Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's All About Your Brand

Your brand encompasses your identity in images, symbols, or text that a customer would associate your product or service with. Beyond this, your brand is important as it allows customers to connect their needs (or desires) and consider your clothing, accessories, footwear etc first when they’re in ‘search/hunt mode’ for something. Building a strong band takes time and requires alignment (and consistency in) of your marketing communications, product positioning and associations.

The red sole or the term ‘red bottoms’,

makes me immediately think of Christian Louboutin; woven leather connotes Bottega Veneta; can you see double Cs
without thinking of Chanel? These are strong brands in my opinion.

Building brand awareness is important because it allows your customers to form their perception of your brand and make subjective conclusions on the quality and needs that your product satisfies. It’s critical to note that a strong brand equates into a higher willingness for a customer to pay for your brand rather than that of your competitors. Having a strong brand also allows you to make (and keep) loyal customers, portray a perceived ‘better’ value over others, and referrals to others about your brand. All these attributes are powerful to your business.

What is Your Brand?

First things first, I would recommend you take a few hours and develop your brand positioning. Hernan Bruno, Marketing Professor at INSEAD has created an easy but powerful framework, which you may use for this purpose (I’ve added some italicized notation to expantiate the ideas).

Here it goes:

1. Target Customer: Who is clothing, footwear, etc., for?

Are you targeting males/ females, within a certain age group, in a geographic region? students/professionals? etc.

2. Frame of Reference: What is the key feature, benefit or goal that will be served by wearing your product?

For example, will your customer feel like a different person after they’ve won your product/ will they attract certain people

3. Point of differentiation: Why should the target customer use your product?

How is your product different from others? For example, are you sourcing your goods from a particular region, is your focus sustainability, etc.?

4. Reasons to believe: What is the evidence that this claim is true?

For example, customer stories or testimonials

Ways to Build Brand Awareness

Now that you’ve carved out your brand. The next question is how can you build awareness for it? Traditionally, TV has been the way to go to build brand awareness. However, as a start-up/ small medium business, you would need to overcome the expenses associated with TV ad campaigns. Depending on where you want to air the ad, time that ad is aired, length, and TV channels, TV ads can cost anywhere from $10,000 and above for a 30 second ad.

Luckily, with the emergence of social media platforms and the Internet, you have a few more cost effective initiatives that you can adapt to build awareness for your brand.

YouTube Video Ads

Why not create short video ads that you can post on YouTube? Disclosure: I work for Google You will need an Adwords account to bid for video ads (you can target your audience by location, device, age, tastes and other demographics. By using YouTube, you could reach its 1 billion unique visitors each month and the fact that more than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on this medium. I would recommend starting this off as a pilot; first, define what success looks like (i.e., perhaps you could disseminate a short survey to visitors of your website before & after the video campaign is launched to check if there are differences in the perception of your brand, place a benchmark on the change in traffic to your website before and after the campaign etc.), how much money you’re willing to spend versus how much return you get. Once you set these parameters and develop your video ad, you can then track your progress to check how the campaign performed in the short- and long-term. If based on your metrics, the campaign is a success you can then commit more spend to a larger campaign. Don’t be afraid to test!

Some other ways you can build awareness for your brand are by:

1. Partnering with social media influencers (lifestyle bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers etc.) who encapsulate your brand - Ex: Sydney Fashion Blogger, StylePantry

2. Developing & building a cult following for your brand’s blog: Ex. Mango

I will delve into more detail for 1 & 2 in future posts. Stayed tuned.

Picture sources:

Glad you stopped by! Any questions about this post or perhaps you’d like to share your own experiences of building awareness for your brand? Comments below. Thanks

Monday, November 5, 2012

Project for Inditex

I just concluded a report for Inditex. I was commissioned to find out whether the company should open Zara stores in an African country. It was an exciting experience. It allowed me to provide recommendations based on my analysis of macroeconomic trends, competitor and market analysis.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Inditex...What's Next?

Inditex now has the largest market capitalization (€43.1B) in Spain. In 2011, revenues increased by 10% from 2010 to €13.8B.

The largest clothes-retailer worldwide, Inditex owns - Zara, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Oysho, Stradivarius, and Massimo Dutti. Through these brands, Inditex has been able to capture different segments of the clothing retail market; for example, its brand, Pull and Bear caters to a younger males and females while Zara caters to the everyday professional woman and quite possibly her family with mid-quality goods; Massimo is for the more upscale man and woman.

The groups runs very efficiently, for example, Zara store managers are able to directly order additional merchandise from centralized warehouses through highly integrated IT systems. Store managers can also let designers know which styles and colors are more popular so the designers can quickly incorporate any modifications and roll them out to other stores. Zara fosters a strong entrepreneurial spirit amongst its employees leading to quicker sharing of best practices amongst its employees and quicker decision making.

Picture taken from

Some of Inditex's other strengths are that it has successfully vertically integrated itself along its value chain. It has accomplished this by managing the design, sourcing materials, manufacturing, logistics and distribution channels (retail stores and online shop). By doing so, the group has been able to achieve economies of scale and become a low-cost producer. Finally, it operates a very efficient logistics and supply chain system. Amidst these strengths, some weaknesses are that the group has been very dependent on Spain (represents about 34% of its total revenues) and the rest of Europe (about 46% of total revenues). As a result of these dependencies, the current economic downturn in Europe might adversely affect the group's turnover if demand for its products in Europe falls considerably.

Considering these challenges, what can Inditex do to maintain its competitive advantage? One of the group's strengths has been its ability to foster the entrepreneurial spirit amongst its employees. Clearly, it needs to continue to encourage this initiative to ensure its employees continue innovating it's logistics systems and store operations. Beyond this, Inditex should focus on expanding to emerging markets like India (expansion is already underway -- the group formed a joint venture with the Tata Group), and to other promising markets like Sri Lanka, Ghana, etc. In addition, based on how the current stores in the regions outside Europe and North America such as Chile, China, UAE etc., are doing they can either open additional Zara stores, or Pull and Bear, Uterque stores there. E-commerce is another avenue that Inditex could further develop - doing this would provide more exposure for its brands and allow it court consumers in countries where there are no physical Zara stores. It could also identify local designers in the emerging markets it can collaborate with to create capsule collections featuring unique lines of accessories and clothing. This would allow the group further localize its brands in order for it to connect with its different customer segments and increase its market share. Doing so, would differentiate it from its major competitors ( The Gap Inc., H&M Hennes and Mauritz, and El Corte Ingles).


Johnson, M (2012) Inditex Now Spain’s Most Valuable Group. Financial Times. Retrieved on July 11, 2012 from

Retail Global Expansion: A Portfolio of Opportunities. Retrieved on July 11, 2012 from

Company Profile: Industria de Diseno Textil S.A. Retrieved on July 8, 2012 from

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trend for the Fall: I see Blue!

Pictures taken from Adam; Akris; Acne NY FW 2011 RTW