If you’re a designer or the owner of a business, you’re probably focusing on exposure primarily. After all, no one will buy your products if they’ve never heard of you. However, the fashion industry moves fast, and with so many options out there, getting your name out is no longer the quickest way to win picky customers over. Today, creating a strong brand identity is more important than creating a new line. Brand identity is a feeling your potential customers have about you, and cultivating a positive, valuable image is paramount to success.
Innovation in fashion is important, and there’s value in being creative, but let’s face it: people are not going to spend two hundred dollars on a brand-name coat unless that name is more important to them than the knowledge that a knock off would work just as well. Brand perception can help you outsell products that are similar to what you’re producing. Defining your unique selling point is crucial to defining your brand. What’s the one thing that you have to offer that isn’t being offered by anyone else? It can be your name, quality, sustainability, ethical practices, or anything you choose, but you should only pick one thing that sets you apart. Make it your focus, and the rest will follow.
Simply having a brand is not enough to fulfill all the requirements of branding your business. The visual aspect of business is very important. Customers should glance at your ads and instantly know they’re for your brand. Your logo should be as recognizable as Chanel’s double C or Puma’s leaping cat. However, visuals aren’t everything. Your brand encompasses the core of your company, including its practices, ethics, and values. In a world of increasingly informed consumers, these can be more important than the quality or functionality of your products.
Once you pick your target audience, your goal should be to create an emotional experience for them to connect with your brand. This can be anything, from a poignant commercial to creating evocative memories associated with you. Imagine your customers’ first time walking into one of your boutiques, or the easy experience they had with your customer service. That, more than anything else, will earn lifelong customers.