What makes a brand successful, well look at Uniqlo, in time of recession the brand has managed a 32.2% growth. Uniqlo is cheap but that is not the receipe to its success. The brand has managed to attract sophisticated customers beyond its middle-mass base.
With initiatives such as the award-winning UNIQLOCK that became the favorite screensaver of Japan’s young PC users thanks to minimalist graphic design, chronological functionality and music from producer Fantastic Plastic Machine. Or the bilingual free magazine UNIQLO PAPER that helped associate the brand with New York hipster culture (thanks to the Chloë Sevigny on the cover and photography by Terry Richardson). And the monthly advertorials in men’s magazines like Popeye in Japan, let fashion-forward readers see new products styled according to the latest fashion principles.
These appeals to cutting-edge consumers, however, did little to change the brand’s reputation of being mostly dedicated to casual menswear. In order to better target women, Uniqlo tied up last September with “real clothes” fashion festival Tokyo Girls Collection and model Yu Yamada to produce a series of sweater dresses for the Shibuya 109 set. The company further targeted young women with new products such as the “beautiful leg” stretch denim (using popular model Norika Fujiwara in the TV commercials) and a “bra-top” that puts brasserie-like pads inside of a tank top.
Despite such narrowly focused marketing efforts, Uniqlo never alienated its middle-market, middle-aged consumers, who mostly shop at the brand for the low prices, laid-back styles, and easy access. The incredibly functional, but not particularly stylish “Heattech” line of winter under items is currently selling-out nationwide despite a production run of an unprecedented 28 million pieces.
Uniqlo has also boosted some really interesting retail initiatives such as the Wakamaru robots in Soho or the 'Giant Human Vending machines' to promote the Heattech collection.
If the brand continues to hone its image as a fashion-forward company with high-quality products, Uniqlo will no doubt maintain its status as the top dog in the industry.