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Acne Research Journal by Carla Reinhard

Unit: Research for Public Relations Unit Leader: Emily Huggard Student ID: REI13379907


1. BRAND INTRODUCTION 1.1. About Acne Studios Pg. 1 1.2. Acne Group Pg. 1 1.3. Brand History Pg. 2 1.4. Brand Philosophy Pg. 2 1.5. Brand Conception Pg. 3 1.6. Price Point Pg. 3 1.7. Jonny Johansson Pg. 3 2.BRAND AUDIENCE 2.1. Primary Research Pg. 4 2.2. Secondary Research Pg. 4 3. VISUAL ANALYSIS 3.1. Collections Pg. 5 3.2. Fashion Shows Pg. 5 3.3. Stores Pg. 6 3.3.1 Location Pg. 6 3.3.2 Design Pg. 7 3.4. Acne Paper, Part I Pg. 8 3.5. Website, Part I Pg. 9 4. PESTEL ANALYSIS 4.1. Political Pg. 9 4.2. Economical Pg. 10 4.3. Sociaocultural Pg. 10 4.4. Environmental Pg. 10 4.5. Technological Pg. 10 4.6. Legal Pg. 10 5. SWOT ANALYSIS 5.1. Strengths Pg. 10 5.2. Weaknesses Pg. 11 5.3. Opportunities Pg. 11 5.4. Threats Pg. 11 6. COMMUNICATION AND MESSAGING 6.1. Messaging Pg. 11 6.2. Website, Part II Pg. 11 6.3. Communication Based Swot 6.4. Social Media Pg. 12 6.4.1, Facebook Pg. 12 6.4.2. Twitter Pg. 12 6.4.3. Instagram Pg. 13 6.4.4. Pinterest Pg. 13 6.4.5. Youtube Pg. 14 6.5 Acne Paper, Part II Pg. 14 7. COMPETITOR ANALYSIS 7.1. Competitor Website Pg. 16 7.2. Social Media Profiles Pg. 16 7.2.1. Facebook Pg. 16 7.2.2. Twitter Pg. 16 7.2.3. Instagram Pg. 17 7.2.4. Pinterest Pg. 17 7.2.5. Youtube Pg. 18 7.2.6. Google + Pg. 18 7.3. Brand Positioning Pg. 18 8. PERSONAL EVALUATION 8.1 Reflection

Pg. 19

9. SOURCES 9.1 Text Sources Pg. 20 9.2 Image Sources Pg. 20

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1. Brand Introduction

1.2. Acne Group

1.1 About Acne Studios

Acne houses different companies under the same name: Advertising, Production, Entertainment, Acne Studios, Acne Paper and Acne Junior.

How Acne Studios describes itself: Acne Studios is a Stockholm based fashion house with a multidisciplinary approach. Through founder and Creative Director Jonny Johansson’s interest in photography, art, architecture and contemporary culture, an alternative path has been found, turning Acne Studios into a well-respected creator of ready-to-wear, magazines, furniture, books and exhibitions. The collections are defined by Jonny Johansson’s signature juxtaposing design and attention to detail, with an emphasis on tailoring and an eclectic use of materials and custom developed fabrics. The collections cover men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, footwear, accessories and denim. Acne Studios is housed within a historic building at Lilla Nygatan 23 in the heart of Old Town in Stockholm. In addition to the Stockholm headquarters, Acne Studios has flagship stores in Paris, London, New York City, Los Angeles and Tokyo. 1 Acne Studios has a womens- and menswear line. It was founded in 1996 in Stockholm. Acne stands for “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions”. Jonny Johansson, one of the founders and now global creative director, said he liked the idea of “appropriating a difficult word” and making it cool. 2

Figure 1 - Website Acne Advertisement is a full service creative agency with the „ambition to create ideas that spread far beyond bought media space into the everyday lives of our audience.“ It is based in Stockholm but has offices in Berlin, Los Angeles, Paris and London. It was opened in 1996. They worked for clients such as Hermés, Audi, Burger King, BBC, Doritos, Nike, Sprite, Volkswagen, Sony, IKEA and Sprite.

Figure 2 - Website Acne Production creates commercials, branded content, games, TV and features. Unicef, Blackberry, Diesel are some of their clients. For their interactive production work they work with the following directors: Chris Gardner (US), Drasko Vucevic (US), Eskil Steenberg (US), Jeff Levine (US), Ante Stenberg (EU), Carolina Cwiklinska (EU), Gustav Carpner (EU), John Hammarström (EU), Markus Wård (EU).

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1.3. Brand History Acne Entertainment is a part of Acne Production. They have offices in Stockholm, Berlin, Los Angeles and London. Acne Paper, the brand’s magazine, will be discussed later in this Research Journal.

It all started in 1996, when Johnny Johansson and three friends had 10’000 Euros together and founded Acne, a multidisciplinary digital film–design–creative consulting collective in Stockholm. At the start, they weren’t a clothing firm. The Acne Studio brand was called to life in 1997 when Johnny decided to produce 100 simple, straight-legged jeans dungarees and gave them to friends in Stockholm. He didn’t tell his company partners. His aim was to see the jeans on cool people in Stockholm. His plan worked and they started expanding and adding more products to the line. Today they have 650 outlets in 66 countries all over the world. Johnny Johansson and Mikael Schiller, executive chairman and one of the founders, are today the two owners of the Acne group. They bought their share from the other two founders to be more independent. 3 1.4. Brand Philosophy

Figure 3 - Website Acne Junior produces “traditional, iconic” kid’s toys “in a modern way”. They only have one shop in Stockholm, which is open by appointment but offer international shipping. Their toys are made out of traditional materials such as pinewood but are very untraditional in a way that some of them, like the skull, don’t have typical kid’s toy forms. The style of the toys is very minimalistic and simple. This matches the Acne group very well. This style is apparent through the whole group of companies. They are very creative but never go “overboard” with their design. The focus is to deliver quality to the clients.

