Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Truth Behind "Change or Die"

First, some back story: While watching a Youtube video about a young Youtuber buying himself a Lamborghini I gained a wonderful appreciation for the expression, change or die. The public sees a brand even when the brand is not ready to be seen. Lack of control may be unsettling but it does provide an opportunity for more business transparency and brand authenticity.

The video shows a young Youtuber who flew to the Lamborghini factory in Italy so he could pick up his new car in person only to have his future loyalty to the brand compromised by Lamborghini's outdated PR practises; he was not permitted to film. This nearly cost Lamborghini a $400,000 sale. You can watch the video here

By resisting change, Lamborghini received negative press in a video that now has over 6 million views. 

For the first time I really understood the what happens when a brand does not stay abreast of changes in consumer behavior or the digital landscape: 

  1. A missed opportunity to provide an exciting and memorable purchase experience for a new customer.
  2. A missed opportunity to regain a previously lost sale to the Youtuber's brother. 
  3. Unintentional damage to the Lamborghini brand due to service that was not up to luxury standards. 
  4. A public video with over 6 million negative impressions that shows how poorly Lamborghini performed customer service.

While the Youtuber did choose to follow through with his purchase the experience clearly was not positive and will likely affect his future purchase decisions. Moving forward, Lamborghini would benefit by developing a "camera safe" purchase experience for customers who wish to film. 

In Short: don't be afraid to embrace changes in customer behavior and technology so you remain relevant.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Monday, November 20, 2017

Should Socks Be Branded?

When it comes to socks, a logo is your insurance policy - you don't want to be without one. Yet looking at the socks in my closet I don't have a single pair that has a logo on them. This may be one of the simplest promotional opportunities available to fashion brands - basics like socks require little to no marketing in order to generate sales. 

Risks of not branding socks: 

  • Lose an easy sale to a competitor if your customer doesn't remember where they bought the socks.
  • Miss out on an opportunity to build the brand's relationship with the customer.
  • Saving a few cents upfront may cost you a few dollars if the customer forgets where they bought the socks.

Gains from branding socks:

  • The customer is likely more open to upsell offers if they have already committed to buying one item.
  • Opportunity to immerse the customer in your newest digital or in-store experience.
  • Opportunity to establish buying habits.
  • No need to spend any advertising budget on basics as these sales happen regardless of season or price.

In Short: include a logo on your socks to ensure that every shopper knows where to make a repeat purchase.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Age is NOT a Demographic

When someone asks, "Who is your customer?," and you answer: Men between 25-40, what does that actually tell anyone? A customer has absolutely no idea whether your brand will appeal to them. I'm a 29 year old man, so I fall in this demographic, but so do millions of others. I'm no more likely to investigate the brand now than I was before the interview! 

A fashion company often starts with an idea or a problem which was exciting and motivated the team, but operational needs tend to overshadow the original reason for founding a fashion company. By the time you have your product in hand and are ready to sell you've totally forgotten who you are and why they're in business to begin with. 

It's understandable, but it's detrimental to growth.

A young brand needs to attract customers, and customers have immense choice in the market. If your brand struggles to define its niche then you will always have an uphill battle to move products. Define your customer by identifying cultural or emotional traits.

How you should define your customer:
  • People who love to be outdoors.
  • People who feel best when they're dressed up.
  • People who love to try new things.
What you're really saying (sales translation):
  • People who want to buy rain coats.
  • People who want to buy suits and ties.
  • People who want to buy a watch with changeable bands.
Age as a demographic is a largely irrelevant metric and oversimplifies the people your brand aims to serve. People are not numbers, they are opinions and preferences; they are psychographics. Talk about them as such and it will be much easier to gain their interest.

In Short: don't define your demographics by gender and age. Define them by what they like to do or how they wish to feel.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How to Avoid Interview Clichés

So many times when you ask a brand what differentiates them from their competition you get the same answer: "We have exceptional quality and craftsmanship." 

Okay, that's great, but who are you? 
Why don't you talk about your brand's style or the story that sparked the idea for the brand? Why don't you talk about who your customer is? So many brands think that customers want quality—and they do—but quality alone neither excites nor evokes strong emotions to associate with your brand. You need to inspire your customer to dream!

