ISSUE NO 1 |Â JANUARY 2018
Foreword Brief overview of the brand and how Acne began.
Methods and Channels of Promotion The ways in which Acne choose to sell and promote their brand and analysing its sustainability.
Conclusion and Referencing Overview of the report and the findings that have been discovered throughout.
How an audience identify Acne as a brand and how the brand view themselves and want to be viewed.
Target Market Acne's target audience: who they are, where they live and how they live.Â
Consumer Profiling Analysis of the company's attempts to broaden or narrow their audience and the ways in which they have done so.
Olivia Motley 17005180 Fashion Promotion Project 1
DROWEROF • 2 EGAP
F O R E W O R D Acne Studios was a creative venture founded in 1996 by Jonny Johansson in Stockholm. Johansson kick-started the brand by creating a 100-piece, denim jean collection using all the money he had to invest (The Guardian, 2013). Due to the collection, Acne became more well-known and brand awareness was on the rise. The brand very quickly became wellrespected and
known as a high-end, high quality fashion house. They now have flagship stores in main cities such as London, New York, Paris and Tokyo and have between 500 and 1000 employees working for them. The prices of their apparel and accessories range from £90 to £2000+ meaning that they are able to reach customers with ranges of disposable income (The Business of Fashion, no date).
MR PORTER: ONLINE, 2011
• 3 EGAP
I THINK IT'S FUNCTIONAL, MINIMAL, RAW AND PURE. IT'S ALSO A BIT NAUGHTY.
YTITNEDI DNARB • 4 EGAP
B R A N D I D E N T I T Y Acne identify through a few key elements: their name, their logo and their packaging. All these elements have helped to boost the awareness of Acne but also make the brand recognisable. The name - Acne Studios - was discovered through the acronym: Ambition to Create Novel Expression (Mr Porter, 2011). Initially reading the acronym, one wouldn’t presume it was the name of a fashion house – perhaps a mantra for an art museum or exhibition. However, that is exactly what Jonny Johansson wanted to do: he wanted to combine art and industry in all forms and present equilibrium between the 2 elements. Acne’s packaging is another massive element of their brand identity. The company identifies through a specific
hue of pink which they use in all of their packaging, stationery and merchandise. The pink colour soon became a strong association with the brand and a strong identity to Acne (The Guardian, 2013). As well as the colour, the materials that they use particularly in their packaging are luxurious and this resonates with the values of the company – high quality and strong attention to detail. Moreover, the simplistic design of their packaging also relates to the Skandy-style interior of their stores and design of their apparel (The New York Times, 2017). Their stores are very minimalistic with clean lines, airy interiors and simple layouts and colours; comparable to the majority of the items they sell (GQ, 2016). A lot of their garments are similar colours or only feature
YTITNEDI DNARB • 5 EGAP
up to 3 colours as well as sleek, simple silhouettes but the brand takes a lot of pride in creating garments that are well-tailored and manufactured to a high standard rather than creating designs that are complicated. The logo that Acne associates with, again, isn’t a logo one would particularly relate to a fashion brand. The logo is a simple line drawing – an emblem that has a house sitting within it, that turns out to be the Head Office in Stockholm. The emblem has writing around the outside, which reads, ‘Acne Studios Stockholm’, but this is adapted depending on the flagship store in which a purchase is made.
Overall, it’s visible that Acne have a very strong sense of brand identity despite the fact that they don’t produce a lot of promotional campaigns and shows their power when it comes to capturing an audience solely through their colouring, logo and packaging.
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I TOLD JONNY WE NEEDED RECOGNISABLE BAGS... HE WENT FULL ON. NOW YOU
MIKAEL SCHILLER, ACNE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN
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SEE THESE BUTCH GUYS WALKING AROUND WITH PINK BAGS EVERYWHERE.
