Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tom Ford

Founded in April 2005, Tom Ford is still relatively new as a brand.  However behind the name is twenty years of experience and talent as creative director for Gucci and YSL. Tom Ford includes Beauty, Eyewear, Menswear and Womenswear ranges.  Renowned as a luxurious and suave brand, Tom Ford positions itself at the top end of the market. Ford says “I want to make beautiful clothes for women and men who appreciate detail and quality.” (Vogue UK, 2010) The image represented by the brand is confidence, power and sex appeal and this is injected into promotions in many forms of traditional media such as through campaigns with model Nicholas Hoult. 

Tom Ford’s success has been recognized from numerous awards such as ‘GQ man of the year’ for USA and Germany.  Additionally, his designs have been worn at many red carpet events by celebrities such as Jay Z and Bradley Cooper. However a large percentage of his clientele has come from the appreciation he established through his experience and associations at Gucci and YSL. Since leaving Gucci, Ford appears controversial when it comes to increasing his audience to broader areas. In today’s current climate of technological advancements, the brand does not take advantage of the communication portals that are so easily accessible, thus not increasing brand awareness or opening up to a wider market. Tom Ford is currently using only a one way form of communication, relying upon suspense and exclusivity to create hype around the collections. Although this complements the ‘luxury brand’ image, they are missing out on a huge market. Engaging with customers and getting feedback and responses in two-way communications proves to be a productive and beneficial form of communication. Tom Ford have over 300, 000 followers on Facebook and while each post clearly gets a huge response, the brand has not created Twitter or Instagram accounts. The brand’s current target market of 25+ is more relevant to Facebook than Twitter, however,  Tom Ford could increase their audience reached through advancing further into the digital medium. Brands such as Gucci are reaching twice the number Ford reaches on Facebook through Twitter alone. In addition to being a talented creative director and designer, Ford has tried his hand as a film director, opening his own film production company ‘Fade to Black’ in 2005. His film ‘A Single Man’ was nominated for two independent spirit awards in 2009. With talent and experience in filmography, it seems incomprehensible that Ford hasn’t taken more steps in promoting the brand further through this form of media.

Tom Ford is additionally controversial to participate with PR in more traditional forms, having only held his first catwalk show this February for his Menswear range, previously preferring to show his collections within small presentations,  not even inviting photographers. While this creates interest and curiosity, the brand is immediately losing out on the huge hub from press during fashion week. The womenswear collection was still privately presented in 2013. This stance to do things differently could be a contribution towards the reason Tom Ford’s fashion collections do not have as much consumer awareness as the Eyewear and Beauty Collections, which have been ranked in the top three brands and retail in stores such as Selfridges and House Of Fraser.

Tom Fords Menswear range is the area given most attention when it comes to PR; dressing Daniel Craig in James Bond films ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’, the perfect association for the brand image. Tom Ford suits were instantaneously marketed as sexy and higher class. This image is additionally portrayed as Tom Ford collaborates with respected personalities such as Justin Timberlake for his 20/20 experience album. In 2008, The council of fashion Designers awarded Tom Ford as menswear designer of the year. 

The stronger emphasis towards promoting menswear over womenswear is perhaps easier for Tom Ford as he portrays his own style and persona through the campaigns. Additionally the womenswear collection was only introduced in 2010 and was loosely targeted towards ‘fashionable women ages 25-75’. Tom Ford strategized his marketing as ‘real clothes for real women’, (, 2010) shortly after launching his womenswear collection photography, featuring an elderly couple embracing,  was displayed alongside his interview in French Vogue.  This photography effectively targeted a niche however more recently the brand image of strong real women and powerful feminists has not been well established. 

The brand is holding on to many loyal supporters but there doesn’t appear to be many promotions aiming to reach out to new markets. Tom Ford could benefit through taking steps in developing awareness of the brand, particularly with the female consumer This could be done through collaborating with feminists such as Beyonce- who previously modeled for one of Tom Fords presentations (right), for her upcoming tour ‘The Mrs Carter show.’  This would portray the strong real woman the brand aims to reach. Additionally through embracing the digital era of communication the brand could reach out to a much larger potential market.

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