Inner Fashionista, Marketing for Thought

J.Crew’s Ludlow Suit #travels

J.Crew proves that incongruent campaigns and timeless style are the perfect match for selling men’s suits

Recently, J.Crew has been KILLING it on social media, and their #LudlowTraveler Instagram featuring American film director and YouTube phenomena Casey Neistat is no exception.

Two weeks ago, J.Crew released snapshots depicting Casey Neistat  decked in a Ludlow travel suit while combatting the elements via Instagram tagged #LudlowTraveler. From snowboarding to surfing, Casey Neistat was shot just about anything, proving that it is possible to be stylish in any situation and that suits aren’t just for the office.

The Ludlow suit is a retro-yet modern, trendy at professional statement and what many would call a staple to the young male’s wardrobe.

“People say that if you’re a drug addict, you have a sixth sense about who would want to party with you—people who wear Ludlows maybe know who else would own a Ludlow. It’s become that kind of club.” -Mike Vilensky, Reporter for the Wall Street Journal 

This recent Instagram campaign is ideal for their target audience: young male professionals who are adventurous and curious. As much as they enjoy their “I work in Midtown” or “I summer in the Hamptons” bragging rights, they still have that inner schoolboy “let me jump on random things even dressed nicely” attitude. Despite this, many of these men are buying suits on their own for the first time in their lives. Ludlow suits give these guys the look and feel of a tailored, made-for-you suit without an expensive trip to the iconic, wood-walled and Tim Gunn-esq tailor.

Not to mention, the entire aesthetic of the campaign is very, very cool. Definition of bad ass if you ask me. The medium is immediate and relatable for the target audience, and the content has an incongruent factor, forcing the viewer to process the Casey’s outfit of choice in conjunction with the action being performed. Who wouldn’t want to own this look?

 

 

 

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Exploring Europe, Inner Fashionista

Reasons to love J.Crew’s latest Instagram contest

How Instagrams of wearing, rolling and pairing their favorite denim gives J.Crew inside looks at their costumer’s behaviors

Within the past year, Instagram has taken the world by storm. Its visual stimulation paired with its aesthetically pleasing filters has made it the ideal medium for social posting for many today-especially fashion enthusiasts. People buy clothes for many reasons, but people who shop at specific labels and spend a considerable amount on their clothes shop for two main reasons: to look good and to feel good. Whether they are trotting the streets of New York or driving their kids to soccer practice, these people dress and act like the world is their runway and they want to make the best impression possible.

People who shop at J.Crew are no stranger to this sensation and that’s why this Instagram contest is right up their alley.

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The Instagram contest, #JCrewDenim, challenged J.Crew fans to photograph how they wear and where they wear their favorite J.Crew denim. A few of the entries shared on J.Crew’s official Instagram account depicted beach scenes, mountain views, bed snuggles, neon outfits and even jumping kids.

This was not only an easy contest for people to enter, but it also gave J.Crew a lot of insight on how their customers wear their J.Crew denim. From these Instagrams, they now know what types of tops and looks people try to go for with different pairs of jeans and what kinds of settings and occasions their jeans are being worn it. It gives a lot of other J.Crew fans ideas and it gives J.Crew itself ideas on how to market and make their jeans. From design to store windows, J.Crew now has a better idea of what their customer’s are looking for from their jeans.

Who better to seek information from than the customer themself?

 

 

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Inner Fashionista, Marketing for Thought

Perfect vs. Natural: The battle between Photoshop, fashion and millennials

From Photoshop scandals to trending exercises endorsing “thigh gaps” and “bikini bridges,” the media is no stranger to manipulating beauty.

Target recently fell into this Photoshop-gone-wrong category with an over-edited “thigh gap” on a bikini model. Along with the removal of the photo from their website, they issued a public apology for the editing but this didn’t halt bloggers or Tweeters from unloading their anger and disgust across the web.

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Millennials’ addiction and constant accessibility to technology and social media is a double edged sword. This is the first time in decades where not only celebrities are voicing their disgust, but the public, their target audiences, also have a platform to preach their feelings and take a stance. They’ve taken to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, blogs, etc., backlashing over-edited magazine covers and advertisements that directly reflect what society should think beautiful is. At the same time, they are more prone to seeing these images. With every login to social media or every click browsing the internet, there is no escape. Images of models and celebrities are everywhere, and even if they know the pictures are thinned, cropped, tanned and chopped, it doesn’t stop anyone from taking a look at their own body and drawing differences. It is easy to say that so and so’s thighs on the cover of a magazine are larger in real life, but it is harder to stop yourself from criticizing your own after a mere glimpse of the picture.

