Lessons on Building a Strong Brand Story

The branding journey has been a winding but fruitful one for Vincitore Shoes. Its director, Ms Nita K, shares her experiences in branding and the tips she has learnt along the way.

Publisher ImagePublished by SPRING Singapore

 

Ms Nita K, director of Vincitore (meaning ‘winner’ in Italian) Shoes, is no newbie to men’s shoes – she started her career in her father’s shoe business and began learning its ins and outs at age 18.

With more than 20 years of experience in retail operations management and has worked with prestigious brands like the Goldheart Jewellery and Victoria’s Secret, she returned to her passion and opened Vincitore Shoes’ first outlet in Singapore in 2015. “I have always been passionate about the way a man looks and dresses,” she says, “and shoes add the finishing touch.”

With the knowledge gained from her diploma in shoemaking and design from Singapore’s TAFTC (The Academy of Fashion Professions), Ms Nita is confident of designing quality shoes valued by customers.  Yet, at the same time, she is aware that succeeding in retail goes beyond having quality products – businesses also have to invest in branding to ensure sustainable business growth.

Elaborating on this she says, “Branding is important to us – not only to gain visibility and traction in Singapore’s tight retail market where consumers tend to be brand conscious, but also to ensure that the time and resources spent on developing the business is headed in the right direction.”

Having recently embarked on a branding project for Vincitore with support from SPRING Singapore’s Capability Development Grant, Ms Nita shares her key learnings from her branding journey so far:

Establish clear business and brand values

Ms Nita shares that it is vital for a company to have clarity on its business and brand values before embarking on a branding exercise or engaging a brand consultant. “Nobody knows your business and brand better than you, and you need to own that. Knowing what you stand for makes a branding exercise become easier to start and work on,” she stresses. “Anchoring your business on your brand values helps keep the company focused, and this goes a long way in enabling a strong and consistent identity to be built over time.”

Seek external views when positioning your brand

While it is important for companies to have clarity on their brand values, Ms Nita notes that bringing in an objective third-party view is helpful when establishing the brand’s positioning.

“I needed an outsider’s point of view because our nose was in the business. With the help of a branding consultant, we were able to develop our tagline “Fine. Formal. Funky.” which not only encapsulates a majority of the target audience but also opens up a new market segment: individuals searching for funky yet good quality shoes,” she explains.

Develop a visual identity that suits your brand vision

Developing a clear market position and a suitable visual identity has helped the company relate to their target audience more specifically, Ms Nita shares. It not only guides the company but also ensure focus in its product development. These efforts have started to show some early results. Today, 40 percent of Vincitore’s customers are repeat shoppers.

Implement your brand identity consistently across your business

From the branding exercise, the company also realised the importance of implementing their brand identity consistently across all aspects of their business ranging from their products to their marketing efforts and shop front. “Our shop’s interior was initially designed towards high-end luxury, but this was not in line with brand’s product range and image,” explained Ms Nita. “We are now in the midst of aligning the look-and-feel of our retail store to be consistent with what our brand stands for.”

Approach branding as an ongoing journey

In addition, Ms Nita says not to feel discouraged as branding successes do not happen overnight – it’s a long-haul process. “Don’t expect to get it right the first time,” she warns, “but keep fine-tuning it. Sometimes, the most insightful suggestions can come from the least expected people, like your child.”

For Vincitore Shoes, branding has helped the company focus on delivering its value and position its products better, which Ms Nita believes will help open up new markets such as Indonesia and the United States. She also shares that, “Our branding journey sets parameters for me to design with more confidence and keeping me on the right track to grow.”

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