Zara and H&M took fashion “on the street” and brought it to everyone. Puma and Nike have managed to go beyond the practical sportswear concept and enter the wardrobe of even those who are not interested in sports. Diesel, Burberry and others convinced people who chose their products that their lives would change. So how did they achieve this?
At the core of the success of fashion brands is their innovation and creativity. The common point of brands such as Zara and Diesel is that they target consumers who want to renew themselves. They know well that they must create the impression of constant change by reinventing themselves each season.
Creativity is the key
If we leave the sportswear brands aside, the classic fashion brands have some common points. They need to reinvent themselves each season, creating the impression of constant change. They target consumers who are aware of their brand’s image and want to “renew” themselves. They need to keep their prices in line with the expectations of the customers.
The reason for the high product prices of Chanel and Prada is that the expectations of the target customers are in this direction and they want to buy luxury products. H&M products are priced low. This is because customers are demanding products to be thrown away next season. The key here is to strike the right balance between what the customer expects for the money they pay and what you offer. If you don’t do this properly, you could harm your brand.
In the field of design, fashion brands succeed thanks to creativity. This is why they try to learn future trends from trend forecasters.
Creating a brand in ready made clothing
You can get an idea of the hardships due to cost of creating a global fashion brand if you take into account that a page of advertising in Vogue in the USA costs 100 thousand dollars. British fashion designer Matthew Williamson managed to promote his brand by captivating the fashion press, giving free clothing to influential models and actresses. But even he says it’s very difficult to mature a young brand without a big advertising budget. At a certain stage, you also have to get into accessories like glasses and perfumes, which are the real source of money.
Zara, on the other hand, realized that while there are many people who follow fashion magazines, very few are able to buy the clothes displayed there. The brand correctly predicted that when they offered low-priced versions of garments made by famous designers, they would attract a large number of customers. H&M followed a similar strategy.
This trend has been on the agenda for the last 5 years or so. The new aspect is in the behavior of consumers. Now they go to interesting combinations. They wear a Prada jacket and an H&M T-shirt together. With the money they save, they buy more expensive essentials from H&M that can be worn longer. Thus, fashion is democratizing.
Main strategies of 5 fashion brands
H&M collaborates with the world’s leading designers to raise the profile of the brand and strengthen its image. Due to its transformation from a small enterprise to a world brand, ZARA has been the subject of many books and reviewed by management consultants. Puma and Nike have managed to go beyond the practical sportswear concept and enter the wardrobe of even those who are not interested in sports. Diesel, Burberry and others convinced people who chose their products that their lives would change. Let’s see how these brands approach fashion and the rules that make fashion fashionable.
The Spanish brand’s specialty is “fast fashion”. Each store has a computer connection to the logistics department at the company headquarters. In this way, it is monitored in real time which products are selling well, orders are placed accordingly or designs are changed. Most of the factories are in central locations. New products are shipped to stores twice a week to keep stocks up to date.
A true “brand experience”. Diesel takes care that brand values such as freedom and irony mark everything that comes out of its headquarters in Italy, from product to advertisement and store design. The company’s founder, Renzo Rosso, says he treats the ad like a product. For this reason, he believes the advertisement should be as creative as the clothing so that the customer does not feel insulted.
In 1997, GUS transferred Rose Marie Bravo from Saks Fifth Avneue to breathe new life into the brand. Bravo strengthened distribution, renegotiated licenses, and closed small stores. Meanwhile, she established a new design team led by Roberto Menichetti. In 2001, Menichetti was replaced by Christopher Bailey. Through print ads, Kate Moss and a group of new faces gave the brand a rebellious and urban image. More importantly, care was taken to ensure that advertisements only promise what the store and designs offer.
Although the brand’s sales of 1.3 billion euros are far behind its competitors, Puma has succeeded thanks to being one of the few sports brands to embrace fashion. “Today, sneakers are an indispensable part of fashion accessories,” says CEO Jochen Zeits. By charging higher prices, producing fewer of a particular model (Shudoh Tang, for example, only 888 pairs were produced), and creating a global chain of concept stores, Puma has managed to set itself apart from its competitors. In both clothing and footwear, Jil Sander collaborated with designers such as Neil Barrett and Philippe Starck, who previously worked for Gucci and Prada. Working with supermodel Christy Turlington, the brand launched a line of yoga wear called Nuala.