Jess Gierisch

Archive for 2010|Yearly archive page

Stuff I Learn-ed.

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Cool things to think about:

  • Today, nobody has control (in regards to marketing).
  • Bloggers or people creating content you are paying attention to are producers. They have the most influence and power.
  • Marketers don’t have to spend $ on ads directly, they can just pay this producer/innovater to influence the consumer.
  • Markets are conversations.
  • Marketing should be a two way street; talking and listening. Typically, people and companies struggle with the listening part.
  • The true wisdom of a conversation is listening.
  • For marketers, the world is no longer round. There are no more discernable “locales or regions” The WWW is flat.
  • WOM is a marketers wet dream.
  • Web marketing is a new medium. It relies on time tested traditional marketing, but changes strategies and tactics. This new media offers a great opportunity to marketers, and should not be ignored.
  • Inaction, or ignoring the conversation can be far more detrimental to a business than addressing the issue at hand.
  • It is a huge commitment for companies to participate in the social marketing space, if they want to do it successfully.

Finally, I realize this is an exciting time to be a part of, socially and tech wise. I feel fortunate to be learning at a time when everyone, including the marketers themselves, are learning right along with me. Just starting to think about these things now will maybe give me an advantage in the future.

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Bridal!

In Anthropologie on May 24, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Gasp.

Girl falls down.

Next Spring, 2011 Anthropologie’s parent company Urban Outfitters, Inc. will debut a bridal division. It will be an independent brand and launch online. It is being developed by the same design minds behind Anthropologie.

The still unnamed label will carry gowns retailing from $750 to $5000. Bridesmaid dresses will start at $200. Included in the bridal collection will be fine jewelry, shoes, accessories, gifts, and bridal services including stationary, floral, planning, and honeymoon booking.

Bananas.

Brick and mortar locations are also in the works.

Anthropologie co-president Wendy B. McDevitt-

“We have found that many brides-to-be are inspired by our aesthetic. We will unveil a brand that addresses this very special moment in her life with a goal of exceeding her expectations.”

This is kind of a big deal. I can think of nothing more fitting to the romance of the Anthropologie brand than a wedding collection. Brilliant. I have no doubt that the woman who shops Anthro for its distinctive, feminine, ethereal quality will quickly look to the new label for that aesthetic on their special day.

BM Anthropologie style.

The Competition

In Anthropologie on May 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Gap Inc. and J. Crew

Gap Inc. is a retail giant. The company owns Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Piperlime.  Gap claims $15.8 billion in revenue and 150,000 employees; Anthropologie by comparison has $142.2 million in revenue and 2600 employees. Interesting fact-the majority of Anthropologie’s employees are reported to have previously worked for Gap Inc.  So, the companies are competing for employees, but do they also compete for customers?

Like Anthropologie, Gap, and Banana are specialty retailers operating retail and online stores selling apparel, accessories, and personal care products for women. Gap and Banana, however are also very successful in menswear. Here, there is no competition-Anthropologie does not offer anything for men. What a huge opportunity. Also, Gap Kids is very successful, and while Anthropologie makes a small children’s offering the majority of it is online only. This I think, even more so than launching menswear, is a great opportunity. I could really see Anthropologie fleshing out their children’s apparel and accessories in their stores and being very successful. What balances the lack of mens and childrens clothing for Anthropologie is their home goods. They do it big and are successful at it. Half of any Anthropologie store is items for the home, and with most of it carrying a higher price tag I wonder if it makes up half their revenue as well. Gap Inc. does not offer home goods through any of their retailers, and it wouldn’t really make sense if they did. It would be so much less of a stretch for Anthropologie to offer men’s and kids, than for Gap to start carrying items for the home. Again, opportunity!

Whereas Gap is accessible, basic casual apparel, Banana comes closer to the Anthropologie aesthetic with their city type style. The same women that shop Banana for their elevated design and career apparel shop Anthropologie for the weekend, for the romance. It’s the same customer, just using each for a different occasion.

