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WWD Digital Forum- Influence of Bloggers & Social Media

Previously attending as a brand and spectator, the WWD Digital Forum has always served as a great networking experience for me. Attending this year as a guest speaker and blogger, I was eager to mingle with brands in a new capacity. 
WWD is known for getting the right people in one room, and their summits have proven that. Point in case, Adidas , ASOS, Sole Society and  blogger extraordinaire, Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere
Excited to learn what each one had to weigh in about in terms of business and the ever expanding digital space for our industry, I joined in on panel discussions and individual presentations about e-commerce growth, the importance and influence of social media and even blogger outreach and distribution improvements.
Breakout sessions run by Facebook, tumblr and Instagram were available for attendees as well, not to mention a fabulous lunch in between!
I partnered with Geri Hirsch of Because I'm Addicted & leaf TV along with Sophia Rossi of Hello Giggles for a Q&A led by the WWD team in NYC which was then live stream via Google Hangout during the Summit.
Touching upon our individual experiences with blogging and brands, we then fielded questions from viewers on working with brands and the role social media plays in our businesses.
The most poignant take away for me, and not because I am partial, was a cohesive theme of social media and bloggers influence.
Matt Hiscock, Sen. VP of ASOS, mentioned, "Bloggers can be considered the new celebrity." In addition, he planted the seed of an ASOS app being available in the next month for US shoppers.
Chris Murphy, Director of Brand Communitcations at Adidas stated "Bloggers are treated just as important as our top media advertisers." 
Emily Schuman spoke to the attendees, mainly comprised of top brands, about how to do proper business with bloggers and creating a win-win environment by working with them. "Your social strategy needs to be on par with all of your ad efforts." Emily went on to explains that the brand should not treat working with a blogger as a favor to them, more as a development of a potentially long lasting business relationship.
Considering 'Millenials' (aka gen Y) represent 25% of US and have a spending power of $200billion, capturing that audience through varying channels is certainly in a brand's best interest and worth their paid efforts.
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Andrea Wassermann, CEO of Sole Society, touched upon the subject of the evolution of fast fashion and need for newness, expressing that Sole Society's vision is to focus on styles that are relevant now AND later in order to keep their customers loyal in a fast fashion environment. I can certainly support that concept as a budget shopper with classic taste!

If you have not attended a WWD Summit and work in our fabulous fashion industry, I highly recommend it!

Emily Schuman, Cupcakes & Cashmere