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1502853 Final Major Project Brand Audit Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Fashion Communication and Promotion Norwich University of the Arts Ellie Pearce


1. Executive Summary 2. Introduction 2.1 Brand Timeline 2.2 Brand Overview 2.3 Distribution 2.4 Social Media 2.5 Sustainability

3. Brand Equity

3.1 Brand Identity 3.2 Brand Esscence 3.3 Brand Responsibility 3.4 Brand Investment

4. Marketing Mix 4.1 Product 4.2 Price 4.3 Place 4.4 Promotion 4.5 People 4.6 Persuassion

5. Consumer Segmentation 5.1 Consumer Behaviour 5.2 Consumer Demographics 5.3 Emerging Markets

6. Competitor Analysis 6.1 Brand Positioning Map 6.2 Case Study

8. Brand Analysis 8.1 Strengths 8.2 Weaknessess 8.3 Oppurtunities 8.4 Threats

9. Brand Proposal

9.1 Gender Fluidity 9.2 Strategic developments 9.3 Future Steps 9.4 Proposition Outline


Within this strategic report I will be evaluating the current market position of luxury fashion retailer, In order to gain an extensive understandig of the brand, their target market and surrounding markets I have researched their brand ethos, history, marketing techniques. As well as attaining an understanding of their partners, customers and competitors. From doing this I hope to move forward with how they could adapt their marketing strategy and propose a new campaign which still conforms with their current branding.



Ruth and Tom opened their first Matches Fashion, menswear store in Wimbledon. They were the first multi-brand retailer to introduce designers including Prada and Bottega Veneta into the UK market.


Matches Publish their own magazine which promotes the brands and products they stock. By this Point they have opened five stores across London including one on Ledbury Road, Notting Hill.


Matches Launches its website, With great foresight, launched with international shipping, allowing it to begin building an international business in the nascent days of e-commerce.


Matches open a private shopping townhouse for VIP clients in London’s Marylebone.


The company rebrands to MATCHESFASHION.COM across the whole business including London stores. to create a uniform brand identity across several multimedia platforms. The company’s website is now responsible for 95 percent of its revenue.


The pair step down as co-chief executives, taking on the role of joint chairmen instead. They are succeeded by their chief operating officer Ulric Jerome. to create a uniform brand identity across several multimedia platforms. The company’s website is now responsible for 95 percent of its revenue.


The head office relocates to London landmark The Shard and the Mobile App is launched. Also Launched a 90 minute delivery time for online London customers.


30th anniversary supported by In Residence events in New York, Paris and Los Angeles along side Social campaign #MFx30yearsandcounting. Tom and Ruth Chapman sold a majority stake of Matchesfashion. com to private-equity funds managed by Apax Partners. Information gathered from The Business of Fashion, and Wikipedia.


“You can have maybe a thousand visitors to a shop but you can attract a million to a website in a very short timeframe.� Tom Chapman, Founder of The Telgraph 2017


2.2 BRAND OVERVIEW is a London,UK based department store, stocking over 360 womenswear and menswear designers. They are primarily online with 95% of their sales coming from their online customers yet have small stores around London in Nottinghill, Wimbledon and Marylebone. With selling multiple brands comes a forever changing brand, keeping up to date with current fashion trends and political changes is important, simple branding follows this method of business strategy and has gained the brand a collection of customers but primarily wealthy millennials aged 20-35.


2.3 DISTRIBUTION United Kingdom 6.2% of visitors

United States 10.5% of visitors

Visitor Statistics: Global Business Facts: en_gb/case-study/matchesfashion/ Map: own image

