Topman bounces music and lifestyle platform back into action


By Chris Lee

Brands are increasingly generating content-led online campaigns both inside and outside their category to appeal to target audiences. Young men’s fashion retailer Topman has re-launched its digital platform CTRL to enable the shop’s audience to share music and other content. CTRL “aims to bridge the gap between social media content and traditional music and cultural media platforms,” the company said.

The site was designed and built by London-based consultancy Bounce Digital and NMK spoke with Matt Dew, Bounce’s co-founder, to learn more about the CTRL programme.

Taking CTRL

The relaunched Topman CTRL will be curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Huw Stephens, who will be joined by monthly guests including musicians Joe Goddard of Hot Chip and Raf Rundell in their guise as The 2 Bears. Content will include exclusive mixes published via Mixcloud, video footage and web TV episodes via YouTube, photos from Instagram or any other types of media shared via Twitter.

Presenter Huw Stephens said: ““Topman CTRL is about the world of music and the world of social media and technology, and bringing it all together to do what we love doing: sharing music. There’s so much out there on different sites – Mixcloud, YouTube, Twitter – this’ll be a home for all of that stuff. It’s also about listening to what the people that use the website want to listen to as well, so it’s a big project but a really exciting one and very creative.”

Bounce rate

Given the social media mantra that “every company is a publisher”, just how can Topman engage audiences and foster long-term brand advocacy through content pushed via CTRL? Bounce Digital’s Matt Dew said the chance to share content and “get closer to musical figures that shape UK culture in 2012” via a “creative, exciting and social” experience would bring Topman closer to its audience.

“It really does boil down to content and how it is used,” he told NMK. “The exclusive and desirable content on CTRL will fuel social media conversations, creating a two-way flow using Facebook’s Open Graph, Twitter and other social tools. CTRL will also contribute to offline strategy, with content being used in-store and in other more traditional marketing and communications channels. It is the root from which other tactical campaigns can grow and will provide a platform from which Topman can get more actively engaged with its music-loving audience.”

According to Dew, brands have usually had a destination site, which can be costly, or social media, but the new Topman CTRL platform combines both, allowing consumers to discover new music and sounds and “take the Topman brand deeper” than it has previously been.

“For so many brands, being ‘social’ still means Facebook,” he added. “We wanted to go way beyond that and build something that is genuinely and intrinsically social, so Topman CTRL is all about fluid social content and is an always-on digital platform unlike any in the UK, truly breaking down the barriers between the artist and the audience.”

From April onwards users will also be able to publish their own content to Topman CTRL, from gig reviews to questions for Huw and guests, completing a social stream that will see content from Controllers and audience pushed into the CTRL feed but also pushed back out into traditional media and in-store channels. The cross-platform content will provide exactly the same user experience, whether on mobile, Facebook or Topman CTRL itself.

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