Founded in 1989, American Apparel has an estimated 242 retail stores selling trendy basic apparel across 20 countries. Targeted at teenagers, the company was popular for its edgy image and ethical, Made-in-America production process that does not involve sweatshop labour. But in recent years, American Apparel has faced much controversy – consumer and employee dissatisfaction, dwindling sales, and even filing for bankruptcy in 2015.
After a change in leadership, American Apparel has now undertaken a turnaround plan. Some changes include:
- New mission: “be a financially sound, socially conscious, iconic brand that provides high quality American made products to consumers while maximizing stakeholder value”.
- New target audience: 15 to 35 years old AKA millennials
Drawing lessons from their past issues and taking into account their strengths, our group has derived a proposal to help American Apparel revolutionize its brand. Thus our research question is:
“How can American Apparel leverage on its social media outlets to regain their foothold in the apparel industry?”
The specific objectives are:
Objective 1: To increase American Apparel positive brand awareness and recognition
Objective 2: To improve stakeholders’ engagement
Objective 3: Expand E-commerce to increase online sales
A quick analysis across social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc) showed us that negative sentiments toward American Apparel still dominate positive ones, and that for each social media platform, differing consumer sentiments dominate.
This is a summary of consumer behavior across the platforms:
- Twitter – negative sentiment, trending topics
- Instagram – positive sentiment, AA products
- Facebook – neutral sentiment, AA and its competitors
From these, we have developed 3 strategies, corresponding to each platform, to meet our objectives and realize our research question:
Strategy 1: Facebook Campaign – The Voice of AA’s Employees
Raise awareness to both employees and the public about AA’s change, from the employees’ perspectives through posting employee testimonials on Facebook and Instagram.
Strategy 2: Instagram & interactive catalogue campaign – Leveraging on ootd selfie culture
Promote e-commerce through consumer OOTD competition on Instagram with the hashtag #aninclusiveAA. While winners get to receive prizes, winning outfits will also be on discount on e-commerce site.
Strategy 3: Twitter Campaign – Capitalising on brand communities
Re-establish brand identity and increase positive brand awareness through engaging customers on Twitter. A Twitter competition will be held based off trending topics and the winning tweet will be designed into an AA t-shirt. Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go toward a chosen non-profit organization.
We will be sharing more about our project, specifically these 3 strategies, in class. So stay tuned for our presentation!
Dorothy Lee Chin Teng | Ko Yu Hui | Maisarah Ahmad Zohry | Tan Jing Yi | Toh Le Qi