Several brands have addressed these issues through promoting natural and inner beauty by ditching stick thin models and instead featuring “real” women in advertisements and marketing campaigns.

Aside from Dove’s famous Real Beauty campaign, the personal care mega-house has continued to redefine beauty through videos and workshops. Last April, Dove released a video documenting an experiment that exposed the way that woman look at themselves. In the video, a former forensic artist from the San Jose police department sketched two headshots of a group of women: one based solely on descriptions of themselves, the other based on descriptions they gave of each other. The first sketch was harsher and uglier, proving that they were hard on themselves. The second was truer and prettier, showing that sometimes the things they disliked about themselves were what others found most beautiful. This January, Dove released a similar video featuring selfies of young students and their mothers.

Each of these videos highlights a major marketing implication: the importance of relating to your consumer. The fashion and beauty industry is stereotypically superficial and capitalizes off of perfecting appearances. Sex appeal and perfect looks do sell, but differentiating your brand by relating to your customer’s insecurities has paid off for companies like Dove. When consumers buy a product today, they aren’t paying for just a tangible object. They are looking for relationships with their brands, not just to be “sold.” They follow you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. They are your friend and want to relate to you; the more alike you are to them, the more likely they will stick around. While I for one am not offended by the use of models in advertisements or campaigns, it is disturbing to me that there has been a need to edit photographs for people who were essentially hired based on their looks and weight.

Aerie is one of many brands steering clear of Photoshop-mishaps by promoting a more natural, real image. Their  “#AeirieREAL” campaign ditches all stick-thin, “perfect” models and solely features regular, “real” girls. By incorporating a plethora of body types, Aerie is reaching out to a variety of consumers. In reality, not every girl has the same shapes or proportions, so by showcasing their products on different types of models they are proving that anyone can look good and feel good in Aerie.

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A standard of beauty is formed by the media and entertainment industry, but it doesn’t have to be. The more millenials that take a stand, the greater challenge brands face to meet our expectations. Who would want to buy a product where the even the model has to be edited to look good in it anyways?

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Inner Fashionista, Marketing for Thought

How to create a fashion following

How J.Crew became a fashion powerhouse by reinventing preppy chic and integrating all of their marketing initiatives

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Recently I have been obsessed with J. Crew.  Yes, I have jumped on this bandwagon late, considering the countless fashion blogs obsessed and dedicated to J. Crew.

My obsession goes beyond the variety of chambrays, bold stripes, and playful lobster and sail boat prints. I idolize their runway preppy chic, but my current obsession stems from their CEO Mickey Drexler and President Jenna Lyons.  Within the past ten years they have created a fashion power house- a fashion following if you will- that has stepped up and reinvented “preppy,” so drastically different than the way it was when I was growing up.

Not only have the clothes taken a full 360, but so has their entire aesthetic and image.

For the past two weeks I have been researching Mickey Drexler for a leadership paper for my management class at Elon, and one thing that the President Jenna Lyons told Fast Company struck me:

“There were a lot of really talented people, but they were all doing their own thing, and it looked like it. [J. Crew] was bifurcated and fractured. It didn’t come together.”

And she was so spot on.  Researching for our ABAN marketing strategies project this semester made me realize how vital it was for a brand-especially in the fashion industry- to have a cohesive, strong, image on every platform they present themselves.  Everything needs to look in unison and on the same page.  If even one outlet is slightly different, it deters from the power of their image.

the fabulous J. Crew President and fashionista Jenna Lyons, pursuitist.com

the fabulous J. Crew President and fashionista Jenna Lyons, pursuitist.com

Mickey Drexler and Jenna Lyons revolutionized J. Crew’s clothing lines and overall fashion identity, but they also took the initiative to unite all of J. Crew’s communication channels. According to Fast Company, “Lyons believed that to create a coherent brand and drive the business forward, every piece of the creative organization–from retail to catalog to web–had to be unified”; and that is exactly what Lyons did.

