The importance of a vision

For the first time ever, a company’s vision is becoming just as important as the company’s product.

When I think of a brand like Victoria’s Secret, I don’t think of the products they actually sell. I think of their social media campaigns, their fashion show, and their infamous supermodels who have become more than just faces in their catalogues.

When I think of a brand like Patagonia, I think of the company’s founder, a climber and environmentalist named Yvon Chouinard. I also think about the inspiring emails I receive from Patagonia every other day about climbers and athletes around the world who do amazing things – wearing Patagonia, of course.

Plenty of companies reflect the same branding values as Victoria’s Secret and Patagonia. Think about Apple and Facebook – do Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg immediately come to mind? These companies have all successfully branded either their CEO or their company’s vision instead of placing emphasis on advertising their specific products.

I’ve noticed this concept trickling down to smaller brands as well. Businesses in Chapel Hill utilize social media as a tool to build relationships with customers, and when they don’t have a strong social media presence, they fall through the cracks. (I mentioned this in one of my previous blogs as well.)

As an APPLES service-learning intern for two organizations, I know that to improve a company’s PR, the first thing we do is brand the company based on a person or a vision. For the UNC Learning Center and the East Coast Greenway Alliance, the two companies I’ve been working with, my team didn’t even consider changing or improving the companies’ products to build up the clientele and brand awareness. My peers and I have been focusing solely on building the brands’ social media presence and creating a concept that will stick with viewers.

Social media has made this publicity model easier than ever. Campaigns are shared among millions of people on a daily basis, and people become loyal to brands without even knowing it. It’s easier to become loyal to a person or an idea than an actual product.

#Versace

Backstage at the Versace Fall 2015 RTW show at Milan Fashion Week, Donatella Versace said she wanted to “redefine Versace for the world today.”

The Italian fashion house did just that. Versace sent its models down the runway donning an unusually trendy pattern – think hashtags and @ signs. I know what you’re thinking – that sounds pretty tacky. I have to admit when I first heard about it from a Women’s Wear Daily tweet, I thought, “this can’t be good.” But the dresses were fabulous – and a true reflection of “the world today.”

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The pattern seems strange, but the Internet has become such a huge part of our lives that it’s almost shocking digital patterns haven’t made an appearance on the runway before. Of course, I have to admit I’m surprised the first company to do this was one of the most elite fashion houses in the world.

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The question now is whether or not people will actually adopt this trend into their wardrobes. Although I admired the digital-inspired pieces, I have to say I wouldn’t consider a dress with a hashtag on it for say, formal, even if it was in my price range. I predict that it will become a huge trend among less luxurious brands to include digital graphics on clothing collections. Graphic tees, for example, with digital phrases and symbols will most likely become more popular at stores like Urban Outfitters and Brandy Melville – trendier stores that require less of a financial investment.

I guess the Versace collection struck me as groundbreaking for two reasons:

1. Graphics on a dress are unheard of – especially a Versace evening dress that probably costs upwards of $2,000.

2. The collection made it clear that the Internet has officially taken over every aspect of our lives – even high fashion. I would almost say that the infusion of digital graphics into high fashion pieces is a statement on Versace’s part that it’s okay to have fun with fashion, and fashion should reflect our lives. The Internet has become a vital part of who we are as a generation, so why shouldn’t our style reflect that?

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