With Asos purchasing four high-street brands for an estimated £265 - £330 million, the all-conquering value of Brand has been proven once again.
Why buy brands?
Online fashion retailer Asos has snagged four of the Arcadia group’s most well-known brands: Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT. Included as part of the deal are 300 members of staff including designers and buyers, plus the sales stock, both current and on order. What they are not buying are the physical retail stores. Which seems reasonable, given Asos has an established infrastructure for online retail that turned over £3.3 billion in 2020.
The retail stock has been estimated at around £65 million, so what is it Asos is actually buying for the rest of that money? The intellectual property for designs, the names, use of logos? Sure. But what is far more interesting is that Asos wants the established brands themselves, and all of the associations and emotions their customers have, tied to them.
Topshop was a British high-street staple. The brand was shorthand for affordable, accessible cutting-edge fashion and can be found rubbing hangers with both designer outfits and Primark pieces in wardrobes across the land. The brand we think of as Topshop will be slightly different for us all, uniquely shaped by our own experiences and memories. And that is what makes them so valuable.
“Products are made in a factory but brands are created in the mind”
To quote brand designer Walter Landor, “Products are made in a factory but brands are created in the mind”. Branding is the process of trying to influence and shape these personal perceptions, but it can often drop in the list of priorities. So, to see a large, tangible sum put on something that can be so seemingly intangible should be a wake-up call for all businesses.
For every time branding is dismissed as part of ‘marketing fluff’, we see a huge missed opportunity. Because whether you like it or not, every business will have brand associations, regardless of the audience, industry or marketing budget. At every stage, there will be people who make decisions about whether yours is the business they buy from. What they think about your brand will hold sway.
Your brand is one of the most effective ways to engage with customers and stakeholders. It’s how you communicate what you do that is special, that matters, that’s authentic. It’s about staking a claim in your corner of the marketplace, standing out and adding value to your product or service.
More than ever, brands matter. And, as has been richly demonstrated by the Asos/Arcadia deal, a brand can carry significant value. Now is the time to dust off that brand awareness campaign, pay attention to your audience’s reactions and make sure your brand is pulling its weight.