How Should Designer Brands Make Their Own Marketing Plans?

Christine Tsui Fashion Community

How Should Designer Brands Make Their Own Marketing Plans?

Hanghang-Shanghai-Designer Brand Services, etc. @ Wechat: stillu000000

Graduated from Beijing Institute of Fashion in Fashion Design and Engineering. Now working for a designer brand management company, mainly working on online marketing and new media.

FOREWORD

The aim of a designer is usually to create his or her own brand. With the constant upgrading of the domestic market, more and more designers are eager to try and build their own brands. These brands are also covering a wider range of industries, instead of being limited to the clothing industry. Womenswear, menswear, footwear accessories, home& lifestyle, as well as furniture and cultural & creativity are all the most common fields for designer brands. Among them, “cultural and creative products” have become more popular this year. The cultural and creative products of designer brands are generally based on culture and creative ideas; they are the material form of human knowledge, wisdom and inspiration in specific industries. Culture and creativity are generally consumer products with high added value.

What Makes Designer Brands Different?

Compared with the features of commercial brand consumers, such as broad positioning, large volume, fast sales speed, and emphasis on marketing, designer brand pays more attention to the product itself. It values originality in products and has distinctive personalities. While the positioning is niche, the brand has a strong genetic, style and personality. Compared with the overwhelming advertisements of commercial brands, many designer brands spend less time on marketing; some brands even don’t bother to promote, relying solely on word of mouth from customers. This is because on the one hand, with a low budget, most designer brands do not plan their budget on marketing; On the other hand, if niche brands do not launch to their targeted audience, it does not make much sense to spend a lot of money on marketing. If you are marketing, you should find accurate marketing methods–only through this will you attract accurate groups and spend money in the most effective way possible.Rather than spending a lot of money on marketing, it is better to build brand stories and make products well with determination. Although commercial brands have large budgets and extensive marketing, the phenomenon of homogeneity in the market is also relatively severe, and the pressure of competition of products in the same category is also very heavy.

It is difficult to increase the scale of an individualized brand, and it is also difficult to highlight individuality for a brand with large scale. Just as large sales volume cannot coexist with distinct features, it is not easy to achieve both. For designer brands, their main task is to attracts certain groups with their distinct features, without which it would be more difficult to compete with big names. Based on this logic, is designer brand doomed to remain in small scale? This is also a bottleneck for the development of many brands–they are worried that brands that were originally special for its exclusivity will lose their initial consumer groups as a result of being widely accepted by the market. But in fact, one cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs.The brand is changing, and the customer positioning will continue to expand and improve. As long as the brand abides by its characteristics and products, and serve a certain group, it can be successful. This success is not based on a fixed customer base, but product features instead. Customers’ choices and needs are constantly changing. Consumers of designer brands may not necessarily buy all clothes from them. After all, they pay more attention to the clothing itself with purchasing, for example, some consumers like Maje, but they also buy clothes from JNBY and LILY. Instead of blindly chasing customers, make them chase the design and the brand—only in this way will your brand be attractive enough.

For designer brands, the word “success” is difficult to define. Generally speaking, it depends on the brand value. Brand value can be identified from five aspects: “loyalty, popularity, reputation, recognition, and brand association”. There are also different perspectives and standards within and outside the industry. For a layman, a designer is someone who makes clothes. They buy it if the clothes are pretty and the price is lovely. It is difficult and unlikely for the success of a brand to determine consumer’s desire to purchase. From the perspective of business, a designer brands is mostly successful if it is able to achieve profitability and let customers know and understand the brand, for example, let them see the store in large shopping malls, advertisements on we media, and celebrities promoting the products, etc. For the insiders, if you own a designer brand, it is the content of your design that determines whether you are successful and accepted by the industry.

After the rise of designer brands and a surge of their emergence, it seems that they have recently entered a bottleneck for development. While the customers are loyal, the small customer base is a problem that most designer brands currently face. This is because most of these brands lack mindset and systems for professional operation management. In the retail industry, the advantages of the supply chain are important, which is why some designer brands are expensive. Therefore, in order to extricate themselves from this predicament, some brands carry out product planning with the combination of data the market and operation & sales. However, as mentioned above, if the blind pursuit of market trends is not perfectly under control, it is prone to lose brand DNA in style and as a result, enter another dilemma, that is, homogeneity. This is why many immature designer brands experience multiple changes of brand style. Brand DNA is the fundamental advantage of brand development. How to retain the characteristics and break through the status quo? Or is there any other way to get rid of the current predicament and accelerate the development of the brand? Many designer brands have begun to take advantage of existing media channels to increase exposure through we media and find breakthroughs through KOL cooperation and promotion. For some brands with their own star traffic resources, they boost brand influence through other traffic entrances; meanwhile, the support and activities of e-commerce platforms can also be the promoter of designer brands; in addition, there are some elusive event factors that allow brands to reap unexpected results. But no matter how good or abundant these promotion methods are, without good products, it will only be quickly abandoned by the market.

