How to position a retail brand in an overcrowded marketplace?
What makes a brand unique? Why will consumers be drawn to your brand? How does the audience perceive your brand? The answers to these critical questions all play into a brand’s place in the market.
When the brand is a retailer, things get even more complicated – The story of Flain
In the past year, the pandemic has hit the markets hard and consumer behaviour has changed rapidly. In a matter of days, everyone was staying at home and regular business attire was exchanged for cosy pants, simple t-shirts and yoga pants, and to be honest, everybody liked it. Within months, everyone was talking about a new style of clothing which is both super-practical and utterly fashionable. This new category of fashion that was growing in popularity merged the words athletic and leisure, and a new word was coined: athleisure. The relaxed and cool style that blends sportswear with fashion and everyday outfits became not only comfortable – it also became chic.
This was when we were approached by a group of entrepreneurs from the GCC area. They came to us with the idea of bringing popular activewear brands closer to GCC’s online shoppers to fill lots of gaps they had noticed in the market. The idea was to create a service that brings famous athleisure brands closer to Middle Eastern customers, providing fast delivery and exceptional customer care. They also wanted to create a unique online marketplace where buyers could order activewear items without added shipping costs or the excessive margins of high street stores, and with a delivery service of no more than three days. They called it Flain.
Defining a brand’s positioning is crucial because it serves as the backbone for developing a business direction, a marketing message and an overall identity for the brand. When we are talking about retailer brands, things can get a lot more complicated because a brand’s identity and positioning can get lost among all of the supplier brands that are offered and become misunderstood or, in the worst case, invisible.
This is exactly what challenged us when creating a unique identity for the Flain brand. It was not just about finding a unique brand story; Flain’s visual language had to work as a framing for all of the suppliers’ brands, in addition to being distinctive and delivering a coherent and straightforward message.
How to provide a noteworthy brand experience?
The selection of a brand’s points of difference begins with its competitive strengths and insight into consumers’ motivations for using the category and/or brand. The goal is to find a feature or benefit that distinguishes the brand from its competitors in the same category and is valued by consumers. When the point of difference is a benefit, rather than a product feature, the claim is strengthened by providing reasons to believe it. For this reason, brand positions often rely on the image to provide a rationale for a benefit point of difference – of the type of person who uses the brand, or the brand personality itself.
During the brand strategy phase, we tend to give our brands human characteristics. The idea of Flain as a person is someone elegant, healthy, energetic and seductive, while also being friendly and active. The top priorities for this person are comfort and luxury, with an emphasis on soft, high-quality materials and the feel-good factor, but also trends, all sprinkled with fun, vibrant, adventurous styling options. This is exactly the visual language and platform we wanted to create for the Flain brand.
For activewear fans in the GCC region who are looking beyond the online retailers for quality clothes; for those striving for premium quality dressed up in simplicity and wrapped up in comfort. For them, the Flain marketplace is THE destination for activewear style essentials, offering a unique selection of exclusive brands and organic cosmetics, with engaging product descriptions, images and videos – all topped up with fast delivery, reliable availability and fair pricing. Yes, all of the above. Because we believe that customers can have both comfort and style; they don’t have to choose between them. For us, freedom of choice means finding the perfect fit that lets your personality shine through.
Flain positioning statement
Some call it ‘athleisure,’ but we prefer ‘activewear style essentials’
‘Athleisure’ is the most common term used to explain this specific style of clothing. However, we want to differentiate. We categorise the Flain service with a differentiating factor, while at the same time ensuring that we don’t confuse its customers or lose the essential meaning of the product.
By building up the general product category, we turned it into Activewear Style Essentials.
Free to choose
The freedom to choose your style and make a specific combination of basic apparel your own is at the core of the Flain brand. This is why we have created a slogan that communicates that value: ‘Free to choose.’Because Flain customers are free to select between different brands, they can choose what to wear on the spot and design their own style.
Activewear is breaking down barriers and dress codes around the world and the Flain brand, ‘dressed’ with its unique brand positioning, is here to lead the change throughout the GCC area.