Angelic Branding

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Posted: April 11, 2014, 3:30 p.m.
by Jonae Shaw.

Building a well-known, efficient brand doesn’t just happen. A brand includes the name, design, logo, slogan, symbol or any other feature that identifies one product from another of its kind. When I think of a leading brand who uses a different twist to command the pack, I think of Victoria’s Secret.

Despite the tailored fit of its lingerie, the long-lasting wear of its make-up and the affordability of its youthful PINK, I believe there is another factor aiding the excellency of the Victoria’s Secret brand. Excuse me, I didn’t mean factor, but more so factors — the Victoria’s Secret Angels.

The Angels are an elite group of 5-foot-8-inch or taller females, slim-framed and slightly curvaceous women who model the brand’s lingerie and clothing. However, in many people’s eyes, they’re not just models.

In an article, “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Victoria’s Secret” Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer for VS, said, “They [the angels] are products of an intense and extensive program designed to make each of them media-savvy celebrities.” I agree.

Basically, they’re the girls-next-door with a supermodel twist. However, there has to be something else that makes them so “desirable” and sets them apart from other models in their field. I composed a list of the five things I believe the VS brand is doing with its Angels — and doing well might I add — to make its models the standard for a great brand.

1. Great brands know what their customers want.
The VS Angels appeal to their audience in more than one way. The Angels model lingerie, so of course men take notice and most appreciate their attire. However, VS’s main audience is females. Although not every woman is the size and frame of an Angel, VS doesn’t focus its brand on the perfect figure. VS focuses its brand on how a woman feels wearing its lingerie or clothing — sexy. “The world’s best bras. The sexiest lingerie” is just one of the brand’s well-known slogans; the sexiness the brand proclaims is working well.

2. Great brands are different from their competitors but in a meaningful way.
VS sets itself apart in a way that no other brand has, by making the Angels into a brand that uses the image of the super sweet, yet down-to-earth female. VS is selling the same type of merchandise as other stores, but the company presents its merchandise through the images of the Angels. Many companies in retail may use models but not models like the Angels.

3. Great brands are consistent.
The Angels first graced mainstream media in 1997, and although the line-up of the 10 Angels changes every few years, the brand of the “most visible spokeswomen” stays the same. The build of the models, their training, their open personalities and the way they model the clothing in a graceful yet sexy way have stayed consistent over the years.

4. Great brands have a committed team.
Through its website, VS provides interviews and “all-access” to the Angels; VS’s audience is able to see the team atmosphere the company displays. In between the runway segments of VS’s annual Fashion Show, behind-the-scenes footage is shown of the models laughing together, being instructed by staff and hanging out. VS showcases its Angels and how committed they are to the brand.

Furthermore, many of the models have Instagram accounts, where they frequently post pictures of themselves at work, making store appearances, filming commercials, or hanging out around the corporate offices. Their posts again show that they’re happily a part of the team, or brand, they represent.

5. Great brands have personality.
The VS brand really excels at this tip. Brand personality has to be authentic to your organization because it’s what helps you attract your audience. The VS Angels are a group of women from different backgrounds and places, and each has a different personality, in the literal sense. VS allows its audience to get to know the Angels. There seems to be an “Angel” every woman can relate to, aspire to be, and in turn want to buy the products they wear and promote.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend every company start having its employees strut around in their skivvies as a way to distinguish it, but I do believe these tips can span a variety of PR practices and can really help a company become a great brand.

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