Marketing the brand, early days, unusual ways.

  1. Rob
  2. October 5, 2010 8:30 pm

A tight (pretty much non-existent) marketing budget was available in the early days, but I had a compelling desire to get the Bagga Menswear brand “out there”.  Wasting thousands on local rags was out of the question, blagging some free PR was pretty easy – local newspaper editors are usually pretty hungry for copy, so as long as there was a newsworthy angle it wasn’t too difficult.

Forging relationships with bar, club and restaurant owners in the area, and up to 15 miles away, was incredibly rewarding, and very low-budget.  Back in 1994/5, nobody had thought of advertising in pub/club/restaurant toilets.  To put it crudely, when a man’s having a pee, or a girl’s preening herself in a mirror, you have a very captive audience.  Each season I had A4 posters designed, and these were sited in around 25 of the best eateries/drinkeries in the South East.  The landlord/Manager of said establishment enjoyed a healthy discount on his favourite designer brands, and everyone was happy!  The posters, in cool metal frames, lasted six months each, and cost about a tenner.  Nowadays there are companies that buy space, then rent it to advertisers, such is the effectiveness of this medium.  I was a pioneer, and did it for peanuts.

An extension of this was the production of 100,000 piece  print-runs of some really, really cool beermats.  I’ve posted the first one we did (which was a bit lame), I’ll try to find some of the good ones.

These again were serving a captive audience and were really effective.  The proprietors all loved them, too, and used to call us for replenishment when they ran out.  Most of the cool outlets didn’t want to use a Fosters/Carlsberg beermat, but made a point of advertising for us every night for free!  The relationships we forged in the early days with these guys lasted for years, and provided on-going, really effective advertising and brand awareness.  Easy stuff, creative marketing.

Another incredibly effective medium was a snail-mailed birthday card, with a time-sensitive discount offer.
A no-brainer, really.  Young lad has birthday…. young lad receives cash…. young lad wants to spend it on car, girls, beer, clothes.  Get in there quick and you can be a big help in relieving him of his free money!
Of course, you need to build a mailing list/database to make this work, but if you aren’t doing that you may as well shut up shop.  Here’s an example of a card we used that generated a “hit-rate” of nearly 80%, and cost about 50 pence including postage:

Clever, grass-roots, measurable, cost-effective marketing is what’s needed for Designer independants, and it’s sadly lacking in many.  I consider myself a born marketer, and was suited to building a retail business – more so, probably than the fast-growing designer menswear ecommerce business that I later developed.  But that’s another part of the story.

Next – The best show ever – what a party!!

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