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Acne has a special brand philosophy. Referring from traditional ways of advertising and trying to find different ways of running a fashion brand is an aim of Johnny Johansson. They want to be more than “only” fashion, for example with their brand magazine Acne Paper or interesting collaborations, which will both be discussed later in this Journal. They work in a different way. They produce very high-quality products and count on people coming back to them and buy into the brand, instead of targeting them offensively. And as Schiller said: “We had this idea: not to explain everything to everybody.” This sums up Acne very well. They stay mysterious, make things their way, write about their interests. Why? Because. They don’t overdo it, don’t overthink. This is what makes Acne so appealing as a brand in a time where everyone in bombarded with advertisements and suggestions what would be best to buy. It is like being a new relationship. You get to know Acne better every day, find them interesting, want to know more about their interests.


1.5. Brand Conception

1.6. Price Point

Asking my friends about their opinion of Acne I was quite surprised that not everyone knew the brand. I talked to fifteen people in total, getting their opinion on Acne Studios. Five of them were friends from Switzerland, eight of them friends from University, studying fashion and two of them my flatmates, who work in jewellery and modelling. Eleven of them were female, four of them male.

Tops and shirts from £190 to £700 Dresses and gowns from £220 to £950 Jeans and pants from £150 to £950 (leather pants) Coats and jackets from £220 to £1350 (leather jacket) Shoes from £350 to £480 Accessories (gloves, hats, sunglasses) from £60 to £240

I asked them the following questions: What do you think of Acne? Two of my friends from Switzerland didn’t know the brand, but were willing to do some research online. The reason that they didn’t know might be that we don’t have an Acne store in Switzerland and that they don’t work in the fashion industry. After doing some research they told me they found it a very “cool” brand, but too expensive for them.

Prices for Acne products already start at £60 for a pair of gloves and go up to as high as £1350 for one of their signature leather jackets. This price strategy makes it possible to reach a wide variety of people with different incomes. People with a lower income will buy a pair of gloves to possess something from Acne, others will invest in a high-quality jacket, which Acne are famous for doing best. 1.7. Jonny Johansson

Friends from university, all studying fashion, told me unison that they like the brand. About half of them actually shop at Acne, the other half would wish to do so. Favourite products from them are jeans, leather jackets and shoes. They also said they like their “minimalistic and cool” style. Do you find it an aspiring brand? Someone said “I wish I could be this cool Acne girl, being in fashion but just being very cool and down to earth, while being stylish”. Other answers were quite similar. In conclusion they all found Acne to be an aspiring brand, projecting a cool and laid-back lifestyle, not caring too much, but still being on top of everything at all times. What do you connect with the brand? Top answers were: The pink bags, pistol boots and their jeans. This shows which products are most recognisable and for which products Acne is most famous for. I will talk about the pink bag later in this Journal. Do you identify yourself with them? No one told me a clear “yes”. The undertone of everyone was they they would wish to identify with them but could not really at the moment. In my opinion, Acne is not a brand that is trying hard that people can identify with their brand. They have this distance that they produce with their messaging and tone of voice, which I will discuss further down.

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Figure 4 - Jonny and Mikael at the Eastern Columbia Building Opening in Los Angeles Jonny Johansson is the face behind Acne Studios. He was one of the founders and is the label’s Creative Director. Originally a musician, he is not a trained designer. Growing up in Sweden influences his work until today, even though it happens unconciously: “We never felt when we started that we wanted to do something that’s Swedish. Where you’re from is where you’re from… But the aesthetic we grew up with would have to come from somewhere and I think it’s very much about the architecture, about the functionality, the purity of materials”, he said in an interview on On this image he is pictured with Mikael Schiller, Acne’s executive chairman and co-founder.


2. Brand Audience

2.2. Secondary Research

2.1. Primary Research

Age of Acne’s demographic? Between 25 and 35 Gender of audience? Both men and women Married or single? Do they have children? The Acne customer is an independent personality and might live in a longtime relationship without actually being married. He/She values the quality of the relationship over an official paper. Income level? Is Acne trying to market luxury items to them? High income level, Acne products are seen as an investment

Figure 5 - Shop Display at Dover Street When visiting Acne’s shops on Pelham and Dover Street in London I could observe the Acne costumer first-handedly. The public was very different in these two stores, which is probably because of the location. The sales assistant in the Pelham store told me the average age of the customer was around thirty while the sales assistant at Dover Street said it goes from twenty years old to up to sixty.

Where do they live? In the city, London, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, Kopenhagen,… They live in an airy, modern apartment, maybe a loft Where do they work? They work in fashion, architecture, graphic design, generally the creative industry Political Affiliation? Open minded, liberal

At Pelham Street I was in the store with two women, one around forty years old, wearing casual clothes, jeans and a good quality pullover. She was very confident and good-looking. The sales assistant told me that the customers at this store know what they want but are very friendly with good manners. There was another woman, probably around twenty-five years old, looking for a pair of shoes. She had a dog, a dachshund. She was casually dressed as well, wearing jeans. The sales assistant said they had quite wealthy clients living in the area. A lot of them come regularly, some of them with their daughters who are around twenty years old.

Level of education? High level of education, university graduates

At Dover Street it was busier. There were only men in the store, most of them quite young, probably around twenty-five. They looked like the creative type, maybe working as photographers or graphic designers. A lot of them were looking for jeans. They were dressed casually cool, jeans and sneakers.

What type of publications do they read? Why? The Acne customer reads intelligent magazines, no publications that tell them which make up to wear. They want to be inspired and see something creative.

Interests/Hobbies? Art, cinema, theatre, architecture, travel Where does the audience get their information (newspapers, magazine, social media)? The Times, The Independent, Numéro magazine, Purple magazine, Love magazine, The gentlewoman, Bullett magazine, Interview magazine

During my primary research in the two shops I saw people between twenty-five to around thirty-five, all of them making the impression of being well educated and interesting people. They were not dressed to attract attention. This shows that the Acne costumer does not want to show off but is a modest person, valuing quality.

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3. Visual Analysis It is very important for a brand to have a good and consistent overall visual communication and concept.. 3.1. Collections The overall visual concept of a brand starts of course with its product, in Acne’s case their garments.