How you should answer the question: "What is your brand best known for?"
  • We're known as the go-to brand for people who love the coast.
  • We're known as the brand worn by high-achievers.
  • We're known for garments that never age.
When you don't talk about cliché topics you enable conversation that dives deeper into what makes your brand different. The interviewer will have a jumping-off point from which to ask further questions: 
  • Why do beach-lovers love your brand?
  • How does your brand attract high-achievers? How do you define a high-achiever?
  • How do your garments never age?
There is an immense amount of competition so don't waste your press time by talking about your unparalleled quality (unless it's truly remarkable and can protect you from flying objects). Instead, describe who you are, why you were established, and why your customers keep coming back. If you don't know why your customers keep coming back, then answer by saying what you hope draws them back. 

In Short: the next time someone wants to know what your brand is known for tell them something unique, not a cliché sound-bite, and you'll actually begin to stand out.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The New Luxury Accessory: Stone

Roxxlyn phone case made of stone.
When I was introduced to luxury stoneware brand, Roxxlyn, earlier this year I wanted to collaborate with the great blogger behind Geek Q. I interviewed Mark Schlegel, the Director of Sales & Marketing, and Geek Q shot some awesome styling photos (which you may enjoy here). Together we're happy to present both the people and the products of Roxxlyn and offer a special promo code!

What was your very first job?
My very first job after college was an internship with Mercedes-Benz in the Real Estate Management department. 

How did you get into fashion?
I had my own boutique. It had always been a childhood dream of mine. We had women’s and men’s pieces that weren’t available anywhere else in Berlin. We had sneakers, dresses, shirts. Our concept was that everyone who shopped in our store would be able to afford something. I did that for two years. That steered me more and more into the fashion industry. 

Mark Schlegel, the director of sales and marketing, gives an interview to Marcus Aton.

How did you end up joining Roxxlyn?
While I still had my own boutique I would help Andreas [the Roxxlyn founder] with trade shows because he wasn’t as familiar with them as I was. We share many of the same ideals when it comes to design and work. He then asked if I would like to join him. I knew that we worked well together and I had too many of my own projects going so I was ready to focus on one thing again – back then I was running around with three cell phones! So yes, we divided the responsibilities and I joined him. I thought it was great because he had a product that was completely new to the market. If he had said, “I’m making basic white tees,” I think I would’ve said, “No thank you,” but as it was truly a unique product I said, “I’m super excited to build this up!”

What is a goal you have for the next few years?
My goal is to establish Roxxlyn as a strong brand. So we’re more present in the market. We have many ideas for additional products and want to see stone become more of a lifestyle product. This summer at Pitti Uomo in Florence we’re planning to introduce 3 new product categories.

How do you strike a work-life-balance?
It’s honestly not that stressful of a work place. We’re like a family here at Roxxlyn and we’re a good team. When we’re at a trade show, and travelling a lot, then I do tack on one, two, or three days of vacation to the end of that trip. When we were last in America at a trade show in Las Vegas I took three days to visit Los Angeles and to enjoy the beach. But by and large my work doesn’t feel like work because it’s fun.

For failsafe styling tips and to learn more about the products check out the partner post from Geek Q!

Hector Diaz, of the blog Geek Q, styles Roxxlyn accessories in Seattle.

Was war dein allerersten Job?
Mein aller erster Job nach dem Studium war ein Praktikum bei Mercedes-Benz im Immobilienmanagement also in der Verwaltung der ganzen Mercedes-Benz Niederlassung. 

Wie bist du in der Moderichtung gekommen?
Ich hatte ein Modeboutique selber gemacht. Es war immer ein Kindheitstraum zu machen. Wir hatten Herrn und Damen Sachen die es sonst in Berlin irgendwie nicht gab. Wir hatten von Sneakern, und Kleider, Hemde. Unser Ziel war dass jeder der reinkommt sich etwas leisten könnte. Das habe ich zwei Jahre gemacht. Darüber bin ich mehr und mehr in der Moderichtung gekommen. 

Roxxlyn brand stone iphone cases in the Berlin shop.

