The Iconic’s first customer chief on metaverse, modern-day marketing and customer obsession

Building social and metaverse muscle to deliver modern-day marketing and customer obsession have been priorities for The Iconic’s chief customer officer in the first year of the job.

Dean Chadwick, who joined the pure-play retailer last year in the newly created role of chief customer officer, caught up with CMO following the successful return of the brand’s Runway X fashion show to an in-person event format on 2 November. The sixth edition of the production, a noted event on the Australian fashion calendar, was both a display of diversity and inclusion as well as mixed reality immersion, with a Web 3.0 component introduced to the event.

“We were known historically for taking Runway X in new directions. As we were thinking about this year, we thought about the vision of the organization and how we want to have a nod into the future,” Chadwick told CMO.

“The Iconic is an 11-year-old, digitally native retailer born in the cloud. Tech has been at the front and center of the business, as well as having a strong social conscience. Given fashion’s foray into Web 3.0 over the last couple of years, it was important we think about how to educate ourselves and customers, and delicately participate in that as a space.”

For Chadwick, the impetus became less about the ‘metaverse’ and more “about the nexus and blend of real world”. As part of the program, physical models on the catwalk showcased more than 170 looks from leading local and international brands such as Manning Cartwell, Jac+ Jack, Mimco, Peta + Jain and Mossman.

In a nod into the meta world, there were also meta models featured via metamirrors on stage, showing virtual avatar expressions of the real person in the metaverse. In addition, The Iconic debuted and auctioned an NFT, including a digital portrait designed by NFT artist and influencer, Bianca Beers. This was coupled with an exclusive seasonal styling session and wardrobe refresh twice a year every year for the next 10 years. The physical prize is worth $20,000 in total.

As well as the first foray into the metaverse, this year’s Runway X for Chadwick represented a clear case study of modern-day marketing.

“This was an excellent example of how we brought that to market. It’s a physical entertainment and great production, but the lens was very much a social-first one,” he explained. “We showcased products and hundreds of looks across our models, and the talent line-up was an incredible expression of diversity.

“Hundreds of influencers and media participated in the conversation before, during and after the show. The live event was only 32 minutes, but the conversation went across Australia for weeks.”