All Saints – Brand Profile « Stylelogue

All Saints – Brand Profile

October 24th, 2011

The British Brand That Claims To Blend Music And Fashion Into A Potent Mix Of Desirable Clothing Expressing Both Individuality And Attitude

All Saints is considered to be one of the hippest retailers on the British high street. Selling men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as home furnishings, their name has become synonymous with cutting edge fashion for those in the know.

Aiming towards a trendy, style aware niche with a target demographic of 18- 35, All Saints have adopted a unique approach to their marketing, retail and online strategies. Their vision as conveyed through their mission statement, “to create a brand that blends music and fashion into a potent formula of desirable clothing that expresses individuality and attitude” penetrates through their design decisions, social media strategy, store design and e-commerce.

Their success is a result of their unique approach. Over the last decade they have made a name for itself amongst style conscious shoppers as the first stop for design led fashion that never follows trends. This is a key idea that sets them apart form their competitors.

Their retail design has become one of the most recognized on the British High Street. Evoking a mood of decadent decay and distressed glamour with religious iconography and vintage details added to layer upon layer of carefully aged materials, their stores provide a mélange of inspiration, displayed with that ‘thrown together’ look emanating the idea that these are pieces one might find in an old junk shop. This iconic style is prevalent in every store, however each location has a very different overall look. Each store closely adheres to All Saints’ brand concept, which has enabled them to retain that crucial independent, non-corporate image so important to the tastemakers of today.

Adding to their contemporary business approach, All Saints have developed an equally successful e-commerce business. Their social media campaigns combined with their web friendly stores and online music service have continued to attract and engage their target demographic of fashion savvy, trend setting men and women.

By adopting gender segmentation in their approach to social media and posting separately about women’s wear and menswear, All Saints have successfully driven engagement from both men and women, equally. By targeting men with posts about music and women with information about fashion collections, they have grown a loyal fan base. The crux of their social media campaign has been to introduce followers to product launches and items of special interest ultimately driving potential online consumers back to the ecommerce website, for both additional brand building and increased conversion to sales.

All Saints clearly provide an interesting example of how companies can better understand what is the most effective way is to engage their consumers. Their retail concepts, e-commerce site, social media campaigns, music service and an emphasis on independent, design led fashion that does not follow trends have secured All Saints’ place as one of the few truly original but financially viable brands of today.

However, despite their great successes in getting so many things just right, something is a little wrong. I’m always left feeling rather empty when I leave one of their shops. The clothes are vastly overpriced and getting more so. Their mammoth retail destinations seem to loom on our street corners and overshadow our high streets and that’s not forgetting there can be three or four in any retail area. In my eyes, All Saints have diluted the essence of their brand by flooding the high street with too much of what was once a good thing. In 2010 Sushma Sagar wrote a piece for Drapers’ Record likening the brand to Tesco.

Mistakes have been made as is evident in their buyout by Lion Capital and Goode Partners in May 2011. They bought a minority stake in All Saints for £105m after a long battle to prevent the company going into liquidation due to the huge debt owed to Icelandic bank, Kaupthing by Kevin Stanford. Then in September 2011, Stephen Craig, All Saints’ chief executive, resigned due to an ‘untenable’ situation.

Perhaps a fresh approach of re-segmenting and marketing their product to a more mature age range, the same age range that includes their once loyal fans who have also grown up. Their price points reflect designer diffusion price tags, not high street ones. It’s not likely that a twenty year old would spend £350 on a coat. A forty year old would be far more likely to do so (if the ratio of cashmere were increased- this particular coat is made up of 72% Wool 23% Nylon and 5% Cashmere). Over the years I have taken many customers into All Saints and they have purchased everything from jewellery and footwear to leather jackets and knitwear. These customers have mostly been over forty and have all been aghast at the idea of shopping in such a trendy environment. However once they’re in, they’re in, so to speak.

If I had the money and time to devote to rebranding All Saints, the results could be amazing. With intuitive and clever adaptation of social media for a more grown up age group; retail design in keeping with their customer and brand ethos combined with an e-commerce site to rival no other, All Saints mark two could be the label to be reckoned with.

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