TEKRAM TEGRAT • 8 EGAP
T A R G E T To be aware of Acne, it’s very much an, ‘in-the-know’, situation. Their customers tend to work in creative industries and this is where they get their knowledge of the brand from. The Acne client is one who is wealthy, confident and typically sits within the 20 to 35 year-old age range. Acne sells both male and female clothes, therefore it’s vital that they are able to adapt their promotional campaigns and brand in order to attract both sexes. (The Independent, 2010). As well as this, many customers also become aware of the Swedish company through their wealth and also where they live. As the majority of the items that Acne sell are more towards the higher price
point, shoppers with a greater disposable income are more likely to know about the brand rather than customers with a lower income. Moreover, as their flagship stores are only in major cities such as London and New York, this has a huge impact on their target market as it means they mainly attract those who live within these cities. Therefore, customers have been introduced to the brand through that way and by walking past the Acne stores in their city. Even though they are stocked in department stores as well such as Harrods – these stockists are still always in major cities and therefore produce reasoning for
their affluent and city-based target market (Acne Studios, no date).cities and therefore produce reasoning for their affluent and city-based target market (Acne Studios, no date). Their clients value quality items and don’t dress to draw attention. The typical Acne client prefers to invest in clothing that they know will withstand time and look great at the same time. The minimal yet elegant palette of Acne’s clothing reflects the laid-back and understated personality of their customer. Acne are aware that they don’t need to retain their customers through a lot of bright and bold promotional campaigns but with high-quality products and sustainable longevity of
their items, their target market will continue to purchase from the brand.
TEKRAM TEGRAT • 9 EGAP
M A R K E T
ELIFORP REMUSNOC • 01 EGAP
ELIFORP REMUSNOC • 11 EGAP
age 20-35 male and female live in cities work in creative industries medium to high disposable income buy investment pieces clients value quality don't dress to draw attention fashion forward minimal
GNILIFORP REMUSNOC • 21 EGAP
C O N S U M E R P R O F I L I N G In the beginning, Acne started out as a denim brand – selling 100 pairs of jeans that Johansson and 3 others produced in order to kick-start the brand in 1996 (Independent, 2010). They gave the jeans to savvy creatives in the hope that these popular influencers will inspire others to buy from Acne and start to involve themselves in the brand. From then on, Acne had a definitive place in the Swedish fashion industry. But in order to expand and gain a greater following, Johansson needed to vary their product range and begin to sell clothing other than just denim (The Business of Fashion, 2017). To this day, Acne’s main clothing line consists of coats, scarves, jumpers, suits and more and their silhouettes and palette are parallel to those produced over a decade ago during their expansion. The brand needed to expand their product range due to the increased competition in the denim sector: Zara and Uniqlo were selling denim at much cheaper prices than Acne and this put a lot of pressure on the company (The Business of Fashion, 2017). The brand were clearly trying to broaden their consumer profile and wanted to reach a more varied type of consumer to those who wanted more than just a pair of jeans. In early 2017, Acne reinvented their famous denim line, renaming it, ‘Blå Konst’, meaning, ‘blue art’ (Hypebeast, 2017). The line consists of 3 permanent styles called Land, River and North as well as seasonal collections which will be inspired by their ready-to-wear catwalks and will be made out of similar fabrics as well as denim. This revival of the denim line is so that Acne can stay connected with
TSNOK ALB • 31 EGAP
REPAP ENCA • 41 EGAP
their original customers and also revive their roots and show new customers where and how their brand began. Today, Acne uses a lot of different platforms to engage customers and attract new ones. Overall, the brand hasn’t tried to broaden or narrow their audience, rather… retain it. Apart from the relaunch of their Blå Konst line, the company haven’t introduced any major strategic change that would imply they are trying to narrow or broaden their customer base. The platforms that Acne use are internal and remain to intrigue and interest the same target market that they had when Acne was first founded in 1996. The platforms include their magazine, Acne Paper, exhibitions, ready-to-wear, furniture and advertising that they produce and promote on their social media accounts. The Acne target market consists of creatives who live in cities, are affluent and well educated in the arts and other creative industries. This is why Acne have chosen to target their consumers through these platforms as they know they will excite and intrigue their audience and at the same time, inspire them to purchase more items and stay involved with the brand. Acne wants to create a relationship with their clients and customers rather than attract a market that only make oneoff purchases and then forget where they made that purchase. (Highsnobiety, 2015).
