As a lover of fashion I feel obligated to provide the blogging community with good solid information about companies that I swear by. Based on previous posts you all have seen me state that I am a loyal customer of H&M. Now, I have come to realize that you can shop in a store all your life giving them thousands of dollars and not know one fact about the company you are supporting. Would you stand by a company that performs unethically? It is important to really look into the company’s we generously purchase from to see if they represent who we are as a consumer and what we believe in. So here continues my journey, a journey of exploration through the ins and outs of H&M. I was introduced to a video on YouTube titled “How To Build Community Around Your Brand”. The content revolves around Patrick Hanlon, the author of “Primal Branding: Create Zealots for Your Brand, Your Company, and Your Future” and his 7 aspects of the primal code. Primal branding is basically the process of building a community. Let’s look at how well H&M has utilized the 7 aspects of the primal code.
It is important for me to state that all information collected came directly from H&M.com as well as the YouTube video “How To Build Community Around Your Brand”.
1. Creation Story– how you started
In 1947 Erling Persson, the founder of Hennes opened the first store in Västerås, Sweden. At that time the only items sold were women’s clothing [hence the translation of Hennes being her in Swedish]. The store did not change its name from Hennes to H&M [short for Hennes & Mauritz] until Mr. Perssons acquisition of Mauritz Widforss, a hunting and fishing equipment store, in 1968. Following the addition, men’s and children’s clothing were added to the list of available merchandise.
2. The Creed– what your about, what you believe and stand for
H&M states that their business concept is to “offer fashion and quality at the best price. For us, this includes that we want to do business in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable” They have adopted and implemented seven commitments that they work hard to achieve. They are as follows:
1. Provide fashion for conscious customers
2. Choose and reward responsible partner
3. Be ethical
4. Be climate smart
5. Reduce, reuse, recycle
6. Use natural resources responsibly
7. Strengthen communities
3. The icons– quick concentrations that show who you are, can involve all the senses
It’s quite hard to not be familiar with the big bright H&M sign hanging outside of ever store but if you don’t know what it looks like here is a visual.
For me their icon is just as noticeable as the McDonalds golden arches. It is large, always the color red, and simplistically displays their logo.
4. The Rituals– the experiences you want to create when people interact with your company and your product
H&M’s site itself doesn’t directly express any rituals that they partake in but being a customer I can acknowledged rituals that take place when I interact with the company and its products. Displays are always up to date with trends in fashion and store availability. The sales clerks are friendly, fashionable, and more than willing to assist customers showing the emphasis on good customer service. Certain locations receive new shipments of merchandise every day to keep stores stocked and up to date for the satisfaction of their clients. A new ritual implanted quite recently is the availability to order online in the US. It has made shopping at H&M very convenient.
5. The Sacred Words– how you talk about yourself, the language of the company
While on my search for information about H&M I kept noticing that certain words seemed very repetitive. Design, quality and sustainability are key words that represent who H&M is as a brand. They also place great emphasis on the understanding that they “should always offer inspiring fashion with unbeatable value for money”.
6. The Nonbelievers– people that help show who you don’t want to be, Pagans are you opposites – who you are not. It is important to not just define who you are, but defining who you are not is a very powerful branding message.
Most of H&Ms focus is on displaying very clearly to the public who they are. While I did not find a direct statement of who they believe that aren’t, I did see something that in addition to the previous information I stated defines who they are. Their site states “Quality is a central topic, from initial idea to final product. It is our aim to always exceed our customers’ expectations on quality”. While many clothing company’s provide us with products, the quality of the product doesn’t always live up to our expectations as consumers. It’s nice to know that H&M is a brand that cares about exceeding expectations
7. The Leader– bill gates, Oprah, Steve jobs (people responsible for pulling all 7 pieces of the primal code together)
While leaders come in different forms I found it important to introduce two leaders of H&M and the roles they play in holding the brand together as well as pulling the primal code together. Karl-Johan Persson is the current CEO of H&M. he was born in 1975 and has been the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of H & M since July 1, 2009. He states that “Fashion is and remains a form of self-expression. I’m proud to know that we play a part in that. We want to help people create their personal style and love what they buy for several seasons. And we want to make it easy for them to choose more sustainable fashion and to take care of their clothes in a conscious way.” Outside of top management there is a woman and a team behind her that really get the job done when it comes to Design. Ann-Sofie Johansson is the Head of Design and is responsible for guiding a large and diverse team. The team represents “different age groups and nationalities that draw inspiration from every corner of the globe and a wide variety of sources. From art, cinema, magazines and music to street fashion, trade shows and trend seminars”. Ann-Sofie Johansson states “I think our customers expect us to act in a responsible and sustainable way in everything we do; and, of course, they want us to continue offering fashion basics and the latest designs, made with respect for people and planet, at an affordable price.”
After conducting this analysis I began to see why H&M has such a strong community. They represent so many of us and the brand is built on principles any consumer would be pleased with. They truly have something for everyone and this is purposely done because they operate with us in mind. I will forever remain loyal to this brand because I feel like I am a part of their community.
Visit http://about.hm.com/AboutSection/en/About.html for more information on this brand.
Photos: Lanvin for H&M, Versace for H&M, Viktor & Rolf for H&M, H&M Las Vegas