Diesel mixed magic and psychology this season to help a group of young guys and girls reveal those true Christmas morning feelings they used to experience when they were little kids.
The brand launched the Magic of Christmas promotion on its website, where it has posted three videos starring young Diesel fans who were hypnotized to act like they were 5 years old again. Believe it or not, all the reactions in the videos are real.
The Abercrombie & Fitch Company owns several iconic brands that my colleagues here at The Value Engineers have discussed in the past – both on the good and bad aspects of their in store customer experience
However, a recent conversation with a friend got me thinking about just how interesting their corporate brand architecture is, and how it sets a good example for organisation of organising brand assets and making the most effective use of the market space.
As a former employee of both Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, I was fully indoctrinated into the key messages behind each of the key brands (with the portfolio also including Gilly Hicks underwear and Abercrombie kids), and more importantly for the company, the very specific target audiences. The flagship brands A&F and Hollister are targeted at university-aged students (or ‘college kids’) and secondary school pupils (‘high school kids’) respectively. The style of the clothing, key messaging and in-store experience successfully pander to these defined audiences. For example, A&F talks about clothes as ‘casual luxury’ – a tagline clearly very appealing to young adults aiming to look attractive, yet sophisticated – on the other hand, Hollister label their boys and girls departments as ‘Dudes’ and ‘Bettys’ – a more playful, childish theme.
It is nothing new to have a portfolio of brands whose architecture is defined by target audience, and this is just another great example of a company’s single-mindedness resulting in the halo effect and cross age appeal of all of the brands. In other words, you don’t only get 14-18 year olds buying Hollister and 18-21 years A&F. Pre-teens desperate to grow up quickly are demanding to wear Hollister, while older adults aim to cling onto their youth through A&F’s stylish and trendy attire.
So when my 12 year old cousin asked for a Hollister shirt for Christmas, my first reaction was not ‘you’re not the right age!’ but rather an begrudging ‘yes’ (they don’t make their clothes cheap!) and an appreciation of how the Abercrombie & Fitch company, whether you love or hate them, continues to manage brands that act as true beacons for fashion among young adults and kids in the UK.
I recently stumbled on the rather fascinating Channel 4 Programme, The Model Agency. Filmed in the offices of Premier Models, it lifts the lid on the world of the model agency: from money girls to show girls, from bookings to bitchiness, from catwalks to catalogues.
Whilst it has its own close-up taken, Premier Models has obviously taken the opportunity to extend its brand footprint. Launching a licensed beauty range is nothing new – but it’s not often that a B2B professional services brand (albeit in the glamorous world of fashion) makes the leap to the B2C spotlight.
What makes this a hit, not a miss, in the world of brand extension is the strong leveraging of Premier’s existing professional brand equity. Intimate knowledge of the effects of international travel and the stress of life on the catwalk, combined with Monu professional skincare, build a strong proposition for mere humans to aspire to! This is perfectly captured by the signature Model Kit – seven essentials in an airport-friendly pouch.
It will be interesting to see if Premier can stay the distance in the highly-competitive premium beauty category and build its B2C brand once the cameras have turned away…
Brands will forever mark their landmark developments and new products with spectacles and eye-catching specials, especially those at the top end of the market. This year we saw the mind blowing unveiling of the awe-inspiring refurbishment of the Louis Vuitton store on London’s Bond Street. A few buildings down, Ralph Lauren tried to up the game this month.
Whilst the aesthetics and ethos of the Ralph Lauren brand have been deep rooted in Britishness and all that entails – sports, country pursuits, history and traditional craftsmanship – since Mr. Lauren’s initial range of neckwear in 1967, this side of the pond we have been neglected by the company in one major way. We have not had access to the Ralph Lauren online store. David Lauren, Ralph’s son, was one of the first in the luxury fashion business to begin trading online, despite fears that it would sully the exclusive nature of the brand.
Well things have now changed. Ralph Lauren has opened its UK online store, and they didn’t do it quietly. Bond Street was closed on a cold Wednesday night so spectators could witness a 4D display of Ralph Lauren-ness.
The fourth ‘D’ was added by a mist of the new Ralph Lauren fragrance whilst the store frontage was plunged into darkness disturbed only by giant catwalk models and holographic polo players enthralling the crowds for 8 minutes at regular intervals throughout the evening.
These one-offs will forever enable those that are familiar, and those that aren’t, to engage with the brand. They give the brand an opportunity to power home its message whilst also generating excitement and hype. We all know that we are now savvy consumers, but as brands try harder to engage with our blinkered-selves, we should expect more and more elaborate attempts to catch our eye… especially if one frequents Bond Street!
Great interview from the BBC the other day – Karl Largerfeld about the importance of new (or as he calls them, ‘emerged’) markets for Chanel. He gives an insight into what makes or breaks international fashion brands:
”There are so many people in the world who cannot read French or English, as we cannot read Chinese or Russian… if you don’t have a logo everyone can remember in a second it’s much more difficult. The importance of logos to world fashion is unbelievable.”
Fortunately Chanel is a brand blessed with both an instantly-recognisable logo and an iconic figurehead – how will other fashion brands fare in the new world order?