The eyewear industry is ruled by one of the biggest conglomerates in the world with the name of Luxottica. Having the option of both the sunglass as well as prescribed ones, the conglomerate holds 80% market share in the eyewear industry. With over 9 billion euros reported as net sales in 2016, Luxottica stands with a well-balanced portfolio of in house as well as licensed brands. If you’re focusing on building your eyewear brand that is different from what Luxottica follows but are stuck on where to start and how to start, here are some tips that you can take from RayBan’s success.
Born in 1937, RayBan was acclaimed as the market leader of the optical brands in 1961. It received its first placement in a Hollywood film in the same year and then RayBan has never seen the path of failure. Be it Tom Cruise wearing RayBans in Top Gun or a sporty look in Miami Vice, the brand has been able to stand on the virtue of excellence in design and functional innovation.
So, in the 1980s if I saw one of the biggest celebrities wearing those cool glasses, of course, I am going to run to the next store to buy them cause that’s the perception of coolness is the society and by buying RayBan’s, I can keep up with it. Well, that was the mindset of the maximum of teenagers and youngsters which led to a sudden increase in the sale. Remember Jeff Philips from Shark Tank whose wooden eyewear brand did not receive any investment on the show but became an instant hit when Beyoncé was sported wearing it.
So, the lesson here is if one of the major celebrities or major influencers is wearing your brand, then you can expect success to pour in. it is about consumer marketing and getting inspired by an influential person is one of the major marketing tactics
But what happens if your brand doesn’t reach the masses through these celebrities. Doesn’t mean the pockets will be empty. There was a time when even RayBan ran out of the celebrity endorsement and was then looked like another one of those eyewear brands which is now a mere competitor with other luxury brands in the market. RayBan then came with an idea of disruption.
Ever wondered what RayBan means? It means banning the anti-glare rays. So, brand perception lies in the problem-solution approach. After getting acquired by Luxottica, RayBan’s growth increased by a double-digit. This was also followed by the introduction of women in their ads as well as better control over the distribution and supply chain process.
The main idea behind this is to know what are your brand values or what do they stand for? How are they different? What are you today and what do you want to be tomorrow?
This disruption normally happens through 4 things-
1. Top of mind: when I come across your brand what is the first thing that comes in your mind. With RayBan, it is the timeless and classic value of the brand.
2. Attribute: what is that special thing in your brand? What makes it different from all the others?
3. Benefit: what benefit can I give to the customers that maybe other brands are not able to give. With Jeff Philips’ brand, I know that the frame is made of sustainable wooden material which helps in saving the environment.
4. Role: what is that responsible role that you’re taking in the society and how is it benefiting them?
When you’re choosing the communication approach for your eyewear brand in the market, choosing a celebrity or a major influencer with simple posing for the camera is now an outdated approach. It is no different from what other brands follow. The disruption has to be by a tagline of what your brand means and what image and message it spreads in the society.
RayBan’s disruption was by the Never Hide campaign. It was not just a focus on advertising but a two-way communication with the consumers. Making mainstream consumers feel a part of the brand. From the product to media to P.R everything focused on enriching the customer experience.
So, the idea is whether you’re an office going person or a big movie star, a fashion designer, a soldier, or just you, with Ray-Ban you should be yourself and never Hide. This campaign got huge amounts of accolades from the consumers which resulted in a surgent growth and RayBan got back on track.
The target was individuals. From a demographic to a psychographic point of view. From passive sponsorship to the creation of proprietary platforms, RayBan now leveraged individuals more than the TV or radio ads. They were more focused on audience participation rather than broadcasting and providing constant dialogue and entertainment for their customers.
Starting the journey from 2007 with the Never Hide campaign to coming back to the product by focusing on the lenses and performance in 2013, the evolution and experiment of RayBan was a complete Turnaround.
Not only this but RayBan was successful in providing a unique consumer experience in direct consumer channels. Their first flagship store was opened in NYC which was a sign of conquering the last mile of the unique consumer experience.
So, in the end, what we learn and can put in our eyewear or any brand are three learnings.
1. INNOVATION- this is a must. If you want to be a leader or a disruptor in any sort of industry or market, you need to innovate. But don’t forget that the innovation needs to be in the line of what set of value you want to portray with your brand.
2. CONSISTENCY- from product to communication, consistency, and perseverance is the key. Be it marketing or distribution, consistency wins the world along with patience.
3. BRAND- it is not just advertising, but is it about what, where and how a brand is selling. Setting these brand values and visions should be the key starting point.
Good Luck with your start-up and keep building.