CONTENTS 1. Executive Summary - Pages 4-5 1.1 Summary of Reports Aims - Page 5 2. Introduction - Pages 6-7 2.1 Brand History - Page 6 2.2 Founding Designer - Page 6 2.3 Brand Philosophy - Page 6 2.4 Brand Extensions - Page 6 3. Brief History Timeline - 10-11 4. Brand Equity - Pages 14-15 4.1 Brand Personality - Page 15 4.1.1 Inspiration - Page 15 4.2 Brand Values - Page 15 4.3 Brand Essence - Page 15 4.4 The Product Offer - Page 15 4.5 Display - Page 15 4.6 Advertising and Promotion - Page 15 4.7 Company Reputation - Page 15 4.8 Retail Environment - Page 15 5. Visual Identity - Pages 16-19 6. Marketing Mix - pages 20-21 6.1 Products - Page 20 6.2 Price - Page 20 6.3 Place - page 20 6.4 Promotion - Page 20 6.5 BCG Matrix - Page 20 7. Segmentation - Pages 24-27 7.1 Consumer Profile - Pages 26-27 8. AIDA Model - Pages 28-29 8.1 Attention - Page 28 8.2 Interest - Page 28 8.3 Desire - Page 28 8.4 Action - Page 28 9. Competitor Analysis - 30-33 9.1 Brand Positioning Map - Page 32-33 10. Micro and Macro Analysis - Pages 34-35 10.1 Micro Factors - Page 34 10.2 Macro Factors - Page 34 10.2.1 PESTEL Analysis - Page 34 11. Swot Analysis - Pages 38-39 12. Recommendations - Pages 42-43 13. Bibliography - Pages 46-47
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Brand Marketing Audit is a strategic report based on the brand ‘Hood By Air’. Evaluating their current market condition, including internal and external factors that would affect the brands success and competitor analysis. This report will make a series of recommendations for ‘Hood By Air’, such as: launching brand extensions, developing new products and leasing with a new segment.
INTRODUCTION New York City based ‘Hood By Air’, founded in 1999 by Minnesota-born Shayne Oliver. Screaming 1990s streetwear with oversized t-shirts, bold logos and premium fabrics. Initially, capturing the youth of today, Oliver describes his brand as, “everyday survival gear” and likes to play on the performance side of his shows. “I feel like, you know, you sit down at a runway show, and it’s cute and it’s cool, but it doesn’t necessarily bring too much to the table as far as culture is concerned and people having experiences outside of the internal editors and stylists,” says Oliver. “I want to start creating experiences that speak more to the customers.” (“Hood By Air to stage ‘shoppable’ show in LA”, 2018). Shayne Oliver began HBA by making 6t-shirts and hoodies for his
friends, after dropping out of New York University/Fashion Institute of Technology, and has since been named among the 25 greatest black fashion designers by Complex Mag. HBA reflects gender neutral/ fluidity, pushing the boundaries of what is deemed ‘normal’. Furthermore, the brand has a dark aesthetic, to it’s catwalk presence and editorial campaigns, displaying minimalism and sexuality, with an urban streetwear feel. Expressing sexuality is what Shayne Oliver does best, his SS17 show’s official sponsor PornHub made sure the show was Rated R, capturing the target market millennials, therefore grabbing the attention of its teenage consumers. PornHub logos were plastered on tank-tops, pants and models were drenched in Vaseline. In terms of products, Hood By Air produces clothing
such as, t-shirts, jumpers, jeans, shoes for both men and women. However, the brand is extremely exclusive, as there is no physical advertising such as: billboards and social media. Hood By Air uses celebrity endorsements like Kayne West, A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, so if you don’t follow these celebrities you won’t know about the brand. Therefore, their target market is people who listen to rap music and follow celebrities such as the Kardashian’s etc. In addition to this, HBA offer a pre-order basis during their fashion shows, it is physically possible to purchase the clothes as they float down the runway, people want fast fashion, especially impatient teenage millennials.
