August 9, 2019, by Erika Solis
Fashion is important. It helps shape our culture and leaves a lasting impact. We’re able to categorize our own history based on what people were wearing. This makes fashion essentially one of the most crucial topics for our world. That’s why it’s important to recognize fashion for all it does for our society. It’s no wonder fashion marketing experts make more on average than their peers in other industries. But how does fashion truly impact us, and how is graphic design involved?
If anything, fashion and beauty have grown immensely thanks to the rise of the internet, and in recent years, social media. The industry is set to be worth over 850 billion by 2024. It’s an extremely profitable industry to be in because of the wide variety of options available. For makeup alone, there’s mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and fake eyelashes, and that only covers the eyes. If you look at fashion and beauty advertisements, you don’t really think about the design that goes into it. However, graphic design and marketing are in part why this industry does so well. Here are a few ways you can stand out among the crowd and make sure your fashion or beauty line succeeds.
If you’ve ever gone on Instagram and felt like there’s a new beauty brand every day, there probably is. It’s easier than ever before to start a line based on your vision. You’ll see influencers starting brands based on their own ideas. However, being famous isn’t enough to have a successful line. You might see success stories like Rihanna’s Fenty line, but there are also tons of failures out there. They don’t understand their own audiences, which is the first question you need to ask yourself.
Who is your audience, and why do you want to target them?
You can’t say everyone is your audience because the truth is it’s not possible. One way or another, you’ll unintentionally alienate an audience. This is not a bad thing. For instance, if you’re selling clothing meant for 18-24-year-old women, you’ll likely lose the interest of 45-65-year-old men because the product isn’t meant for them. If you establish a single-focused audience early on, then you don’t have to worry about not reaching a different group. There will be opportunities to expand, but you have to become an established name first. It may take a long time, but you can grow from there. Once you have your audience, you need to know what you’re selling like the back of your hand.
Your products are the focus of your line, so they need to be closely considered. If you’re tackling fashion, what type of clothing is it? Whether it’s graphic t-shirts or flowy dresses, you have to select what’s first. This is going to help establish your brand, the most important part of your line.
When you imagine your logo, does it match what you envision for your company? It doesn’t have to be as clean as some major brand logos, but it should represent your ideals. Your logo does more than appear on your packaging. Logos can create a culture or incorporate storytelling. It can also be simple and one-dimensional. There’s no right or wrong way to design a logo. If you think your logo is the issue, it’s likely because you’ve outgrown it or it was never a right fit to begin with. When you find the right fit, it can be a symbol on its own. It makes an enormous difference when you consider children will begin to recognize logos as young as three years old. If you want someone to become a lifelong buyer, your logo has to matter.
Supreme is a brand that goes beyond fashion with its logo. You’ll see the simple white text on a red background as stickers everywhere. It has its own style, and while it’s not the most unique logo out there, it still works. It works well because it appeals to the specific lifestyle of its target audience. By appealing to young men working in creative fields, they use an audience that’s used to already thinking outside the box. It makes their consumers feel like a brand truly understands them. It all starts with one logo and how you use it.
If you think you don’t need a brand image, you’re mistaken. Without a good logo, your fashion marketing will suffer. It helps bring everything together in a way that makes sense to your audience. For example, think of a brand like Gucci. It’s considered a luxury brand targeted to those who can afford it. It’s showcased in their advertising, prices, and endorsements. They’re not going after someone outside their brand because they understand it’s not a beneficial idea. Someone who makes $25,000 a year probably won’t buy as many Gucci products as someone who makes a million in a year. At the same time, this helps Gucci receive potential customers because it’s seen as a luxury brand. People will save up money to purchase it as a one-time buy.
Granted, you don’t have to be a luxury brand to get the same response. If you look at other affordable chains like Walmart and Target, their fashion is significantly cheaper and poorer quality. However, this doesn’t mean brands like these don’t reach other audiences. Even though they’re considered ‘less’ based on what they sell, they can still reach multiple markets. They have clothing for men, women, children, and even pets. However, it took a long time to get there. These brands didn’t become powerhouses through the industry overnight.
