Reestablishing Growth, Deepening Consumer Connection, and Building a Brand-Centric Organization

Challenge

After several years of flat revenues, our client (a Major North American clothing retailer) needed to reestablish its growth trajectory by targeting new consumer segments, most importantly in the fiercely competitive and fragmented women’s wear market. Additionally, there were significant organizational challenges to achieving the company’s growth objectives, including accelerating (and unfocused) innovation, fragmented brand management and merchandising processes, and an undeveloped brand strategy.

Solution

We organized a cross-functional client team representing senior leadership in marketing, merchandising, R&D, corporate development and store experience/operations to ensure involvement and commitment across all important business functions that impact the brand and customer experience. We conducted extensive qualitative, enthographic and quantitative research to identify key brand attributes, points of leverage and elasticity for the store brand and its key clothing brands (comprised of numerous private labels representing roughly 90% of the business). Our research revealed a significant opportunity to establish a powerful emotional connection with targeted consumers through a new brand promise that links the company’s heritage of innovation to a now-needed aspirational brand promise centering on “confidence” and “self expression.” We created comprehensive brand, product and communications guidelines to ensure consistent understanding and more effective management of the store brand and its major clothing brands, and assisted with the development of a new Value Proposition that included a series of cross-functional strategic imperatives to bring the entire customer experience into alignment with the new brand promise. Our firm also developed new Brand Management structures and processes tailored to the client organization, including a more disciplined and constructive interface between marketing, merchandising, R&D, and store operations.

Impact

Brand strategy implementation is currently underway, including more fashionable, on-trend and on-brand designs, a revamped customer experience (in store, online, mobile, etc.), and new communications that reinforce the revitalized brand promise. The first ever “Brand Council” has been established, overseeing the new brand management processes and ensuring greater integration and cooperation between key business functions.