What is fashion branding?
Fashion branding includes all elements that create a brand’s image to the public. Your fashion branding includes your company’s mission statement, values, origin story, and visual style guide. These elements are all part of your fashion branding.
Branding can be even more important in the fashion industry than the product. The brand’s cachet is often more valuable than the shirt it’s printed on.
Your fashion branding strategy will guide you as you create your clothing line. A clear set of branding guidelines is essential for scaling your small business. They will help ensure consistency in brand identity across all products, locations, social channels, customer experience, and your website.
Pros share 12 tips for fashion branding
Below are the best fashion branding tips from a dozen industry experts. Learn from fashion designers, entrepreneurs, and marketing agency executives about everything, from finding your target audience, to working with agencies.
Your brand should be described in three words or less
“When I approach a brand I am working with, I always begin by describing it in three words or less. Spend some time brainstorming every adjective that you think belongs in your brand’s world. Keep eliminating until you have three favorite words. This branding exercise was done for a record label’s merchandise division. We settled on “Y2K B.E.T.” in just two words. It was the underlying theme of all visuals, sounds and textures that a consumer would encounter when they interact with the brand.
“Find your niche, and describe in a few words what makes you brand unique. You can throw away anything that doesn’t fit these three words, even if you like it. The core message should be established, then it should be nailed and then expanded upon.”
Create a strong team
Knowing who can help build your brand is part of knowing your brand. I have been very fortunate in developing special friendships with people in life who are thoughtful and legitimate. I recommend finding a core group or team of friends who share your interests and skills. Learn from each other and grow.
Celine is a brand that has a long history. Its collections change from season to season but it maintains a balance by sticking to its core values. Its branding is natural and reflective of its values.
Tell a story
“You can’t outsource your voice. Your voice is your heart and soul. It’s your story. As a label, it’s important that you ask yourself: “What do I have that big companies don’t?” Where can we win naturally, and where will they try and fake it? This is where it’s important to speak up. We were an all-female group of activists from Brooklyn, doing our best with very limited resources. This is what we had that large companies didn’t have.
Use free tools
People want to know what’s hot in the fast fashion market. Many brands jump on the latest trends and push similar looks to try to be first in market. It’s not about who is first, it’s who makes the product better.
Customers will love your experience
P&Co is a great example of how to build a brand. Check out their Instagram: the bikes, beards and coffee. To become part of their brand, all you have to do is purchase one of their tshirts.
Fashion branding should be about creating an emotional experience for your target audience. The best branding creates a feeling of acceptance and comfort that inspires clients to return for more. These are three good questions to ask:
- What is your brand’s reputation?
- What are your core values as a brand?
- What visual image do you want your brand to have?
- These are the questions you must answer before you can start to execute on them.
Take your time
“Branding is important because, it helps tell your product’s story. It communicates your values, your perspective, as well as small character elements that make up the larger picture of your company.
Take your time. Because we operate at such high speeds, entrepreneurs and creatives often rush. Your brand and business should be meaningful. It takes time to create something that is meaningful.
Tap into influencer power
Calvin Klein is a great example of a brand who understands social media. Calvin Klein is a brand that uses celebrities and models to promote its brand. It created a need in the market that would lead to free advertising and press coverage. Its latest campaigns feature a variety of people, so more people feel confident and proud to wear their Calvins.
Know your competitors and target markets
“Brands must understand their target market, what they want from their customers and how to make their brand the place to go for fashion lovers. A strong social media presence is essential. This can help you communicate with your target customers in a cost-effective manner.
Determine your unique selling point
You don’t have to advertise your clothing brand in expensive print and television advertisements. It can be extremely effective to build a network on social media and collaborate with influential people. While there are obvious benefits to hiring a PR firm or smoozing fashion stylists in order to get your clothes seen by A-list celebrities, you will be amazed at how powerful social media can be.
Get in touch with a professional
A branding agency should be consulted by fashion brands from the very beginning. This gives the brand insight into the best strategy to create a shopping experience. A fashion agency can help a brand navigate the constantly changing landscape of the fashion industry.
Do not try to be everything for everyone
“Over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the number fashion companies entering the market. It is becoming more difficult to differentiate a line from other brands. Buyers want lines that sell quickly and are eager to get rid of them. The fastest way to clear racks is to make sure that the brand is well-known to a specific audience.
If your brand doesn’t have many extensions, “Trying to be all things to all people is a recipe to disaster.” Find out who your buyer is, and then use the pop culture elements that appeal to them. This requires a lot of market research and discipline in marketing, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
From the design of the product, to the social media content, to the way customers shop and experience the brand, branding should be established right from the beginning. It must be consistent right from the beginning. Your language and imagery should reflect the luxury brand’s exclusive feel. You might use soft colors and a more relaxed tone when communicating with your brand if you are independent and ethically-sourced.