Wie ist es dazu gekommen dass du bei Roxxlyn eingestiegen bist?
Als ich mein Modeboutique noch hatte, habe ich Andreas [der Roxxlyn Gründer]unterstützt zuzusagen beim ersten Anstaltungen in dem Bereich von Modemessen weil er sich damals nicht so auskannte. Wir teilen viele Ansichten was Design angeht und Arbeitsweise. Dann hat er mich gefragt ob ich irgendwie einsteigen möchte. Ich wusste dass ich gut mit ihm zusammenarbeiten kann und hatte zu viele Projekte gleichzeitig und wollte mich gerne auf einer Sache konzentrieren – ich bin damals mit drei Telefonen herum gerannt! Ja, dann haben wir die Bereiche aufgeteilt und ich bin eingestiegen. Ich fand es total Toll weil es ein Produkt war was komplett neu in Vertrieb war. Das war so für mich das wenn er mir jetzt gesagt hätte, "Ich mache einfach weiße T-shirts," ich glaube dann hätte ich gesagt, “Nein danke,” aber dadurch dass es wirklich ein eigenständiges Produkt ist, habe ich gesagt, “Das reizt mich total dass mit aufzubauen!”

Was ist ein Ziel das du in den nächsten Jahren erreichen möchtest?
Mein Ziel ist Roxxlyn als Marke stärker zu etablieren. Wo wir mehr und mehr dabei sind. Wir haben ganz viele Ideen für weitere Produkte und wollen mehr den Stein als Lifestyle Objekt einfließen lassen. Im Sommer werden wir wahrscheinlich drei neue Produktkategorien auf den Markt kommen und auf dem Pitti Uomo in Florenz vorstellen. 

Wie schaffst du eine gute Vereinbarkeit von Beruf und Privatleben?
Es ist eigentlich nicht so ein stressiger Arbeitstag. Es ist halt wie eine Familie hier bei Roxxlyn und wir sind ein gutes Team. Wenn wir auf einer Messe sind, und viel reisen, dann ist es auch so dass ich gerne ein-zwei-drei Tage Freizeit noch daran hänge. Als wir in Amerika in Las Vegas auf der Messe waren, habe ich auch drei Tage in Los Angeles daran gehängt und am Strand die Freizeit genießen habe. Großteil der Arbeit fühlt sich garnicht als Arbeit an, so es macht wirklich Spaß.

Get 20% off at Roxxlyn online with code TTGEEK20.

To see more products from Roxxlyn, and to take advantage of the 20% code, you may visit the brand's website, or view their Instagram.

As always, wishing you great success. —TT

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Do This #6: Products on the Aisle

Fashion buyers browsing rack of clothes on the trade fair aisle.
A casual layout for the stand, and also very approachable, is to have a small rack of clothes that buyers can touch from the aisle. While not right for all brands this could be a good way for an emerging brand to get their clothes closer to the browsing buyers. 

Benefits of Products on the Aisle
Product sells itself
Even if a buyer doesn't know your brand, they know what products they're looking for. By placing some of your goods within arm's reach of the aisle a buyer might see a color or pattern that they're looking for that they'd miss if it was in the stand. 

Draw attention
If one buyer has stopped to look it can draw the attention of other buyers. If several people have stopped in the aisle, everyone up and down the aisle can see that there's a stand with activity. An active stand looks better than an empty stand.

Feel the fabric 
Sometimes a fabric looks interesting and by making it easy for a buyer to reach out and touch the fabric they may want to talk to you.

Browse before entering
Buyers sometimes just wanna look without navigating a sales rep. Putting a few teaser pieces on the aisle allows them to have a first glimpse at the product before being asked questions by the brand rep. Giving the buyer a moment to form questions and opinions makes them feel more comfortable when they speak with the brand rep.

Hannes Roether stand at Premium Berlin 2017.

Also Consider 
Optimize the impact of the aisle-facing product by curating a few select pieces which showcase your brand's style or new products. While there are benefits to having a rack on the aisle, a full rack could be too cluttered for some buyers. 

In Short: products on the aisle are an easy way to increase the chance of attracting a new buyer. 
As always, wishing you great success. —TT