In the beginning
Victoria’s Secret was founded by Roy Raymond in 1977 and bought by Limited Brands in 1982. The supermodel phenomenon was just taking off and the new owners quickly saw the potential and embraced this opportunity to use models to define beauty and sell the concept to women.
The brand message
The brand represents sexy, fresh, femininity, romance, affordability, fun and accessibility. Victoria’s Secret was not trying to be a niche brand in the luxury market but rather create a product to appeal to the mass market with attitude and beauty.
Their Success at Marketing, Advertising and Branding
The branding and marketing strategy behind the success of Victoria’s Secret is due to their extensive communication campaign and extensive reach to a wide audience base. They address all of the touch points in the market. Their distribution of catalogues are sometimes greater than the newspapers with over 390 million catalogues distributed across the US fashion shows. This mass form of communication to achieve national coverage is the centerpiece of their brand awareness along with network broadcasting, traditional advertising in newspapers and magazines.
Delivering on their brand promise
Victoria’s Secret sells an image and lifestyle to help boost women’s confidence as they aspire to be like the models on the runway. Victoria’s Secret wants women to feel more appealing and they achieve this by creating a fairytale like experience to the brand. This brand image is reinforced through their fashion shows and the instore experience of pink wall paper and soft hues to promote a very feminine environment, a valet parking service and the use of their trademark pink stripped bags.
In contrast, a brand can falter quite quickly which happened to Lingerie chain Frederick’s of Hollywood which was the brand choice of many Hollywood actresses. This all came tumbling down after an ill-fated promotion of the “thong” which changed the perception of the brand forever. They also put little effort into the shop experience, so it was not suprisingly that women felt the experience of the Victoria’s Secret stores was much more uplifting and inviting.