BRIEF HISTORY TIMELINE 2006 Founded by Shayne Oliver 2011 First collection launched in November 2013 A$AP Rocky walked the runway 2016 Rihanna wore HBA at the VMAS 2017 Shayne Oliver left HBA 2017 Shayne Oliver gets new role at Helmut Lang
Hood By Air has a rugged personality, however a sophisticated feel, it’s minimalism with luxury streetwear. Using high quality fabrics and turning them into causal, oversized streetwear garments. Shayne Oliver was inspired by Tommy Hilfiger 1990s Polo Sport and DKNY. Furthermore, by looking at my research this relates to ‘Brand as a Product’ stated by the AAKER Model. Steve Jobs once wrote: “To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.” (“Forbes Welcome”, 2018). Consumers value HBA in different ways, some just follow the celebrities that wear the brand, therefore thats what they associate the brand with, other consumers such as the LGBT community will buy into HBA because Shayne Oliver preaches support for the community and for people who identify as gender neutral. “Design-wise, I don’t have any boundaries when it comes to gender,” he told W. “My friends wear bras — and they’re men. Menswear is not glamorous, and womenswear is, so why not mix the two together? When men wear my clothes, they say, ‘I can rock a dress and still feel handsome.’ Once you get that vibe going, the style just falls into place
naturally.” (“In One Quote, This Designer Sums Up Why the Future of Fashion Is Gender-Free”, 2018). Giving us an insight into the creator of HBA, some consumers might find this uncomfortable, raising the question, is it meant to make us feel uncomfortable on purpose? Although, LGBT communities will feel more empowered. Falling under ‘Brand as a Person’ according to the AAKER’s Model. What’s more, the ‘HBA’ logo is what makes Hood By Air, ‘Hood By Air’. It’s what customers want to buy into, to be a part of their ‘cult’. For example, Kanye West wearing a jumper with the ‘HBA’ logo. This is what makes the brand unique from others. Colours in the classic range are black and white, logos are bold and linear designs create a minimal feel. In one of the four elements of the AAKER’s model ‘Brand as a Symbol’, relates to the brands heritage. Hood By Air, are satisfying consumers ‘wants’ by always showing something different in the catwalk shows, every show is going to be completely different and people are seeing garments they’ve never seen before. Instantly grabbing the customers attention. In the nature of the overall performance, HBA shows are shocking. ‘Brand as an Organisation’ consisting of organisational attributes, according to the AAKER model. HBA is far from the likes of Macy’s, Barney’s, Blooming-
dales etc. I feel it doesn’t fit into the mainstream category, however Hood By Air collaborated with Barney’s to make wax figures out of models and dressing them up as dolls, from the June 2015 Paris show. It’s a clever way to gain more exposure and customers to further drive sales. Oliver wanted you to feel as though you were there, using a different advertising strategy than social media. (Brand as a Symbol, AAKER Model). This affects the company reputation, by constantly shocking consumers who see the catwalk shows and displays, people know they’re always going to see something daring or addressing an issue not many people want to talk about such as, gender identity. People expect HBA to be extremely over the top, sexualised and bizarre. Hood By Air is mainly sold online, through retailers such as: End Clothing, Farfetch, Selfridges and Lyst. However, they have the availability for customers to pre-order products during the catwalk show, making them unique to competitors. After the show debut, garments are usually available online a after a couple of months. Making it easily shoppable to consumers who want to be part of this empire. However, hypebeast’s take advantage of companies such as Hood By Air by reselling clothes to make profits on platforms like Grailed and StockX.
Hood By Air is a luxury high-end streetwear brand selling clothing such as: hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, jeans, trousers, shoes and bags. Their services are more exclusive compared to other brands, as people who attend the catwalk shows will get the products first before anyone else, it then goes live online.
In terms of pricing, jeans are from £284.00 upwards, suggesting the garments are luxurious quality, most jeans feature a bold ‘HBA’ logo plastered across the front. Customers are buying into the idea of impressing other people so they can show off and flaunt that they’ve got enough money to buy Hood By Air products. T-shirts start from a minimum of £149.00, the high prices are making the brand more exclusive to an audience that can afford their garments. Beyond this, I
believe Hood By Air’s pricing strategy is psychological, as the prices aren’t rounded up, making it seem more affordable to the buyer.
Hood By Air is sold mainly online and during catwalk shows. However, they do have concessions in Selfridges and hold pop-up stores around the world. Initially, what is sold out online people try to get during these store openings, again making the brand, more exclusive my making it more difficult for ‘regular’ people to buy.
Firstly, HBA are advertising their products via celebrity endorsements, though magazines like Dazed and Vogue. Also, promoting through window displays and catwalk shows. Hood By Air’s public relations company PR Consulting, help with any scandals or press conferences. For
example, Shayne Oliver cancelling a Paris fashion week show and putting the brand on hold to work for Helmut Lang. In addition, sales are promoted online by Farfetch and End Clothing.
