How do you stand out in the crowded fashion industry? What does it mean to have a unique voice?
In fashion, we know how important it is to stand out from the competition, to have a unique personality and your own stylistic language. And your brand DNA is key to standing out amongst the sea of competitors in this business.
For example, consider Toms Shoes, an American company most of us know well. What comes to mind when you think of Toms Shoes? Beyond practical, stylish shoes and slippers, the words that come to mind are quality, integrity, and social and environmental commitment. The brand DNA of Toms is clear, compelling, and strong, and it speaks to the culture of our time.
You will find countless examples of strong brand DNA in the history of fashion design, and that’s partly why certain designers became well known when others couldn’t. As an example, Coco Chanel started her brand during the Great War and was able to offer something unique and different to women (simple, easy-to-wear jersey dresses), as opposed to the elaborate, decorated dresses of Charles Worth and Paul Poiret that were all about opulence. Coco Chanel possessed a clear and authentic identity. Her style and products spoke to the culture of the time, and this, in fact, is one of the biggest and strongest capabilities of her business.
Coco Chanel creator of the Chanel suit that among other things helped build the Chanel brand DNA.
Photo source: Chanel
What is brand identity? Quite simply, your brand is the perception of your company in the eyes of the world. And as a fashion designer and a business owner, it’s important that you think about creating brand equity and identity right from the start. It helps you stand out, create impact, be seen in a positive light, forge a connection with your customers, and influence your customers’ perception of your brand.
Here’s how to create your brand DNA:
1. Start with your mission statement. Your mission statement is the primary building block of brand identity. Some refer to it as your “why.” A mission statement should clearly state why you’re building this brand, where you come from (what’s your brand’s heritage?) and why you’re doing this now. It should also be an authentic reflection of your core values. Authenticity and commitment to your values is key to long-term success, both for your own enjoyment and peace of mind as a fashion business entrepreneur, as well as for the purposes of truly reaching and connecting with your target audience. Today’s customer very much values authenticity.
2. Focus on design. Now it’s time to consider all the design elements that will build your brand identity, and you want them to be an accurate representation of who you are as a brand. So there’s lots to think about here, including
a) The full visual identity of your brand, such as your logo, fonts, and colour palettes.
b) Your web design, social media elements, and consumer touchpoints.
c) Your product presentation, which includes everything from the production of the garment to the descriptions and photographs of your product; from the packaging to the positioning in the bricks-and-mortar stores. Keep in mind that your product presentation should be unlike that of your competitors.
3. Your Marketing strategy. Review and consider your product and market research, and your business plan. You should have in place a thoughtful distribution and marketing strategy. As you’re planning and pulling together all the elements that underpin your marketing strategy, focus on
a) Consistency in your messaging.
b) Communicating clearly and authentically.
c) Ensuring all marketing elements dovetail with and complement the others.
Also, should you want to expand your reach and market your products to a larger, global audience, keep in mind that while your marketing strategies may change, it’s important that your brand identity and voice remain consistent.
Your mission statement, your design elements, and the entirety of your marketing strategy all form your brand identity. This identity is uniquely yours; it’s what sets you apart, accurately informs the world of who you are, and helps define the success of your business. And it gives your customers a reason to buy from you. Taking the time to define your brand DNA while your business is in its infancy is key; you’ve got a powerful way to build awareness, develop a positive perception of your fashion brand, win customers, and grow a loyal following.
Need some support in defining your brand identity and integrating it into your marketing strategy? Contact us at Moda Métiers. We’d be happy to help.