Brand Positioning and Identity
Originating in 1900 as a single shop tailor in the City of London, Austin Reed evolved over the following century into a dynamic and progressive group with global presence.
However, the advent of new brands in the 21st century bought Austin Reed’s high street positioning under threat. The brand by contrast was increasingly viewed as stuck in middle England lacking any real relevance to the modern consumer. With an inherent connection to formality, Austin Reed was struggling to diversify into informal categories in response to the recent relaxation of dress codes and increased leisure time.
Piers Schmidt led a full review of the brand across its wholesale, manufacturing and retail presence and identified that the brand lacked a distinctive identity or cohesive brand architecture to enable business expansion.
To compete with new forces, a refined brand positioning was established based on personal service, remarkable tailoring and a passion for quality. Austin Reed transformed into a fashion-forward and classically elegant brand that celebrated the blending of traditional values with 21st century innovation.
The metamorphism was expressed through a new brand identity and activated through a redesign of all packaging touch points. Additionally, a intelligible brand architecture was developed to accommodate a series of new sub-brands including the introduction of REED in 1998 – a label comprising essential items of contemporary smart separates and casual wear in high quality fabrics.