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  • Writer's pictureErika Arenstein

Curating Brand Longevity in a Constantly Changing Industry

By: Erika Arenstein

Curating Brand Longevity in a Constantly Changing Industry Erika Arenstein

Marketing by branding around the lifestyle they create rather than individual products and trends.

We start with a walk through your local mall in the 1990’s. The mall is the place to be. There is talk of the roller rink closing. You pass by a Wet Seal, a Blockbuster, and Limited Too. These companies have hundreds of locations nation-wide. There is no online shopping- they survive through local consumerism in their communities. Their print ads & catalogs are nationally targeted, copy and paste, to all of their markets. The stores were fed through fast fashion and retail therapy culture.

We fast-forward to the 2000’s. The mall is lined with Juicy Coture, Gilly Hicks, and Orange Julius. It smells like Cinnabon in here. You now have the option to shop online for your favorite clothing, but it is so much more fun to go and spend your money in-person. Black Friday is almost here, and you’re keeping an eye on all of the awesome deals you want. Buy three, get three free? Score! Half-off all electronics at Best Buy? Say less. Last year, it was super cool to be a skater kid. But now, all of the cool kids are wearing black and have huge side bangs. It looks like all of these stores are building their companies off of specific trends. They’re bound to stick around… right?

As we’ve seen amplified by Mall Culture, overarching companies of ownership must be very careful with their branding and voice if they’re looking for longevity. What do Forever 21, Aeropostale, and Herbergers have in common? Their brand model survives off of trend cycles created by higher industries. The culture of these stores is: Fast! Cute! Insert niche movie quote! Their products are likely irrelevant if placed 10 years before and 10 years after any given date, other than when produced. Why is this important to know for the longevity of company and brand lifeline?

When it comes to shopping in the 2020s, it has become all about convenience. Buy these cute reusable containers so that you never again have to see your pantry disorganized. Buy this reusable cup so that you never need to buy another one. What is wrong with this philosophy? Simply putting a product in front of someone is ineffective in most cases if you’re looking for lifelong customers. It could work the first time, but the second and third, they will go somewhere else unless they are wowed.

Selling product in 2022 and into 2023 is entirely dependent on your audience and where they are, both location-wise and life-wise. If a twenty-two-year-old girl sees an ad for treadmills in July, is she very likely to buy it? If a 60-year-old man is served an advertisement for Barbie dolls on Instagram, is he likely to buy one? Even more- is he likely to even see it? Do 60-year-old men live on Instagram? These are all things to consider when working in & funding brand placement and customer reach. Otherwise, you are throwing ideas at a wall & hoping that they stick. Being aware and conscious of your audience & the voice you’re speaking with is a crucial key in sustainability of your marketing practice.

In an atmosphere of flash, fast, and new, what is the standalone ideal for customer retention through marketing? How do we meet people where they are in their life and get our product to them consistently? For many brands, the answer is found in voice and mood consistency. Fast customers are like a bot interaction on an Instagram post- it happened NOW and worked NOW but is unlikely to follow you and be active on your page. With consistency through branding, atmosphere, and product, not only are you setting yourself up for success in the workplace for day-to-day shopping, but you are creating relationships with those shopping your business.

Creating a sustainable brand and message that will last through fast trends is a long game compared to many of today’s retailers. As of 2/14/2023, it is a trend on TikTok and Reels (IG & FB) to post a trendy, silly video using trending audio with the text “POV the marketing intern swears this will go more viral than a $10k professional informative video”. The kicker is- it does go viral… one time. The video does killer reach and engagement… one time. Is this video with no objective, CTA (call to action), or brand representation going to increase brand awareness or gain followership? The creation of digital content like this is not only unsustainable for the brand but is set up to harm your analytics by hundreds of percentages in the long run. It is unlikely that engagers of that viral video stuck around on the account to check the company out. This means that when metrics are looked at and analytics are pulled, not only will your audiences be skewed, but if your next 10 videos performed low, you will see downward facing red lines. Is it fun to go insatiably viral? Yes. Is it sustainable for a corporation’s numbers? No.

In conclusion, it is a known fact that brands and retailers survive off of sales from consumers like you. Now more than ever, it is crucial that corporations take calculated steps through marketing and branding to not become a ‘one hit wonder’ in the retail industry. How can yours be the business that soars?

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