GNILIFORP REMUSNOC • 51 EGAP
C O N S U M E R P R O F I L I N G
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DENIM HAS BEEN THE DNA OF THE LABEL SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 1996.
HARRIET WALKER, THE INDEPENDENT, 2010
Acne doesn’t use traditional methods of promotion and preferably promote their brand internally using their own ventures such as Acne Paper. They rely on a lot on word-of-mouth and how their loyal customers speak of the brand. The brand have collaborated with the likes of Lanvin, Lord Snowdon and Candy Magazine – none of which were, ‘announced through traditional advertising methods—the company deliberately hides its light under a barrel, preferring to promote the brand through Acne Paper, along with its shifting roster of collaborators,’ (The Wall Street Journal: online, 2013).
NOITOMORP FO SLENNAHC • 71 EGAP
C H A N N E L S O F P R O M O T I O N
NOITOMORP FO SLENNAHC • 81 EGAP
Despite sticking to non-traditional methods of promotion for the most part, the brand still advertises their collections on seasonal catwalks and most recently, through billboard posters. Their latest campaign for A/W17 featuring Kordale and Kaleb was plastered all over billboards across New York, London, Paris and other major cities. Kordale and Kaleb starred
alongside their 4 children in the campaign, making them, ‘the first black LGBT family to star in a major fashion campaign’, (The Guardian: online, 2017). The campaign was shot by Inez and Vinoodh and M/M Paris took charge of the art direction (The Guardian, 2017). The advertisement was a part of the, ‘A Face Motif...,’ collection which is based around the current digital culture by using emoticons and exploring their ability to translate languages.
L A T E S T C A M P A I G N
NOITOMORP FO SLENNAHC • 91 EGAP
The campaign was shot in New York whilst the family were on holiday and involved the entire family (Love Magazine, 2017). The shoot was playful and was a total transition from their typical promotional methods. As well as this, for the first time, Acne was externally advertising for children – a whole new target market. This campaign was an effort of trying
to sell a story and an ideal rather than just the clothes. Acne was trying to sell the idea that if you buy their clothes, you will gain this happy family trait that is conveyed in the shoot. ‘Jonny Johansson had found the couple and their kids after obsessing over the idea of a modern family in matching outfits,’ (i-D Magazine: online, 2017). This unusual choice of promotion for Acne could suggest an objective of wanting to expand their brand awareness to people who previously had never discovered or heard of the brand.
NOITOMORP FO SLENNAHC • 22 EGAP
L A T E S T C A T W A L K Acne’s most recent catwalk show for Spring/Summer ready-to-wear 2018 featured outfits all inspired by the 70’s. Vogue said it was as though, ‘the Acne girl had raided a thrift store,’ with outfits featuring oversized, cowboy collars, vinyl jackets and wide-leg trousers (Vogue: online, 2017). The catwalk shows allow the biggest fashion names to see the collection which they otherwise may not engage in if there wasn’t a catwalk. Johansson has spoken previously about celebrities and his beliefs surrounding brands that pay celebrities to wear their clothes: ‘you would like somebody to ask for your clothing rather than forcing them to wear your clothing,’ (GQ Magazine: online, 2016). Johansson wants his clients (and if they are celebrities) to want to wear the brands clothing rather than wearing it for monetary purposes and if celebrities don’t want to wear Acne’s clothing then he’d rather them not wear it at all.
