Currently between 50-60% of the value of a fashion business belongs to its brand, making brands the single most valuable intangible asset of the sector. In order to maximise such value fashion businesses should create unique images and define clear brand strategies.
Brands are as important for the fashion section as they are for the consumer, because at the end of the day consumers are the ones who are influenced by brands and ultimately the people making the decision of what to buy.
But, how can brands create consumer value? As far as fashion goes, there are some key points to take into account:
Lifestyle: Each of us is different and we all are in different stages of life. This leads to different purchasing decisions.
Segmentation: Not everyone purchases the same way. There are several factors that contribute to purchasing decisions such as age, gender, lifestyle, etc…
New trends: Social media mixes people of different ages and backgrounds together. Thanks to this, unusual products are able to succeed.
Every business benefits from having a distinctive brand in the market because that has many competitive advantages. In the fashion world, it is very important to look at the following:
Think about the relationship the business is creating with its consumers through its brand.
Understand what the consumer needs.
Analyse the factors driving demand.
Develop those characteristics that guarantee difference, identification and relevance.
Naming & Protecting a Brand
Choosing the right name for a fashion brand is crucial and as such it should be properly protected and managed. A trade mark’s name transmits its philosophy, personality and visual identity. It represents, without a doubt, the most memorable single connection with the consumer. Naming a trade mark is particularly important in fashion, and therefore, a name can help the brand to:
Communicate its origins and where it comes from.
Inform about the characteristics of an item.
Discover what the product is.
Communicate an attitude or lifestyle.
Appeal to a certain kind of audience.
Create a unique category of products.
A very widespread practice in the fashion industry is using the names of the designers themselves as a trade mark. This practice has been traditionally used among luxury brands in order to underline their exclusivity, quality and status (eg. Christian Dior); it is also becoming more widespread among non-luxury brands.
Naming is an essential part in the fashion industry and as such any trade marks that have been created should be protected through registration. Registration of a trade mark will provide the owner with the exclusive right to use the mark in the goods and services in which it has been protected and additionally, the trade mark owner will have the tools to stop third parties from using the mark.
Finally, we will have to take into account where the business operates. Trade marks should be protected in each and every country in which the business is going to achieve sales or develop a reputation in order to avoid future costly legal battles.
Dressed For Success – How to Stay on Top
Once a brand has become successful it has to continue transforming and renovating itself in the ever-changing fashion world. Many brands have changed their appearance over the years without changing the core ideals of their business and continuing to be relevant to their consumers. But, how can a fashion brand continue its success once it reaches the top?
Build equity around the brand, make it recognisable in the eyes of your consumers, make them loyal.
Make consumers perceive your brand as something more than just a seasonal thing.
Seasons & Cycles. Fashion has a very short and changing nature that only lasts for a season and as a consequence it is centred mostly on products. It is vital to distinguish between the product and the brand but there should also be inter-connectivity between them.
Crossing borders. One of the main challenges of brands is to be recognised outside its national borders and catering to different tastes in different countries.
Embracing new technologies and social media. Nowadays digital presence can certainly make or break a brand, so it is vital to have a presence in the internet.
Innovating. Fashion changes every season and companies have to bring out new styles, materials, trends, etc continuously.
All of the factors outlined above contribute to the successful creation and maintenance of a brand. However, never forget to keep a realistic and coherent strategy through the whole process of creation, protection and transformation of a brand in order to achieve your goals and maintain your position in the market.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or you would like any further information about trade marks and branding.
Saioa Echevarria Idianez, Trade Marks Attorney
14 February 2014