However, in my opinion J. Crew is Anthropologie’s biggest competition. Unlike Gap or Banana, and like Anthropologie,  J. Crew is a lifestyle brand. Their marketing is similar to Anthropologie’s. A trip to each website is an invitation to follow a story.  The customer for both is often crazy loyal and shop only that store, making it hard to compete. The price points are similar. J. Crew is very good at making everything look beautiful and artistic, like Anthro. And while Anthropologie makes a name for themselves with unrivaled visuals, J.Crew brilliantly offers exclusive and specialty items on a couture detail level. They also offer menswear and childrens clothing, and actually have two mens only boutiques. Because J.Crew is good at doing what Anthropologie does best (telling a story with their product that makes women feel special, romantic, and beautiful) AND they reach a larger market with men and children they are competing for Anthropologie’s customers.

J. Crew’s revenue is reported as being $1.3. They have 7600 employees.

At press-time, anyone has yet to rival J. Crew in the rosette department.

J. Crew really loves rosettes.

If I had a million dollars I’d buy your love.

In Anthropologie on May 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Anthropologie webisodes.

I’m not going to do all the work for you Anthropologie, but it goes something like this:

100, 5-10 minute webisodes that stream from the website or from the blog.

Four female leads, four different European cities, living four different lives.

“The explorer/traveler”, “the romantic”, “the art student”, “the model/actress”.

Each girl makes up for a quarter of the storyline content. Different adventures, dramas, and lovestories, of course.

It’d be like Sex and City meets Anthro. Perfect timing, P.S.

This is a perfect way to capture the idealistic romance of the brand. These characters live in Anthropologie clothing and act out their stories surrounded by Anthropologie interiors. I think its totally in line with the art that the company loves and setting the webisodes in beautiful and exotic cities is a great escape for the women watching. And then those women will escape to their nearest Anthropologie and try to live out the dream as best they can.

(Like when I watch an iconic French film from the fifties or sixties and desperately want to be the heroine in my everyday life so I only wear flats, and black and white striped shirts for a week.)

The most successful branded web show to date is Ikea’s Easy to Assemble.  Last year the show captured 5 million watchers in its second season and now has a couple spin offs in the works. This series is comedy, but the idea behind a romantic Anthropologie series would remain the same:

Push the entertainment while not seeming like you’re pushing a product, when in fact you are.

Related Links:

adage.com

brandchannel.com

newteevee.com

Additional ideas:

  • Launch a menswear line. That would be ultra dreamy.
  • Increase kids wear offerings, in stores and online. Young mothers who are obsessed with Anthropologie are dying to dress their children in the clothes as well.
  • Exclusive, specialty pop up shops in major cities. Sell limited edition apparel in rented spaces in major metros across the country and in Europe.
  • Anthropologie outlets. That have rugs and curtains. Because the stores don’t carry the rugs and curtains. And EVERYONE thinks its super annoying.
  • Better publicized partnerships with eclectic artists or musicians. Like this, with Hatch Show Print, which was awesome.
  • The Anthro Wardrobe. Similar to a polyvore site. Collect your Anthropologie clothes virtually.
  • But 1, get 10. That’s right-BOGT? Buy one specific accessory at a slightly above average price point, choose 10 low price point items (tiny barrettes, etc.) for free.

Flickr, and Facebook, and Twitter-oh my!

In Anthropologie on April 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

At this point it’s kind of given that an established retail company like Anthropologie has  Facebook and Twitter accounts. They have 117265 fans on Facebook and post several times a week. They post events nationwide, styled sets, photos of store installations, information on store openings, sales, and spotlights on their artists and partnerships. I had never visited Anthropologie’s Facebook and was happy to find that they post events and workshops all over the country, including Atlanta. Now I will be keeping an eye out for future local events through their Facebook. Rad.

The FAQs and discussion tabs on their page are useful. Two bits I thought were cool are that they do allow you to take photos in their stores, and a playlist of the music that you might hear in their stores. Where I think they could do better on the page is videos. If someone within the company could take the time to put together short vids featuring product-could be like music video, or shorts style; I think that could make a big impact considering its such a lifestyle brand. If consumers could watch dreamy videos jam-packed with Anthro stuff, it would be easier to see themselves wearing, using, living it. I’m sure their talented creative team could come up with some beautiful artsy content.

Anthropologie lists their mission on Facebook, as:

  • To provide a forum for you to express your love for Anthropologie and to connect with others who feel the same way. Here, too, you can communicate your thoughts, concerns and questions.
  • To speak directly and candidly with you. We’ll share some of the stories behind our products, highlight the artists we work with and alert you of happenings in stores and online.

