We are living in the most interesting times of our generation, there’s so much change has happened and so little time it’s amazing. For the fashion and lifestyle industry change was every present but with the tech. revolution and fast fashion now a permanent part of family.
It is estimated that an average customer is exposed to more than 30,000 advertisements in a day (this includes online and offline impressions) which is increasing every year.
Even interesting is that, as much as the market sounds crowded & competitive, brands that are relevant and catering to a specific niche are doing really well.
Attention is the prized possession in today’s world.
Attention of our time has shifted tremendously, social media has penetrated so much into our existence that they have been a driving factor in bringing revolutions in countries then how come the retail industry can not be affected by it.
In this article we’ll be sharing how brands are built, how they penetrate and become essential members of customers family. We’ll be looking at what has worked for leading brands in lifestyle and fashion industry and most importantly how can you achieve that David’s mind set defeat Goliath’s of the industry.
We will share the aspects of brand that works and how you can level up and incorporate it in your online lifestyle and fashion brand.
Back to basics
The Lifestyle and fashion brands segment is the most dynamic and fierce in competition but interestingly there are brands that have been leading through the years.
What’s their secret? How do they do it?
Brands are build on firm grounding of basic human behavior and successful e-commerce businesses have leveraged from that grounding and translate it in our present digital extensions.
Three main areas are:
Perception drives Behavior & Behavior drives Performance.
Primary and most important part of a brand is to create a lasting perception. They are basis of our nature as humans, they evolve as we do.
For instance tattoos were first a symbol of domestication and following a societal rule, now it is quite the opposite.
Bottled water was step in hydration, now it’s completely gone as customers are more knowledgeable, going towards sustainable choices.
Here are the following things to consider:
Major part of brand building is communicating and communicating well. In present scenario where customers have ample choices an emerging brand gets very less time to make a lasting impression hence having a brand’s voice designed is essential.
2) Define & align your core values
Authenticity lasts longer than superficiality and style, invest time and resources well in defining your brand’s core values. This is the foundation on which your communication will stand and deliver.
Align your core values with your brand communication on every touch point and you’ll be way ahead of the competition.
An apt example would be of huckberry, as they have managed to merge their brand communication and brand’s core values to their benefit. Their focus if reflected through out their touch points.
Visual medium is central to building a strong perception of the brand. Film sits at the top in visual communication hierarchy as it constitutes of all our sensory touch points.
- Voice & tone
- And subconscious messages.
For instance: Kenzo’s 2016 film, aligned with their fashion brand’s core values. Their fashion line carries the same look that customers can take home with them.
Mr Porter, They have a range of quality videos on their channel that touches different topics.
And not to mention Freepeople elegently portraying their bohemian look.
It communicates across cultural barriers and captures the mind. It is central to brands specially building fashion and lifestyle brands. Especially in today’s world where a brand gets only few moments to express.
Some of the most interesting brands that are doing well on this front.
One kings lane is an epitome of quality images. (They have on an average of 15-20 high quality product pictures for each product.)
Best made company they have the most well thought out visual assets to support their product range.
Black Milk, from their photography you can never imagine that they are an independent online fashion brand, they have nailed it.
5) Designed brand identity
As the saying goes “Good design is good business” there are many examples of companies who have invested in design has done well. The designs exude confidence of the brand and commands a premium. Many online lifestyle and fashion retailers fail to see the importance of it or quite often confuse it with style.
There are few examples of how a well designed identity program elevates a brand.
Via Carota, The typography of early twentieth-century Italian posters inspired the brand identity and it exudes in every touch point.
Aishti, a Lebanese luxury department chain store is as strong as it’s European competitors with their strong, well executed branding.
6) Graphic design
Most of the online lifestyle and fashion retailers tend to look away or take a short view of graphic design, as a matter of fact it has so much potential that graphic design alone made Superdry popular and bring in more sales.
Superdry is a brand considered by many to be from Japan with it’s distinct vintage designs but apparently it’s from leicester in UK.
7) Package design
Online experiences are a limited and fashion tech is working to reduced that but what an online lifestyle and fashion brand should focus on is the delightful experience of receiving a package, care and detail given to it. It works and all leading luxury, retail and successful online brands are doing it well. Johny cupcakes is the best example in this category, an independent brand exuding their creativity and literally out of the box thinking while creating package designs, resulting in a mad cult following of the brand.
Late july, is highly celebrated in design community for it’s sheer brilliance in communicating the brand’s essence.
Johny cupcakes is another really good example.
