The Value of Change

Human beings generally tend to avoid change as the familiar is comforting, easier and has that element of certainty. The risk of staying still is dangerous – whether it is in our personal or our business lives we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. If we don’t keep changing and evolving we become stagnant and old news resulting in ended relationships and flagging brands.

Today we are in an ever-competitive world where everyone is getting better at everything thanks to technology and the internet. Many of us are regularly looking at and experiencing the best of everything and often at great prices. We have a short space in time to engage and excite customers and each other. Whatever you do don’t bore your customers as there are plenty of other options, which are truly brilliant.

The last 12 months in the world of fashion and retail has been excitingly changeable. From the rise of influencer marketing, genderless beauty, ‘see now buy now’ to Edward Enninful as Editor in Chief of UK Vogue and Farfetch’s store of the Future Operating System…woohoo..!

The last year has also seen a wealth of new brands being born who very often take a fresh approach to an industry and shake it up.

Brands being born

Vashi diamonds are launching their first store in Piccadilly this August. They’ve been an online retailer for 10 years and are about to blow away all preconceptions of diamond jewellery retail with a totally fresh, modern and digitally connected brand and retail space.

Love by Daniel Galvin is an exciting new hair care range which is 1. Specifically aimed at hair which has been highlighted, and 2, which is rich in natural and low in toxic ingredients. It has taken a long time for a high-fashion salon brand to produce a product range that is as innovative and sophisticated as this.

Fabled by Marie Claire is a great example of a new approach to beauty retail in the UK. Fabled’s mission to bring fashion magazine editor’s unbiased beauty opinions to the consumer online and instore is innovative. The result is a truly modern, impartial approach to shopping for beauty, which builds trust with the consumer in age where transparency reigns. Phygital retail interview with LSN Global Fabled store by gpstudio

Brand refreshes
Brands who have been around for decades have to constantly refresh themselves so as to remain relevant and in sync with the latest generation / customer profile. Of course we all know Burberry’s brand refresh story from a moribund leather goods label to a chavvy luxury brand to a pioneering digital retailer ‘Our brand is about moving forward,’ Bailey recently told the Financial Times. But now they have raised the bar particularly with their digital and retail marketing and others are approaching the same level, what will they do next? How will they keep us engaged?

Is Abercrombie’s recent refresh for the better? It’s certainly given the brand a new look but it seems as if the goal is to become the best low-key casual American brand on the planet. They’ve stripped their logos from the product and removed any reference to their name on the store-front. They seem to want to forget where they were previously and move forwards into a new realm. But it isn’t clear what this brand refresh is all about. Where is the identity? What is there to get excited about? Where is the innovation in product, marketing or retail design?

Tiffany’s latest collaboration with Lady Gaga is interesting. They obviously want to connect with the younger generations and change people’s perception of them as a very classical brand. The photos and jewellery look great; modern and edgy but still classy. However Lady Gaga is an all out there cutting edge (kind of) pop star / performance artist who likes heavy make up and dressing up in crazy outfits. To put her in a black roll neck and take classic photos of her seems contrary to her personal brand. I can only assume the image on Tiffany’s instagram page where she is in a pearly silk satin blouse is irony.

Poor Jaeger is an example of a brand that has failed to innovate and whose life has ended after a long history as a stable British retailer. I read the previous brand director’s linkedin post about how great they were and why things went the way they did. But I have to say that when we look back at their history of product, fabrics, campaign imagery and retail design they didn’t ever do anything exciting. They didn’t reinvent themselves…they may have evolved with the times in terms of clothing silhouettes and model faces…but where is the excitement and the fun? They didn’t do much advertising or social media, they weren’t inventive, creative or surprising and they became boring.

When the big players take on new creative directors the brand and the collections often change dramatically. Alessandro Michele has taken Gucci to new heights with his floral, vintage inspired bohemian aesthetic, which is a complete change from the legacy of Tom Ford and his pre-decessors. It has taken me a while to ‘get’ the new look but now I get it and I love it. Sales have risen steadily over the last three years because of change and innovation. Last year Gucci were named the year’s most digitally savvy luxury brand. They are working with Farfetch to launch a 90-minnute ‘Store to Door’ service and are also creating a line for Net-A-Porter. All of which, alongside the new collections, photographic and creative social media campaigns has proved to be a winner. Where Gucci were lagging behind, stuck in their old ways, they are now taking the lead again in this tough race of cool.

The world is rich with creativity and innovation and as customers we are in love with the new. There is just no space for the boring or the un-eventful today. We must all embrace change and keep things moving so as to remain relevant and ultimately to remain in business.