468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Sunday, January 31, 2016

J.Crew- The Move From Catalogue to Social Media

         When J.Crew was founded in 1983, they focused their brand image around “popular 80's preppy, yuppie aesthetic” targeted at young upper middle class professionals [1]. Today J.Crew’s clothing lines are still focused around that same image, just more modern. J.Crew is one of those companies who came out with a highly successful catalogue campaign in the 80s. The photography and art direction they use for their catalogues, then and now, focuses on high quality brand imagery and timelessness. It was crucial for J.Crew to have success with their catalogues because it was their only form of distribution until 1989, when they opened their first store in New York. It wasn't until 2003 when J.Crew hired their CEO Mickey Drixler, that their marketing efforts began to change. 

J.Crew 1988 Spring Catalogue 

       To me this was a critical move for J.Crew, without it they could of easily died out as a company. As J.Crew began to launch itself among various social media platforms they started to find that:
"J.Crew customers who engage with us via our social media outlets (facebook, twitter, Pinterest or Instagram) generally spend approximately 2x more than the average J.Crew customer." [2] 
In my opinion this is pretty substantial for J.Crew considering it was their first real attempt at trying any other form of marketing besides their catalogues. They really caught on to the imagery and lifestyle that appeal to people in their target market

       J.Crew is also became known for its celebrity endorsements, most notably was when Michelle Obama and her daughter wore the brand to her husband's inauguration causing sales to more than double for that month [1]. J.Crew has attempted to use these celebrities, especially Michelle Obama, to form a story about the brand that promotes a positive classier lifestyle; the First Lady of the United States wears J.Crew and so can you.

  Michelle Obama and her Daughter in J.Crew

      From their social media presence to their celebrity endorsements J.Crew took it one step further to really engage their consumers when they introduced the "Pocket Dial" this past Christmas season. They certainly "REV'ed" up their message by offering something remarkable, engaging, and visceral. What J.Crew did was partner up with Jimmy Fallon who created a phone case that also doubled as a pocket square for suits. Jimmy Fallon partnered and sold these solely through J.Crew and acted as a hub to spread the J.Crew name. This partnership gained incredible buzz for J.Crew around the Christmas season as well as showed their CSR side since 100% of the profits were donated. 

Jimmy Fallon Introducing The J.Crew Pocket Dial

       In think that these types of celebrity endorsements, partnerships, and social media presence is where retail marketing will be focused in the future. I think J.Crew did an incredible job adapting to the changing technology while staying true to their brand image and reputation. They still publish their catalogues 4 times a year and send them to those who sign up to receive them, but they have also really embraced social media.  

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/the-story-of-how-jcrew-became-the-3-billion-dollar-company-everyone-was-fighting-over-2011-3?op=1  
[2] http://trackmaven.com/blog/2014/05/j-crews-data-driven-marketing-approach-fashion/
- http://www.vault.com/company-profiles/retail/j-crew-group,-inc/company-overview.aspx
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8luhHC6VAeU 


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