Luxurious, glamorous, fabulous, and sexy are but few of the images and ideas on which the Victoria’s Secret Brand famously prides itself, grandly showcasing its fascinating identity to the world. Known as the most powerful, recognized, sexiest lingerie brand in the world, Victoria’s Secret inspires confidence with fashion, glamour and a touch of fantasy through its assortment of intimate apparel, beauty products, sleepwear, hosiery, and more (VS.com).
From its widely popular, telecasted fashion show to its supermodel Angels spokeswomen, right down to the iconic and famously recognizable striped shopping bag, Victoria’s Secret possesses and executes the ability to successfully capture and establish a highly populated and diverse consumer fan base worldwide, with its targeted market focus primarily on women AGES 18-49, who want to look and feel fabulous and sexy.
They establish this fiercely loyal, growing community by promoting, interacting, and maintaining relationships with its dedicated consumer fan base by sharing with them the specialty, quality, and accessibility of its highly desirable products. With over one thousand store locations and millions of dollars in sales, both in-stores, online, and by catalogue, Victoria’s Secret successfully makes a name for itself, its products, and most importantly, those who associate with its brand—its consumer fan base.
But it is not just Victoria’s Secret’s products that shape the brand’s identity to be the powerful force it is today. Not only does Victoria’s Secret offer and sell a vast selection of varying products necessary and desired to make consumers’ lives better, Victoria’s Secret offers and sells, more importantly, a necessary, desiring way of life as well as the ideas and materials to achieve the coveted way to live it. The Victoria’s Secret Facebook page cleverly intertwines this glamorous lifestyle with its products, associating the two as one and subliminally relaying the intended message to its community that one part of the brand simply cannot exist without the other—and most essentially—it shouldn’t.
The way Victoria’s Secret efficiently and effectively capitalizes on its most important subliminal message is through its flawless and widespread advertising campaign. And before it launches its advertising campaign to the public, Victoria’s Secret first examines each individual product, service, and idea the brand represents, collectively combining each aspect of the brand into one overall presentation to determine the brand’s overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Victoria’s Secret dominates the most essential area and strength a company of its type should possess—its products. Although the brand is notoriously known for its scandalous lingerie, Victoria’s Secret also distributes a vast selection of products suitable for indulgence in any aspect of its consumers’ lives. In addition to the brand’s wide variety of little pleasures, Victoria Secret reestablishes confidence in its products by up-keeping the quality of its products. The brand’s designs are creative and unique, with new lines and products establishing their places within the Victoria’s Secret brand with each new coming season, while anxious consumers wait patiently, in turn creating buzz and demand for the new products.
The second most effective strength the Victoria’s Secret brand illustrates is its easy accessibility to obtain a piece of the VS lifestyle. Victoria’s Secret has over one thousand stores located across the country. The brand’s website also conveniently has a store locater section, where consumers can so easily as type in a given location and be directed to the nearest VS location.
But the third most effective strength that gives Victoria’s Secret the extra stride over its competitors is the exclusivity granted to its consumer fan base of Victoria’s Secret’s All Access Edition. This all access aspect of the brand allows consumers and fans to share in more than just Victoria’s Secret products, including them in behind-the-scenes events, shoots, openings, interviews, and more, allowing consumers and fans to see what exactly goes into making Victoria’s Secret the powerhouse it is and therefore allowing consumers and fans to feel as if they are a part of the process. Victoria’s Secret prides itself on effectively building this consumer-relationship to the point where the relationship is intimate with consumers and fans, in hopes the consumers and fans will in turn support Victoria’s Secret by purchasing its intimate items.
But with the brand’s successful strengths, Victoria’s Secret also pinpoints minor weaknesses, with the first one presenting itself in the form of its beloved VS Angels.
The Victoria’s Secret Angels are super-tall, thin, gorgeous supermodels. Since these supermodels are the ones who model the Victoria’s Secret brand, Victoria’s Secret gambles with the possibility of losing some of its target audience, considering most average consumers are not supermodels and do not believe themselves to be. This negative perception with having to be perfect to wear VS may possibly create a negative association with the brand, causing some consumers to stray away from its products due to them not fitting the Victoria’s Secret criteria.
Spiraling off Victoria’s Secret’s first weakness is its second, consisting of lack of bigger sizes for its intended consumers. Although Victoria’s Secret offers sizes equaling up to a large, it does not, however, measure up to the acceptable standard large. Since sizes run smaller than normal, this size-change further cancels out more consumers interested in becoming a part of the Victoria’s Secret community. Supermodels in smaller sizes, coupled with ever inclining prices of products shape the brands major weaknesses that will need to be corrected if Victoria’s Secret cares about losing some of its intended audience.
Because of these weaknesses, Victoria’s Secret does have possible threats, with the major one being shafted VS consumers shifting away from Victoria’s Secret and finding other businesses where they can purchase such items at lower costs. Victoria’s Secret needs to constantly find ways to keep their products and images relevant and fashion-forward, while maintaining reasonable prices for both and a comfortable perception of the brand.
But with both weaknesses and threats, Victoria’s Secret also has room for opportunity. After making the decision to create an age-appropriate line directed towards young college women called PINK, Victoria’s Secret drew in a new, younger demographic. If VS keeps re-inventing the wheel and continually expanding its branches and products, it will grow its fan base and evolve into an even more thriving business than it already is today.