Japan 61.6% of visitors South Korea 2.9% of visitors China 2.0% of visitors

Now operates in 190 markets worldwide 70% of business is from outside of the UK



@MATCHESFASHION 86.5k followers @MATCHESFASHION_MAN 8,318 followers

@matchesfashion 434k followers @matches_man 91.4k followers

@matchesfashion 157.5k followers 157.8k likes app 100,000+ installs

From looking at the names of’s social media pages along side how many followers each page has, it is clear to see that the womens side of the business take a stronger lead. Although this doesn’t nessercarily mean that the womenswear sales take lead also, it is likley. On their twitter most of their posts are edits and inspiration with links to the main page on the matchesfashion. com website, all with imadry along side. However, not all of these are product or even fashion realated but lifestyle articles as well. Their instagram is consistent and follows a similar approach, posting single products, editorials from ‘the shoot’ and other links to interviews and articles. All images have links to where you can buy the garments online, which is a relativley new feature. Their facebook page is their most followed social media, fitting to their often more mature audience yet they don’t have a menswear page like the forms of social media. Here they post the exact same feed as their twitter. The instagram feed posts all of the same posts as the twitter and facebook, and more. Putting more time into the instagram feed is important, although they dont’t have the biggest following it is key that they gain more followers on instagram to get the attention of the younger market, to maintain their buisness for the future. Lastly, the app works identically as the website, but shows an easy number for regular shoppers and browsers.


2.5 SUSTAINABILITY OVERVIEW Matches say that sustainability is at the heart of the way they do business.With the aim to place responsible business practices at the heart of their company. Planning to continue forward-looking focus on innovation and partnerships to drive positive social and environmental change within the business and across their relationships. They claim to actively seek out suppliers who share a commitment to their values, as well as internationally recognised standards and appropriate codes of practice. On their website they have shown two main areas that they currently practice sustainability. Business: To make sure they promote best practice, they: - Develop environmentally conscious packaging options and increase the efficiency of our logistics footprint - Promote as a dynamic, diverse and innovative place to work - Conduct our business to the highest ethical standards - Actively engage with customers on sustainability to help them make informed decisions Suppliers: To deepen partnerships with brands, and promote the uptake of responsible business within our value chain, they:

- Distribute our Code of Conduct to all our brands. This clearly denotes our expectations of all brands, in relation to their business conduct and use of controversial materials - Undertake assessments of brands to ensure they have processes in place to meet our high standards - Where necessary, provide guidance and support to brands that are starting their responsible business journey or those that just want to do more


3.1 BRAND IDENTITY When referring to the AAEKER model, that views brand identity as a combination of brand loyalty, brand awareness, percived quality, brand associations and other proprietary. In regards to brand loyalty, customers are more likley to return once they have bought from there sucessfully before. Consumers are begining to become less loyal to a singular brand but as department stores stock multiple brands they have a better chance of surviving. As well as the idea that many customers shop at a department store for location convinience. When looking at Percived Quality, provides a very high quality service as well as selling high quality products. In store, their service is able to be of a better quality due to the lesser traffic of a smaller store. While online they offer a 90 minute delivery service to those in London, as well as “My Stylist� 24 hours a day. Among price of products, brands sold, specific product details, distribution, exclusivity and popularity that all build a better quality brand. Brand association is often more relevant to the brands that may sell so could be triggered via a promotion or editorial on their website. A customer may assosiate the brand with where they found out about the brand if it were from a friend or someone on social media, or could be more to do with their branding. e.g. Like Selfridges and the yellow bag. Other Proprietary includes when Apax partners aquired a majority stake in 2017, showing nearby future growth for matches and the online shopping industry. Scottish Equity Partners and Highland Europe have also invested prior to this.

3.2 BRAND EQUITY Continuing to refer to the AAEKER model, with brand Equity the model says that brand equity is divided into four things. The brand as a product, organisation, person and as a symbol. As a product physically sells womenswear and menswear, including accessories and footwear. Featuring luxury brands both established and emerging such as Saint Laurent and Gabriella Hurst. As an organisation looks at organisational atributes, they have embarked a recent partnership with Eco-age, ensuring they conduct to the highest ethical standards, have developed environmentally concious packaging options and activley engage with customers on sustainability to help make informed decisions. As they are a department store it is also important to control what their suppliers do. They distribute their code of conduct to all of their brands and undertake assessments of brands to ensure they have processes in place to meet their standards. Looking at the brand as a person can be relevant with how they give a personal touch to their packaging but more so to how they are percived. Matchesfashion. com says there isn’t a ‘matches way of doing things’ instead, they encourage their employees to experiment and are always looking for new ways to better themselves. Wether that be by being more selective with the brands that they stock or how they design a campaign. Social media comes into play when looking at the brand as a symbol, often holding dinners for fashion professionals regarding new developments within the brand and controlling the news of which is on the brand. Having done partnerships with business of fashion and the telegraph as well as providing information on their sustainability and views on their website.