Everything got a facelift- the retail stores, website, and monthly catalog.  Similar to Mickey Drexler’s  “everything is in the details” philosophy  Lyon’s pours over every detail of every cashmere and every website link.

One of the most important focuses Lyons had was uniting the website and catalog into one cohesive force.  She told Fast Company that originally their were different teams of merchandisers working on the catalog from the website- and it annoyed her that you could tell.  They didn’t have the same feel or style whatsoever.

Going on J. Crew’s website or receiving one of their catalog’s in the mail, you can tell that has changed.  Whether you are clicking through online or flipping through the pages at home, you instantly feel like you are looking through a glamourous fashion magazine.  They have their own identity  they own styling.  They use clever headings like “pops of polka dots” and professional editorial photo shoots in exotic locations.  You don’t feel like you are being sold products, but instead like they are presenting you with a new look and all of the means of achieving it.

As much as I love shopping online, I ADORE their catalog.  Despite the demise of mail promotions, J. Crew has found a brillant way to keep their monthly catalogs fresh and at the forefront of their marketing campaign with over 40 million copies distributed every year.  Renamed “J. CrewThe Style Guide,” their new catalog takes their website a step further by showing new and improved ways to pair and wear your favorite J. Crew items.  The Style Guide has even been praised by fashion bloggers including A piece of Toast.

So, why do print catalog’s still work? Because the J. Crew customer wants the availability of fashion at every outlet:

“Our twenty-something customer makes little delineation between channels.  She or he enjoys viewing our catalogue online, in her mailbox or on his phone, so we make sure our fashion is always available no matter where our customers want to view it,” Express CMO Lisa Gavales said. “That said, we haven’t seen any virtual viewing work as well as a good, old fashioned paper catalog.”

Clearly something is working- since Drexler became CEO in 2003, annual revenue has more than tripled to $2.2 billion.  

 

 

This post is a part of a series of posts for Integrated Marketing Communications class that explores strategies of integrated marketing communications and recognizes strong and weak branding strategies today.

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Inner Fashionista, Marketing for Thought

Inbound marketing: the new key to business success

Incorporating the new

The Internet and social media have completely changed people’s lifestyle.  Their communication styles, hobbies, and information gathering are completely altered in comparison to their attitudes and habits ten years ago.

For business to be successful, they must keep up with these changes, not only with technology but also with the way that people interact, communicate, and search for information.  In David Meerman Scott’s Book The New Rules of Marketing & PR, he emphasizes the importance of putting meaningful content online, not pushing information in a one-way relationship format.

“If your organization isn’t present and engaged in the places and at the times that your buyers are, then you’re losing out on potential business-no mater how successful your off-line marketing program is.” – Scott, pg. 5 of The New Rules of Marketing & PR

Similar to other blog posts and literature we have examined in my integrated marketing communications class this semester, Scott believes that emphasis should be placed on creating and maintaing relationships with current and potential customers.  These relationships ultimately build brand loyalty, brand awareness, and ultimately increase sales.  It is not how much information you put out there, but the outlet you choose and the meaning behind it the content.

Not only will companies be maintaing and stimulating relationships with current and potential customers, but the company will have the opportunity to use this customer feedback they are receiving from these outlets and incorporate it into future strategies and product design.

“You can’t just make decisions on what you think your products do; you need to make decisions on the perceptions of what people are actually doing with your products.” – Scott, pg. 65

A Scott lesson: People are eager to share when given valuable content

Ocean Frontiers Ltd. of the Cayman Islands started The Green Shorts Challenge, where scuba divers who visit each of the 55 dive sites within the East End dive zone in Grand Cayman are given special recognition including the coveted green ocean frontiers uniform shorts, a plaque, a gold medal, an achievement party, and recognition on the Ocean Frontiers’ Facebook page.

Referred to as the “scuba diving hall of fame,” followers become addicted to the challenge and record their journey in a journal where they can draw pictures of each of the 55 sites.  The sense of accomplishment leads to countless posts on their social media outlets, exposing the company endlessly.

“You couldn’t ask for a more loyal and dedicated customer base than what we’re building. From whatever social media platform they communicate, if someone wants to go diving in the Caribbean, our customers are going to recommend us. There’s a human element that can be brought in with Facebook. You humanize what your business does.”– Steve Broadbelt, Managing director of Oceans Frontier Ltd.

