This week Drapers celebrates an incredible 132 years. Looking back at the industry over that time there have been huge changes and challenges to overcome but there has also been plenty to celebrate.
As we look at some of the other industry retailers, brands and manufacturers also celebrating milestone anniversaries, there are some common themes in businesses that have weathered the industry storms.
One of the most prominent is a clear brand positioning, handwriting and voice. Whether it’s Barbour’s classic lifestyle proposition, Curvy Kate’s plus-size and larger-cup lingerie product selection or Primark’s value clothing offer, each has a clear brand strategy and offering.
Any successful brand strategy must be consistent across all channels, and tell the story behind the brand, what it stands for and what it has to offer its customer.
At a presentation at the Drapers Digital Festival this year Stephanie Peterson, vice-president digital – planning and activation at Adidas, highlighted the need to go beyond great product and to engage customers by informing, educating and entertaining them.
Brands and retailers that fail to connect with and respond to their customers will struggle. One high street retailer that has lost its position in the market is Jack Wills. Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct bought the chain this week, and his first step must be to redefine the brand’s identity and get the product offer right.
Beginning life in 1999 as a single shop in Salcombe, Devon, Jack Wills became a go-to brand for the younger customer.
However, as the customer moved on, Jack Wills did not evolve and competitors came into the market with a more relevant product offer at a cheaper price, meaning the brand began to lose its appeal as it failed to grow up with its customer.
Ashley will need to develop a strong brand position for Jack Wills, as well as an agile structure and team to constantly adapt to the increasing pace of change.
In today’s highly competitive marketplace there is still much to celebrate but brands must work harder than ever to engage the customer.