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The retail and fashion industries have undergone significant transformation in recent years, driven by changing consumer preferences and the rise of ecommerce. Even industry leaders like Abercrombie & Fitch have faced formidable challenges. In response, the brand embarked on a journey to reintroduce itself.
On the latest episode of The Speed of Culture podcast, Suzy founder and CEO Matt Britton sat down with Megan Brophy, vp of marketing for Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, who shares exclusive insights on rejuvenating an iconic brand like Abercrombie, traces the evolution of Hollister, and delves into the pivotal role that advocacy plays in not only boosting revenue but cultivating devoted brand enthusiasts.
Dive into the remarkable process of Abercrombie & Fitch’s brand revival by exploring the key takeaways from this episode below.
- 03:49 – 05:27 – From Agency to In-House: Brophy’s experience in the agency world provided a valuable foundation for her career. It offered a rapid and diverse learning experience by working with numerous clients across various industries. This experience not only honed her marketing skills but also taught her how to understand different customer demographics and collaborate with diverse teams. Megan believes that the agency world serves as an excellent training ground for aspiring marketers, providing the skills and adaptability needed to excel at in-house roles in the future.
- 06:26 – 09:38 – Reinventing Abercrombie: Though Abercrombie & Fitch became a popular brand in the ’90s and ’00s, it boasts a rich, 130-year history originally rooted in the idea of escapism. Despite achieving iconic status, the brand faced challenges in the 2010s. However, a pivotal shift came with Fran Horowitz’s appointment to CEO in 2017. Every facet of the brand, from product design to digital shopping, experienced a revival. Brophy joined the Abercrombie team in 2019, coinciding with the rollout of the company’s new brand marketing strategy. Instead of loudly broadcasting its reinvention, Abercrombie let its consumers lead the narrative, allowing the brand to organically rebuild its reputation and relevance in the modern market.
- 09:38 – 11:25 – How to Revive an Iconic Brand: Successfully relaunching an iconic brand like Abercrombie requires deep humility and active listening. The company is committed to understanding its target audience, particularly those between the ages of 25 and 29. Abercrombie taps into vast resources, including TikTok and other social media platforms, to stay attuned to ever-evolving trends. Every choice is made with its target demographic at the forefront. In essence, Abercrombie’s relaunch strategy revolves around a continuous cycle of listening, learning and adapting to the evolving needs of its audience.
- 12:55 – 14:55 – Adapting to Change: Fashion is not what it used to be. At the onset of the pandemic, there was an increase in demand for comfortable clothing, prompting Abercrombie to swiftly pivot its products and messaging to cater to the stay-at-home lifestyle. Yet, as conditions improved, people began seeking outdoor experiences, and the company adapted once more to reflect this renewed enthusiasm. With the return to regular routines, Abercrombie’s products and communication strategies continue to align with ongoing consumer trends.
- 14:55 – 17:23 – Abercrombie’s Strategy in the New Influencer Era: Brophy places a high priority on Abercrombie’s brand communication strategy, which relies heavily on the brand advocacy team to leverage social platforms to engage with emerging voices. The influencer landscape is no longer limited to a select few. Nowadays, anyone can become an influencer—and reshape a brand’s image in the process. For Abercrombie, brand advocacy has evolved into a substantial revenue source, showcasing its multifaceted potential that extends well beyond traditional marketing avenues.