Generational Branding

There comes a time in every major leading millennials chains existence where they are struggling to connect with their clientele and this time is now. Indeed, various internationally renown and outstandingly successful fashion brands are actually facing comparable store-sales coming in flat in their most recent quarterly results. So what can we do to boost drastically a brand’s sales and assure its stability as well as growth over time? One word: Branding.

Entering the market with a new company can be problematic and very challenging. Indeed, the first major mistake a young entrepreneur makes is to mix up branding with logos. However, without a proper branding, ones symbol is utterly useless, since a proper recognition of a company does not come from the logo itself, but from the concept behind the symbol. The second major mistake is when companies attack the market with an idea instead of a brand. Indeed, while an idea helps you create a few skus that will be sold locally, interesting and creative branding will propel drastically a company to an international level and to a 7 digits revenue. So, what is branding exactly? The formal definition says it is “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products”. Branding is how you present and market your soulful and personal idea. By developing effective brand messaging, the success and survival of a brand is absolutely guaranteed. Thus, while corporations spend millions to make sure their products are marketed at the top of mind for consumers in a positive way, a proper branding and an innovative idea can save a brand a substantial amount of money.

Building an emotional connection between brands and consumers is vital for the success of a company. However, reaching a specific target market, such as Gen Y can be quite intimidating and difficult. Therefore, the real question is: What makes brands appeal to millennials? Today’s consumers support brands that align to their values and are meaningful to them. Millennials agree that a brand has to fit with who they are, what they like and how they do things in order for them to buy from it. Indeed, the emotional needs of Generation Y individuals overpower beyond rational thinking. Young adults and teenagers follow and buy from brands that suggest a lifestyle through their various goods due to their strong response to inspirational, stimulating and though-provoking concepts and advertising content. While Generation Y is interested in quality products with good value, this cohort falls for lifestyle brands that feel and look authentic and genuine. Here are a few examples of great branding from well-known fashion retailers.

TOMS
More than any other brand, Toms has integrated inspirational philanthropy, for-profit entrepreneurship as well as affection moneymaking in an exceptional manner. The company has become so closely identified with giving away a pair of shoes to a poor child for every pair sold, that it’s often mistaken for a charity. Indeed, Toms currently donates shoes in 59 countries and eye care in 13 countries.e

URBAND OUTFITTTERS
Urban Outfitters is much more than just a young adult’s clothing store. This company successfully achieved their stable reputation through the lifestyle they suggest to their customers. This American retailer does not simply show a picture of a shirt; it depicts an entire lifestyle, from the messy hairstyle, to the ripped, boyfriend jeans, to the cowboy boots and to the outdoor setting. Unconsciously, their costumers are not shopping for clothes, but for an overall look and feel. Moreover, the store’s layout is meant to make the shopper feel they are in a cozy, creative loft. Metal shelving, wood floors, exposed pipes, southwestern rugs are familiar items from a Urban Outfitters stores.


AERIE
The retailer owned by American Eagle Outfitter is fully aware of its clientele needs and personal affiliations. Actually, this brand cleverly adapted itself to Gen Y women who are much more comfortable supporting brands that make them feel worthy, important and valued. Indeed, various studies have shown that women buy a product because they liked how the company presents women. Moreover, since this generation is more aware than any before of how retouching and photoshopping works, the brand emphases on a non-retouching advertisement policy. Therefore, with their world’s largest selfie campaign, their use of diversified models and their various “Aerie Real” movements, this brand definitely took the opportunity to challenge beauty standards and to celebrate body positivity.


TENTREE
Tentree, a company created by three Millennials, focuses on more than just creating comfortable and stylish outfits. This brand actually wants to help change lives, through the promotion of an environmentally friendly consumerism and through the planting of trees. Indeed, for every piece of clothing sold, ten trees are planted in a specific region around the world. Additionally, every consumer that purchases a tentree branded piece of clothing is showing its commitment to this brand’s values: environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and the hope for a brighter future. What makes this brand stands out is its genuine goal to inspire a new group of consumers to attack the environmental issues through retailing. Finally, in order to ensure their growth, sustainability and truly global footprint, they have partnered with several not-for-profits across the globe, including the Canadian Wildlife Federation, WeForest, American Forest, Eden Reforestation and much more.


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