Branding is essential for your businesses regardless of if you are in a crowded space or offer proprietary services. Well executed branding communicates a company’s promise to the consumer, differentiates the product from competitors, and tells a story. Consumers find comfort and have an emotional relationship with their favorite brands.
The Importance of a Brand
Companies of all sizes and sectors must rely on branding to build a relationship with their customers. GAP is a prime example of a company that needed a drastic shift in branding.
The past decade has been brutal for retail clothing stores, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Their overhead is massive, and customers are more likely to shop online than ever before. In the midst of the pandemic, GAP made a play to realign their brand to appeal to a younger audience by inking a 10-year, 970-million-dollar partnership with rapper and cultural icon Kanye West.
After the announcement was made, their stock rose by 39%. Since then, Kanye has only released three puffer jackets, all of which have sold out in minutes. GAP’s stock is up 130% in the past year.
Establishing Brand Identity Differentiate Your Product
Consumers looking for basic clothing pieces won’t have to look very hard. There are thousands of companies online selling tee shirts, chinos, and hoodies. GAP has been providing basic clothing at affordable prices since the 1990s and has originated many trends we see today. However, they’ve lacked the ‘cool’ factor that younger consumers desire.
Now that they’ve teamed up with a fashion icon, even their styles from the 1990s are back in style. Adjusting brand identity saved one of America’s most well-known clothing companies without changing their logo or releasing a Kanye-designed line.
Connect on an Emotional Level
Kanye’s success evolves around hype. His Adidas brand Yeezy and companies like Jordan and Supreme leverage their brand name and release limited quantities to build excitement.
No one ever dreamed of GAP having resale appeal just two years ago. Now the Kanye puffer jackets are reselling for $700 on Stock X and being worn by the most famous musicians in the world.
GAP found a way to connect emotionally with a younger consumer base without adding infrastructure or drastically changing their product. They’ve rallied their stock price by pivoting their branding. While a 970-million-dollar deal is inconceivable to most people, their company is now worth 11 billion.
Tell Your Story
Part of the Kanye-GAP partnership is the story. West’s first job was working in a GAP store and has regularly rapped about starting out working at the GAP and now being worth billions of dollars.
A successful branding move incorporates a meaningful story that builds on the emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. Fashion brands constantly having to evolve to meet the desires of current trends. GAP is in a unique position of being innovative to younger consumers and nostalgic to the consumer who grew up in the 90s at the same time.
Communicate Company Values
Branding is also a way to communicate company values. Fast fashion brands like H&M are under scrutiny for producing cheap trendy clothes that won’t last. Companies like PANGAIA are taking advantage of the shift into sustainable fashion by offering consumers recycled and more sustainable plant-based fiber options other than cotton.
The name PANGAIA successfully communicates its mission to provide eco-friendly alternatives and bringing people together for the greater good. They also plant a tree for every product sold.
Building a Brand
Recognizing the importance of branding is only the first step; building a successful brand strategy is more challenging.
Elon Musk didn’t invent the electric car and wasn’t even a founding member of Telsa. But through his genius marketing strategies and understanding on the internet, he’s revolutionized the car industry. Jaguar and Porsche aren’t rolling out electric options because they are concerned about carbon emissions; they must compete with the rising demand for luxury EVs creating exclusively by Elon Musk’s ability to build a brand.
The excitement around Tesla is primarily created by features that will go viral. We don’t need a car to make fart noises or streams Netflix, but these features make for exciting posts on social media, driving up interest in the brand.
Building a relationship with consumers is critical to curating a successful brand and only achieved if the message is clear. According to Smallbizgenius, ‘presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by 23%.’
A brand like PANGAIA does an excellent job presenting a clear, concise message on the website, Instagram, logo, brand name, blog, and products. There’s no denying their mission of providing an environmentally friendly option to fast fashion.