You’ve all heard of it. And if you’re a female I guarantee you’ve all got some of it in your wardrobe.
Zara is one of the most well known brands on the high street, providing quality, stylish, and affordable clothing. But have you ever seen so much as a press ad for it? Or a paid celebrity endorsement? Or a cheeky little viral social campaign? Thought not.
So how did such a huge multinational brand build their cult following with no marketing to speak of? Most brands depend on advertising to spread the word of their products/services/fake CSR. Zara acts a little differently. Rather than telling people what the brand stands for, Zara instead leaves it to the customers to build their own expectations from the in-store experience. That way there’s no opportunity for disappointment from false promises.
Unlike other famous brands that use concept stores to drive people in, Zara stores are simple: the sole attraction is their merchandise. Able to get new items from design to shelf within 2 weeks, their fashion is accessible and affordable – they don’t sell high cost aspirational fashion to sell the dream, but instead sell catwalk trends at ‘disposable’ prices.
They change designs quickly and manufacture in small quantities so they can pull a design if it’s not well received. This ‘high speed wardrobe makeover model’ is widely recognised as the key to Zara’s success – they generate demand by reducing supply. If customers know that stock sells out it creates a perception in their mind that the product is special and they clamour to buy it: scarcity strategy in action.
Zara makes their stores work hard for them, right down to the location. You often ‘come across’ a Zara because they’re carefully located in popular places with high footfall, and the window displays are ever-changing to showcase the latest trends. This means that customers can see things they’re interested in and start shopping instantly, rather than suffering from the lag time between seeing an advertisement and getting to the actual product.
Zara is a great example of a brand that’s taken a very simple model of consumerism and executed it with aplomb (yes folks, APLOMB). By listening to customer demand and executing the shopping experience flawlessly, they’ve created a brand that’s built its own reputation through word of mouth, negating the need for an expensive way to shout about themselves. Because that’s all advertising is really, isn’t it?
Words by – GS, Ruth Hatch
[Imagery courtesy of the Zara Lookbook]