“We got it wrong”: Victoria’s Secret’s new, tricky path The company is currently testing three store renovations and a new concept off-mall, and planning the return of its fashion show. On Monday, L Brands hosted dual investor meetings. It was […]
“We got it wrong”: Victoria’s Secret’s new, tricky path
The company is currently testing three store renovations and a new concept off-mall, and planning the return of its fashion show.
On Monday, L Brands hosted dual investor meetings. It was clear that success can be boring. However, change can be exciting, partly because it is risky.
The conglomerate will be split into two publicly traded companies next week. Its name will be lost as Victoria’s Secret & Co. and Bath & Body Works go their separate ways. The company was able to get ahead of the curve by holding its own investor meeting Monday.
Executives at Bath & Body Works had to reaffirm their past successes, which was made easier by the high demand for soaps and sanitizers. It was quite different for Victoria’s Secret’s leaders.
This is true in the literal sense. The lingerie brand — which even as its sales and appeal declined has remained a revenue powerhouse — has been forced to abandon its longstanding premise that women dress to please men. Martin Waters, CEO of Victoria’s Secret, began the presentation by admitting that he had made mistakes.
He said, “We lost relevance to the modern woman.” “And she said very clearly that we should shift our focus from how people see to how they feel. We need to stop focusing on him and start focusing on her. She wants us to be about her and what she wants. And to support her in her story in any way she chooses. We will celebrate and inspire her and support her in her quest to be the best version of herself.
What Victoria’s Secret isn’t
The transformation at the lingerie company is perhaps the most vivid example of Gen Z’s power. Research into this cohort revealed that the attitude change was a result of their older members, who are in their 20s. The company’s marketing changes reflect textbook research (from consultancies like Youthsight and others) around this generation’s attitudes on body positivity and inclusion, for example.
Waters and Amy Hauk (who leads the company’s youth-oriented subsidiary Pink), demonstrated this intention with videos for each line. Pink, a brand that is already less sexualized, now emphasizes size and gender inclusion. Victoria’s Secret’s messaging is however more complicated.
Victoria’s Secret’s Victoria’s Secret’s video features a diverse cast of models, including a woman saying “Welcome” into the camera. You’re welcome here. You don’t have to do or look the way you want.
This may be a rejection of Victoria’s Secret, which used to represent a body ideal that was impossible (at least in nature) and based on male fantasies. However, a true replacement is yet to be found.
Waters announced Monday that the Victoria’s Secret fashion show will be relaunched once it has. Waters explained to investors that the brand has made huge marketing savings in the two years since the cancellation of the controversial “angels” show. However, its marketing value requires its return “in coming years,” once the brand has figured out how to reinvent it.
He stated that “our intent is to get back in the fashion show industry, of course we should.” It’s an extraordinary equity that we can leverage to our advantage. We just have to make it culturally relevant. We’re not in any hurry to say when or how it will happen. We’re gonna figure it out.”
Despite Victoria’s Secret’s new “VS Collective”, a group that includes Megan Rapinoe, Eileen Gu, champion skier, and actor Priyanka Chpra Jonas among others, the question of what Victoria’s Secret really is (and not just about what it isn’t), remains unanswered.
Waters described the VS Collective as “a group of women who will assist us in being more culturally relevant” on Monday. According to Helixa’s audience insight firm, less than 1 percent of people who interact with Victoria’s Secret via social media engage with Rapinoe. The brand’s affinity for Rapinoe also falls below the national average. Helixa discovered that Rapinoe’s audience has a higher political engagement than Victoria’s Secret’s and performs well in age brackets over 35.
Victoria’s Secret: Where it isn’t
Victoria’s Secret might need to do more soul-searching when it comes marketing, but it is quite clear about where it wants its shops to be. Or, rather, it doesn’t want them there.
Waters recently closed 241 stores in malls and has plans to close more. Waters stated that there is a “significant opportunity” for the company to increase its penetration in off-mall areas. He also mentioned that there are approximately 150 malls in North America that could be vulnerable and may have to close more stores. The company also plans to sell half its products online within three to five years. This fall, the brand is testing three new stores, one of which is away from the mall. Next year, it will be testing a new store concept at 10 locations, most away from malls. It will feature more inclusive imagery and mannequins and offer digital enabling options such as in-store pickup.
Victoria’s Secret is finding it difficult to adapt to all this change, particularly given the unknowns. One thing that has made it difficult for Victoria’s Secret is the fact that it no longer has its older sibling to help with its declines.
One, it is also at risk of losing its strengths. The Gen Z cultural shift is causing what is widely considered to be long-awaited change. What does this mean for existing fans? B. Riley analysts Susan Anderson and Victoria’s Secret have an 87% net promor score, 27 million active North American customers, and Victoria’s Secret is the top lingerie brand with 20% of North America’s market.
Waters stated that the competition in lingerie has intensified in recent years, partly due to the entry into DTC of brands without Victoria’s Secret’s baggage.
He said, “The customer didn’t give up on us at any time, the customer loves Victoria’s Secret.” “Once we got our act together, you’ll be happy to know that the customer is back strong.” We have a dominant market share position. We are also not complacent about competition.
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