Acne is famous for their leather products, especially their jackets. Leather is used in almost every of their collections, as Jonny likes to work with natural materials. He also likes to patchwork - not in the literal sense. Take different styles and put them together (he said this in an interview with French Vogue when Acne’s Paris store opened). Because he is inspired by different things, Acne’s designs are different styles mixed together. Even though he does this, there is always the edgyness from the natural and heavy materials and the simplicity of the cuts. This makes Acne’s designs very recognizable. 3.2. Fashion Shows SS14 Place: Grand Palais, Paris Models: Androgynous Clothes: White, light Set: Very simple, minimalistic: White fabric draped hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the runway, between models walking out and back. AW13

Figure 6 - two looks from Pre-Fall 2013 Acne has always been about volumes. Jonny likes to use a lot of fabric, creating oversized clothes and layering them. Overexagerating proportions and forms, all the looks always have a simplicity about them. Growing up in Sweden, Jonny is largerly influenced by Swedish minimalism and practicality.

Place: Grand Palais, Paris Models: Pale, strong Clothes: Dark, leather, blue, edgy Set: Spectacular, moving walls with alluminium looking side, Acne pink SS13 Place: London Models: Sleek, fierce Clothes: Cowboy, swinging, stripes, big skirts Set:: Big inner space, pink walls and benches AW12 Place: London Models: Barefaced. natural Clothes: Red, leather, patchwork, hats Set:: Big walls with grey colour splatters on them, dark atmosphere

Figure 7 - two looks from Pre-Fall 2014

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SS12 Place: London Models: Natural Clothes: Natural, oversized, white, brown Set: Mirrors AW11

interested, as it is an area with galleries and museums. The sales assistant told me that the public at Pelham Street is older than at Dover Street, on average around thirty years old. Often mums came with their twenty year old daughters. The shop is located next to Chanel, Philip Lim 3.1. and Carven. Carven is one of Acne’s competitors and this shows that they target the same costumer.

Place: London Models: Simple, laid-back Clothes: Different fabrics combined, shiny, leather, light fabrics, light colours Set: Industrial, construction site, modern, unfinished Acne keeps their fashion shows simple, focussing on the clothes that are shown. Often they don’t have a spectacular set like other designers (for example Philip Plein this season in Milan. Acne rather uses set design to create a whole atmosphere for the presentation of the collection. The models are always styled very natural, a typical Acne girl. 3.3. Stores 3.3.1. Location

Figure 9 - Dover Street The second store is in Dover Street, Mayfair. The closest tube station is Green Park and the Savoy is right around the corner. Mayfair is known as a very expensive area to live in. Dover Street especially is known for its architecture and private nightclubs, like Mahiki. This stores attracts younger customers, as they might know the area from their nights out and as it is close to Oxford and Regent Street where they might do some more shopping. Additionally, Dover Street Market might be a plus point as well. The Acne store is located next to a McQ store, the edgier and younger line of Alexander McQueen. They are both targeting a similar audience, young, cool and with disposable income.

Figure 8 - Pelham Street

Their third store is in located in Harrods at Brompton Road in Knightsbridge. Knightsbridge is an exteremly affluent area as well. Having a store in Harrods shows that Acne is a luxury brand and that it conciously targets wealthy people.

For my primary research I went to both of Acne’s London stores: Pelham Street and Dover Street. The choice of location can be very interesting when analysing a brand as it says a lot about who they are targeting. Pelham Street is in South Kensington, Borough of Chelsea and Kensington in London. South Kensington is famous for its affluent residents and for its museums, such as the National History museum or the V&A. This location is suitable for Acne because people who go shopping in South Kensington are wealthy enough to be able to afford Acne clothes and are likely to be culturally

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3.3.2. Design

Regardless of this, the store matches the edgier, sportier part of Acne., just maybe not the location.4

Figure 10 - Basement at Pelham Street Figure 12 - Dover Street store Only opened in July 2013, Acne’s store on Pelham street is very new to London. With its steel walls it has a very industrial feel to it. There are two floors, ground floor and a “basement”. On the ground floor are shoes and womenswear, downstairs are jeans and the new collection.

Acne’s store on Dover Street, open since 2010, was their first shop in London. The London based architects Jay Gort and Fiona Scott, known as Gort Scott, were responsible for the shop design. It has five floors: Menswear on ground floor, womenswear on the first floor, denim on the third floor and the so called “gallery” with shoes, bags and accessories on the fourth floor. Compared to the Pelham Street store, it has a much warmer feel to it. They used natural materials such as wood in this shop. There are wooden mannequins arranged throughout the store, some of them not even dressed.

Figure 11 - Store details at Pelham Street Shoes, accessories and some jeans are arranged on a long table in the middle of the room, the jeans are hidden in a shelf wall, very pragmatic, very “swedish” as Jonny once described this way of presenting jeans. Draper’s online says ‘industrial meets luxury’ which brings it to the point. Compared to their Dover Street store the shop on Pelham Street has much more of an edge which can be questionable, thinking about the audience they are targeting here in South Kensington. Figure 13 - Acne Sofa

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Sofas from Acne’s 2010 furniture collection have been put in the store. They create a relaxed and chilled-out atmosphere, helping to make shopping more comfortable and enjoyable.56

3.4. Acne Paper, Part I Acne Paper is Acne Studio’s brand magazine. Later in this journal, the content will be analysed. At this point I am only analysing the general visuals/layout and how this matches the brand.

Figure 14 - Display at Dover Street On a piano right next to the entrance they arranged a display of flowers and books, Acne Paper, a book about their collaboration with photographer Lord Snowdon (61 photos of stars wearing a simple blue shirt). This arrangement reminds the costumer who enters of Acne’s connection with culture and art. It shows what inspires the brand and aims to inspire the shopper as well. In conclusion, the two analysed stores, Pelham and Dover Street, are very different. They show a different side of the brand, one more luxurios and edgy, the other more relaxed and simple. Both have been carefully designed - Jonny is very interested in interior design and considers it very important that a stores interior is appealing to the customer. The stores are not just places where you go and buy clothes, they are places that inspire you and give you different feelings. Shops that look exactly the same everywhere wouldn’t fit the brand as they celebrate individuality and creativity. All in all, the design of these stores fit the brand, keeping it simple and keeping the quality high.

