Monday, April 25, 2016

generation next

One of the hardest aspects of any company, particularly in the retail segment, is establishing and maintaining a strong client base while still growing your non-traditional demographics.  Many brands have tried expanding their reach, only to short-lived success.  Abercrombie & Fitch expanded to a younger demographic with their surf inspired Hollister & Co., but their attempt at wooing a more refined, mature audience resulted in their Ruehl No. 925 surviving just a few years.  American Eagle Outfitters' more sophisticated Martin + Osa unfortunately saw the same demise.   Personally, I was really sad when both of these stores closed, as their products were spot-on with fit, fabric, and price point.

To reach a broader demographic successfully, brands must have a strong awareness and identity - customers should automatically associate their brand name with quality, value, and trust.  The products must stand on their own, without overly gimmicky marketing or tacky packaging.  The same codes and hallmarks of the brand must be evident in the "new" product lines.

Two really strong, successful examples of companies expanding their reach are Target's capsule collections and Estee Lauder's new "The Estee Edit" campaign.

For the last several years, discount retailer Target has created capsule collections with luxury designers and fashion houses to viral success.  Target's shoppers are known for favoring clean lines, fresh perspectives, and quality products at an affordable price.  They're typically willing to buy a new cleaning product, as long as it smells nice or comes in cute packaging, and get weak in the knees for a "deal" on something you might not have been looking for, but would love to have.  Their client base is fashionable and trendy, well traveled and more globally aware, might own a few luxury pieces, and appreciate living a more beautiful, simple life.  So it's no surprise that designers like Alexander McQueen, Lilly Pulitzer, Missoni, Liberty of London,  and Marimekko.  These pocket collections often feature iconic prints or details indicative of the famous designs, only mass produced or made in a significantly more affordable manner.  The marketing is always co-branded, featuring a flash of the famous red bulls eye and elements so obvious to the featured design house.  And the second these products are released in-store and online, they immediately sell out.  Target makes money, brands extend their awareness, and customers get a taste of the luxe life they've only dreamed of or drooled over.  It's the ultimate "gateway drug" for luxury fashion houses to the mass market and middle America.

Another great example is cosmetics and skincare giant Estee Lauder and Sephora.  When you think of Estee Lauder, you typically think of older women like your Grandmother who are focused on anti-aging skincare and the same lipstick shade they've worn since 1962.  Over the last few years, Lauder has really ramped up their game and extended their reach to a much younger demographic, hiring the likes of Kendall Jenner as a spokeswoman and featured cover girl.  Impressively, they've continued to focus on what they're known for - bringing revolutionary skincare and quality cosmetics to the marketplace, only with a bit of a twist.  Capitalizing on social media and technology, they've recently launched "The Estee Edit", a pocket collection of established skincare and beauty products mixed with a few new products and packaging for taking the perfect "selfie".  From makeup removers, cleansers, and wipes, to pore minimizing sticks and flash photo powders, to skin illuminating creams and bronzers and everything in between, the collection focuses on how to have flawless, photo-ready skin and makeup.

Technology is always associated with youth.  The latest and greatest trends could be lost on an older generation if they seemed cheap, tacky, or not well executed.  But the power and image associated with Estee Lauder are underlying throughout all of these pieces.  And for a brand that's traditionally focused on anti-aging and looking your best, what could be more perfect than being photo-ready at a moment's notice?  It's the ultimate injection of youthfulness for the beauty brand.

Rule Breaker. Risk Taker. Beauty Boss. No one owned it quite like Estée Lauder. She built a beauty empire practicing what she preached: “Beauty is an Attitude.” In this spirit, we bring you the Estée Edit. Beauty attitudes—inspired by Estée and Guest Editors—created by you. From instantly gorgeous skin to covetable color trends. Mix it. Match it. Blend with abandon. You make the rules. This is a declaration of who you are and who you make yourself up to be. What’s your attitude? Wear it. Share it. Own it. #beautyattitudes

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