This is for the brands who are higher up the sensitive ladder, who care for detail and focus on customer experience as priority. A carefully selected type can elevate a brand, communicate its stand, that’s the reason all the major luxury brands have their custom type designed and pay attention to it. Few online lifestyle and fashion brands are doing it right, if you are a brand who is looking to make a mark, this should not be missed.
Polaner, inspired by Italian typographic design from the early twentieth century, they take you back in time with their carefully crafted designs elevates brand’s authenticity.
Develop a distinctive yet friendly voice and tone for your brand, it has to be aligned with your brand’s core values. As they say beauty lies in detail and detail oriented brands score higher.
Huckberry does a great job,
so does johny cupcakes
and one kings lane is just pure class.
10) Consider collaborations
The thing with lifestyle and fashion brands is that they are front runners in contributing and nurturing culture. In order to be relevant and vibrant brands one must collaborate.
Burberry acoustics always encourages British talent, historically they have been at center of promoting upcoming artists.
Uniqlo collaborating with artists for their exclusive fashion line
and Converse’s sound both is another great example.
11) Consider a publication
A combination of all the above and create an immersive content rich magazine.
While harpers bazaar provides direct purchase options on its ShopBazaar website, effectively turning itself into a retail distribution channel.
Don’t have just be boring blogger like http://equateur.bonobos.com/
12) Authentic Positioning
This is the age of information and transparency and if your online lifestyle or fashion brand is not cashing in on it, then you are certainly lagging behind. As most of the established brands try and save face over their manufacturing practices these brands have hit the home run with their authentic positioning.
Everlane is one of the most authentic online brand of them all, they advocate their brand’s core which is transparency.
Buying online is not as immersive as a retail shop experience, to compensate that online lifestyle and fashion brands have to go an extra mile to communicate to customers, so it becomes very important to engage the customers.
13) Engagement! Engagement! Engagement!
Burberry has revamped their store experience from grounds up focused on online fashion experience.
They managed to triple their customer base on mobile just in a year. They have emerged as an industry leader, the only luxury brand to have a holistic brand strategy with digital being at the right center of it.
As we speak, they are the first one in the luxury fashion brand segment to have changed their fashion shows timings so that customers can purchase as they unveil their collection live as it’s happening.
14) Create and an exclusive experience
Fashion and lifestyle retail is seduction and seduction is all about the whole experience. A fashion or lifestyle brands should play on their central idea and create an immersive experience aligned with it.
Everlane has an exclusive only IOS app and a mobile site for the rest both have similar seamless experience.
Zappo’s central idea is their service and they have been known to play on that. That didn’t came as a surprise as the news where they talked to their customers for 8 hrs.
15) Waiting list
Having a not intentional but authentic waiting list, helps create a natural exclusivity of the product and you’ll never have to go on sale. Everlane has waiting lists on their exclusive handbags and there’s easily 2000+ customers in queue for one of their bags.
16) Excusive discounts/deals
Blackmilkclothing.com pends no money on marketing rather than that the give huge amount of discounts/deals on on referrals.
While purchasing online, every site requires that a user registers themselves but only few leverage on it. Leading lifestyle and fashion brands offer more to join them, they get personalized recommendations,
- Access to early releases
- Excusive discounts/deals
- Brands welcome followers with tweets.
- Personalized Newsletters
- Creating and investing in a community
Really good example is of net a porter and everlane both brands have exclusive products for their customers based on their buying trend. Hiring models from your customers, Johny cupcakes has made this a regular event, their models are actual customers and staff.
That’s where the rubber meets the surface. Your customers have been seduced and are there to purchase an experience, make sure you delight them!
18) Have a well defined shopping experience not just workable UX.
Everlane is a perfect example of it, they have taken small steps towards ios app and having their mobile site function for rest non apple customers. The shopping experience is exactly similar and offers confidence to the online fashion retailor.
19) Give supports an edge.
Everlane is the first two company using the facebook messenger integration to support their customers. Their consumers can receive order information and interact with the companies through Messenger
19) Don’t over analyze the checkout process.
Transparency and simplicity in the process will give you the best results, none wishes to go the checkout process to find discrepancies. Be transparent about prices and shipping, no surprises please.Mulberry has a well really nicely researched and well executed checkout experience.
20) Have a seamless payment method.
Pay huge attention to your audience’s demographics and tech choices (that can range from banking on apple pay to paypal) to invest in.
21) Most importantly Execute! Execute! Execute!
Thank you for reading!
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