A Love Story

Brands seem to see Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to make a quick sale…its a date in the marketing calendar where teams develop ideas to make a quick win. Surely the customer is smarter than this and beyond Valentine’s day, fast-moving customers may not be customers for long. Where is the love in this Valentine’s tat?

How do brands build trust, loyalty and love?How do you connect with a new breed of customer that is turned off by blanket face book posts influenced by own relationship groups. There is talk of generous brands – not ‘buy one get one free’ but brands that provide distinct experience. Customers are more interested in what they can achieve with brands versus what they can buy from brands.

Tarte Cosmetics, G Star and Dior are currently working on some really interesting brand engagement projects. These projects really show a love and passion for what they do and for the experience they want their customer to have.

Love Lifestyle
Aspiration and self-expression today has less to do with status, and more to do with enjoying a meaningful lifestyle.

Beauty brands are beginning to create beauty collections around the concept of Athleisure. An exciting new genre of cosmetics which understands the lifestyle of the evolving customer. Aimed at the customer who wants to look good whilst working out and whilst hanging in the gym and yoga studio which are new social gathering places. Athleisure make-up lines Tarte and Birchbox’s Arrowline are both crafting messages and products targeting individuals who have shared attitudes rather than targetting demographical groups. Both brands are providing makeup that’s easy, comfy, and suited for an active individual. They are catering to the growing fitness enthusiast, who are willing to pay for high-performance products that achieve that effortless, natural look.

Athleisure isn’t necessarily about working out; it’s the overall concept of being active, comfortable, and well put together. The recent Body Studio in Selfridges shows how retailers are reacting to this health and wellness movement. They are not just selling athleisure product but promoting body talks, debates, workouts and beauty evenings. They are creating a community and enticing people to the store to hang out and socialise.

Brands and retailers are beginning to see that selling a feeling matters more than just the product itself. People want to buy experiences which contribute to their lifestyles.

Love Stories
G Star’s customer engagement is smart. They created excitement, expectation and desire through a countdown to the release of their G Star Raw Elwood X25. They used online videos and previews of the latest collection, with ‘Head of Imagination’ Pharrell Williams keeping people motivated and engaged. Through their Raw Research Innovation lab they share the journey from prototype to production. Each garment is a unique prototype piece developed as a design blueprint for future collections, an exclusive glimpse into next season now. ‘Raw Research’ brings the customer into new possibilities and designs. This kind of storytelling offers a unique timely experience to specific communities. They are constantly building customer relationships and keeping the brand fresh.

Love Collaborations
Much has been said about collaborations – they can be very positive as they keep brands innovative and of interest. Earlier this year, Dior asked sculptor and artist Marc Quinn to reimagine its classic Lady Dior bag. The resulting limited edition designs drew inspiration from his still-life oil paintings. Following the success of the Mark Quinn’s collaboration the fashion house has now teamed up with six further UK and US artists, each of whom bring their own unique vision to this iconic item. British artist, Mat Collishaw’s detailed approach draws from nature, featuring a high-definition print of butterflies in motion that has been reproduced on glazed leather. Differentiating in thoughtful and creative ways, each bag encourages desire for the product and love for the brand.

These are examples of brilliant brand love stories where the brands have shown their true ‘feelings’ and created something that the consumer will really fall in love with them for.
Retail spaces need to be places that consumers desire to visit. They are no longer just ’shops’ to buy product, but destinations for consumers to flourish with a sense of magic and community with loved ones (friends, lovers and family). Your customers are your loved ones. Tell them your brand story, share with them your passion, desires and dreams and seduce them into creating and sharing their love story with you.