Besides cost, there are other ways to establish a brand. If you look at the images of major companies like Milk and Tarte, they make sure to include ‘cruelty-free’ as part of it. For makeup, this means not using animals in testing. For fashion, it can also mean the labor used to create the clothing was ethical. This is also part of a brand thanks to a rise in social activism, more people are looking for sustainable brands. You don’t have to be 100% sustainable to garner an audience, but a little transparency in your brand can go a long way.
If you look at beauty advertisements over the past fifty years, you’ll find there may be a lack of diversity. Even now, the industry has its problems with diversifying its products and marketing. It’s hard not to feel like fashion and beauty is struggling with its diversity. That’s why you should strive to set an example with your own products. Minorities are unfortunately not always represented properly in available products. However, if you look at numbers from Neilsen, they show Black spending is significantly high for beauty products like hair care, fragrances, and hygiene. Take advantage of the audience because they are looking for products like yours to use.
Furthermore, your advertising layouts will play a huge role in determining whether or not you’ll reach them. Fenty again does a phenomenal job at reaching the diversity it’s looking for. In one of their first television ads, they show women of all colors. In another ad, there is a man confidently wearing makeup. It’s a more recent type of diversity thanks to Instagram, but men are beginning to wear makeup proudly.
If you’re not showing this type of diversity in your own ads, then it doesn’t matter how well designed it is. After all, your makeup ads are only as good as the model in them. Not every single ad has to be perfectly balanced, but you should strive for some diversity in your beauty ads. Many of these ads will translate to your website, which is the next step to a great line.
A fashion website is great to show all of your products in one place. If you plan it accordingly, it can help your consumers breeze through to check out. You want a consistent layout that matches the visual parts of your brand. For instance, if you go to Forever 21’s website, they use bright neon colors and fonts you might see in their stores. Everything flows well enough that you don’t think of another fast-fashion brand in the process. But having matching colors isn’t enough to get people to use your website all the time.
Your menus have to make sense. If you want to buy a new necklace, you’re not going to think it’s in the jacket section. It wouldn’t make sense right? Of course not, because they’re not similar at all. That’s the importance of your menu. You may have to split based on the product, style or even if it’s on sale. If you look again at Forever 21’s website, they have a separate section based on the occasion. It makes it even easier for consumers looking for specific outfits to find them and feel encouraged to return to your website again.
It doesn’t matter if your products are solely online or if consumers can walk into a traditional store for it. It needs to be an innovative design, as the use goes beyond holding a product. It’s a first impression of what your audience can expect from you. The style and flair of your packaging determine what kind of person they are. When you think of certain brands, the designs likely come to mind. For instance, think of Urban Decay. It uses a lot of dark colors like purple and black with minimalistic designs. Occasionally, you’ll see the brand use bursts of colors as part of a certain line. However, they maintain the same style throughout, so it’s easy to know what’s a part of their brand.
If you want to go beyond the visual designs on the package, then it’s possible to change the functionality. For companies like Farmacy Skincare, they use honey in a lot of their products. To showcase the use of it beyond its ingredients, its packaging includes a honeycomb texture on the outside. Inside, there are facts about the honey farmers who provide the supplies to Farmacy. It’s not often you learn about makeup ingredients this directly from a company. It stands out and uses its box for more than just keeping its products safe in transport.
Yes, you need social media marketing. It’s the most cost-efficient way of promoting your line to your audience. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are kind to fashion brands when it comes to promoting themselves. For instance, Instagram uses a shopping feature to make it easy for users to buy products directly from their timelines. Facebook recommends businesses directly to consumers based on their usage, and fashion brands easily find their place thanks to its wide range. Everyone buys clothing and based on your ideas, you can reach them right as they’re entering parts of their lives.
While you’re posting about your brand on social media, you can pay influencers to do this as well. The more followers an influencer has, the more power they have to reach them. They take sponsorships to the next level. Celebrity sponsorships were expensive and remain valuable for all types of marketing, but it’s hard for traditional Hollywood celebrities to always reach their audience. On the other hand, the best influencers talk to their followers every day. Brands of all kinds are taking notice, but makeup companies are some of the most successful.
