Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And We Flock Just Like Birds of a Feather

My current project at work involves getting cosy with over 250 of the nation's most well-known retailers (*subliminal* Westfield London opens 30th October *subliminal* ) and it has really woken me up to just how snobby I am about where I shop and where I choose to spend my hard-earned cash. I do TopShop and H&M, but not Zara. I shop in Sainsbury's and see Waitrose as a treat. I love Selfridges yet avoid Harrods. I am fiercely loyal to M.A.C and Clarins, but totally whoreish over my toothpaste.

The notion of 'Families of Brands' is a concept that is often banded about amongst marketing types, but I think overlooked. Typologies can really gain depth if you start to look at the assortment of brands people bring into their lives. A London-based 30 year old women, with two kids who lives in Islington and shops in Jigsaw will present a completely different set of values and consumption habits to a London-based 30 year old women, with two kids who lives in Islington yet shops in Debenhams.

Suddenly you see that the Jigsaw shopper also has a weekly delivery from Abel & Cole, buys her underwear from M&S, and splashes out in Nicole Farhi. Debenhams lady, however, loves a bargain in Primark, does her food shopping in Tesco, and looks forward to the Karen Millen sale. Where most will have placed these two women in the same consumer group based on age, location and gender, those who look at Brand Families can see a much broader picture.

And it doesn't stop there. Once you know the 'Family', you can see where other brands might fit in - ideal if you are bringing a new one to market. You can see where competition lies outside of your industry - perfect for identifying competitors. And, if you are already established, you can bring your other Family members closer - be it geographically or psychologically - and become stronger.

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