Retail TouchPoints: Ralph Lauren Looks to Stay Relevant Amid Shifts
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
After more than 44 years in the retail industry, Ralph Lauren sought new strategies to reinvent itself to stay relevant with the next generation of consumers. To reaffirm its stance as a desired luxury brand, the company turned to "merchantainment," which David Lauren, EVP of advertising, marketing and corporate communications, described as "the seamless blending of merchandising and entertainment."
"Merchantainment is all about telling stories from around the world about your own products," said Mr. Lauren during a session at the NRF annual convention titled "Keeping a Classic Brand Modern."
Retailers can create stories across channels to turn items into a lifestyle, he explained, making shoppers grow more connected to brands and their offerings. Increasingly, the brand stays relevant by telling its story though interactive marketing strategies in-store, online and via mobile.
By integrating its brand image and overall lifestyle into the website, Ralph Lauren also was able to make e-commerce a more acceptable channel within the luxury industry. "Our goal was to get shoppers comfortable with the idea that they could buy a $5,000 bag, tuxedo or gown online," Mr. Lauren said. "We wanted to show that the internet was not just a cheap place to get coupons, but a place to build a luxury brand."
The retailer also released Ralph Lauren Magazine to display brand messaging and new products.
During his presentation, Mr. Lauren discussed the array of tools and tactics the retailer has utilized to create a 360-degree view of the brand. For example, to promote its Rugby offering, Ralph Lauren rolled out a QR code campaign in which shoppers can scan the code to design and personalize their own shirts. The retailer also has leveraged online product videos, celebrity testimonial campaigns, and in-store kiosks to allow easy access to the Ralph Lauren items.
To increase customer loyalty and overall engagement, Ralph Lauren developed interactive, virtual fashion shows that include Q&As with fashion editors. All of these initiatives have allowed the brand to be seen as a lifestyle, rather than a line of products, according to Mr. Lauren.
"We don’t just sell clothes: we sell a dream and a lifestyle," Mr. Lauren said. "When you shop in our stores and online, you’re inspired by this dream and lifestyle and want access into that world."
- Ralph Lauren Executive Explains How Retailers Can Stay Relevant In Light Of Marketing And Technology Shifts – Retail TouchPoints
Discussion Questions: What are the particular challenges a storied brand such as Ralph Lauren has in connecting with younger consumers? Do newer media options represent an opportunity or obstacle for established brands looking to connect with new audiences?