This is the first article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your fashion boutique and make it a success.
Fashion boutiques are all about image and style, not only in the products you sell but also for the customers who wear your clothing line. Branding is an integral part of positioning your company as a popular purveyor of world-class garments that will help your customers look better and gain confidence in their own images.
Importance of a branded image
Branding is important because people purchase on emotion. When it comes to fashion boutique marketing, they're seeking an image, which is why your own image is crucial to success. It's important to identify and promote your branded identity so you can connect with your target audience at a glance. If your fashion boutique is not branded, then you're just another clothing store. There's nothing that separates you from the competition.
This reduces your potential customer pool to make choices based on factors such as price, convenience and preconceived notions. Without a branded identity, you have no control over preconceptions and therefore you're forced to compete on pricing and location alone. This is not a way to grow your fashion boutique. Cheap does not outsell quality - and, above all, there will be a brand-minded competitor who is more than willing to take your business if you miss this step.
How to identify your branded image
Consider what you offer that your competitors do not: How are you different from the competition? You might be the "grunge fashion boutique," the "chic fashion boutique" or the "discount fashion boutique."
To help you define what type of fashion boutique you are, consider the features and benefits you offer your clients. Understand the distinction between the two. For example, having world-class fashion designers is a feature - guaranteeing that clients will like the way they look in your clothing is a benefit. List all of your features and benefits, and base your brand on the most important and beneficial distinctions that differentiate you from the competition.
Branding through design
Much like talented fashion designers can transform cotton into a beautiful wardrobe, skilled graphic designers can transform your fashion boutique's branded identity from a concept to a visual motivator. This image is what the world will see, and your customers will perceive the ideals and emotions that your image expresses - that they, in turn, will express when they wear your styles.
Your fashion boutique colors, logo, corporate identity package, website and other marketing materials are all a reflection of your brand; so familiar, cohesive design must be applied to all mediums. The goal is for your prospects to be able to glance at your material and instantly recognize who it's from and what you stand for. When you achieve this, you've developed a powerful fashion boutique brand identity.