4.1 PRODUCT In regards to the garments that the brand sell both in store and online, the products are currently seperated into the two segments of Men and Women. Offering Bags, Accessories, Shoes, Fine Jewellery, Clothing, Underwear, Swimwear, Outerwear, Loungewear and Formalwear. Matches are currently stocking 250 menswear designers and 450 womenswear designers, including Berluti, Saint Laurent and Vetements. From the short list of designers just mentioned, it is clear that Matches hosts a wide variety of luxe styles. According to the Lauterborn model, a brands product can mean everything that the customer needs and wants and not just the physical product that the customer brings home but the experiance that they pay for. With this in mind the services that offers are equally as important especially for a high end brand that has higher customer service expectations. Starting with “My Stylist” which offers complimentary shopping concierge, available to all clients, 24/7. As well as their Private Shopping service held in Maryelebone, the same location that they hold many personalised trunk shows, designer launches, pop-up stores, and art exhibitions to client soirées. Lastly, they offer a 90-minute delivery service for their london customers.


As a retailer which offers many different products from different brands, the price of their products does differ. Ranging from around £8 to £30,000, each customer is said to spend £440 on average (Armstrong, 2015). They don’t offer any bundle pricing offers, promotional codes or show competitors prices which deems the brand within the luxury sector. The website does have a constant “Sale” section though, which isn’t advertised or shown in a different colour in presumption not to draw attention to it.

4.3 PROMOTION Matches tend to stick to an indirect approach when it comes to promotion, yet do so in a number of ways. Begining with articles, since 2015 when Ruth and Tom became soley the chairman and faces of the brand their interviews have been released online for websites such as The Telegraph and Vogue which instantly gets the name more well known with 52.8 million monthy viewers on alone (Conde Nast, 2018). Advertised on their website, they offer an affilliates programme which gets companies and bloggers to place Matches banners and links on their website in return for commission and a newsletter, Which works in a similar way to being mentioned in magazines. For example showing a Chanel beach bag with the image caption “Can be found on for £2,600” which they may sometimes pay for. As the majority of brands do now, Matches also rely heavily on their social media for promotion. Posting on their own social media pages on mainly instagram, twitter reguarly as well as using other popular bloggers which they don’t then advertise on their website. Matches are also quite famous for the amount of dinners they hold, often hosting events for numerous product launches, collaborations and charity promotions. Again, naturally creating a buzz and keeping customers and industry workers interested. Lastly, what could be seen as one of Matches most important forms of promotion is their online campaigns for designers they stock. Within their Style Report editorials are uploaded daily and advertised on their home page. These are often dedicated to key designers new collections or more generall styling help, both including links to products on their site. Although this means it is necessary for the potential consumer to already be on their website to engage with this it is a form of promotion that can be directed to a more specific type of customer and at the type of person who is already interested in purchasing something.

4.4 PLACE Matches Fashion generates 95 percent of its revenue online (The Business of Fashion, 2017), their online presence is almost more important than their brickand-mortar stores. Saying this, the company did start with stores and founder Tom Chapman says “We’ll always have stores” to The Telegraph. Matches now only has three brick-and-mortar stores, all in West/ South West London. Their original Wimbledon store, Nottinghill and Marylebone where they often hold events. These locations are all in an area where’s target market is mostly located in order to be in a convinient distance at all times. It could be said that stores are different to their competitors stores such as Harvey Nichols, stores take a more boutique approach. Again, fitting to what their consumer wants and to keep their focus online. All stores are filled with ipads where customers are able to order products online, while still in store.

4.5 PEOPLE The co-founders and partners Ruth and Tom Chapman are ultimatley the face of Although they stepped down as co-chief executives in 2015, taking on the role of joint chairmen instead their hard work has never gone un noticed. They have been featured in the Drapers Top 100, Business of Fashion 500 for the last 5 consecutive years, and on the Sunday Times Rich List since 2016. As a team, employees are encouraged to be creative and experiment, which is what leads a forever evolving brand. Although a Luxury and professional brand they often feed the personality of the employees through to the consumer. Wether this is the hand written note that one will recive with a new online order or the sales assistant on the shop floor of their brick and motar stores.