According to the BCG Matrix, I’ve found hoodies are the rising stars, as they’re in demand and being sold online whereas other pieces aren’t being sold e-commerse. Secondly, dogs are shirts, sold either plain or with HBA logo, as they have been dropped into sales and haven’t been very popular. Question marks include trainers as they have grown in popularity over the years and they aren’t prices as high as some items of clothing. Lastly, cash cows included jeans as they aren’t that popular anymore, however they’re what the brand is associated with because of the ‘HBA’ logo.
Everyone knows that consumer behaviour effects how a brand markets their product. Looking at Hood By Air I believe that the internet has really helped the brand take off. “Do you think the Internet has played a big part in your success? Yeah, of course! It’s really cult Internet culture [that has helped my business]. It’s really so random and weird, like Tumblr-esque cultures. It’s cultivating a lifestyle via these online layouts. [Myspace] helped for sure but it really always comes down to the people that are behind it. I think there’s someone with the big idea that gets it and then can connect it with the people that are on the Internet. Because I’m so anti-Internet in a way. I go to like Worldstar Hip Hop and Twitter to be nosy with my friends and that’s kind of it”. Shayne Oliver stated in an interview with Fashionista. (Street & Street, 2018) Therefore, people who use Tumblr are edgy and unique, the sort of people HBA want to appeal to. According to Maslow’s
Hierarchy of Needs, HBA are reaching the ‘esteem’ stage of the customer, making them feel like they have a status and a sense of responsibility. Making the customer choose a brand like Hood By Air to signify a position or importance. I believe customers who purchase HBA are bloggers and quirky individuals that like to be different from everyone else, as the editorial campaigns for HBA are so grungy and bizarre compared to other brands such as Supreme. In addition, providing customers with a sense of fulfilment, showing they have their own style. Tumblr users would be very intrigued by HBA’s editorials, as they fit perfectly within this community as they have a dark theme, a grungy, punk feel. Furthermore, I believe people who believe in equality for the LGBT community will get on the Hood By Air hype, making this target market feel like they’re investing in something that’s going to a good cause, such as raising awareness and making people who don’t know, aware of the issues and difficulties these
people face in everyday life. In addition, psychographic behaviour makes us question what makes us buy things we don’t need or can’t afford when we have the basics at home. Hood By Air creates this desire by getting celebrity endorsements. Celebrities such as Kanye West and Travis Scott will wear HBA, fans and people who follow their style will want to buy into HBA as they’ll feel they have achieved a level of significance. Overtime, Hood By Air’s consumer has changed, in the ‘classics’ collection, items were a lot more basic and the usual ‘streetwear’ style, attracting hypebeast’s and other streetwear fanatics. Whereas now, it’s become more clear what Shayne Oliver wanted to address and his designs have changed to a more punk feel over more recent years. Shayne Oliver has stated in interviews that he wants to talk about gender identity and that all this designs are considered unisex, this is shown more and more, attracting the LGBT compared to hypebeast’s before.
AIDA MODEL Attention
Promotional material, such as Ads are appealing to a young male audience. As I have found images with a man’s hand down a woman’s pants. Also, on all advertisements there is a clear ‘HBA’ logo on every editorial made by them, using strategies like editorial images, magazines and online magazine interviews. More over, Barney’s NYC had Hood By Air windows made, displaying wax figures of models that walked in Paris fashion week. Dressing them up like dolls and blasting music out onto the streets of 5th Avenue, grabbing people’s attention. Perhaps making some consumers feel uncomfortable. Younger audiences may think its extremely cool, gaining a wider market just by promoting via window displays.
see their favourite celebs wearing this amazing minimalist jumper for example, would want to know who they are wearing. Sparking an interest in people who listen to rap music and streetwear lovers.
LA catwalk has a pre-order shopping experience during the fashion show. Three months later making the clothing available online for people all over the world shop.
To gain a consumers interest Hood By Air use celebrity endorsements such as: A$AP Rocky, Justin Bieber and Khloe Kardashian. People who
Hood By Air has an edgy streetwear look that many teens strive have. It will attract instagram fanatics that want to portray an image that they’re rich to other people and show off. Also, the bold ‘HBA’ logo makes customers associate themselves with the celebrity crew, making people feel like if you don’t buy into this brand you will be an outsider.
