Tuesday, May 14

The University Look

In writing yesterday's post about Abercrombie & Fitch, it occurred to me that I was once a devotee and even wrote about it in my first book.  The only reason I stopped is because I got too "old" for the brand and my teenage kids didn't get into the brand essence.  Interesting.

But even more interesting, as we see perhaps the allure of A&F fade, is how other brands are coming into play.

I believe that the "University Look" is still relevant, it's just how it gets executed.  Now Ralph Lauren also recently shut down it's "Rugby" brand, but I think that was more about the company's own portfolio management as it was anything else.  Just my bet.

We've seen other brands take on the look recently with what appears to be great success.

The UK brand Jack Wills is hitting the US by storm, popping up with stand-alones in major markets where there are large university bases.  Brooks Brothers has also reinvented a new line appealing to a much younger, college-age crowd.

The looks are all very similar, although admittedly less "athletic" than A&F, but still in the same space. So as a brand or two go "out," there appears to be room for a brand or two to come "in."  Now this is probably particularly true in fashion, but I think it's a key component of any marketing.  If you have a core idea that resonates, you need to keep it alive and keep it ownable, or it will quickly fade or be taken over by someone else.

I think that's what we are seeing with the "University Look."

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur

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