When Merch Met Fashion

Post by Matthew Aquilina Manché – Marketing Director at NERO WHYTE

It was a summer afternoon in West Hollywood, Los Angeles in 2017. I was casually taking a stroll down Melrose Avenue, minding my own business until something shocking happened… something I never thought I’d see but it was there, right in front of me. It was a forty something-year-old hairy, tattooed, biker-type man walking down the street, proudly sporting a Justin Bieber merch item.  I thought to myself, “Ok, this is crazy but this is also Los Angeles. This is new but has this guy lost his clothes in a bar fight and grabbed the first thing he found in H&M?”  (Yes, Purpose Tour merch was sold at H&M)

The truth is – Justin Bieber’s Purpose Tour Merch Collection was more than just merchandise, this was a fashion statement and a game-changing moment within the fashion and music industry alike. American designer Jerry Lorenzo, the man behind fashion brand Fear Of God was the designer of the Purpose Tour merch. This collab between music and fashion industry titans left a mark that has made merch ‘cool again’ or to be more appropriate ‘lit’.

So here we have the perfect example of music merch meeting fashion, but that’s only a part of this marriage.

Another key player in the merch and fashion love story is the thrift store. Vintage clothing has caused a revival not only for brands like Champion, Fila, Diadora and so on … but also for, yes you know it, music merch. There is no better proof to this than looking at what’s on the high street shelves, it is safe to say music merch is back. When I say back, I mean back in time. AC/DC, Nirvana, Metallica, Guns n Roses etc… all on the rails of stores like Urban Outfitters and H&M. This isn’t really a result of H&M’s strategies but more of a sign of the times, as well as a clear sign of what the ‘cool kids’ have been wearing a couple years prior.

 

So, this leaves us in an exciting place and more clear proof that in the creative world, the rules are made to broken. Cross collaboration is where it’s at and for music artists, merch can be taken to new levels and expand opportunity. As an artist, you can now cross-promote via collaboration and use items of clothing (as well as other items of merchandise) as a new way to reach people through your brand.

Here at NERO WHYTE we love both music and fashion – with backgrounds not only in design but also, garment manufacturing, fashion product development and music industry experience, we just might be the perfect team to help you bring your future merch collections off the ground.

Let’s have a chat.

Photo (Left): Purpose Tour Merch

What Is Your True ‘Brand’ Identity?

Post by Matthew Aquilina Manché – Marketing Director at NERO WHYTE

Window shopping down the high street? Browsing through the supermarket aisles to find dinner? Driving to the gym in the early hours of the day? Throughout these daily motions, there is a reoccurring thing in coming into your sight, and more often than not, you are registering and unconsciously processing this thing within your subconscious …

 

Even though this thing is reoccurring, every time you come across it, it evokes a different gut feeling within you. So what is it?

 

Yep. You’ve guessed it/the title gave it away … Brand.

 

We are constantly surrounded by this thing we call brand.

So then, what exactly is it? In advertising terms, a brand is any feature that sets apart and identifies one product, service or company from another. To the contrary belief, branding doesn’t only consist of visual design aspects – A brand is truly set by the feelings it evokes in people. Whether it be feelings of trust or disgust, happiness or ghastliness, a brand is what people perceive of a product, service or company – and because of this, we now find ourselves in a world where there are many elements and components which give to the formulating of what a brand is. All this being said, no one can deny that name, logo and other design aspects do act as a visual stamp to what a brand represents. We’d go as far to say that design is the most important guide towards people identifying with your product, service or company. Now, when it comes to your business, what is your true brand identity? To be honest, the answer lies with your audience, so you will need to ask them – but in the meantime, here are some critical points you should be looking into right away:

  • Identify your current key identifiers that your audience instantly associates with your brand
  • Get insight to see if these identifiers are effectively communicating the message you want to spread
  • Make certain that there is consistency and continuity all throughout your brands’ exposure

To help you along the way, we’ve made a list …

Our top 5 key brand identifiers:

1. The Name

Juliet Capulet once said, “What’s in a name?” and many would agree – but in context to a world of consumerism and a neverending stampede of brands, we would say that there is a lot in a name, as this is the key identifier that separates one brand to the next. Some brand names formulate quite naturally and the most effective ones, in our opinion, are the ones that are most authentic and more often than not, most simple. On the flip side, when put in a position to name a new brand, there is an art and skill set to successful naming – this could be a challenge for many and the idea of encompassing what a brand represents in the small space of one, maybe two words can be daunting.

