No Ads, No Sales and 250 Logos: The Secrets of One Brand’s Success


23F8596200000578-2869724-image-m-11_1418301245421You may not have heard of this purveyor of preppy-cum-vintage apparel for 15-25 year-olds, but its financials should get your attention:

  • 93.6% increase in retail sales this past Christmas season over last year
  • 243.3% increase in internet sales for the same period
  • 74.4% increase in total sales for the first three quarters of its fiscal year, to £172,000,000.

All of this with no advertising, no clearance sales and in the midst of a faltering UK economic recovery (don’t let the logo fool you – they’re British). So what can your brand learn from Superdry and its parent, SuperGroup?

  1. Commit to Your Brand. The only thing Japanese about Superdry is its founders’ interest in the country and its style, but that didn’t stop them from making Kanji and Katakana versions of the name part of the brand’s logo.
  2. Stay focused. Superdry’s success would make it easy for them to start selling a children’s line, but, in the words of founder Julian Dunkerton, “Fifteen-year-olds will not get sweaty about Superdry if their kid brother is wearing it.”
  3. Invest in new brandsIF AND ONLY IF they help differentiate your product lines from each other and you are willing to support them, that is. Superdry is one of the clothing brands of SuperGroup, which also sells clothing under the 77Breed (snowboard-inspired) and SurfCo California (surf-inspired) brands, and whose online and brick and mortar retail operations include stores under the Superdry and Cult names. Superdry clothing also features countless graphic treatments of the name Superdry. Hence the 250 logos that Mr. Dunkerton believes will give his brand the unlimited room for growth that using a single, uniform logo has denied English retailers FCUK and Bench.
  4. Persist. Mr. Dunkerton’s been at this for 26 years.
  5. Don’t advertise and don’t hold sales, but do recruit a Beckham. Superdry claims to have grown by word of mouth, its only discounts are when it sells irregular inventory on ebay and they haven’t hired any celebrities to endorse their products. They did, on the other hand, mail one of their jackets to David Beckham, who was wearing it in several widely-published photographs just before Superdry began selling like hotcakes. You won’t find it in Aaker or Ries & Trout, but it’s a well-known fact that the Beckham Strategy works every time.


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