On the 4th January the exclusive fashion brand Bottega Veneta deleted its Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts with only a since deleted tweet by way of explanation: "What’s missing from 2021? @BottegaVeneta is.” It was such an interesting move that we wrote a blog about it speculating what the strategy might be and it's becoming clearer that Bottega Veneta is employing a no-marketing marketing approach.

"Regarding its digital communication strategy, it’s not disappearing from social networks, it’s merely using them differently."

François-Henri Pinault CEO of Kering, Bottega's parent company.

As we mentioned previously, the brand is 'sold only in those in-store boutiques in the likes of Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Harrods, and is only seen on the arms of those ‘absolutely fabulous’ people in places like Mayfair, Milan or Alderley Edge'. Its exclusivity gives the brand enormous cachet and Bottega Veneta is attempting to position itself above the masses, which means it sees social media as alien territory and all that this implies. By eliminating competition for 'likes' the brand is relying on marketing by word of mouth and carefully shot and curated photos of its signature basket weave leather bags from customers and very specific influencers' coffee tables.

Bottega Veneta is relying on its fanbase and customers to promote the brand to its very specific target audience of high net worth individuals. Why pay for it when you've got people who will do it for you?

Pinault explained that "Bottega has decided, in line with its positioning, to lean much more on its ambassadors and fans by giving them the material they need to talk about the brand through various social networks, by letting them speak for the brand rather than doing it itself." 

Bottega is, of course, an uber-luxury brand so sparsity plays a part in building the mystique and exclusivity which justifies the cost. It doesn't have the same retail presence as a H&M tee shirt nor does it want it - its rarity is its genius. Only those in the know will discuss and promote the brand  - you have to be cool to know about Bottega and even cooler to actually wear it, not to mention wealthy enough to actually buy its products.

Since Bottega left Instagram Pinault said their decision has been "pretty convincing in terms of Bottega Veneta’s visibility, and we are monitoring it quite precisely." Bottega may have disappeared from social media but the plan appears to be working - for them.

“Since Bottega Veneta announced that move, the buzz on the brand has never been so high. They would rather approach the market with different means. It enables them to push the idea that they are not in the pack.”

Erwan Rambourg, HSBC Managing Director and global head of consumer and retail equity research.