A recent article by Sonia on The Branding Journal looks at the re-branding of Abercrombie & Fitch. She shares some key takeaways on how a “One Size Fits All” approach doesn’t always fit all.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Abercrombie & Fitch was very popular among teenagers. The brand targeted good-looking, all-American and rebellious teens who aspired to be cool, attractive and fit.
Abercrombie & Fitch was then exclusionary, pedigreed, brash, conformist, but also cool, young, athletic, and good-looking. The brand alienated certain consumer segments, such as unpopular teens and older shoppers, to attract its core consumer.
Unfortunately for Abercrombie & Fitch, the brand no longer resonated with its core consumer in the early 2010s.
Abercrombie & Fitch’s cool and exclusive traits were then viewed as discriminatory, supremacist, provocative and controversial. Sales dropped and consumers deserted the stores; Abercrombie & Fitch needed to rebrand in order to stay relevant in the marketplace.
“Abercrombie & Fitch’s rebranding strategy:
from cool and exclusive
to accessible and inclusive“
Since 2016, Abercrombie & Fitch is undertaking a rebranding. Abercrombie & Fitch wishes to position itself as inclusive, accessible, playful, candid, confident, American and effortlessly stylish. As a result of its rebranding, Abercrombie & Fitch now sells varied clothes sizes, its stores are lighter and airier, and its advertising campaigns portray young, diverse and spirited Americans.
Abercrombie & Fitch’s rebranding results: a vanilla-flavoured brand
- Abercrombie & Fitch’s new target market is too broad
- Abercrombie & Fitch’s broad target hinders any significant market differentiation
- By breaking from its past, Abercrombie & Fitch suffers from contradictory brand values
- By rejecting its heritage, Abercrombie & Fitch’s undermines its authenticity
What to learn from Abercrombie & Fitch’s vanilla rebranding strategy
The secret to successfully rebranding is this: Listen to your consumers and stand out from the crowd, neither of which Abercrombie & Fitch seems to have done.
In order to rebuild a brand that is relevant to your consumers and that stands out from the crowded marketplace, you should follow these 3 rules:
- Clearly define and understand your consumers
- Stand for relevant values to differentiate your brand
- Evolve your brand with your consumers
In order to adapt to your ever-changing consumers, you need to follow consumer, market and societal trends and understand how they affect your consumers, brand and market. You should also constantly monitor your consumers, and their needs, challenges, aspirations and behaviours, and evolve your brand identity and values in line with your consumer changes.
Read the full article here
Learn more about the author Sonia