Take a look at Two-Faced. They collaborated with major beauty gurus like Nikkie Tutorials and Jackie Aina to expand their product lines. By using these influencers, Too Faced gained the attention of their audiences. Even if only 1% of their fanbase buys the product, the other 99% is still exposed to it. It’s likely your product already appeals to them in one way or another, but by getting an influencer, it gives you more credibility. If an influencer trusts your product, and their audience trusts them, then you benefit from a newfound trust from consumers who haven’t used your products before. According to BigCommerce, in 2018, only 39% of marketers planned to grow their influencer marketing budget, a number set to double in by the end of 2019.
Fashion Nova is a prime example of a fashion company using the power of social media influencers to its full fashion marketing potential. When they started to gain popularity, they used Kylie Jenner to gain an impressionable and young female audience. Lucky for them, it worked. It’s one of the most popular fast-fashion companies in the United States right now. It was one of the most Googled fashion brands of 2018. Not many companies hold that honor, but it uses influencer power better than some of its competitors.
It comes as no surprise after the company’s collaboration with Cardi B in late 2018. Cardi B is a major celebrity now. However, she started out on reality shows and connected with her audience fairly early in her career. When her line dropped, millions of people were exposed to her collaborative collection. This helps with Fashion Nova’s recent success. Keep in mind that this company was founded back in 2006, and it took several years of innovative marketing to get to its point. But what lies ahead?
Once you reach a stable point, what’s in the future? There’s a reason some fashion lines have stood the test of time, while others have folded and shuttered their doors. It’s unfortunate to see so many brands shut down, but their failure is because their innovations didn’t resonate with their audiences. Fashion is finicky, and it’s tough to make the next big thing. It is possible to get the same reaction without necessarily making a new product. There are large companies taking strides outside of the standard to make that impression.
The future of fashion marketing lies in its content. It’s increasingly common to create content without the intention of selling something directly. This newer digital marketing allows consumers to feel they’ve made a decision without direct interference. Your audience shouldn’t feel as though they’re being sold a product. Instead, they write articles or film videos in casual tones to bring in an audience. Once established, companies brand themselves as a source of knowledge. If you look at Forever 21’s blog, it’s a prime example of how to set yourself apart.
It uses pieces from Forever 21’s line to create blog posts, covering a couple of different topics within the industry itself. Their most recent article, Summer Trends for 2019, is vague enough to use Forever 21 products without feeling like an advertisement. It does this for all blog posts. By using their own line, they include links to each piece. If anyone is interested in buying a dress they see on a blog, they can easily click on the images to get there. However, it still benefits Forever 21 without directly buying from their blog because it increases traffic to their website. There are opportunities all over their blog to get consumers to spend money, but it’s discrete. That’s why fashion and beauty companies are taking advantage of content marketing.
By moving into the future, we’re gaining better technology. Augmented Reality, or AR, is a growing industry that creates computer-generated images on a user’s view of the world. It uses technology to make things appear as though they’re in our world without physically being there. Major games such as Pokemon GO use this type of technology. The fashion industry is taking notice of its potential and wants to use it to create a new shopping experience for consumers. While it will take some time for the technology to work seamlessly, there are many companies already taking notice and using it to their advantage.
Gap has been working for the last few years on an AR app to help consumers see what clothing would look like based on sizes. People will be able to know what a shirt can look like in a certain size without ever trying it on. For online shoppers, this kind of technology is important. It’s one thing to see it on a model in a picture. It’s another thing to see a mannequin with your exact measurements. Your brand can successfully compete with other online-only companies by using this type of technology. When it comes to brick and mortar stores, some have already taken notice of AR tech.
Back in 2011, Topshop decided to try something unusual. It worked with an agency in Russia to create a system for store customers. If you walk into most retailers, you’ll find at least one touch screen. It’s useful for mapping the store layout and helping consumers check if something is in stock, but Topshop wanted to do more with the screen. Customers could pick their clothes and try it on without ever entering a fitting room. They could even turn around because outfits were able to cover the whole body. While it’s not a recent example, Topshop set an example of what the industry can be thanks to AR.
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