Wednesday, 21 November 2012

icrossing gives insights into marketing using social media

Last night the Creative Fashion Forum was invited by icrossing to an intimate workshop on social media and how best to gain attention from consumers. It was a lively evening and well supported by members such as Brighton Fashion Week, I gigi, Very Vintage Fair, MiY Workshops and Bridal ebtg.

The most significant thing that icrossing discussed was 'telling a story', which of course is the key to successful PR. Its obvious when you think about it that consumers are only interested in what's new and innovative - especially when it comes to fashion. Whats also important is connecting up all your media across both 'off and online' platforms to make the most of your exposure. As icrossing pointed out you need to really think about what you are saying, everything needs to reinforce your brand message.

Measuring your success helps to plan future campaigns, whether it be Google analytics or some other metrix, you need to test what works well for your company. Link your media to your objectives - try to analyse what works in terms of creating awareness so that you can drive consumers to your website. Keep your campaigns simple and use lots of high resolution images that really connect with people's emotions - more pictures less words. Do not forget that you also want people to ACT so creating some mechanism to stimulate purchase such as competitions or sales promotions.

Most importantly plot your customer journey - try to find out how they found out about you and help them to share their knowledge with others.

As icrossing succinctly put it - make them care!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Mary Portas at House of Fraser

Well I must say I was disappointed to visit the Mary Portas department at House of Fraser Oxford street only to find a distinct lack of stock. I am really not sure how she will achieve her sales targets with so few items - she will have to sell a lot of 'arm tights'!

I also notice there are now designer brands mixed in amongst the stock which is a little confusing - I would not immediately be looking for Whistles designs in that department.

Also the merchandising is weak with some items really needing attention, like the torn arm tights displayed on the stairwell.

Mary Portas has been an inspiration and I use her advice continually to inform my students but she needs to look at the future of her brand image and the damage this could potentially do.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Barkers Department Store fashion Shows

I am currently studying an MA History of Design and Material Culture at University of Brighton. My topic for my dissertation is a Barkers Department Store Fashion Album from the 1920s that includes photographs, press cuttings, advertising and fashion show programmes. The press book is a significant example of integrated marketing communications and documents the fashions and comments on the lifestyles from the period. The style of photography shows Barkers department store as showcasing court gowns which gives the store a similar profile to its competitors Harrods and Selfridges.
Using archive materials from department stores and London libraries, this project has been highly rewarding and finding out that Barkers sold copies of Paris couture gowns has been very exciting. Parisian theatrical stars were used as celebrities to show the fashions and attract publicity, much like today.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Swishing and the 10:10 Campaign

In conjunction with the 10:10 carbon reduction campaign the Creative Fashion Forum hosted a Swishing Event at the Brighton Media Centre. The whole idea was to educate people about the need to investigate sustainable fashion.

Tom Chute from the 10:10 campaign gave us some worrying statistics about our disposable fashion habits and the results in landfill sites, which will be with us for up to 200 years with garments made from Polyester.

The Swish required each participant to bring two items of clothing or accessories to exchange for two items brought by other members. I went home with a rather interesting Black Watch silk jacket which I have since customised with new buttons and a vintage leopardskin (fake) collar.

It was good fun and in keeping with the topical debate about reducing our consumption on fashion items.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The dash for cash - how wholesalers can ruin the reputation of a brand

Have you ever bought an item at full price only to walk round the corner and find it on sale for a third of the price? Well its very galling I can tell you. It happened to me today in Brighton. Wholesalers trying to get rid of past season's stock while its still for sale in the independent stores for full price.

Everyone needs to sing from the same hymn sheet - isn't that what corporate responsibility all about? Its fine to want to move old stock to get the cash in but we all need to be responsible for the likely repercussions. Its like grey imports. You buy cheap overseas in another market and undercut the brand in your own country. It happened to Tesco with Levi jeans and that resulted in a court case where they proved the supermarket were devaluing the brand.

As a small retailer you are in a vulnerable position so make sure that you can trust your brands otherwise in an instant you can loose your credibility. Thats why sourcing the right mix of brands in a small retail boutique is so very important.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Brand Signature

The Creative Fashion Forum got together to talk about promoting brands. Sarah Appelhans from Unravel gave us an interesting insight into the importance of knowing what you stand for. What are your brand values and how do you present a coherent image that customers resonate with?
In the same way that fashion designers talk about having a design signature, an aesthetic that makes the brand recognizable, fashion brands also need to have an image and personality that promises a brand experience.
All too often there is a mismatch between the products, the owners and the brand image. If all the aspects of the business create a synergy customers know what to expect and can buy into a brand on a regular basis. Maybe the intangible brand elements need greater attention like visual merchandising, in store design and customer services. Perhaps we need to spend more time thinking about what we are saying about our business through the subliminal messages we transmit.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Beyond Biba - Barbara Hulanicki

Last night at the University of Brighton we had the good fortune to see the Beyond Biba film and be part of a conversation between Molly Parkin and Barbara Hulanicki.

What a great night - the two friends were nostalgically remembering their youth and the wonderfully creative times of the changing fashion world of the 1960's.

Its a great shame that the licensing deal that Barbara signed means that investors own the brand name. Biba re-surfaces now and again with new companies buying the rights to use the brand name. A lady in the audience had designed a dress for Biba two years ago when the brand was relaunched, however the brand didn't survive without its heritage and the integrity of Barbara Hulanicki's vision and innovation.

Its hard to divorce a brand name from the intangible brand values associated with the original entrepreneur. Biba was about a lifestyle concept - a new way of life for young people. The brand design was dark, moody and evoked an atmosphere of the bordello. Barbara Hulanicki's illustrations, clothing designs, interior design and visual merchandising made the Biba brand a unique iconic experience.