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Fashion Merchandising: 3 Ways A Unified Brand Can Impact Business

September 18, 2013 Fashion Design and Merchandising, IADT General 0 Comments

Unified Brands In BusinessBranding is essential to fashion merchandising, marketing and business in general. But do you know why?

Customers are attracted by the reliability of a brand. They depend on its consistency, especially in the fashion world. This is why it is important for students of Fashion Merchandising to understand branding and how to improve it.

To encourage customer loyalty and invite new customers in to a business, merchandisers know how a unified brand can impact business. Here, you can read about three ways a unified brand has impacted fashion companies such as Banana Republic:

1. It’s Unified, Not Uniform

Merchandisers know the value of a unified brand and incorporate consistency into their strategy. However, it’s important for a business to appeal to new customers as well. This might require incorporating new fashion trends into their stock.

Natalie Zmuda of Ad Age interviewed Catherine Sadler, the new global chief marketing officer for Banana Republic. The store’s performance had been uneven in recent years and the company hired Sadler to unify their brand and help the store grow.

Sadler says that her biggest challenge was “to create a global brand positioning that resonates with both longtime customers and those experiencing the brand for the first or second time.” She strived to make the company unified rather than uniform.

A unified brand can impact customer loyalty not only by encouraging it, but by inviting new customers in to maintain it as well.

2. Collaborates with Marketing

Sadler also encourages collaboration with the Marketing department.

A unified brand stretches across all departments of a business and the Marketing department can help merchandisers create campaigns. For example, Sadler worked with her Marketing department at Banana Republic to create a partnership with AMC’s Mad Men. This allowed the company to promote the partnership to their customers and sell clothes that coincided with the stylings of the era. Sadler says, “Sometimes collaborations are borrowed interest – from a marketing perspective, fast and flash. We’ve said, ‘Let’s lean in on this in a significant way and really celebrate it across all of the tools we have at our disposal.’”

3. Lacks the Ability to “Transbrand”

Dae Ryun Chang and Don Ryun Chang of the Harvard Business Review argue that companies with unified brands are often companies that have adopted a “transbranding” philosophy and management system.

Branding is an undeniably important part of marketing strategy. Yet branding today is heavily influenced by social media and is no longer determined entirely by marketers. When companies — and merchandisers specifically – allow the customers to determine the brand, “a varied and potentially conflicting narrative about a brand” can result, report Chang and Chang.

Transbranding, however, can allow merchandisers to create a unified brand that can connect and effectively move between divergent markets.

Chang and Chang note that a “trans”-brand is often:

  • Transitional
  • Transcendent
  • Transformable
  • Transparent

Remember that it is important for a brand to be flexible yet unified. This might be more difficult than it seems. To learn how you can effectively contribute to a company brand, or create your own brand identity, contact a Fashion Merchandising degree program advisor today. IADT can help you define your brand today.


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