Branding: A lesson from Vera Bradley
Before attending National Conference, I had no idea what Vera Bradley was. If you asked me what I thought of their accessories, I would have responded, “Do you mean Vera Wang?”
Now, I can easily identify one of their patterned purses or colorful makeup bags. As a sponsor for the PRSSA National Conference in Indianapolis, they hosted a session on their recent rebrand and campaign, gave away goodies and took ownership of their identity and customer.
Here’s what Vera Bradley taught me about branding over the weekend in Indy:
Rebranding to define your customer
As of August 2016, Vera Bradley officially began its rebrand by targeting their customer and adapting products to her needs. They coined the term “daymaker” to describe her: a 25- to 35-year- old female go-getter who strives to make her day and the day of others. She’s organized, detailed and appreciates beauty in color. Holly Wagner, the PR representative who hosted the session, explained that honing in on who their customer is helped define what she wants. The daymaker needs office accessories, home décor and travel gear that appeals to her busy lifestyle, but still allows her to show flare and femininity.
The company is now designing the type of merchandise the daymaker requires and using the colorful patterns Vera Bradley is known for in subtle ways, allowing the brand to evolve.
Create a campaign that fits
Along with the daymaker, Vera Bradley recently launched its campaign, “It’s good to be a girl.” The movement centers on female empowerment and why femininity is special and important. Women can submit their reasons as to why it’s good to be a girl via social media using the hashtag #itsgoodtobeagirl.
As part of the campaign, the company partnered with actress Noël Wells as an ambassador. Using Wells’ comedic timing and approachable nature, they sent her out to interview females of varying ages in New York City about why they believe it’s good to be a girl. The campaign works because it appeals to the daymaker’s compassion and pride, fits with the company’s support for femininity and demonstrates
Vera Bradley’s desire to stand for something larger than themselves- a trait becoming increasingly important for the millennial shopper they want to attract.
Know your future customers
Vera Bradley chose to sponsor PRSSA National Conference, which demonstrated to me that they’ve identified who they want to become loyal to the brand. Public relations is heavily female at the entry-level and I can attest first hand that the conference was no different. While I sat in on the breakout session, I found myself nodding in agreement with everything said. As a student, I search for accessories that show off my personality and can be utilized in my everyday life. As a young woman, I want to be as poised and driven as the daymaker as I transition into the workforce. And as a person, I care about finding brands that represent causes that match my values. Everything said applied to me, and likely the dozens of females around me. We are Vera Bradley’s future customer, and I believe their sponsorship was an investment into their company.
This session was certainly the highlight of my trip, and whether or not I’m ready to become a daymaker, I’ll still be toting around the lanyard and makeup bag they gave away while proudly discussing my experience each time I see one of their stores. I can’t yet afford Vera Bradley merchandise, but I’m now knowledgeable about their brand, making their efforts a success.