Brand Identity Workshop
The Importance Of Branding.
(113). The importance of branding for any startup clothing business cannot be emphasised strongly enough. No clothing business can survive without branding – And strong branding will ensure that your business thrives. It adds essential value to your product. But you cant have branding without a product.
Learn As You Go.
No matter how essential a strong brand image is, the most important thing is to get your business up and running. Then you can start to develop each aspect of your business bit by bit.
We at The London Pattern Cutter are experts at starting and running fashion brands. We believe that the best way to learn anything is to crack on and just do it. We can provide you with everything you need – A comprehensive range of services, help, advice, and tips that you need to get your clothing business up and running. We also provide mentoring, and we run a series of fashion startup workshops.
Nobody Needs Another T Shirt.
They say that nobody needs another T shirt. If you are selling your product purely on utility then there is no reason for the purchaser to pay a premium price for it. In fact there is probably no need for your product to exist at all. Even a utility garment needs some brand identity to entice buyers .
Any clothing label needs a strong brand identity. In fact anyone selling anything needs a brand identity. That includes Freelancers and individual job applicants. Every new fashion business owner needs to learn how to build their brand identity.
These days there is much more awareness of the great importance of fashion branding to add value to a product. When there is so much competition we need to give the customer a reason to buy our product.
We dont need to buy another T shirt, but we may desire one. A brand needs to create a desire for its product and creating that desire is very different for men and for women.
Creating brand identity adds value to a product. The clothing industry is very competitive and without a brand identity, it is difficult to add value to the product above its utility value.
How we view a brand comes down more to a feeling rather than something solid. Being human, we tend to think in words, whereas an animal would think in feelings. An animal would associate certain feelings to sounds and images.
A bowl may represent food. A lead may represent fun in the park and the sound of a letterbox rattling may represent an enemy approaching.
Brand – An Indelible Impression
I am by no means an expert in brand building, but I have picked up a fair amount of knowledge over the years. One thing that strikes me about most of the information out there, whether in books, or on the internet, is that there is a lot of unnecessary fancy terminology used to explain very simple ideas. Maybe just to make the author sound knowledgeable.
” Its easier to fool people than convince them that they have been fooled”
Its not just the big things that make a difference with a product. It is the little marginal differences. A shirt factory may make for hundreds of different companies. Each shirt is just as well made as the next. But not all the shirts are of equal value.
An M&S suit may come off the same production line as an Armani, but they are aimed at different buyers and different price points. M&S may sell ten times the amount of suits at half the price.
The little Nike tick instantly adds value to a shirt. Even if it just adds 1% to the price, that is all pure extra profit. If that tick were an X it would be the same shirt, but with a totally different feeling associated with it. An X is a good symbol in itself. We can think of all sorts of products that use this symbol – X-Men, X Box, Generation X, X Brand.
Branding serves a number of functions, including to differentiate your brand from another brand, to command a price premium, and to make your product easy to identify. Even people are brands in the modern world.
Any fashion start-up brand owner on a limited budget needs to think very carefully how to build their brand identity in order to maximise sales.
Obviously a small start-up would not normally be able to compete on the same level as established mainstream brands, but there are some very basic steps that can be taken to add value to the brand.
A small niche brand, while being at an overall disadvantage to the more established brand does however have some advantages. They can be nimbler, and quicker at getting their message across by reacting to events, or the economic climate.
Learn About Branding
While accepting the importance of branding, we at The London Pattern Cutter believe that there is no point in spending years researching brand building a brand identity before bringing a product to market.
We believe that we can act as a kind of laboratory, in which the client just gets on with the business of bringing their designs to life under our expert supervision. We believe in keeping the production volumes low and restricting the amount of designs, in order to learn from the process in preparation for taking it to the next level.
Evolve The Brand.
Brand identity is not a static thing. It evolves over time. As your business grows you learn more about what you want your brand to represent. The fashion startup entrepreneur needs to be aware of which direction to develop the brand over time.
Initially a brand will tend to appeal to a small clique of people with similar lifestyles and goals. In order to expand, the brand will need to begin appealing to a wider audience. A brand like Nike would initially appeal to sports and fitness enthusiasts, but would then appeal to people who wanted to be part of that image.
Matching The Product With The Brand.
One of the problems with establishing a brand identity too early is that the product may not match the expectations of the branding. We feel that it is more important to get the product up and running before nailing the brand identity.
Books On Fashion Branding.
Books can be a great source of knowledge and inspiration, but I do find that books on fashion branding tend to look very nice and have some useful information. But there tends to be a lot of padding and also a lot of misinformation.
In order to pad out a book all sorts of irrelevant guff is written. It may take several days to read through the book in order to get to the real information.
Branding is often overlooked by new businesses, partly because it is perceived as being an expensive luxury. But branding is essential for success. To create a fashion brand, absolutely everything about your business and products is involved.
The Brand As A Symbol.
The brand logo is the most visible part of any brand identity.
The Brand As A Product.
The Brand As A Company.
A brand is the identity of a company.
The Brand As A Person.
As business owners, we are all brands in our own right.
Branding For Funding.
Raising money for your business may require a different approach in respect to branding. But also, you may be advised to establish your brand identity first.
Designer Shirt Brand.
Take a mans shirt as an example – we can buy a perfectly good mans shirt for just a few pounds. It will function just as well as a designer shirt costing hundreds of pounds.
I often see adverts in the paper for very ordinary shirts that have a long list of specifications that encourage you to buy. All these specifications are just normal run of the mill specs that are used to sell the shirt. Buyers think that they are getting a quality product.
Many designer shirt brands are not made in shirt factories with specialised machinery. They do not use the traditional flat felled seam construction that the vast majority of mass produced shirts would use.
They are instead made using a french seam construction. This makes them more expensive to make as it is more time consuming. This apparent disadvantage becomes a selling point, as the french seam is viewed as a sign of quality.
A split yoke in a mans shirt is also seen as a sign of quality. It is sold as being more comfortable and a better fit. While I can see that if the yoke is cut on the true bias of the fabric, it could theoretically make it a more comfortable fit, in reality I would expect the stitching across the back would negate this. In fact the stitching could be put under more stress. But nevertheless, the split yoke becomes a selling point.