Showroom x Industry Leaders: Sophie van Daniels

Showroom x Industry Leaders: Sophie van Daniels

Showroom teams up with industry leaders to provide you with professional advice on how to take the first steps in the fashion business.

By Sophie van Daniels

New fashion brands are redundant. So is buying another pair of shoes. Still, why do we buy a Chanel lipstick even though it looks exactly like the cheaper drugstore version? Why do we buy another pair of shoes from a fresh label that appears on the fashion landscape out of nowhere? In the fashion industry, the product alone seldom differentiates from the offering of the competition. It is the brand identity that can often make the biggest difference for the customer.

Many entrepreneurs forget about brand identity

The launch of a new brand is usually the result of many sleepless nights and a caffeine overdose. It also involves the excitement and anticipation that cannot compare to anything else. Some entrepreneurs push for the launch of a brand and many of them make the common mistake –  they forget about brand identity.

First impressions always last

Brand identity is not simply the branding. It is way much more than a well-designed, consumer-friendly website, an easy-to-remember logo and having appropriate social media channels. It lies at the core of your brand, it can be described with three words and will have a lasting impact on your customer. It is the customer’s experience with your brand, from the first impression about the product to the delivery. The tricky thing with first impressions is that they always last – something fashion start-ups need to remember, but many of them tend to forget. Each element of  your branding needs to tell the story of your fashion label. It is not enough to focus on one element, such as social media channels, and neglect your online store or the packaging of your product. All parts need to work coherently with an eye to create an authentic brand identity for your customer to understand.

Courtesy of Sophie van Daniels
Courtesy of Sophie van Daniels

Customers want to be part of the lifestyle

Customers will buy your brand, because they connect to it emotionally, as well as aesthetically. They understand what your fashion brand stands for and want to be part of the lifestyle it represents. Take Calvin Klein for example the customer does not simply buy a sweatshirt with the iconic Calvin Klein logo. The customer buys into a lifestyle – a cool existence of an off-duty model, a timeless beauty, a modern woman. Gucci, on the other hand, will attract a completely different client. Its brand identity is strongly connected to the country of origin, as Italy stands for craftsmanship and high quality, which are also key elements of Gucci’s brand identity. Customers who decide to buy a Gucci t-shirt will not simply buy a t-tee, they also buy the reflection of the brand, which leaves them feeling influential, bold and innovative. So ask yourself – what does your brand stand for? How does it make the customer feel? Which elements of your brand you would never compromise on?

Answering these questions may seem easy, but the majority of new fashion brands will not be able to do so. Those who can, need to think about it even more deeply, as they might come up with generic answers. A successful brand needs to have an individual concept to differentiate from the ever-growing competition and hence, create an authentic customer experience. If the client believes in your brand identity, a strong relationship with the customer can be established and she will likely become a genuine brand advocate instead of switching to the next big brand rising on the fashion horizon.

Sophie van DanielsFounder and Editor of BASICAPPAREL, a content creator, a digital strategist and a photographer based in Germany. Still, she feels at home anywhere in the world. Faithful to the basics, but always adding with a modern twist to her style.

Follow Sophie @sophievandaniels

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