Fashion is characterized by both flocking behavior and a desire for differentiation. Consumers want to belong to a group, while at the same time asserting their individuality, both as a person and through their style.
When H&M sought to define their brand and experience, they chose not to look for or invent something new and different. Instead, they chose to keep it simple and generic. Their business concept is one many retailers can claim: fashion and quality at the best price.
What makes H&M different is that its stores change constantly. H&M decided to build on the constant new supplies and chose to focus on how it did things, rather than what it did. With an ambition to become the ‘fun’ of fashion, it defined fun by its wide assortment of daily new arrivals, by affordability and unexpected collaborations. These collaborations began with Karl Lagerfeld in 2004. That a fashion retail chain was able to attract famous designers known for their integrity is one of H&M’s greatest surprises. And the collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld highlighted its own concept of constant change: Karl embodied the changing nature of fashion. As he said of himself, ‘I never do or say the same thing twice’.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Thomas Gad, excerpted from his book Customer Experience Branding, with permission from Kogan Page publishing.
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