Brand Positioning and Identity

In 1996, Selfridges was embracing major change. For the first time in history, the company was opening a new site in Manchester and radically transforming its identity from a home furnishing store to a fashion-led brand for a younger market.

The challenge was to evolve the brand so that it could exist independently from its famous London site and be relevant to fashion.

The project was inspired by the appointment of Vittorio Radice, previously of Habitat, as Chief Executive who was called in to modernise business operations and establish Selfridges as the department store leader.

The ‘spirit of the city’ positioning developed by BBH, was all about aligning Selfridges to what was happening in the metropolis and drawing on the energy and talent within. It was to be aspirational without being snooty. Rather than compare itself with the fancy stores in London’s Knightsbridge, Selfridges would embrace the hurly-burly of Oxford Street. This idea was delivered by reinventing the store environment as a “house of brands”, in which the retailer would present and manage a dynamic range of exciting fashion brands.

Piers Schmidt led the development of a new identity introducing a more contemporary typeface and dropping the illustration of the Oxford Street building to reflect the new store opening. The window display team moved to an event-led focus, launching high profile collaborations with designers, photographers and artists.

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