How should designer brands make their own marketing plans? We can analyze from four aspects: product, price, channel and promotion.

Product

Each independent designer brand has its own preferences, so its products are generally bestowed with their own elements. However, for the brand, it is worthwhile considering whether these products and elements or the DNA of the brand itself are worthwhile for consumers to pay for. Designer brands tend to be more expensive than commercial brands– this is due to the development of the brand’s product line, the small number of upstream and downstream supply chains, or the impact of some special processes. If there is no advantage in price, then the product itself must have enough advantages to draw a highlight in terms of marketing.

Price

The price of designer brands is now criticized by many people. The price of an independent designer brand is even higher. Although to a large extent, it depends a lot on factors like the supply chain we mentioned above, consumers don’t understand it. Indeed, if the value is calculated based on the cost of mass production, designer brand’s nature of small quantity determines that its price will be high. The production quantity of designer brands is not comparable to that of popular brands. The key is to strike a balance, which is not only the balance of quality and price, but also that of consumer positioning and price. As a designer brand, its products must stand out and the brand needs to have a story, so that consumers are willing to buy. In this case, it is important to pinpoint user positioning and set the price based on it. If your users are located in third-tier cities, but you set the price based on the spending power of first-tier cities, you will lose the balance. Therefore, the price needs to match the income of the targeted customer base.

Channel

Currently, the channels that most designers and brands choose are usually online e-commerce platforms and offline buyer collection stores. There are also some brands that sell through self-operation. Brands should not be blind when choosing a buyer’s collection store, but instead, match with suitable styles and channels. In addition, channels can be expanded through more exhibitions, showrooms, and incubators, so as to cover a larger audience.

Promotion

Sometimes average consumers are reluctant to buy brands that they are unfamiliar with, not famous or even cannot be found, which is also the importance and significance of brand promotion.

Many designers do not know how to show their own advantages, or they are fine with expression but have limited sales capabilities. Therefore, many domestic designers, including brand companies, are trapped in the current sales model. In fact, the designer’s own operation is also critical. Works, stories, and exposure will contribute a positive impression to the brand. The attractiveness of the product line is also crucial. It is more effective to promote a good product after finding the brand’s highlights.

Appeals and Planning of A Designer Brand

What kind of designer brand would you want to establish? Many designers are determined to break the boat in the first step towards establishing a brand. Now the market is uncertain, and many brands, before succeeding, may worry what if they fail? Therefore, if you are to establish a designer brand, how to plan its development? For many brands, it is difficult to survive 2 years even with a deep brand story. Designer brands seem to be independent and free in style, but in reality, the requirements on the designers themselves are very high. As a designer, based on your own positioned preferences, you can diversify this circle and accumulate your business circles little by little, selling garments whose style do not easily clash with others. Learn about various platforms and activities and seize the boost of the Internet and e-commerce. Only the strongest among the strong can go further and truly make their own brand thrive.

In order to make up for the defect of their own abilities and balance the resources of various parties, many designers will seek business partners or new media for designer brands to cooperate. It is really good to join hands and share resources, but the prefix“co” is difficult to achieve. To achieve long-term cooperation, same values may be the basis. If they are different, try to respect each other, but a better relationship between partners lies in mutual awareness and complementary advantages. For a designer who focuses on design, the most important attribute of a partner is not the skills, but rather, being able to see “the invisible”.

In addition, incubators or collection platforms can also be a direction for designers to cooperate, such as ICY and LABELHOOD (leihu). The reason why two parties can cooperate is that the counterpart has the resources or highlights it needs. The platform needs new brands to bring new designs in order to drive new traffic; and on the other hand, designers choose the platform because of its financial and commercial operation capabilities, which are able to provide channels, develop new customer groups, so each party gets what it needs.

After all, as time goes by, brands that are not strong enough will be eliminated.  The long-term strategy for the development of a designer brand is to take the foothold of its style and products, balance design and price, take hold of marketing and promotion and pay attention to all aspects. Don’t just emphasize quality and price; rather, make consumers feel the product is good value for money. In this way, even brand premiums can make consumers pay with pleasure.

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