a decisive key in a world such as that of furniture that rarely activates bottom-up forms of communication. Italian brands have always told themselves with content and tones that do not stimulate interaction, as if they were works of art to be contemplated or, worse, impregnable forts”.
It may be for this reason that among the most interesting IGTVs there are those of Scavolini (@scavolini, 81,000 followers), who has moved in recent months on two levels: putting Carlo Cracco in the kitchen and publishing work out tutorials, remote gym lessons. “If you really sell the cuisine that is ‘most loved by Italians’, as its classic claim states, then it’s perfect to get in tune with your audience by showing that you care about their days in this difficult time. And you do it by giving him something practical, literally keeping them company”. The Ikea Italia account (@ikeaitalia, 1.4 million followers) follows a similar line in terms of content and tone: here people can get to the heart of very topical (and slippery) issues such as comfort at home in the Covid era. Because yes, we have heard lots of world experts on big issues: but sometimes we need just someone who explains how a long-pile carpet can be a great anti-noise remedy.
Perhaps the secret of the most engaging contents is precisely this ability to land in the everyday life of a consumer and to speak his language. “In 2021 we will know more” says Mininno. “2020 has given the shock, prompting companies that have had to give up traditional fairs and events to roll up their sleeves and take action on platforms that until recently they had not thought they should be. Let's say the flag has been planted”. It remains to be seen whether we will stay and watch the Moon or if we will really live on Mars.
Cover photo: ‘The Square. Space for culture’, the new series that tells the transformations of art in this historical period. Aired on Sky Arte, it is hosted by Nicolas Ballario, produced by Tiwi and available in streaming, free for all, on video.sky.it/arte and on the social profiles of the channel.