Mission accomplished.

Anthropologie has 17203 followers on Twitter. Their tweets are pretty standard stuff-product features, store opening, and links back to updates on the site or their Facebook.

Anthropologie launched an interesting concept with the ANTHROPOLOGIST last year. They call it an “online space for inspiring works and inspiring individuals…a testament to the idea that revealing the passions of one person can result in the progress of many…an online venue that exposes the passions and pursuits of emerging and established artists in the pursuit of inspiration…more than a gallery, the Anthropologist is a virtual storybook where inspiring content is exposed, emotional connections are made and the creative process is illuminated.”

whoa.

When I got the email blast last year from Anthropologie that they were launching this site I was definitely interested. Currently it features photographers David Eustace, and filmmaker Andrew Zuckerman. Too bad those are the same two artists that were featured last year when the site launched.

What happened? Someone forgot about the Anthropologist. It died. After only revealing the passions of two artists. Sad. And too bad, because the idea was great and maybe a shot for some of their consumers to be exposed to real art, not just worshiping the Anthropologie aesthetic in order to see themselves as artistic.

I think Anthropologie is a very visual brand. They want the customer to remember their beautiful displays and catalogs. That’s why I think their use of social networking and new technology is smart. In addition to their websites and Facebook, through Anthropologie’s Flickr we are reminded why we love them. They show us with repetition of their beautiful visuals and photography that what they do is different. And we want it.

into the lagoon…

In Anthropologie on April 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Anthropologie is a retail company that sells clothing for women and children, accessories, gifts, and objects for home. They offer:

Dresses Knits & Tees Blouses Sweaters Denim Pants & Crops Shorts Skirts Jackets Swim Sleep & Lounge Intimates Petite Sandals Heels & Wedges Booties Sneakers Flats Oxfords Handbags Clutches & Smalls Necklaces Earrings Bracelets Rings & Pins Scarves Wraps Belts Hair Accessories Hats Eyewear Beauty & Fragrance Bedding Bath Furniture Upholstery Rugs Curtains Hardware Lighting Pillows Wallpaper Wall Décor Room Décor Dining Kitchen Candles Books Stationery Garden Hobbies & Leisure Kids

Anthropologie sells these products through catalogs, retail stores in the US, Canada, and UK, and online, shipping to 91 countries. Prices range from under $10 objects for home and under $20 intimates, apparel/accessories priced from $20 to a few hundred, and furniture priced up to $6000. Each retail location’s layout is visually unique, but the overall experience from store to store is consistent. Anthropologie stores are beautifully designed, interesting, market style spaces; often with large-scale artistic visual installations. Each section of the floor plan is its own little experience. Words to describe the brand and its retail locations-vintage, organic, romantic, and inspiring.

Anthropologie’s website states they seek to offer women a one-of-a-kind and compelling shopping experience that makes them feel beautiful, hopeful and connected. Anthropologie’s parent company, Urban Outfitters targets women under 30, and Anthro is kind of the evolution of that female customer. Their target market is supposedly the affluent female 30-40 year old crowd.  I think a significant portion of their market also includes women under 30 and older who eat cereal until next payday to buy something special there. The company definitely has many customers who may not purchase that often, but love the brand and pay attention to what they do. If you read the reviews eighty percent are written longingly by broke shoppers who love Anthro and are willing to empty their wallets to get it. I know both types- I have girlfriends who buy everything there, and have the salary to back it up, but I have other friends who will overdraft their bank account for a special purchase there. Whichever type, there are a lot of loyal Anthropologie worshipers.

Anthropologie has some strong direct marketing. Their catalog is integral to the brand. Each book is beautiful and a lot of work goes into the layout and photography. Each one is thematic or conceptual. Each one tells a different story, like their stores. Their daily emails tell the same story and have the same look that the current catalog or homepage of the website does. They tie it all together well.

email

www.anthropologie.com

Backing up their kind of signature line of making women feel beautiful, hopeful, and connected Anthropologie sends its customers a little gift on their birthday, along with a discount on their next purchase. This year I got a cute little necklace with a birthday candle charm on it, last year was a nice fabric sewing kit. I think it works.