4.6 PERSUASION While looking at Dr. Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion. One way he found consumers are persuaded is through the rule of scarcity, staying exclusive. stores are small and boutique like as well as stocking brands that sell out very quickly. Another theory is Social Proof, with the brand having validation from trustworthy brands like Drapers and Business of fashion and celebrities and bloggers featuring the company, consumers are more likley to feel like they are part of something. This also works with peers and reviews, this is when somebodys friend may post on social media or talk about their experience with the brand. All of these things as well as promotion will get the consumer in store or online but it comes down to the quality of the service and product in order to persuade them to follow through with the purchase.


As stated before, 95% of sales are made online showing how key their online presence is. On the website their is not only the option to buy product but many other services including “My Stylist”, “The Style Report” which acts as online magazine content. social media platforms are all seperated into Matches woman and Matches man posting on average 3 times a day on Instagram and 8 times a day on Twitter.


5.1 CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR When analysing a customers behavioural and psychological traits it is often segregated into seven main categories. These being Life Style, Social aspirations, Self-image, Value Perception, Purchasing Motives, Interests & Hobbies and Attitutdes and Opinions. These behavioural factors are in somewhat more important than demographic or geographic factors in’s case as they sell world wide and each person could differ massivley. However, their style, buying habits and value perception is more likley to have similarities. The customer lives an affluent life style, perhaps being highly social; attending parties, meals and events where they are socially required to dress well or a chance to show off their designer garments. Many customers will purchase designer items as they belive that the more money is spent the better quality the garment and service is. Yet many customers, especially the younger market, will invest in expensive items for the brand name. For affirmation from friends, family and social media. This idea runs paralell to Geoffery Miller’s “Display Signaling” Theory, where he states that a person wearing conspicously branded designer labels advertises wealth and desireablity or one wearing a eco-brand is trying to communicate that they are concious. It usally comes down to how fashion percives the person. itself offers is own percivable traits and brand community. In London, the person who is likley to shop in store chooses as they prefer the luxury, exclusive, boutique style of shopping compared to the mainstream department store. Maslow’s Heierchey of Needs theory also helps to explain consumer behaviour, Abraham Maslow developed his theory in 1943, proposing a five-tier theory of which explains our basic needs such as food and water, emotional needs such and friends and relationships and our self-fulfilment needs of which is where achiving and buying things comes into play. These can be applied to the needs of fashion and clothing. A physical need, for basic clothes, outerwear. Other ways could be if someone were to gain / loose weight or even if one were to need a certain dress requirement for school work which could also cover security and safety for a builder or a veteran for example. When it comes to fashion trends and certain brands, people are often subconsiously feeling the need to belong, this applied particularly in the past with mods and rockers, or with skate culture today. Feeling a sense of acomplishment, using clothing to empower yourself and express emotions. Creating an identity through clothing, as well as people feeling prestige with expensive or exclusive brands. While the first two teirs are relevant, esteem and social belonging are most applicable for the MatchesFashion. com customer, with expensive products often being gifts or treats for themselves, perhaps a reward after a promotion at work for example. Or simply to have the best and latest Gucci bag. For others, shopping at an expensive brand doesn’t have to be about showing off or buying something special as such but is where they buy their every day clothes. This customer is most likley the majority of customers for matches, as someone who buys a one off designer bag is more likley to firstly go in store for the shopping experience and also shop at Harrods or Selfridges because they are more well known at the moment.


5.2 CONSUMER DEMOGRAPHICS AND GEOGRAPHICS As stated before, provide in 190 markets world wide therefore their geographic factors are focused on that idea that anybody can wear designer garments anywhere. Instead of the litteral geographic location, the ACORN Classification map divided the UK population into five categories which can be transfered globally, in this case it is the “Wealthy Achivers” that are the customer. People that are High Earning, Upper or Middle class, with a High standard of education of a degree or higher. Matchesfashion. com targets both males and females, focusing on the millennial age gap of 20-35.


