In an article called Victoria’s Secret gets ‘too sexy’ in yesterday’s LA Times, Victoria’s Secret Chief Executive Sharen J. Turney said:
“We have moved off of our brand heritage… We use the word ‘sexy’ a lot and really have forgotten the ultra-feminine.”
Also according to Turner, the brand’s original story line was of a to-the-manner-born Londoner named Victoria whose lacy underthings, we assume, were her little secret. But in recent years, Victoria became known as simply “Vicky,” and she had no qualms about flaunting her sex appeal.
My take: It’s very easy for a brand to drift away from its core essence. For Victoria’s Secret, it was a relatively minor shift from “ultra-feminine” to “sexy.” But those shifts can cause enormous problems as target customers also drift away from the brand.
Every large company has a formal strategic planning process, but not many have a formal brand evaluation process. Firms need to evaluate their brands every 12 to 24 months and address the following questions: What perception do target customers have of our brand? How is our brand being communicated? What do we want our brand to stand for? What should we do to get our brand back on track?
The bottom line: Don’t let your brand drift off the mark — even if it gets sexier.