Fashion Has Become Less About Style And More About Branding Strategy
In its inception, fashion was all about couture garments and the little details, setting the foundation for today’s high end labels such as Dior, YSL and Gucci. These brands that established the cornerstones of fashion have stuck around long enough to inherit loyalty of generations to come. How? Through brand equity and weaving stories into the brand’s message. So how do emerging brands overcome this saturation in order to stand out?
The fashion industry experienced an expansion with the monetization of Instagram and the rise of fashion influencers, and has become less about style and more about branding and strategy. That doesn’t say quality goes out the window, but how brands attract their core consumer base is changing and it involves building brand equity through storytelling. How these brands convince us to support them is all based on continuity in branding and providing an incentive or emotional satisfaction for their customers.
Sharing a deeply compelling story to capture someone’s emotions and provide people with a sense of empowerment has catapulted brands who are just now stepping onto the arena into the hands of thousands. There’s no perfect method to this madness except to be real, speak your truth and pray people believe what you’re saying is something they want to hear.
Identifying a story to tell customers can be a great or a terrible thing because it defines the brand. It’s great for brands that are purpose-driven to be able to connect with consumers on a deeper level through social media marketing and responding to customers commentary. That way brands set themselves up for a better future by understanding their consumer base, making them impervious to waves in the market.
There can be a negative side-effect to this if brands choose to piggy back on what someone else is doing or forget to be consistent and thoughtful in their messaging. And just because you work with influencers doesn’t mean growth is inevitable and money will roll in. Consumers will look past the initial layer and realize very quickly your intentions aren’t to build better people but feed into fast fashion.
There’s components to building an effective brand strategy that encourages people to support your brand and it starts with a message and ends with the product in hand. But there’s a lot to consider as well, like uniqueness and the shopping experience. With this in mind, it’s understandable designers are allocating more resources towards marketing and web design and less on manufacturing garments.
For well-known brands, consistent messaging and quality is what built their reputation and brand equity, giving them to ability to adapt to change because people are willing to pay more for their products anyways!
For example, Louis Vuitton did themselves a huge favor hiring Virgil Abloh as the creative director for the menswear division. Abloh’s approach to design and intentionality shined a bright light on the positive message and branding behind the brand.