5.3 EMERGING MARKETS In 2018 will expand its footprint in 2018 with the opening of 5 Carlos Place, a completely new retail concept over six floors in the heart of Mayfair which will combine digital and physical interaction to deliver a unique customer experience as well as a new 24,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art studio facility in East London’s emerging fashion cluster which will accelerate the business’s innovative digital ambitions (Apax, 2018). Showing that isn’t taking its focus on its online buisness but is trying to reach wider markets across London, naturally this will take a domino effect on reaching different markets worldwide. For menswear especially, they are emphasising their trendier brands such as Vetements which perhaps says that they are trying to hone in on the younger audience.




YOOX group FarFetch

Selfridges Liberty London

John Lewis



House of Fraser

ASOS Debenhams


The brand positioning map to the left is to show the department store market by mainly comparing how affluent they are as a brand and how broad their product line is. In order to place each department store on the map, they were looked at as a brand. Analysing their products, campaigns, location, exclusivity, price, social media following and customer. By doing so the map shows where matchesfashion. com is in the market compared to its competitors. Starting with Harrods, one of the worlds most famous and prestigious department stores which carries alot of heritage. Harrods is located in the centre of Knightsbridge, South West London and is only avaible to buy from in that store or online making them much more exclusive than Debenhams with 240 stores in total. Putting them at the top of both the broad product line and the aspiration end of the map. Harrods, Liberty London, John Lewis and House of Fraser all sell their own branded products which gives them a stronger addition to their product line however this may not take an effect on how affluent the brand is as these brands are spread across the map, for Harrods it is about the heritage of the brand while for House of Fraser their house brands are stocked umung their consessions. Food and Homewear are strong products that have influenced where each brand is placed on the map, with Selfridges and Harrods selling food but all of the brands that have stores do have resturants or cafes, leaving the online competitors further along the map. Both Far Fetch and Liberty London are the only two stores which stock vinatage. Selfridges,, Far Fetch and Asos all release more ‘trendy’ and creative campaigns / window displays which may attract a younger audience but could also de-value them in the way of aspiration.


6.2 CASE STUDY: FARFETCH Fo u n d e d i n 2 0 0 7 Stocks 900 brands

Soley Online Ta rg e t s We a l t hy M i l l e n n i a l s to 2 million customers Wo rl d w i d e

Farfetch are easily comparable to, they are soley online but are just as strong of a brand, if not more so. Their combined sex instagram has 1M followers and although they may target a similar age rage, Far Fetch are more stylised, both a negative and positive. Far Fetch don’t have the ability to adapt like but may attract a more loyal customer with their consistent street-like branding. This customer is much more niche than though, they sell most of the same brands yet FarFetch narrow themselves to one style and a smaller age gap. They also sell to more markets though, including Menswear, Womenswear and Childrenswear. As well as having same day delivery in London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Miami, Madrid, Milan, Barcelona and Rome.

Kicks in Paris Editorial for FarFetch


8.1 STRENGTHS House brand Global customers Extremly strong online platform Multiple stores, more convinient location therefore likley to visit the store Customer loyalty Smaller, boutique-like stores attract their target market Simple branding and multiple brands allows the brand to constantly adapt


8.2 THREATS Smaller than its competitors Smaller stores, many consumers aren’t aware they exist. Stores don’t act as a big branding promotion with a high foot fall. Customers only have the ability to search menswear or womenswear instead of searching the whole website.

No review section on the website or somewhere for customers to interact.


8.3 OPPURTUNITIES New markets, expand to homewear, childrenswear, beauty and fragrance. Fading the line between mens and womens, e.g. do uni-sex editorials. In store growth.


8.4 THREATS Larger department stores Substitute products



Having small boutique like stores is in both the strengths and weaknesses section, this being as when developing and growing matches as a brand they need to know wether they will stay for the smaller and niche market that enjoy exclusive boutiques in west london or wether they want to aim for the masses, the customers that create a huge foot fall in their competitors stores such as Harvey Nichols. have an extremley strong online presence, if they continue to grow and improve their website with the fast paced fashion world they will continue to grow and more so. This could be done by expanding to new markets such as homewear or childrenswear, which would be a big change for the brand. Making smaller adjustments such as fading the seperation between menswear and womenswear would appeal to the political millennials of today.