Looking at Hood By Air’s competitors such as: Off White, Vetements and Balenciaga. HBA are at risk of losing out to these brands, as Shayne Oliver has fled the brand, it has left customers feeling betrayed and not being able to receive the goods they’ve paid for. HBA have let themselves down by not providing customer services. However, what makes Hood By Air different from these competitors are it’s values and the purchasing style they offer. Making themselves more exclusive using promotional strategies like celebrity endorsements. It allows HBA to compete. On the down side, HBA don’t have physical stores, only pop-ups occasionally. This could drive a downfall in sales compared to a brand such as Off White, by customers not being able to have the exceptional shopping experience. On the other hand, their millennial target market might not be that bothered about going out an shopping in person. It all depends on how they want to target their consumers. In terms of Hood By Air’s Unique Selling Point (USP), it is most definitely the way they sell during catwalk shows, allowing customers to purchase the clothes directly as they’re watching them float down the runway. Setting them ahead of brands like Balenciaga.
MICRO & MACRO ANALYSIS
Immediate factors affecting Hood by Air are its competitors such as Off White and Supreme. However, they can control this by promoting more. HBA have already upset customers by putting the brand on hold, for example on instagram I have found comments stating people have made orders, paid and not received their products. Furthermore, they could prevent this by having a customer care team to issue refunds.
Political: A change of government such as Donald Trump becoming president has made the LGBT community and women feel worried and threatened by the presidents behaviour. HBA has used this to empower the LGBT community by raising awareness to gender identity issues. Also, with Hood By Air being an American brand, they wouldn’t benefit economically by Trump’s tax raises by taking from their profits. Social: Yet with gender fluidity becoming majorly accepted in todays society, this has allowed Hood By Air to demonstrate his work freely without being judged or frowned upon. It still
may make some people feel extremely uncomfortable. Although, its all about raising awareness and expressing the brand. “In 2016, state legislatures introduced a record number of bills seeking to restrict the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. North Carolina eliminated local non-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and required transgender people to use public facilities that correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth. Mississippi passed a law permitting religious believers to discriminate against LGBT people and unmarried couples. Tennessee passed legislation allowing counsellors and therapists to refuse to serve LGBT clients.” (“World Report 2017: Rights Trends in United States”, 2018). Technological: Inevitably, online shopping is constantly on the up, with luxury brands like Net-a-Porter, Chanel and others have ventured from the streets. I feel Hood By Air has made a great decision by having online retailers stocking their products. Making their clothing more appealing to the target market they want to reach.
Using the SWOT analysis, I think that positively, Shayne Oliver has built a brand that’s become it’s own from an underground, unknown streetwear brand. Oliver captivates audiences by shocking you with uncomfortable and ‘weird’ catwalk shows. This makes people talk about the brand more and by watching past seasons runways, there will always be something you haven’t seen before. HBA is always creating fresh new looks that make you think ‘wow’. Furthermore, I love the exclusivity of HBA, it makes the customer feel as though they are part of the ‘club’. Also, I feel like HBA is now catering to the gender neutral community, which is a good target market to have, as gender fluidity is becoming more accepted as society moves forward. Negatively, I feel putting the brand on hold to work for Helmut Lang was a bad decision, as the brand could’ve continued to expand and grow as business. Not having a flagship store doesn’t do the brand any favours, it does make the brand more exclusive however a lot of people don’t know about the brand itself.
RECOMMENDATIONS I would recommend Hood By Air open a flagship store, especially being a New York City based brand. Even if it’s not in a popular high street area such as 5th Avenue. An area such as Chelsea/Greenwich Village would be ideal for HBA as it’s full of art galleries and it’s also one of the city’s gay hotspots. I would get a small store, make it reflect the brand in terms of it’s aesthetic, perhaps only open on certain days like competitors such as Supreme in London. Providing customers with the experience of shopping in a high end store. Reaching into a new market segment, which would drive sales further. In addition, taking the brand off hold would be a great idea, such as now we have Donald Trump as president of the United States it’s making the LGBT community and women, stand up for equal rights, HBA could take advantage of this opportunity by creating an amazing catwalk show or doing more interviews with magazines such as Dazed and iD to make more awareness for the gay community and women’s equal rights. In terms of social media, Hood By Air could improve on their instagram presence, currently only having one post of Shayne Oliver. I feel they could make the brand look aesthetically pleasing and cool, making the millennial lovers of instagram notice HBA, reaching to a wider audience. Creating short films, collaborating with SHOWstudio perhaps and posting these to Instagram would set the brand different from competitors and make the brand more edgy.
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GEORGIA TORR BRAND AUDIT REPORT HOOD BY AIR