And Victoria’s Secret maintains the brand’s present glamorous social status by advertising efficiently and effectively, with its first branch of its advertising campaign consisting of free giveaways. Allowing for this kind of coupon, free advertising, typically consisting of a free panty with any 30-dollar purchase, a free bra with any bra purchase, or simply free shipping or money off an item, increases the volume of consumers using and purchasing products, either by increased traffic in-stores or online. By Victoria’s Secret offering incentives for consumer spending, consumers feel valued by the brand by seeing these deals and feeling better about spending, since they are receiving a free item along with their purchase—and nothing is better than free.
Victoria’s Secret also advertises effectively and efficiently through the use of television broadcast. Victoria’s Secret commercials are televised regularly, and even more so during specific holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Christmas. In addition to holidays, Victoria’s Secret also televises commercials during Super Bowl Sunday, as well as airing their own two-hour VS Fashion Show with the nation’s top music performers and the new season’s top designs. According to an article in the Examiner’s online edition, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show alone raked in 9.3 million viewers respectively, successfully advertising the VS brand to millions of potential consumers.
Victoria’s Secret also successfully advertises through its catalogue, reaching 300 million customers a year and generating over $1,500 in revenue (LimitedBrands.com). By incorporating a brand catalogue, Victoria’s Secret makes its products available to consumers 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Victoria’s Secret is always open, never making consumers wait to purchase.
Victoria’s Secret also advertises through the use of billboards and other outdoor and indoor posters. The brand places these ad images in overpopulated public places for the most beneficial exposure for the brand and its products.
But the most influential and effective form of advertising the Victoria’s Secret brand uses is through the medium of online interactivity through social media. Since social media is now becoming the most popular form of communication throughout the world, Victoria’s Secret capitalizes on this advancement in technology by joining in on the conversation, and most importantly, starting the conversation. Victoria’s Secret has its own apps as well as powerful followings on each one of the most popular social media platforms. The brand’s Facebook page has over 20 million friends, each one checking the page for new updates, conversations, pictures, sales, and more. Victoria’s Secret also executes the main purpose of Twitter flawlessly, holding a respectable two million followers and tweeting up to four times per day, inviting followers to join in on conversations with Victoria’s Secret representatives directly and further maintaining intimate relationships with consumers and fans. Victoria’s Secret maintains the intimacy across the social media platform Instagram as well, posting pictures of behind-the-scenes action and new products made available everywhere to its almost two million followers. And lastly, Victoria’s Secret even has its own channel on YouTube, with almost 60 million views and where subscribers can find commercials, ads for new products, makeup tutorials, Victoria’s Secret beauty and life wisdom from the professionals, and campaigns and sales for new, up-coming products, events, shoots, and functions. And with each platform raking in millions of consumers and fans separately as well as combined, sales of Victoria’s Secret products, including adaptation to the Victoria’s Secret glamorous way of life, increase.
Keeping in mind all aspects of the Victoria’s Secret brand advertising campaign and how these aspects work and how they are portrayed to the public, with positive public feedback, the strategy for Victoria’s Secret’s advertising campaign is to simply make women feel fabulous and sexy about themselves through using the various VS products and adapting the VS attitude and way of living. Victoria’s Secret encourages women to feel confident, luxurious, glamorous and playful. They want women to realize that it’s okay for them to splurge and indulge on the small, guilty pleasures in their everyday lives—even something as small as a pair of fierce cheetah panties—for the sake of improving confidence. Victoria’s Secret knows that women’s feeling good about themselves starts a positive chain reaction for them, determining their moods for the rest of the course of their days, giving way as to why Victoria’s Secret undertook this strategy for advertising its brand. Victoria’s Secret does not just sell an appealing product. It says a certain way of life and a specific attitude. It sells personal experiences. It does not take much for most women to be happy, especially if women feel they look the fabulous part. It is on providing that fantasy escape and feel-good quality that Victoria’s Secret establishes its mission and ongoing success. Therefore, Victoria’s Secret uses both the hard sell and soft sell approach of advertising. Not only do they give consumers reasons as to why they absolutely cannot live without a VS product, Victoria’s Secret backs up its list of reasons by adding all the extras, for example, the backstage interviews. Victoria’s Secret uses images and visuals to further appeal to consumer emotions and heartstrings, making consumers feel as if they have a relationship with the brand.
In terms of a encompassing a successful product and a successful brand image, Victoria’s Secret establishes a firm identity. The Victoria’s Secret brand excels beyond creating a desirable, high-quality, positive product. Furthermore, Victoria’s Secret manages to sell a desirable, high-quality, positive attitude and lifestyle. It is the selling of this lifestyle that increases the sales of VS products. Women buy because they want to feel confident, they want to feel sexy, they want to feel glamorous, and they want to feel luxurious.
Of course, the products that Victoria’s Secret promotes are purely physical matters. But it is because Victoria’s Secret successfully pushes and promotes its attitude through its cleverly designed advertising campaign that consumers subliminally associate the products with this attitude. They are more inclined to buy its products in order to strive closer to reaching the glamour and sex appeal. Consumers feel such a strong connection with Victoria’s Secret that they forget, however, that they are being sold on products. Consumers only see the image Victoria’s Secret represents. And that, in large part, is on account of Victoria’s Secret’s successful advertising campaign.