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Figure 15 - Acne Paper Cover Acne Paper is published in A3 ISO 216 format,, which is an unusual size for today’s magazines. It’s size alone makes it stand out on the news stand. With it’s big pages and brownish and not white paper, it reminds of old days, when people were reading huge newspapers. Acne Paper uses the font ‘Didot’ for headers and pull-quotes. ‘Didot’ is a very elegant font, looking sleek and clean. Articles are put into columns, sometimes two, sometimes four, which makes it easier to read in such a big format magazine. The whole layout is organised but not clinical, it has life in it - pullquotes, different text sizes, different fonts.


Acne’s website is kept very simple and minimalistic. The font that is used is sans serif, suitable for online use and also suitable for Acne.. The main colour is white, or blue on the main page. The choice of colours and the chosen lookbook pictures are creating an aura that is not really inviting. It doesn’t say “how nice that you found our website, welcome”. It fits Acne’s tone of voice and communication with their consumer. The design is simple and minimalistic, keeping us at a distance. The clothes are in focus, looking great on the white background. Entertainment and ecommerce is strictly seperated. The website looks very high-quality and luxurios, which speaks to Acne’s target customer. Figure 16 - ‘Screen Test’ , Fashion Story in Acne Paper 4. PESTEL Analysis Acne Paper experiments with image layout. Sometimes there is a white frame, sometimes the image is on the full frame. Both these layouts give images a different feeling. The creative team managed to capture life in Acne Paper. It is a book full of inspiration of Acne team members, some ideas are big, some ideas are small. What they achieved best is to show the connection between past and present - the aim of Acne Paper. It is an ode to old times, nostalgic in its size and quality and modern in its content and design. The design of this magazine fits the Acne philosophy perfectly and makes it even clearer who the Acne costumer is - culturally interested and intelligent. 3.5. Website, Part I

Figure 17 - Acne Website

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The PESTEL Analysis is used to look at environmental factors that could possibly influence the brand in the future. This is done by looking at Political, Economical, Sociocultural, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors. 4.1. Political Government stability: Acne has stores in thirteen countries today. These are the following: Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States. According to the Global Peace Index only two out of thirteen countries have major stability/piece problems: The United States (Rank 99) and China (Rank 101). South Korea follows on Rank 47 and the United Kingdom on Rank 44. All other countries are on a Rank lower than 23. The Global Piece Index is conducted by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). One of the ten indicators the IEP looks at is how stable the political scene is. - Denmark: Rank 2 - Japan: Rank 6 - Sweden: Rank 9 - Belgium: Rank 10 - Norway: Rank 11 - Germany: Rank 15 - Australia: Rank 16 - Netherlands: Rank 22 - United Kingdom: Rank 44 - South Korea: Rank 47


- France Rank 53 - United States: Rank 99 - China: Rank 101 7

Education: More and more people have access to education and are well informed, so Acne is going to be successful to speak to an intelligent costumer.

China is an interesting ground to work on. Although the political situation is quite stable with their one-party system, there is very little transparency. While the political risk is quite low, there are other factors that might be worrying. If Acne was to expand in China, it could be a hassle, because the conditions for foreign investors are not the same as for the Chinese population.8

4.4. Technological

Taxation policy: Acne needs to stay on top of taxation policies in all countries they operate in.

The Acne customer is likely to be part of an ethical and sustainable movement, because he/she is well educated and concerned about our environment.

Online shopping and new media is established everywhere now. This needs a dedicated team that is always up to date with the newest technology. 4.5. Environmental

4.2. Economical Recycling has a growing importance in our world today. Consumer spending: Japan: Worrying fall in consumer spending in Japan. Japanese consumers are concerned about keeping their job, influenced by the prime minister’s aggressive politics. This could mean a loss in income for Acne in Japan.9 Disposable income: Trends for disposable income in countries Acne is operating in: United States: Very high disposable income, stagnation Germany: Very high disposable income, increasing United Kingdom: Very high disposable income, slow increase France: Very high disposable income, stagnation Netherlands: High disposable income, stagnation Norway: High disposable income, increasing Denmark: High disposable income, increasing Sweden: High disposable income, increasing Australia: Very high disposable income, increasing Japan: High disposable income, slow increase South Korea: High disposable income, increasing Belgium: High disposable income, increasing China: Medium disposable income, increasing 10 11 4.3. Sociocultural Social attitudes and concerns: People are more concerned with sustainability and where the product is produces nowadays. Acne might want to consider to not produce in China anymore but only to produce in safe environments such as Italy or Portugal.

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4.6. Legal Employment law: Acne always has to stay on top of new employment laws, such as increasing minimal wages, as they could get in trouble if their factory workers are paid below minimum wage. Health and safety: As Acne is producing in factories in China and Turkey (besides other countries), there could always we a health and safety accident. This is why Acne has to take extra care and regularly check their suppliers. 32% of the 2011 purchasing volume of Acne Studios is produced in low risk countries (Italy, Lithuania and Portugal). 5. SWOT Analysis 5.1. Strengths - What makes the brand more unique than the competitors? What are we best at? - Strong in big cities such as Stockholm, London, New York, where the fashion scene is very present - Global reach - Stores in Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States - Stores with a distinctive style, very suitable to the brand messaging - Strong consumer base - As prices start quite low, even people with a medium income can buy into the brand - Good quality products for the price – good price/perfomance ratio


- Recognisable brand image - Collaborations with interesting people from the industry 5.2. Weaknesses - What areas of our company need improvement? What problems do we have with our customer base?

things differently. They started off with sending out 100 jeans to friends in Stockholm instead of organising a big launch. Today Acne is associated with art and the creative scene. But how did they achieve this? This was a long process and is thoroughly thought through.

- Opportunities in the new media are not exploited to their full potential - Confusing and unattractive name

Acne is not promoted in the same commercial way as most other brands. They intentionally refrain from advertising. The only tool they have is their magazine, Acne Paper, which I will talk about later in this Research Journal. Even in Acne Paper, they don’t particularly promote their brand.