M E D I A
Acne also uses social media to engage their audience. They use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to project their collections and capture an audience. On Pinterest and Instagram in particular, they showcase their collections as well as commercials and inspirations for the brand. On Instagram, the brand has gained a following of 2.1 million, making Instagram their most engaged social media platform. As well as collection, runway and commercial images, the brand also post backstage images and more informal photographs and film to their Instagram page to make their feed and brand seem more personal and relatable. The company’s Twitter and Facebook pages are a near enough a mirror image of each other: on both platforms, the brand posts e-commerce images with a direct link to the product that the image is advertising. The effective use of all their platforms gives them opportunities to attract different consumer groups. Those who
follow the brand on Instagram will be much more creative and interested in the content they produce whereas it’s likely that those creatives aren’t even aware of Acne having a Facebook account and explains why the brand post their creative and more engaging content on Instagram instead.
NOITOMORP FO SLENNAHC • 32 EGAP
S O C I A L
NOITOMORP FO SLENNAHC • 42 EGAP
T H E
F U T U R E
The use of social media currently is vital in the success of a business and in order to remain competitive, the brand need to be active as well. This is something that Acne is doing and if they continue to do this then it’s definitely a sustainable method of promotion. Furthermore, catwalks have recently been criticised due to a need for a major revamp. Potential methods for modernisation of the catwalk are: inviting customers to view the shows rather than press and celebrities, have the catwalks for the following season a month or so before they’re available to buy and the new see-now-buy-now model where customers are able to purchase the items as soon as they’ve seen them on the catwalk (Vogue, 2016). Acne recently revealed that they’ll be merging their women’s pre-collections and ready-to-wear collections together in one show
NOITOMORP FO SLENNAHC • 52 EGAP
and will be moving the dates of their catwalks to, ‘coincide with Paris haute couture fashion week,’ (The Business of Fashion: online, 2017). The brand have decided to make this change so that they’re able to focus better on the collections and produce stronger designs (The Business of Fashion, 2017). Moreover, another effort being made by the brand in order to remain competitive and sustainable is their new, ‘Showpiece Prototype,’ collection. ‘The collection features 100 original 2017 fall/winter pieces that will only be available in four of the brand’s flagship stores around the world, where it will drop just in time for the corresponding fashion week,’ (Hypebeast: online, 2017). This provides exclusivity to customers who purchase the items and in turn, make their experience more exciting.
The beliefs of Acne and their values are consistent throughout all of the aspects of their brand: from the store layout to the designs of their collections and from their promotional campaigns to their target market. Themes of minimalism, simplicity and understated power all play a part in every aspect of the Acne brand: simple silhouettes, internal promotion, minimalistic interiors and a clientele with a huge sense of style and value, yet understated. The effective use of Acne’s resources has allowed them to stay true to who they are as a brand and what they believe in. Consequently, Acne has been able to maintain their competitiveness and be seen as a strong rival to their competitors such as The Row and Alexander Wang. Despite their unwillingness to use traditional methods of promotion, it’s undeniable that the use of social media is only going to continue to grow. Since the launch of Instagram in 2010, it was recorded that 700 million people now use the social media site and over the past 5 years, the amount of users has grown by 1300% (Tech Crunch, 2017). (See graph). In order to sustain their advantage in the market and continue to succeed is if the brand adopt more traditional methods of promotion and begin to
use billboards, TV adverts and other channels in order to reach the optimum amount of customers and grow even further. Overall, Acne have managed to succeed and grow due to their effective use of social media, relaunch of their denim line and ultimately, sticking to their roots. They’ve created a cult, a following, a tribe - of which are able to understand the brand, stay loyal and connect with Acne on a more personal level than is possible with other brands. The brand is a true reflection of, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ – their simple designs and interiors would suggest a very laid back and relaxed business but in fact, all of their collections have meanings and their brand is a much more complex one than people would initially think and really, isn’t that what Acne is all about?