Here, Scott has highlighted the importance of giving our viewers valuable content.  With the amount of information available on the web, people are not going to share everything.  By humanizing business and giving customers an opportunity to interact with the brad and be recognized, you create value.

Lucky Community: a new strategy at increasing magazine viewership

Screen shot of the Lucky Community page

Screen shot of the Lucky Community page

Recognizing the overwhelming amount of avid fashion bloggers and enthusiasts, Lucky has launched a platform called “Lucky Community” where blogger “contributors” can sign up and contribute their posts.  The posts are collected on a page that is displayed and updated similarly to Pinterest, giving fashionistas and Lucky fans more fashion beyond their print magazine.

Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 10.36.04 PMAnyone can sign up to be a Lucky Contributor, but the editor of Lucky Contributor decides which content will be streamed on the main page.  After submitting your application online, the editor reviews your writing and you are given your first “Lucky badge” that you can put on your blog.

Writers are rewarded with different badges for the number of views or community votes that their posts generate. More selective badges include “Editor’s Favorite” or “Style Collective” and are given different perks, including the ability to upload content without editor moderation and possibility of interviewing with Lucky editors.

The Lucky Contributor concept and The Green Shorts Challenge are mirror images of a pursuit of customer engagement and value creation for different types of people.  Fashionistas are awarded for posting their work with badges that not only give them credit and 15 seconds of fame, but also a glimpse of writing for a prestigious fashion magazine- a coveted position that not many people can get. With the diminishing print publications, it is vital for magazines like Lucky to continue to innovate ways to keep people engaged and excited about their brand.

Customer engagement and creating valuable content are only pieces to the puzzle, but exemplify the importance of company’s incorporating inbound marketing strategies into their current plans.

 

 

This post is a part of a series of posts for Integrated Marketing Communications class that explores strategies of integrated marketing communications and recognizes strong and weak branding strategies today.

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Inner Fashionista, Marketing for Thought

Spring’s hottest look: Green Fashion

Discussing Levi’s current Water<less green campaign in class a couple weeks ago

It turns out that they aren’t the only ones trying to reduce their carbon footprint and go green.  H&M’s green clothing line H&M Conscious clothing line that launched in 2012 offers pieces made with sustainable materials such organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled wool, recycled plastic, and organic linen.  Yet, the Conscious line holds true to the H&M name- super-cute, in-trend, high-end styles with a low price point and a quick turnover rate.  

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H&M’s Conscious Exclusives Collection, Spring 2013

Their commitment to making sustainability an integral part of the fashion industry spans deeper than just their Conscious line.  CEO Karl-Johan Persson’s goal is to make it a central point of their future business model.

“Our business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price. Sustainability is an increasingly important part of this. I strongly believe that sustainability will more and more become a hygiene factor in our industry. Our goal is for H&M to be at the forefront of sustainability. We work hard to always strengthen our customer offering. I think that adding sustainable value to our products is one of the keys to do so.” –  Karl-Johan Persson, H&M CEO

The line recently expanded this spring, introducing a more formal look called The Spring Conscious Exclusives Collection.  These pieces became available online April 4 and several celebrities including Ashley Benson, Victoria Justice, Jessica Lowndes and Jessica Stroup hosted parties across the country to promote the new line.

Beyond the eco-friendly clothes themselves, H&M has implemented other strategies to ensure the success of this line and the betterment of the environment.

H&M Conscious also acts as a service where customers can bring in old, unwanted clothes in return for 15% off any item in the store.  Ninety-five percent of all clothes that people throw away could be used again, and H&M is making this possible while reducing landfills. For every pound of clothing donated, H&M CharityStar donates one cent to a charity in that store’s location.

Celebrity promotion and endorsements are leading the sustainability initiatives to success. Not only is the face of the brand French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, but iconic celebrities including Amanda Seyfried, Michelle Willimas, and Helen Hunt have been photographed wearing pieces from the lin on the red carpet, including the Oscars.