5.3. Opportunities - In what areas are competing companies not satisfying the public’s needs where our company can?

6.2. Website, Part II

- Expanding the Asian market - Prominent market for shoes and leather products -> promotion - New technology - Environmentally conscious produced clothes - Branded content online - opening a blog 5.4. Threats - Are there areas where the company may lose business or that public image may decrease? - Many similar brands like Celiné, using similar messaging and imagery - Political unrest in a production or selling country - Economic changes that lead to a smaller disposable income 6. Communication and Messaging Acne has a very interesting tactic of communication. It is easier to analyse by looking at it in different points: 6.1. Messaging “Messaging is the process of creating a consistent story around a product, person, company or service. Messaging aims to avoid having readers receive contradictory or confusing information that will instill doubt in their purchasing choice or other decisions that have an impact on the company. Brands aim to have the same problem statement, industry viewpoint or brand perception shared across sources and media.” 12

There is virtually no communication on the Acne Studios website. They don’t have any branded content online like many other brands. No blog, no news, only e-commerce. 6.3. Communication-based SWOT Strengths and weaknesses in terms of their current messaging, how they communicate their brand values, relate and connect with their consumer. - Communication is almost not existent, only through Acne Paper, not a good use of social media - Communication is very impersonal, distant Do they know their consumer, speak to them in the right way? Think of user-imagery as well. Does the brand personality match the core consumers? Is it aspirational? - They see their consumer as a very intelligent, creative person - Core consumer is between 25 and 35 years old, the communication is targeted at a more matured, educated consumer, which makes it very aspirational for the young consumers they want the be like this (for example like the people portrayed in Acne Paper) when they are older

Acne does this very well. Good messaging is about setting a clear statement of what the brand stands for, giving costumers something to identify with. From the start, Acne presented itself as a very independent, different brand. They do

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6.4. Social Media

6.4.2. Twitter

Acne has different Social Media channels. They use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and have a Youtube account. 6.4.1. Facebook

Figure 20 - Twitter account Figure 18 - Facebook page Facebook is mainly used to show new products to fans of the page. They currently count 428,261 fans with Seoul, South Korea, as the most popular city and most people between eighteen and thirty-four years old.

On Twitter, Acne has 84,400 followers. They follow Twitter accounts such as, Selfridges and i-D magazine.They use the same tone of voice on Twitter as well as on Facebook: They are friendly but you can still feel a distance. They are not your closest friend you would tell everything.

Figure 21 - Tweets Figure 19 - Facebook conversation They make a new post around every second day, but don’t use Facebook to get branded content to their customers or to advertise their brand. They post pictures of events they did, new collections or new collaborations. They respond to questions from their fans, keeping the tone of voice very formal but friendly.

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They are a fashion brand you buy products from. They help you, they provide the best possible quality but they are not here to chat. They don’t use Twitter as often as Facebook. Acne only posts about twice a week. They repost important coverage in the media, for example on, as seen on Figure 21.


6.4.3. Instagram

interests of the Acne costumer. They like good product shots and are interested in interior design.

Figure 22 - Instagram account On Instagram Acne studios counts 255,875 followers. They don’t follow anyone back. They post lookbook pictures, pages from Acne Paper or from the runway, most of them very high in quality, without the usual Instagram filter.

Figure 24 - Instagram post

Figure 25 - Instagram post Figure 23 - Instagram post 6.4.4. Pinterest The post shown was the only time they used Instagram as most of the users do – showing behind the scenes moments, providing a better insight into the brand. They had eighteen posts in January, which was more than in other months. Since starting using Instagram in December 2012 they have posted around ten pictures a month on average. Not posting more of those intimidate behind the scenes moments makes the viewer feel quite far away from the brand. Instagram usually is a great way to get to see behind the curtain, backstage at a show or at a shoot, following a designer in his daily life. Acne does liberally not make use of this opportunity. It wouldn’t fit into their Social Media concept. The two most popular posts are an image of new Acne shoes and an image of their just opened L.A. store. This shows the

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Figure 26 - Pinterest page Acne has 5363 followers on Pinterest at the moment. They have twenty-four boards, most of them collections. They have a pinboard dedicated to their magazine Acne Paper and one dedicated to their stores. They follow twelve pinners, such as W magazine and Dazed and Confused.


6.4.5. Youtube Acne has a youtube channel, that is only rarely used. The last upload was four months ago and was the SS14 runway show.. They can only count 828 subscribers which is probably because of the reason they don’t uploas new videos regularly. In conclusion, Acne has a very consistent Social Media appearance. This includes the visual used as well as their tone of voice. They are not entertaining their followers online, but only providing them with information about new products, store openings and collaborations. In the end, this adds up extremely well because the Acne target costumer is not someone who gets their entertainment from the internet, especially not from Social Media. Their target audience goes to the cinema, goes out for dinner, goes to see a new exhibition. 6.5. Acne Paper, Part II

No 8 Eroticism No 9 Art/Spirituality No 10 Legendary Parties No 11 The Artist’s Studio No 12 Youth No 13 The Body No 14 Manhattan No 15 The Actress I have analysed the latest issue of Acne Paper, ‘The Actress’. Content: Ä‘Ĺ?$+0+Ĺ?/!.%!/Ĺ?Ä™$!Ĺ? ((1/%+*%/0ÄšĹ?5Ĺ?!+.#!Ĺ?1..!((ÄŒĹ?+( Ĺ?,%01.!/Ĺ? of world famous actresses Ä‘Ĺ? %0+.%(Ĺ?Ä™.!!*Ĺ?!/0ÄšĹ?5Ĺ?*%!(Ĺ? '/+*ÄŒĹ?)+ !(/Ĺ? .(!5Ĺ?%ortino (columnist for Vogue, writes the blog Slutever http://, Kate Lyn Sheil (actress and writer), Dakota Goldhur (actress), Wrenn Schmidt (actress), India Salvor Menuez (actress and costume designer), Onata Aprile (child actress, only 8 years old), Dina Paisner (1960s actress), Claire Christenson, Gaby Hoffmann (actress, part of ‘Girls’ at the moment), Shannon Plumb (actress and director), Julia Morrison (actress), Hannah Gross (actress), Lola Kirke (actress, sister of Jemima Kirke who plays a main role in ‘Girls’) “The cross-section of women represent our interest in merging different generations,â€? says Editor-in-Chief Thomas Persson of Jennifer Venditti’s dynamic casting. “It created the right kind of rhythm being so fresh and modern and colorful. We wanted to feature fascinating people, who might not necessarily be super global mega stars.â€?

