Zara is a multi-million dollar fashion retailer, with stores at almost every luxury mall or famous shopping street. Zara is known by its consumers as the store to go for affordable luxury. Why? Zara politely copies high fashion brand items into affordable fashion items, and sells these copies of elite products to the masses. Masses always want luxury products, but they do not always want to pay the price for it. Zara’s brand as ‘affordable luxury’ satisfies consumer’s cravings of wanting to wear dresses they see in high fashion magazines. For decades, they built a brand that many know, remember and look for. Here’s the catch: They built their multi-million dollar brand, with zero advertising.
Zara does not advertise through any type of advertising. No billboard, magazine advertisements, social media or anything alike. A newspaper advertising sale season is a very rare occurrence.
How exactly did they build such a strong brand image without any advertising?
They explored alternative ways to build their brand. Through offering consumers what other luxury fashion retailers cannot offer; affordable luxury fashion products available to them faster than any other high fashion stores. Zara can sell duplicates of luxury fashion products at one fifth of the original price, with the products arriving at their stores five times faster than luxury brand stores. Because of their unique supply chain system, Zara can fulfill their consumer’s needs. This builds strong brand image in the minds of their consumer because Zara has satisfied their needs.
It doesn’t stop there. Instead of designating a substantial amount of money for advertising, they allocate a budget for their stores to help build their brand image and market their brand. Their stores are always placed at elite locations, every high-end mall or next to stores like Gucci and Chanel. Typically only brands like Prada and Hermes can afford the most strategic locations in Tsim Sha Tsui or Fifth Avenue. However, Zara strategically places their stores in these areas. This builds the brand as a luxury brand because of its location and store appearance, and attracts people because of the affordable price.
So what can we learn from Zara? That there are alternative ways to build your brand besides conventional advertising, and Zara is the living proof of it. Zara conditions their consumers into perceiving them as a luxury retailer by store placement, layout and appearance while giving them what they want in order to strengthen brand recall and recognition.