On the catwalk designers are getting closer to blurring the lines between male and female every season. For a while now brands such as Gucci and Saint Laurent have featured both men and women in their runway shows, more recently one may not be able to tell the difference between genders on the runway where collections have begun to cross over. Across all markets in store the line between menswear and womenswear has begun to fade. Back in 2015 competitor, Selfridges, held a concept space “Agenda” which was a “unique genderless shopping experience across fashion, accessories and beauty which moves away from a separate “his” and “hers” experience across all brand levels”. While ASOS is working towards a genderless style following the sucesss of ASOS influencers wearing items purchased from both menswear and womenswear lines. Celebrities have been supporting the movement for a while longer, mainly by breaking the ‘fashion rules’ or going against the ‘fashion norms’ that may not be around as such today. Women wearing suits is certainly not a new concept but a step towards gender fluidity nethertheless. Rapper Kanye West wearing a Givenchy leather skirt in concert in 2011 and Jaden Smith wearing a skirt in the Louis Vuitton Summer 2017 campaign however was an even bigger step. The man in skirt tatick has been followed through to runway also, being seen at Vivienne Westwood and Thom Browne.

Jaden Smith and Juergen Teller for Louis Vuitton 2017

Balenciaga 2018


9.2 STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT With designers adding genderless garments to their collections, as a department store, need to make space for them and think ahead for what is to come for the gender fluid fashion world. As much as it is being promoted massivley and being accepted by many more people, in every day life gender is still aparent and not all men wear skirts. Thus this proposal promotes “A big deal by small changes”. Firstly, could change the way that their search bar works, at the moment it is a simple box where the customer is obliged to choose to search within menswear or womenswear. This could simply be removed, each search would look for the product throughout the whole website and the customer would be able to filter the search down to their selected gender if they wished, in the same way they they would currently do so for a colour or size. Removing this option may not be noticed by many that wouldn’t be looking out for it while it could be helpful and impressive for those that are looking for these changes within the industry. This could still be useful for those shopping for accessories or basics for example, as these items aren’t promoted as being gender fluid but simply have always been used by both sexes. Secondly, they could feature more editorial shoots with both men and women models together. To begin with, they may not style the models in genderless clothing as it doesn’t target the masses. While always allow a brands image to shine through in their editorials, if a brand isn’t already promoting genderless clothing then they may not want to produce something off-brand for the clothes they are using. But could defintley include genderless sections in the style report occasionally and gradually. All of these images wether they be for interviews, articles or “The shoots” could be posted on their social media also. Matchesfashion have done this once for a recent Burberry campaign. Doing so doesn’t even make a big political statement about being gender binary so wouldn’t turn those away that dissagree, especially in other countries where being transgender, homosexual or genderbinary may not be accepted. This is however, cost effective, halfing the amount of photoshoots created eventually. These strategic changes are all of either no cost or of low cost, with it being within the social media and E-commerce side of the buisness it is much easier to track the response from customers. Using their in-house brand, Raey, could help them to test the waters. Not only because they have full control over how it is merchandised but because their products are already quite similar between each gender.



If these smaller changes work well, gaining a wider audience and gathering more talk on social media then bigger steps may be taken. This could start with social media changes, the current womenswear pages on Instagram, Twitter and facebook have simply @matchesfashion as the handle, while mens have the additional @matchesfashion_mens. The womenswear pages also have significantly more followers than the mens, this sets up to merge accounts. Posting all of the brands content onto one page. The reaction from customers would be instant and trackable. The negative to this is that women may not want to see menswear posts and men would have to re-direct which is what makes this such a big and risky move, but one that could pay off with the younger generation growing to be the new customer. If it were to take a bad turn then it is reversable.

Gucci 2018

Following this, the website could stop being split into both mens and womens also however, this would be something that wouldn’t change in the near future but something that could be seen to happen in the years to come if the other adjustments went to plan. Especially so if gender fluidity continues to develop in the world as a whole.







Genderless items such as accessories and basics are available in one space

Both men and women in “The Shoot”.

FURTHER Remove the compolsory men or Womens ‘Tick’ in the Search Bar.

FURTHER Introduce Gender Fluidity in “The Shoot” and for Products.





Social media intergration

FURTHER Joint marketing

Web Combining


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Final major project of university. Brand audit for, proposing the idea of taking steps into a more gender fluid image.


Final major project of university. Brand audit for, proposing the idea of taking steps into a more gender fluid image.