 

 

2. The Logo

Formulated by either a name or a symbol, the logo is a very significant identifier for a brand. Logo’s are an essential part of taking a brand to ‘iconic’ status. Creating a great logo needs to come from a position of deep understanding and strong vision. Without proper insight and foresight of a brand, one cannot communicate the true essence and will certainly not achieve the ultimate achievement of Timelessness.

 

 

3. Typography

Typography is everywhere. From road signs to soda cans to aeroplane in-flight magazines. We are surrounded by typefaces all day, every day and like all the other brand elements, fonts evoke different gut feelings within your audience and more often than not, connects that audience to a product, service or company. The typefaces chosen or created for your brand, are a great opportunity to define personality and should always be used consistently wherever the brand appears.

 

 

4. Colour Palette 

Colour is an integral part of any brand. The shades chosen will resonate instantly when coming into the view of people’s sight and will cause them to quickly associate a colour with a brand. Whilst we are here, let’s do a little test (It’ll be fun we promise), using the list of brand names below, notice how quickly you will connect to their colour palette:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Easy Jet
  • McDonalds
  • Starbucks
  • Facebook
  • Premier Inn
  • Cadbury

In order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Purple (Indigo). So we’ve pretty much named the colours of the rainbow by associating with brand names alone – this might feel simple and easy but that’s because of the well-thought-out incorporation of colour within branding.

 

 

5. Tone of Voice

Branding is not only identified in imagery but also words. Whether it be a social media post, website content or a company tag line – all formats of words give to a brands tone of voice. When establishing a tone of voice, all brand elements must be factored in, as it’s within this key identifier that the voice of the brand is communicated.

 

Looking to start a brand? or to effectively communicate true identity through your current brand? Either way, we are here to help you succeed.

Let’s have a chat.

 

Is It Time For A Social Influencer Revolution?

Post by Nenad Petrovic – Managing Director at NERO WHYTE

There is no denying that the way you market your business is constantly changing. The most constant change is change itself.

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the appeal in social media influencers who offer a post, story or write-up in exchange for freebies or against payment. It has become the new ‘word of mouth,’ but have many social media influencers started to abuse this incredible advantage?

Have their posts and content truly influenced someone to spend money or enticed people to use a service?

Has there truly been a return of investment?

This is not to say that including an influencer in your marketing strategy will be ineffective – but how do you differentiate authentic from fake? (In addition, could there be a new breath of influencer in our midst?)

Here are 5 very simple ways to check if an influencer is right for you:

1. Followers

Quantity does not always mean quality.

When choosing the right influencers to promote your product/service do not get carried away by the number of followers one might have – some of the most effective influencer profiles have surprisingly modest follower counts but when looking deeper into their insights, their effective performance is clear.

2. Engagement

Do the number of followers, match the post engagement?

Just because an influencer has a lot of followers, it does not necessarily mean that they host a platform for active engagement. Did you know that most influencers purchase their followers?  Most of the followers could be inactive ‘bots.’

It is worthwhile looking into, if the ratio of engagement matches the freebie you decide to distribute.

3. Posts

Do your influencers advertise your business?

Check the feed posts and stories, do they focus on what your business offers and excite their followers to visit/purchase?

Viewing comments on posts will show you if their followers are actually interested in content that relates to your business. For example, if you are a restaurant or bar and all the comments are focused on the makeup, clothes or a striking pose, is this influencer suited to you?

4. Audience

Influencers should have a clear direction for their followers.

If their page doesn’t indicate a clear ‘fan base’, you are at risk of missing out on the audience you want to reach.

5. Content

Choosing influencers who specialise and create content in relation to your business is key to a successful collaboration.

For example, a fashion influencer asking for free drinks and food at a restaurant or bar will attract more fashion-focused eyes and the free outfit they receive to wear to your bar and may just leave you lost in the background.

So, the search for the perfect social media influencer begins, but don’t move along just yet. Now that you know what to look for in your quest of social media dominance, we’ve got another idea

(Warning: This may cause a revolution!)

 

All this being said, could it be, that you are the one you’ve been looking for?

Let’s take this a step further and ask you whether in fact, could your best influencer be yourself?

Now that you have a little more insight, ask yourself …

Is there anything these influencers can do for you that you cannot do yourself, or potentially a lot better?

The budget you distribute issuing free items or paying influencers could be used to target the right audience. If your content is right and looks great,  you’ve got the potential to maximise your social platforms and reach your desired audience.

This is where we can help – It may seem like a daunting experience, but this is what we specialise in and we can get your business to the point where you will be your own successful social media influencer.

The way we market will change again soon, the question is, will you be ahead of the game? Forget yesterday’s trend and start tomorrow’s today, the time is now. And who better than NERO WHYTE to help you along the way?

Let’s have a chat