Fitting in by fitting into Brandy Melville
Brandy Melville has successfully established itself as one of the trendiest brands amongst the coveted teen demographic. According to the Huffington Post, “Brandy Melville is one of the fastest-growing brands… ranking well ahead of established stores like H&M, American Eagle and Hollister” (2014). They have differentiated themselves in three ways: a large social media presence, competitive price points, and their unique marketing strategy targeting a very particular segment.
Brandy Melville, for the most part, does not invest in any traditional advertising tactics but rather relies on social media and word of mouth communication as their medium for advertising and promoting their brand. “Brandy Melville’s popularity is fed almost exclusively through social media buzz” says blogger Lisa Marsh (2014). Brandy Melville has approximately 2.5 million followers on Instagram, 75,000 followers on Twitter, 240,000 likes on Facebook, and maintains a popular board on Pintrest. Brandy Melville’s major e-commerce presence has not gone unnoticed, Business Insider discusses how, “the brilliant Instagram account, which features a mix of professional models and real customers [has helped the] retailer rank in the top ten teen clothing brands.” (2015) In addition to this, the storefronts also display minimal and very discrete signage, therefore adding to its exclusivity. Besides social medial, Brandy Melville has also gained a lot of its popularity from “Hollywood celebrities, including The Kardashians, Ashley Benson, Taylor Swift, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Karlie Kloss and many others.” (Brandy Melville, 2016).
Brandy Melville is best known for its unique ‘one size fits all’ policy that they have on all their clothes. Every shirt, sweater, jacket and pair of pants is available in only one size. Most of the clothes at Brandy Melville fit a small or medium sized girl ranging from size 0-6 and are therefore targeted towards a very specific segment, keeping mind the average size for women in the United States is approximately size 12-14. Adopting this policy gives teens the desire to fit in by fitting into Brandy Melville’s clothes. Brandy Melville has created the vision of the quintessential ‘Brandy girl,’ “whose classic character stands out in the crowd, is refined and fashionable yet relaxed,” the idea of this idealized 'brandy girl' is what teen girls aspire to be (Brandy Melville, 2016).
Lastly, one major way Brandy Melville has differentiated itself in a way that attracts their target market are their exceptionally affordable prices. They offer their customers fairly low and reasonable prices in comparison to other retailers who are charging double or even triple the amount for very similar clothes. Having affordable prices for their target market, teenagers, is extremely valuable and beneficial as teenagers tend to have lower spending windows in comparison to other segments of shoppers.
I believe that Brandy Melville has strategically differentiated themselves using the three strategies they have chosen. Mainly using social media and not traditional marketing strategies can be quite risky, however to many peoples surprise this has helped the brand reach the levels of success it has. Adopting a 'one size fits all' policy has created several negative views on the brand, similar to ones that are targeted towards companies like Abercrombie and Fitch, however regardless of the negativity that Brandy Melville receives the policy has built an aura of exclusivity around the brand that teen girls yearn for. I believe that the pricing strategy Brandy Melville has adopted was strategic and intelligently chosen and is another the reason for the fast growing popularity of the brand. To conclude, Brandy Melville has successfully established itself as a trendy and exclusive brand amongst the teenage girl demographic by creating a need to fit in by fitting into Brandy Melville.