Ways of branding differ by product, type of business, target market, and many other factors. And one of the most challenging yet exciting businesses to be branding, is a clothing company or a fashion label.
What comes to your mind when you think of the brand Zara? Apart from the elegant outfits and accessories? You may think of its ‘fast fashion’ retail approach. You may also have heard that the brand’s customers have always defined its culture. The company thrives on this principle – to give customers what they want, and get it to them faster than anyone else. Now, why do we perceive Zara the way we do? Because it has consistently branded itself that way.
That said, are you someone who wants to start – or is starting – a clothing company/brand, or a fashion label? Then here are some useful tips to help with its branding. Because branding is important, for any business. And the right branding can do wonders for it. Especially in the fashion industry, branding has become more like a competitive strategy. It is what helps most of the successful companies to dominate the others. A wise decision here is to take the assistance of experts in branding. Because they will help you to effectively create and promote a compelling brand.
You may have an online store (e-commerce), an offline store (retail store), or follow both the online and offline business models. No matter how you sell your products, it is important to have a target market. Because trying to appeal to everyone will put your efforts all over the place, and it won’t set you apart. Narrow down on what kind of products you will be selling, to what kind of people.
A lot of your decisions will depend on your target customers. Their lifestyles, values, aesthetic preferences and spending behaviors. So you need to research and understand them, to find out how your brand can offer value. International fashion brand Versace targets people who prefer to live a luxurious life, dress with style and personality. The brand’s design style is very distinctive and inventive.
Think of 4-6 characteristics or attributes that you want your brand to represent. Be specific, unique and infuse these attributes in your branding activities. They can reflect in your advertisements, social media and website. Understand how you can differentiate yourself from other brands.
When fashion giant Chanel started out as a clothing brand, it differentiated itself, and attracted the attention of customers. By portraying certain attributes – like defying social norms and empowering women. It challenged the status quo by defying social norms in its designs, colors and marketing. This branding helped it to position itself well and rise above other brands at that time.
Emotional branding clearly distinguishes you from your competitors. It helps to create deep intrinsic relationships between your brand and its buyers. There is a growing trend of consumers seeking emotional relationships with a brand. So, brands often employ emotional branding to engage with their customers, be it current or potential.
Many research studies mention that emotions are key sales and retention factors too. And facilitate stronger brand loyalty from customers. You can leverage emotions to make connections, and make your target market bond with your brand.
“Build a lifestyle around your brand, and the audience will follow.”Eva Chen, Director of fashion partnerships at Instagram, fashion editor, author.
You should strive to develop meaningful relationships and cultivate lasting customers. Your branding and marketing efforts should strike an emotional chord with your target market. The emotional appeal could be anything from youthfulness to innocence to status. And if customers feel you reflect their identity or aspired identity, that will form a bond.
When it comes to clothing, customers buy a product when they feel it will look good on them. And that calls for lovely pictures that showcase your best products. Invest in a professional photographer and a model (number of models is your pick). Have your products looking great on every photograph. Use these photos on your website, social media and marketing collaterals. Good marketing is important for your clothing business to garner attention, visibility and reach.
Fashion balances both art and commerce, but at the end of the day, it is a business. You need to project what garners attention. What sells. While branding your clothing line, or fashion label, always put your customers’ perspective over your own. Create a character for your clothing, and link it to the branded image. Make something different.
Of course, your designs and products will differentiate your brand. But not enough to be remembered and chosen over and over. That differentiation requires branding. And branding is much more than the logo or a well-placed advertisement. It goes deeper, consisting of the voice, values, etc. Along with the human side of your business and the promise you make to your customers. Follow the above tips, as you begin your journey. On that note, here is a quote you can live by –
“You now have to decide on what ‘image’ you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities – and they can make or break them in the marketplace.“– David Ogilvy, advertising tycoon, Founder of Ogilvy & Mather, also known as the ‘Father of Advertising’.