Amount of users (millions)
NOISULCNOC • 62 EGAP
C O N C L U S I O N
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R E F E R E N C E S
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GQ. (2017). Acne Studios Founder Jonny Johansson Doesn’t Care If Drake and Rihanna Wear His Clothes. [online] Available at: https://www.gq.com/story/acne-studiosdesigner-jonny-johansson-interview [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017]. Hicklin, A. (2017). Kaleb and Kordale: meet America’s new model family. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/22/kaleb -and-kordale-america-new-model-same-sex-family [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017]. Highsnobiety. (2017). ACNE Sweden Interview | Highsnobiety. [online] Available at: https://www.highsnobiety.com/2015/03/25/jonny-johanssontomas-skoging-acne-interview/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017]. I-d. (2017). kordale and kaleb, instagram's fave gay dads, star in an amazing acne studios campaign. [online] Available at: https://i-d.vice.com/en_au/article/7xxv5g/kordale-and-kalebinstagrams-fave-gay-dads-star-in-an-amazing-acne-studioscampaign [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017]. Instagram.com. (2017). Acne Studios (@acnestudios) • Instagram photos and videos. [online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/acnestudios/?hl=en [Accessed 22 Dec. 2017]. Kan, E. (2017). Lanvin Denim Collection by Acne. [online] HYPEBEAST. Available at: https://hypebeast.com/2008/12/lanvin-denim-collection-byacne [Accessed 18 Dec. 2017]. Lendrum, A. (2017). Acne Studios Releases a Series of EmojiInspired Sweaters. [online] HYPEBEAST. Available at: https://hypebeast.com/2016/7/acne-studios-emoji-inspiredsweaters [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017]. LOVE. (2017). Kordale and Kaleb star in new Acne Studios campaign shot by Inez and Vinoodh | LOVE. [online] Available at: http://www.thelovemagazine.co.uk/posts/8299/kordaleand-kaleb-star-in-new-acne-studios-campaign-shot-by-inezand-vinoodh [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017]. Magazine, W. (2017). Acne launches the Snowdon Blue project | Fashion | Wallpaper* Magazine. [online] Wallpaper*. Available at: https://www.wallpaper.com/fashion/acne-launches-thesnowdon-blue-project [Accessed 18 Dec. 2017]. O,Motley. (2017) Clothes rack, Acne, Harrods [London, 6th November 2017] O,Motley. (2017) Mannequin, Acne, Harrods [London, 6th November 2017] O,Motley. (2017) New York [New York, April 2016]
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Pinterest. (2017). P R O M O. [online] Available at: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/livmotley/p-r-o-m-o/ [Accessed 1 Dec. 2017]. PORTER, M. (2017). Acne | The Intro | The Journal | MR PORTER. [online] MR PORTER. Available at: https://www.mrporter.com/journal/journal_issue41/2#top [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017]. Something About. (2017). The Evolution of ACNE Studios. [online] Available at: https://www.somethingaboutmagazine.com/evolutionacne-studios/ [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017]. Stanley, J. (2017). Acne Studios Unveils Its Super Limited Edition "Showpiece Prototype" Collection. [online] HYPEBEAST. Available at: https://hypebeast.com/2017/9/acne-studios-showpiececollection-2017 [Accessed 30 Nov. 2017]. The Business of Fashion. (2017). Acne Reboots Denim Strategy. [online] Available at: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/bof-exclusive/acnereboots-denim-strategy [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017]. The Independent. (2017). Acne: A clear winner. [online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/lifestyle/fashion/features/acne-a-clear-winner-783462.html [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017]. The Independent. (2017). The hot spot for cool customers: Swedish label Acne. [online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/the-hotspot-for-cool-customers-swedish-label-acne-2024245.html [Accessed 11 Dec. 2017]. Twitter.com. (2017). Acne Studios (@acnestudios) | Twitter. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/acnestudios? ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor [Accessed 22 Dec. 2017]. Vogue. (2017). Acne Studio’s Jonny Johansson on Getting Out of the Denim Box. [online] Available at: https://www.vogue.com/article/acne-studio-jonny-johansson [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017]. Yaeger, L. (2017). How to Succeed in Fashion Without Trying Too Hard. [online] WSJ. Available at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324678604578340 402927911328 [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
Olivia Motley 17005180 Fashion Promotion Project 1