How marketing kills a fashion business

Or how the absence of its smart usage may kill a fashion business.

“Deals don’t build the kind of indestructible image which is the only thing that can make your brand part of the fabric of life.” – David Ogilvy, “Confessions of an advertising man”.

Put marketing first

Building a brand in fashion requires a strategic approach to it. Independent designers can rarely do this job themselves unless they are born marketers. Paradoxically, they randomly invest in marketing, starting by crafting products first, and later on trying to figure out how to sell them, which distribution channel to use, and where to find the audience.

Don’t be mad at me, but considering your brand at the same moment as you start conceiving your collections is crucial! It’s much easier to sell your first collection when the communication and go-to-market strategy are already planned and executed than trying to sell your products at the moment of launch. Lack of interest in what he or she does can be disappointing for a designer, who will need to come up with some “plan B” or “sales” strategies in order to sell the inventory left.

Sell at a fair price

As a designer, you dream of having clients at a fair price. No one wants to do sales. You’re completely right! You do not need to use discounting techniques to sell.

You don’t have a huge inventory, the sizes and production are limited. Later, when you have some samples left that are difficult to sell without sizes, etc. , a strategic sale could be organized once in a while. And that’s IT!

Your goal as a new player on the market is to establish the brand first. And I’m not talking about featuring your garments on Kardashians. That is not what branding and marketing is about.

Build a strong brand

No one will survive without having a strong brand in the marketplace. Just take the most recent examples of high-street shops closing in France: Mim, Pimkie, New Look, Jules, Brice… Ok, you’re thinking it’s nothing to do with your story! But what’s common to them is simply this: by using various discount tactics and strategies for years, these brands with an unlimited number of shops and resources are just dying…. And I find it’s devastating, but at the same time, they have done nothing to stand out from the crowd. They all look the same…

This is where I would really ask a question to their marketing teams a question: what are they here for? By putting aside innovation and long-term thinking in favour of hunting for quick-wins, they keep shooting themselves in the foot. It’s no mystery, that such companies just do not organize their business with a long-term, sustainable existence in mind, instead they are looking for short-term wins and great monthly sales results.

David Ogilvy, an advertising genius behind brands like Dove, Roll Royce, Hathaway Shirts, Helena Rubinstein wrote in 1955: “Any damn fool can put a price reduction, but it takes brains and perseverance to create a brand”.

“Any damn fool can put a price reduction, but it takes brains and perseverance to create a brand.” – David Ogilvy.

Use smart digital tactics

What I mean by this is start building your brand now and the most accessible and rapid way of doing it is via digital marketing. It’s not about contacting all the influencers and asking them to wear your collections or giving away your products for free. It’s more about the three followings statements, which you need to communicate repeatedly:

  • Who you are,
  • Why do you exist,
  • What your unique talent and promise is

All this should be communicated using your individual voice and style. Once you start achieving resonance with your audience, you can scale up to larger audiences with paid ads.
And I’m not talking here about three-day creatives that we see on Facebook, associated with a discount code. It will not work anyway! The well-structured ad will work hard for your brand for years to come!

The unique kind of ad that you should feature on social media, should be smart, factual, based on research data about your target audience and use their language to explain the main benefits of your product. Both visual and copy are equally important. By creating beautiful images you will hook the unconscious mind where our hidden dreams and desires lie. By adding well-structured logical text based on facts, values and benefits, your tap into a conscious, logical mind. By doing this, you can stay top of mind with your customers and he or she will remember you. There are various techniques you can use to build your ads effectively in the digital space. But that is for another article!

Include an external experience

Perhaps you are a good creative person, a talented designer, but in order to build a brand, use the knowledge and experience of external marketing experts. They will bring an objective eye to your brand, marketing research, and a thrilling 360° strategy to address your market. If you try to do this on your own, you will probably lose precious time, energy and money and, in the end, you will find yourself stuck.

I often observe brands, that have been around for several years, then all of a sudden they come up with an idea of conceiving their brand platform in search of a homogenous and systematic approach to their brand. Based on this platform, they will rebuild a website, Instagram account etc. This requires insight from a professional consultant, who can conceive a brand map, based on the owner values and target audience. But by doing this, after so much time, would it really change anything for you? This is a huge change that should be applied to every level of your organization – the way your business proceeds, the way it is organized, the way you serve your customers, the way determine your prices, your offer, your distribution, etc.

It’s better to get a head start before your brand is even conceived. You will need to commit some investment to this, but remember products do not sell. You will start selling when people recognize their desires and needs in what you’re proposing, a whole, entire vision of your value to them.

If you need any help structuring your messages, or defining your campaigns and identifying your audience etc, then I’m here to help you.
Remember your brand has something unique to tell, and that’s YOU, the founder and designer of the BRAND!

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