Wildfang is a clothing brand that has a cult-like following. Why? I did a deep-dive brand analysis into why Wildfang has been so successful. In this episode of Why You Like It, I go on location with founder, Emma McIlroy:
What is Wildfang?
Wildfang is a brand that has taken the fashion world by storm! They keep their message simple – the home for badass women. Their goal is to break all the gender roles that are holding women back.
From a product perspective, Wildfang calls themselves “female Robin Hoods”. They steal fashion trends that have traditionally belonged to men, and they reject the forces that told them they couldn’t wear something. Women feel empowered when wearing Wildfang’s pieces, like coveralls for example, because they know they are not just being fashionable, but also busting stereotypes.
But why do we like Wildfang so much. I want to look at all the different brand signals that Wildfang uses to capture our attention.
Marketing Lessons from Wildfang
There are some major marketing lessons we can learn from Wildfang. There is a reason they draw the attention of their target consumers so well. It starts with them picking a space they can truly “own”, and then signaling the consumers within this space with several very effective methods.
1. Owning Your Space
Wildfang likes to think of a product space in terms of whether it is ownable. By “ownable”, they mean a product that they can define their brand by, to the point where the consumer thinks of them when they think of that product. For example, their work wear has become so successful that it is now one of their signature looks.
Wildfang doesn’t want to be just another one of the retail brands in that space, they want to be that space in their consumer’s minds.
2. Powerful Brand Signals
The Wildfang owners are masters of using brand signals, which are the little ways that a brand communicates their identity to their perfect person and target consumer. They are able to do this because they know their perfect person inside and out, and they know exactly what they want their brand to represent. This is called an ideal customer persona.
Your ideal customer persona is the person you truly want to help.
Wildfang has created a fashion experience that speaks to those who are fed up with the exclusivity of fashion. Their ideal customer persona doesn’t take themselves too seriously and makes products that are truly for everyone.
Their perfect customer is someone who doesn’t necessarily feel included by mainstream fashion, or is simply looking for a fresh take on the old school fashion industry.
What makes Wildfang so special is the various ways that they communicate this message. They do so with many brand signals found all throughout their marketing.
3. Experience, not just shopping
You don’t just shop at Wildfang. You experience it. Let’s look at the various brand signals throughout their in-store experience. Wildfang uses many creative and effective ways to signal their brand message to their perfect consumer throughout the entire customer experience in-store.
- Cheeky Displays: One of Wildfang’s core brand values is “cheeky”. Being cheeky is a way of countering how serious, pretentious, and exclusive the fashion world can get. They want to show consumers that fashion is fun, and is meant for everyone. They do this with little trinkets and fun decorations around their store to show they aren’t so serious. Partnered with the laid-back and fun nature of their retail products, it really becomes an environment accepting of everyone.
- Carving Wall: Another cool feature of Wildfang’s flagship store is the big carving wall. It is alongside one of the store walls, and anyone is free to carve a message. They know that many of their perfect people were former tomboys, and they know that a carving tree was popular amongst this crowd. This is a great way to harness nostalgia, and have their customers find common ground in a really fun way, while recognizing that Wildfang really understands them.
4. Easy to Share
A very important part of Wildfang’s store design is “shareable moments”. They fill their store with fun experiences that are highly shareable on social media. From their ever-changing and topical marquee sign, to a customized shopping bag, there is always a new message to share.
And of course, this allows Wildfang’s customers to advertise their message to other potential customers. Free social marketing!
5. Not just a website
Wildfang has a pretty incredible web and social media presence. The company has a strong brand with many signals, especially through their Instagram. In the video above I took a look at some more brand signals in this area. Here’s a summary:
- Instagram: Wildfang’s Instagram presence has a very carefully crafted strategy to reach their perfect person. They prominently feature people and messages that appeal to the cheeky nature and inclusivity of their brand. And the success of their social media marketing shows, with over 150k followers!
- Online Store: They also communicate their inclusive shopping experience with their online store, which is very clean and organized. There are many different ethnicities of models shown, so that people are able to relate to anything they see. They want everyone to feel represented and included through this online experience. I also really like their “Bestsellers” tab. People are always interested in what other people are buying, and it is a great form of social proof.
- Email Marketing: Wildfang has an excellent email marketing campaign. The email I received from Wildfang advertised a “mystery discount”, which means you have to click through to find out which discount you will receive. The theme was centered around International Cat Day. It was a fun, engaging way to get customers to notice, and it certainly made me remember to look out for their emails in the future. The email, like the brand, was unique, and spoke to unique people.
We can learn a lot from Wildfang. Whether you are an entrepreneur, in sales, or looking to find a date, you can adopt their ethos:
- Don’t try to appeal to everyone–appeal to your people.
- Know your perfect person and seek them out.
- Make it obvious who you are looking for.
Remember: If you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.