Fast Fashion Co-branding on Social Networking Sites: A Study on Brand Communication on Instagram

Agata Krystyna Lech & Klaudia Julia Mogilnicka

Student thesis: Master thesis


Co-branding between fast fashion and luxury brands became a popular strategy. Parallelly, both types of brands increasingly include Instagram, one of key Social Networking Sites in fashion industry, in their branding efforts. Their contrasting nature and communication style led authors of this thesis to consider how fast fashion brand followers perceive impacted by collaboration with luxury partner content published on Instagram. Three theoretical perspectives were applied in studying their opinions linked to familiarity and expectations toward regular content and image of the brand created by it –brand associations, brand schemas and consumer-brand identification. Exploratory study set within interpretivist research philosophy driven by inductive approach was designed to answer research question taking on consumer perspective. Within single case study of co-branding between fast fashion brand H&M and luxury brand Giambattista Valli qualitative methods were applied. Thematic Analysis of semi-structured interviews with H&M followers and Semiotic Analysis of content spread by H&M on Instagram due to collaboration were conducted. Results show that brand followers mostly perceived the analyzed content as more luxury and not matching their expectations, leading to various reactions. In the moment of exposure, they associated H&M with traits incongruent with regular image, indicating short-term effect on their brand associations. Majority of respondents expressed lack of self-identification with H&M seen through analyzed visuals, however it did not entirely correlate with willingness to engage. The most differing opinions were found between highly loyal to H&M brand followers with rather negative evaluations and luxury consumers whose responses were rather positive. To conclude, brand followers' perceptions and reactions have been mostly connected to the luxury side of the fast fashion co-branding content, with aesthetics being one of the main factors influencing their evaluations and engagement. The findings of this study indicate that Instagram is a useful tool for co-branding communication, however fast fashion managers should beware of meanings included in it in connection to expectations of different types of brand followers.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages160
SupervisorsLiana Razmerita