With digital technologies providing new and exciting business models in fashion, the industry is experiencing an unprecedented level of competition as customers are starting to change their behaviours, due to the high saturation that marketing communications have reached. Making your brand stand out in such a competitive marketplace is a real challenge, and many new entrants can fear that not much can be done to move past the noise.
Before we give us hope, we need to remember that with so much happening in the fashion industry and it’s never too late to start a brand and build a business. In this post, we’re going to look into what fashion brands should be doing to make sure they succeed by focusing on what matters. When so many different approaches are possible, we need to “double down” on what makes a difference for our customer.
In this article, we’re going to approach this broad topic by focusing on 3 key areas. First, we’ll address three key areas of innovation for brand development, to help you understand what are some elements that customers demand from your fashion company. We’ll then move on beyond the “brand blueprint” to evaluate three different engagement strategies that are “a must” for any organisation wishing to move past the noise. Lastly, we’ll look at some of the new trends that we may take advantage of in order to become early entrants in new market spaces.
To help you navigate this content we’ve broken up the article in the following sections:
The Challenge of Gaining Consumer Attention. This is the first challenge for any brand, big or small, new or old. Let’s see how this issue can be tackled.
Undeniably, developing a brand is a big effort for any organisation, and it’s a primary goal of any business wishing to compete in the fashion industry. The primary ingredient to achieving this goal is your audience’s attention. That might sound obvious, but gaining attention is everyone’s business at the moment as all businesses are adopting strategies designed to attract customers to their platform through TOFU (top of the funnel marketing) much before they might actually have anything to sell them.
In other words, a product cannot be the end of marketing communication. A product should instead be a gateway to developing a long-term relationship with a brand. This relationship should be based on the celebration of the values that a brand stands by.
We always need to remember that customers buy value, and in order to attract them we need to have a very clear understanding of the type of job our customers need to get done, and how our products are helping them. In this sense, as marketers, we need to start leaving the personas framework at the door and start working with the Jobs to Be Done Framework. If you’re interested in reading more about this marketing strategy, here’s a link to another resource from our blog entitled “Why Jobs to Be Done Theory Matters for Your Business”.
Remember also, that value cannot be simply sold, but co-created. The biggest value contribution you can give your audience is if your brand builds value with the participation of your customers. Think about Patagonia, for instance, and how this brand was able to pursue a very strong stance on fashion sustainability and developed a customer-oriented service devoted to extending the lifespan of Patagonia garments through repairs. By doing this, not only Patagonia is approaching an environmentally-conscious approach to business but is taking the journey together with its customers. This can be surely seen as a great example of value co-creation.
We tend to often misinterpret what a brand actually is as if a brand is something objective and set in stone. The reality is that for your fashion business organisation there are hundreds or thousands of brands, one per each of your customers.
A brand can be defined as the “gut feeling” that you are able to ignite in your customer when your company is mentioned. Each person will have a particular reaction, as each person will process the brand according to a different set of values, criteria etc. If you’re interested in reading about the theoretical frameworks that marketers apply to brand management, in this article we address the topic in greater depth.
As a result, brands need to understand how to leverage their customer relationships on the grounds of personalised experiences. To this end, mobile technologies can really help us interact with our customer as if the brand was speaking to each one individually. This is why the keyword for branding in 2021 is still the same: engagement. This term can mean different things, let’s see how can a brand actually become engaging. We’ll address this topic in the following section of our article.
Sometimes when we talk about building a brand, it can seem that a brand strategy is comprised of a series of tasks that we need to perform. This is not the right approach to brand development, actually, this is the opposite of a strategy. A strategy is like a policy, it’s a rule that allows you to identify what you should or should not do. Because our resources are limited it’s necessary to understand what we can do and what is out of our reach. In this section of the article, we are going to help you focus on what needs to get done using the 80\20 rule, making sure that you spend most of your time on what actually matters the most.
Let’s now move on a more outward perspective, one that takes into account the innovations in the industry.
Ok, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look into something else. Let’s see what you can do to explore new market opportunities, to gain an edge on your competition.
We should always act as if we’re in a crisis because in business the next challenge is always around the corner. Make sure you’re looking into new opportunities, as a window to pivot and revolutionise your brand is always open. Let’s now move on and wrap up the topic in the conclusions of the article.
Building a brand is challenging, and requires determination and hard work. What we want to share with this article is that strong brands are not only for large businesses, even smaller fashion firms can develop high brand equity and build a loyal audience. As you approach this challenge remember three things.
We hope that this article helps you focus on your brand strategy, and don’t hesitate to browse our blog for more articles on fashion marketing.
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