Abercrombie Changed… Could They Have Done it Better?

Just finished reading a great article by Ashley Lutz titled “Abercrombie & Fitch has completely reinvented Itself”, and of course now I’m here thinking about it from an innovation perspective…

Due to numerous circumstances (recent PR issues and their customer base growing older to name a couple), the brand has gone from “synonymous with preppy polo shirts, sexy ads, and loud logos” to much more generic clothing to appeal to a more broad audience. Hell, it almost seems like now they ARE “making clothes for large women”! (sorry, had to hit on that royal screw-up)

I’m not here to talk about the fashion (as I sit at a coffee shop in a free tank top), I’m here to give my opinion on how Abercrombie can better reach this new/evolved audience. For more thoughts on innovation in marketing head to LandonLedford.com and shoot me your email!

It’s obvious the messaging has been tweaked to match the new look/feel of the clothing, but I don’t think they’re “nailing it” with regard to marketing to these aging Millennials. I’m not in the target demo, and maybe they’ve done this, but here are a couple simple tactics they could employ:

Crowdsourcing the designs and changes. 

When making a drastic change like this in the clothing’s look/feel, let the customers help with the design!Customers don’t really always know what’s right, but by engaging their fans in the process it would ensure they understand the brand evolution, and they have consumer buy-in both figuratively and literally. The current approach of putting a ton of marketing dollars behind it after-the-fact means they missed out on a lot of engagement touch points along the way — which would have really activated their fan base to help them spread the word organically (and serve as an army to defend them if they screwed up).

Influencer marketing. 

Abercrombie could take their huge marketing budgets and put it toward recruiting influential tastemakers as brand advocates!

  • This could include quasi-celebrities in their mid-20's wearing the clothing and posting photos as they’re just living their life. The only catch at this point is that people may not recognize the brand as Abercrombie unless it is called-out (so either call it out or find other ways to track/share on Abercrombie’s own digital assets).
  • They could also use a service like InstaHype to recruit numerous fashion bloggers, Instagram and Pinterest influencers in specific markets and run campaigns or competitions with them. That big budget of theirs could be put behind these “everyday people” (via social media ads or even getting to test Instagram’s new ads) to really promote them instead of just pushing the Abercrombie brand messaging out. This would be a good way to increase awareness of their changes, but could also be used to drive traffic to e-commerce platforms.

There are plenty of other things they could do, and I may very well have missed some GOOD things they’ve done... What do you think they should do? Please share any great ideas in the comments!

-LL