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How to build a sportswear brand with little or no marketing.

LOVE. It’s that simple. You need to build the LOVE and the orders will follow. Sounds easy eh, and in principle it is, however you need to make sure the LOVE is there across every aspect of the brand otherwise customer can fall out of LOVE or find a new LOVE instantly.

So, what do we mean, by build the love?

Well, it’s no different to you falling in love with someone. At the point you fall in love, you think everything about that person is perfect and can do no wrong. A brand needs to make their consumers feel the same way about their brand to achieve the love needed to spread the word.

If you do this right, then the consumer will want to spread the love to their friends and family who hopefully will also fall in love with your brand and do the same, spreading it far and wide and all for free.

So how do we do this. Well the first aspect must be focussed on the product. It’s no good to produce "average" as nobody falls in love with average. The product needs to amaze and knock consumers for six when they receive their order. To do this, the consumer needs to feel and see the quality, the attention to detail and the fit and performance needs to be 100% on point. Get this right, your product becomes their favourite and stays at the top of the drawer and is worn the most. Get this wrong and your brand ends up at the bottom of the drawer and won’t be worn much.

It’s therefore paramount you focus as much attention on the product as possible and really over deliver. Perhaps consider reducing margin expectations and increase the cost of goods so that your product really stands out from your competitors. Think of this as marketing, knowing customers will spread the word and therefore achieve more sales because the product is better.

Imagine this for a minute..... You spend £10 advertising to a consumer that eventually buys something from you. They receive their order and love your product and brand so much they tell 5 of their friends and family about your brand and 3 of them also buy something from you. This has just saved you £30 acquiring these new customers who then tell 5 of their friends and family and you receive a further 9 orders…. And so on.

The alternative is, you deliver average, they like it but don’t love it and therefore don’t tell anyone about your brand. You won’t receive any free recommendation orders and probably won’t get any repeat business from your original customer. You then need to spend another £10 to gain your next customer.

Product is only one aspect of the Love and you need to make sure you also focus on every aspect the consumer touches or sees about your brand. You need to make sure your brand creates the love, perhaps because of its values or donations to charity or how ethical your business is. The journey to purchase must be simple and straight forward and the service they receive from placing their order through to delivery must also be seamless. Any flaw in this process will taint the experience and therefore the love will not be as strong when the goods arrive.

Think about after sales service too. How many brands follow up with their customers to make sure they are completely happy. We don’t mean a “Rate Us” survey, we mean a genuine, “How was it”?

Communication with the customer post order should be considered too. Bombarding them with pushy “BUY NOW” or “SALE” newsletters isn’t going to nurture any love they have with your brand, so think hard about what you would want to say to a customer who walked back into your store again. Would you instantly pounce on them, trying to make them buy or would you perhaps talk first, get to know them a little and persuade them by allowing them to peruse the store and see the latest product. Newsletters should be tailored to new colours, styles or journals that you think will resonate with them and reduce the temptation to push for more sales.

Remember, retaining loyal customers who spend regularly with you and spread the word about your amazing brand are far more valuable to you than new customers who buy once and don’t tell a sole.