Going back to marketing basics, you need to give consumers what they want in order to succeed.  Maybe green marketing initiatives in the past haven’t worked because they weren’t what the consumer was looking for, or maybe it wasn’t a big enough change. Douglas L. Melville, president of Red Carpet Runway and a strategic adviser for various entertainment brands and personalities, wrote in his article “Why Green Marketing is Doomed” that people did not understand that Frito Lays’ eco-friendly bag helped save the environment and that’s why they weren’t willing to sacrifice a noisier bag for a worthy cause.   I doubt that it was their lack of understanding or awareness that turned them away from the bag.

We are led by our wants and needs, and at that point in time maybe people weren’t ready to “sacrifice” their quiet snack time for the environment. H&M’s strategic clothing collection does not only help our environment and local charities, but it provides a service that is easy and of interest to consumers today.  They aren’t just shoving a green movement in their consumer’s face- they are offering lifestyle changing products consistent with their image and a service that will help them improve the environment.

 

This post is a part of a series of posts for Integrated Marketing Communications class that explores strategies of integrated marketing communications and recognizes strong and weak branding strategies today.

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Exploring Europe, Inner Fashionista

What to Wear: Barcelona Street Swag

Barcelona is by no means a fashion capital.  Paris, London, Milan, Hong Kong, and New York City are the quintessential international fashion houses, the trendsetters, and the hosts of the high-fashion runway shows. Despite these precedents, Barcelona locals strut their own unparalled, street swag.

Often called the Fifth Avenue of Barcelona and modeled like the Champs-Elysees of Paris, Passeig de Gracia is breeding ground for local fashionistas.  The street offers a plethora of shopping including notable fashion designers like Channel, Giorgio Armani and Hermes as well as Catalan designers like Oysho, Toni Francesc and Desigual.

This is not only the location of shopping for all tastes, but a pseudo runway for fashion inspiration.  Characterized as one of the busiest and most touristic roads in the city, Passeig de Gracia is one of the most essential stomping grounds for observing street style in Barcelona.

Local street style can be easily identified on this street.  While most tourists wear sneakers, denim, and riding boots, most Barcelona adolescent locals rock a different look. Styled with darker colors, chunkier shoes, lots of layers, and accented with topknot hairstyles, body piercings and minimal make up, they pull off a grungier, edgier swag.

Four Most Notable Women’s Trends:

Womens trends

  1. Combat boots– Heeled or flat, buckled, studded, and made of leather.  Young locals wear boots in every neutral color and for every occasion.  These boots are most often rocked with baggy sweaters and skinny jeans or with tights and a jewel-toned skirt.
  2. Studded accessories and embellishments– studs on studs on studs.  From pockets on shirts and jackets, shoulders on sweaters, to the back of a pair of pumps, studs are the most utilized embellishment of the season.  It gives an edgy look to a classic piece of clothing.
  3. Shorts worn with tights– Taking advantage of the 60 degree (Fahrenheit) average weather, many locals rock black tights under a pair of denim shorts or dress shorts.  Worn with combat boots or heeled booties, this look dresses up and winterizes ordinary shorts.
  4. Army green jackets– Army green is the new black in Barcelona.  Whether it is a fur lined winter coat, or a lighter canvas jacket, army green is the most commonly warn color. With leather or denim accents on the sleeves, neutral colored furs, or gold studs, there are different jackets embellished for every type of style.

Men rock similar looks.  In comparison to the United States, their attire is sleeker, tightly fitted, and edgier.

Four Most Notable Men’s Trends:

Mens Trends

  1. Fitted, Colored pants: Chinos in neutral colors including brown, black, camel, burgundy, olive, and navy are hot this fall.  Worn with v-necks, cotton t-shirts or flannels, these pants instantly dress up any look.
  2. Look-alike original Clarks:  Since going out attire is more formal here, these shoes are essential for most local males wardrobes.  Seen in suede or leather and in colors including browns, black, blue, and olive, these are usually worn with dark, slim-fitted denim pants or colored chinos.
  3. Wearing denim rolled at the ankles: Although most Barcelona adolescent male locals wear tighter denim, they roll them up a few times at the ankle and usually paired with Converse sneakers or look-alike Keds.
  4. Deep V-necks:  Cotton t-shirts and ¼ button ups are a must especially for going out, but one thing is certain: deeper v-necks are more acceptable here.

Think you can pull of Barcelona’s street swag? Try shopping at one of these stores: Zara, Pull&Bear, Mango, H&M, Desigual, or Diesel.

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