Figure 27 - A spread in Acne Paper Ä‘1(,01.!Ĺ?ĢĹ? Ĺ?.n2!Ĺ?&,+*%/Ĺ? Acne’s magazine launched in August 2005. On their website they describe it as “something different, something timeless, something nostalgic yet refreshingly modern“. Acne Paper is issued bi-annualy and always has an overall topic that holds together the content. Until today there have been 15 issues of Acne Paper. Last issues were: No 1 The City No 2 Escapism No 3 Education No 4 Playfulness No 5 Elegance No 6 Exoticism No 7 Tradition

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Ä‘/0%*#Ĺ?ĢĹ?(+/!Ĺ?!*+1*0!./ÄŒĹ? 1(%!0Ĺ?5(+.Ĺ?Ĩ/0%*#Ĺ? %.!0+.ÄŠ Ä‘!(!.%05Ĺ?ĢĹ?1(0Ĺ?+"Ĺ?!./+*(%05ÄŒĹ?.*!/+Ĺ?!66+(%Ĺ?Ĩ 0(%*Ĺ?.0ist) Ä‘Ĺ?$!0.!Ĺ?ĢĹ?!2%(Ĺ?%*Ĺ?%/#1%/!ÄŒĹ? 1'%Ĺ?ĢĹ?"+.)Ĺ?+"Ĺ? ,*!/!Ĺ?)1sical drama Ä‘Ĺ?+%(Ĺ?ĢĹ?*!Ĺ?"+.Ĺ?0$!Ĺ?+ ÄŒĹ? 1//+Ĺ?Ä’Ĺ?.*'/ Ä‘Ĺ?.3%*#Ĺ?ĢĹ?!."+.)%*#Ĺ?.0/ÄŒĹ?!15/Ĺ?Ĩ,%*0!.ÄŠÄŒĹ?%*0!.2%!3Ĺ?3%0$Ĺ? Catherine Wood, Curator of contemporary art and performance at Tate Modern


Ä‘Ĺ?.0Ĺ?ÄĄĹ?!!(Ĺ?3%0$Ĺ?Ĺ?1/!ÄŒĹ? %* !.Ĺ?0!.(%*#Ĺ?Ĩ.0%/0ÄŠ Ä‘Ĺ?+%!05Ĺ?ĢĹ? %/%+*/Ĺ? *#!.!1/!/ÄŒĹ?*/Ĺ?* Ĺ?/+%!05%*Ĺ?0$!Ĺ?Ä Ä‰0$Ĺ? and 19th century

Ä‘Ĺ?Ä™%0Ĺ?0$!Ĺ?+ Ĺ?0+Ĺ?.!)(* ÄšĹ?5Ĺ? )%!Ĺ?3'!/3+.0$ÄŒĹ?! %0+rial Ä‘Ĺ?$+)/Ĺ?%*/+.+1#$Ĺ?ĢĹ?#!*0Ĺ?.+2+0!1.ÄŒĹ?$+)/Ĺ?%*/borough (Eglish portrait and landscape painter, 1727 – 1788)

Ä‘Ĺ?+/01)!Ĺ?ĢĹ?.!//%*#Ĺ?0$!Ĺ?.0ÄŒĹ?+/01)!Ĺ?!/%#*Ĺ? Ä‘Ĺ?$!0.!Ĺ?ĢĹ?+%!Ĺ?+"Ĺ?0$!Ĺ?%2!.ÄŒĹ?3!*Ĺ?+1h.hĹ?Ĩ0.!//ÄŠ Ä‘Ĺ? %0+.%(Ĺ?Ä™ (Ĺ?!/!.0+Ĺ?+//+ÄšĹ?5Ĺ?!*&)%*Ĺ?(!4* !.Ĺ?1/!5ÄŒĹ? starring Marine Vacth (French actress and model) Ä‘Ĺ?Ä™Ä ÄŠÄˆÄ‚Ä?Ĺ?Ĺ?+2%!0Ĺ?,!Ĺ? 5//!5ĚČĹ?* .!%Ĺ?.'+2/'5Ĺ?Ĩ,%+*!!.Ĺ? writer and director), Natalya Bondarchuk (actress)

Ä‘Ĺ?*#(%/$Ĺ?+/!/ÄŒĹ?!(!.0%*#Ĺ?Ăź2!Ĺ?5+1*#Ĺ?0.!//!/Ä?Ĺ?+/!Ĺ? !/(%!ÄŒĹ? Alice Englert, Freya Mavor, Georgie Henley and Ruth Bradley Ä‘Ĺ?*!Ĺ?Ăť%.!Ĺ? !Ĺ?!))!/ÄŒĹ?(%0!..5Ĺ?,+.0"+(%+Ĺ?+10Ĺ?"!)(!Ĺ?3.%0ers who have celebrated actresses and the personalities behind the façade of the screen Ä‘Ĺ? Ĺ?1/!ÄŒĹ?(!+*+.Ĺ?1/!Ĺ?Ĩ0.!//ÄŠ

Ä‘Ĺ?Ä™ /!((!ĚČĹ? /!((!Ĺ?1,,!.0Ĺ?Ĩ0.!//ÄŠĹ?,$+0+/Ĺ?* Ĺ?0!40 Ä‘Ĺ? %2ÄŒĹ? %2Ĺ?(()**Ĺ?Ĩ+.3!#%*Ĺ? %.!0+.Ĺ?* Ĺ?0.!//ÄŠ Ä‘Ĺ? *0$+*5Ĺ? +3!((Ĺ? ĢĹ? 1/0Ĺ? +*!Ĺ? )+.!Ĺ? 0$%*#Ä“Ĺ? Ĩ*#(%/$Ĺ? +/01)!Ĺ? designer and three-time Academy Award winner) Ä‘Ĺ? 1.!Ĺ? +.0.%0/Ĺ? 5Ĺ? .%#%00!Ĺ? +)!ÄŒĹ? ĂĉĹ? ,$+0+#.,$/Ĺ? +"Ĺ? leading actresses in Los Angeles and New York, 1988 – 1999, Jeanne Moreau, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Demi Moore, Robin Wright, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Glenn Close, Charlotte Rampling, Anette Bening, Isabella Rossellini, Vanessa Redgrave, Anouk AimĂŠe, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gena Rowlands, Helena Bonham Carter, Winona Ryder, Gwyneth Paltrow, Juliette Binoche, Julia Roberts, Sigourney Weaver, Nicole Kidman, Isabelle Adjani, Uma Thurman

Ä‘Ĺ?$!Ĺ? ((1/%+*%/0Ĺ?ĢĹ?!+.#!Ĺ?1..!((ÄŒĹ?%*0!.2%!3Ĺ?3%0$Ĺ?.%!.Ĺ?(.'!Ĺ? (art dealer and collector) This issue of Acne Paper really lives up to how they they describe this magazine. The articles cover interesting people from art and culture, focussing on theatre and film in this issue. It also covers different generations, from a painter from the 18th century to actresses who are well-known today. The articles are very personal, often a conversation between two people about a third person, or an interview with the portrayed person her-/himself. People covered mainly come from the United States and Europe, mainly France and Italy, but also from Norway (Liv Ullmann).

