The power of the ‘gram: The Dr Martens effect

With what feels like continual bad news emanating from the high street in recent months, it’s refreshing to see Dr Martens posting strong financial results last week. It’s fantastic to see such an iconic British brand doing so well globally, with double-digit growth in revenues and profits in all regions.

A key part of this growth l has been their successful use of Instagram, which is filled with photos of “street style shots”, user generated content and the latest from its collections and collaborations. With high profile celebs such as David Beckham, Pharrel Williams, and BTS sporting their apparel, it is certainly a brand with an upward trajectory.

This great performance is highlighted in our Social Scorecard Report, which indicated that Dr Martens has the most effective Instagram account in UK high street retail.

We compared the social media accounts of 110 UK high street retailers, taking into account their follower numbers, average number of post engagements, and profile engagement rate, before combining the results to create an overall score. 

Dr Martens placed highest on Instagram with a total score of 27.03 out of 30, ahead of brands such as Urban Outfitters, Timberland, Hollister, and even Nike and Adidas.  

Their ability to properly engage their followers with well thought out, brand relevant and inspiring content on Instagram is a case study in how to use the platform to drive sales.

Where a well designed ecommerce site is now the shop floor for brands, social media is very much the shop window. They need to be doing the right things on social to attract the right customers, drawing them in and getting them on a journey to purchase. Dr Martens use of the Instashop capability is great and if they were to start rolling out shoppable posts too, I am sure it would boost sales further.

As Paul Mason, chairman of Dr Martens, highlighted, there is still “significant scope for growth across our markets, particularly via our Direct to Consumer channels, and this will remain a strategic priority in the years ahead”.

Retailers need to see Instagram as a shopping channel (and Instagram themselves are making no secret of its intent to head in that direction) so if brands are to flourish online they need to embrace all the options and channels available to them to do so. This is particicularly important in light of changing consumer habits and falling high street foot-fall.

Our report highlighted that the brands using Instagram effectively are those who are interesting and aspirational while encouraging and rewarding user engagement. Having lots of shoppable content and meaningful promotions in place is also key to success

It’s doubtful that many people would consider Dr Martens to be at the cutting edge of digital or bossing things on social media, but they’re definitely able to prove their doubters wrong. And if the results continue to confound the woes facing other high street brands, then surely they are worthy of everyone’s respect.


Russ Powell, Head of marketing, Red Hot Penny