Ä‘Ĺ? .%/0%*Ĺ?+00Ĺ?Ĩ.%0%/$ÄĄĹ?.!*$Ĺ?0.!//ÄŠÄŒĹ?,%01.!/Ĺ?* Ĺ?0!40 Ä‘Ĺ?%.!*/Ĺ?ĢĹ?$+0+#.,$5Ĺ?5Ĺ? %$!(Ĺ?+,,!* Ä‘Ĺ? $!()Ĺ? %00!.Ĺ? ĢĹ? 2!.50$%*#Ĺ? 10Ĺ? 0$!Ĺ? (++ $+1* /ÄŒĹ? Ĺ? (%"!Ĺ? +"Ĺ? the greatest supporting actress (1950s/1960s) Ä‘Ĺ? '!ÄŒĹ? '!Ĺ? !((Ĺ? Ĩ0.!//ÄŒĹ? 3.%0!.Ĺ? * Ĺ? %.!0+.ÄŒĹ? $ Ĺ? Ĺ? ,.0Ĺ? %*Ĺ? ‘New Girl’) Ä‘Ĺ?!**Ĺ?1.%*Ĺ?Ĩ* %*Ĺ?/%*#!.Ĺ?* Ĺ?0.!//Ĺ?".+)Ĺ?0$!Ĺ?ăĀ/ÄŠ

The tone of voice and language that they use in Acne Paper is very intelligent and varied – catering for a reader that is well read and educated. All of the entertainment and inspiration that cannot be found on online platforms of Acne can be found in this magazine. By creating a “branded� magazine that is not traditionally branded, Acne separates their design work from their communication with their costumer. There are no advertisements in Acne Paper and even though the editorials feature Acne pieces, they also feature competitor’s pieces.

Ä‘Ĺ?(%%ÄŒĹ?(%%Ĺ?%'* !.Ĺ?Ĩ0.!//Ĺ?* Ĺ? *!.ÄŒĹ?**Ĺ? .!*%*ÄŠ Ä‘Ĺ?Ä™$!Ĺ?+1/!Ĺ?+"Ĺ?,%.%0/ÄšĹ?5Ĺ?%*!*0Ĺ?2*Ĺ? !Ĺ?%&*#. ÄŒĹ?! %0+.%( Ä‘Ĺ?$!Ĺ? +)!*0Ĺ?+"Ĺ?%.)+*0!/ÄŒĹ?+*5Ĺ?%.)+*0!/Ĺ?Ĩ"/$%+*Ĺ?%((1/trator of the 1980s)

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7. Competitor Analysis

7.2. Social Media profiles

List of competitors:

Proenza Schouler uses the following online platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube and Google +.

- Rochas - Carven - CĂŠline - Wanda Nylon - Casadei - Viktor & Rolf - Alexander Wang - Prabal Gurung - Haider Ackermann - The Row - Proenza Schouler

7.2.1. Facebook

Chosen brand for the competitor analysis: Proenza Schouler 7.1. Competitor Website Figure 29 - Proenza’s Facebook page On Facebook, Proenza Schouler has 339,289 likes, almost 100,000 less than Acne. Most of their fans are living in Paris, France and are between 18 and 24 years old, so considerably younger than Acne’s Facebook fans. They update their page about as much as Acne, on average about every second to third day, but the type of posts are very different. They post the image when a piece of their collection was used in a magazine and they also post stars wearing their clothes. They advertise their Instagram account over Facebook to get more followers and widen the reach. Figure 28 - Website Proenza Schouler

7.2.2. Twitter

Content: Collections (all collections on the runway since ,.%*#Ĺ?Ä‚Ä€Ä Ä‚ÄŠÄŒĹ?*(%*!Ĺ?$+,Ĺ?Ĩ#/Ĺ?* Ĺ?3((!0/Ĺ?+*(5Ä“ÄŠÄŒĹ?.+&!0/Ĺ? (five video projects), About (lookbooks since 2003, biography and stores), Runway video AW14, Newest Advertising campaign, Stores. In comparison with Acne’s website, this online appearance is more entertaining and interesting to see. They offer their customer and insight into the brand by showing them their latest runway show or the latest advertising campaign. They provide them with images as well as video content. The design of the website is quite interesting, a mixture between simple fonts and colours and wild patterns – appropriate to Proenza Schouler’s style of clothing.

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Figure 30 - Proenza’s Twitter account


Proenza Schouler is also active on Twitter. They have 362,000 followers on this platform. This means they have around 280,000 more followers than Acne, which is an extremely big difference compared to the other platform. This big number of followers must have its reason. Proenza Schouler is very active on Twitter. They usually post more than one post daily, repost interesting media coverage they got or repost funny tweets about them.

They follow 264 profiles such as System Magazine, Porter Magazine, blogger Susie Bubble, W Magazine, MAC Cosmetics, model Julia Stegner, Burberry, Inez and Vinoodh, The Row, , model Karlie Kloss, Beyonce and model Miranda Kerr. Compared to Acne’s Instagram profile, this is much more accesible and friendly, because it has more personality. It shows that they are interested in other people’s lives and want to share their daily life with their followers as well. They are using Instagram in the classic way. 7.2.4. Pinterest

Figure 31 - Twitter repost They even send their birthday wishes to people over Twitter. This fits well into the brands social media concept of being accessible and friendly. 7.2.3. Instagram Figure 34 - Proenza’s Pinterest page Proenza Schouler counts 14,876 followers on Pinterest, nearly 10,000 followers more than Acne has on this platform. They created 37 pinboards, including runway and lookbook pictures and product shots but also red carpet pictures of stars wearing their collection. They also have a board called “Girls” which has pictures of celebrities and models wearing their garments and bags in it. Figure 32 - Proenza’s Instagram account On Instagram, Proenza Schouler has 159,915 followers, again around 100,000 less followers than Acne. Their post are much more varied than Acne’s. They post behind the scenes pictures from events, talks and castings, giving the follower a feel of how Proenza Schouler’s day looks like.

Figure 35 - Pinboard ‘Girls’

Figure 33 - Instagram post

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Why is Proenza Schouler so much more successful on Twitter and Pinterest? First of all, Proenza Schouler caters for a younger audience and Twitter and Pinterest are mainly popular with people between eighteen and twenty-five, which is according to Facebook statistics their main age group. Secondly, Proenza Schouler use Social Media in a “younger” way. They are more accessible and have a different concept over all. Their platforms are entertaining, catered to younger people who spend a lot of time on their mobile phones and in front of their laptops. On Pinterest Proenza Schouler additionally takes their target audience’s interest in celebrities and models into account by showing how they wear their collection.

Even though Proenza Schouler is present on Google+, they haven’t posted anything yet, despite having 1,632 followers. Their page looks very appealing with well chosen imagery but if they have an account they should also use it.

7.2.5. Youtube

7.3. Brand Positioning

All in all, Proenza Schouler makes good use of new media. Their Social Media conceot is tailored to their target audience of young, stylish females. Their tone of voice is consistent: Friendly and accessible but still very professional. This fits the brand as it is a luxury ready-to-wear brand catering for young people. They are keeping it high-quality with being professional and not chatty and they make it accesible with being friendly and entertaining.

Figure 36 - Proenza’s Youtube channel Figure 38 - Positioning Diagram On Youtube, Proenza Schouler has 1,630 subscriber which is not a big number compared to their other online platforms. They have three categories of videos: Runway Shows, Ad Campaigns and Projects. They don’t post a video often, only when there was a runway show or when they have a new ad campaign. This means they upload a new video about four to five times a year. 7.2.6. Google +

With this Perceptual Map, Acne’s position in the market today becomes clearer. On this diagram I compared the position of Acne with those of eight of its competitors: Céline, Proenza Schouler, Haider Ackermann, Maison Martin Margiela, The Row, Carven, Alexander Wang and Prabal Gurung. This diagram compares the brand on price/quality/image and their product line mix. I positioned Acne high in price/quality/image as it is seen as a luxury ready-to-wear brand and uses high-quality imagery. In the product line mix, I would position Acne more on the specialist side, as they are famous for their jeans and leather jackets, but still have other clothing and both a womens- and menswear line. Proenza Schouler, which I chose for my in-depth competitor analysis is positioned higher in price/quality/image than Acne, since Proenza Schouler products are usually pricey, especially products of special materials or their famous bags. Even though the price of their products may be higher I think

Figure 37 - Proenza’s profile on Google+

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Acne’s brand image is higher in quality than those of Proenza Schouler, because it is very intelligent and high-end. Proenza Schouler is more specialist because they only produce womenswear. The second competitor, Céline is pricier than Acne and Proenza Schouler and has a very expensive and luxurious brand image. This is even increased by them not using Social Media and not doing e-commerce. You can only buy their products in actual stores. Maison Martin Margiela is positioned highest of all of the chosen brands. His designs are seen as art and a bomber jacket can cost up to £1,300. MMM is definitely seen as a luxury brand. It is positioned in the middle of specialist and broad, because it offers womens- as well as menswear, accesories, shoes and bags. Haider Ackermann is on the same product mix position as MMM, but lower in price, quality and image. Their price point is still high, but a level lower than MMM. The Row is on the same price level as MMM and also caters for an audience that is interested in luxurios clothes made of the best quality. Prabal Gurung is high priced as well but caters for a wider public. Carven is positioned the lowest in price, image and quality. It is a ready-to-wear brand only on the edge to luxury.

8. Personal Evaluation 8.1. Reflection When I started with this project I already knew Acne. I had heard of them and was following their collections on style. com. I quite liked the design and the name, but all this time I never knew how complex Acne is. How much work and thought is put into this brand. This project definitely positively influenced my opinion of Acne. It is as if I was in a new relationship, getting to know a person better and liking them more every day, because they are so interesting. I deeply admire Jonny and his whole team for creating such a special brand, who doesn’t do everything like everyone else does. They are very brave and I am inspired by that. I find his approach to fashion very interesting. Fashion is so much )+.!ŏ 0$*ŏ &1/0ŏ "/$%+*ēŏ 0ŏ %/ŏ )1/%Čŏ 1(01.!Čŏ 0.2!(ŏ * ŏ )1$ŏ more. The more I got to know this brand, the more I liked it.

When analysing this graph it becomes clear that there are quite a lot of specialist brands in Acne’s price segment. A strategic space opportunity would be to offer a broader range of products, but this would also affect the reputation of the brand.

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9. Soucres

9.2. Image Sources

9.1. Text Sources

1 Screenshot


2 Screenshot


3 Screenshot

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4 5 Picture taken by me 6 7 8 Taken by me 9 Taken by me

8 WS040103/120309887?tags=%7C59%7C332%7C338%7C76% 7C73%7C313%7C80%7C342

10 Taken by me


12 Taken by me

10 capita_personal_income 11 12

11 Taken by me

13 Taken by me 14 Taken by me 15 Screenshot 16 Screenshot 17 Screenshot 18 Screenshot 19 Screenshot 20 Screenshot 21 Screenshot 22 Screenshot 23 Screenshot

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24 Screenshot 25 Screenshot 26 Screenshot 27 Screenshot 28 Screenshot 29 Screenshot 30 Screenshot 31 Screenshot 32 Screenshot 33 Screenshot 34 Screenshot 35 Screenshot 36 Screenshot 37 Screenshot 38 Diagram by me

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Brand Analysis - Acne  
Brand Analysis - Acne