We have being doing research on a popular, well-known brand and determined some variables about their brand identity. The, as we went to visit their physical store, evaluate how they remained true to their brand identity or not.
I’ve decided to work with the clothes store H&M as it is in my small hometown for this assignment.
a. What brand identity element are they using in their logo (e.g. abstract mark or word mark)?
H&M is a company founded in Sweden in 1947 with one single shop with ladies clothing named “Hennes”. In 1968 they expand their assortment with men’s clothing and changed the name to “Hennes & Mauritz” and this is when the logo we know today appeared. Today the logo is recognized all around the world, being one of the world’s most successful and known clothing-retail companies.
H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB’s brand identity element contains two letters and an ampersand: H&M. The logo appears as on these pictures, either with the red letters on a white/transparent background, or with white letters on a red background. The contrasts in the colors makes the logo very easy to read. It will also work very well in black and white because of this contrast. The red color is energetic and a bit playful, making it very easy to spot the logo as the letters stands out.
The typography is somehow both strict yet playful. The logo is definitely not meant for my conservative father aged 72, but rather for young people in their 30s +/-.
The company name is “H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB”, but as we see on their brand identity element above, they’re only using the initials “H” for Hennes and “M” for Mauritz in the logo with the symbol “&” between. Hence, the brand identity element is a monogram. The full company name is rarely seen today, and they consistently use the logo “H&M” in their global marketing and people are talking about the brand as “HM” all over the world.
The logo is plain, easy to remember and have been looking the same for 50 years. With the company’s success it’s certain this logo design is very good and at the same time they are good at using it right.
b. What do you think their brand ideal is?
Back in the early 90’s in Norway we saw for the first time enormous posters with world class models as Ellen Macpherson, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Anna Nicole Smith – filling the plain posters on a white background. Almost naked, they were just wearing underwear or bikini, supported by a few words like “bikini” or “underwear”, the price and the H&M logo. This campaigns got a lot of attention (some men actually lost attention to the traffic and crashed their car) and really made the brand, logo and shops famous. Who doesn’t want to look like these beautiful woman at to such a price!
On the company’s website “About us -> Corporate Governance” you can find the document “The H&M Way”, a document explaining who they are, what their values are, what they do and how they do it. From this document I found their brand ideal is to “Offer Fashion and quality at the best price – in a sustainable way – today, tomorrow and in the future”.
I’ve done some research on how their campaigns look today, see below.
From this research, I believe that their brand ideal is “Value”.
c. How do they remain true to their brand ideal within their shops?
To find out I went to a local H&M shop and check the 4(5) P’s:
The shop is packed with a lot of clothes in different shapes and sizes, to women, men, teens and children. They also have some accessories as hats, gloves, purses, belts, jewelries, shoes etc. Everything looks very up-to date and the quality seems affordable considering the price-level. You can buy more expensive clothes and get a better quality and you can buy cheaper clothes and get poorer quality. In the H&M shop you get the feeling they have a lot of clothes – and there is something for me too.
In some shops you may have problems to find the price and you may even have to
ask the personnel about it to find out. In the H&M shops, the price is very visible once you step inside. The price is shown on every single clothes and on signs on tables and stands around the shop. On these signs we can see they’ve stayed true to their price policy since the 90’s – still with the price way bigger than the description of the clothes (sweater, jeans etc). At H&M you get the feeling you can stay fashionable at a decent price.
The H&M store is located in the local shopping mall – presented with a big shop on two levels with entrance on both level 1 and level 2 – close to the central escalator. They have an escalator and an elevator inside the shop making it easy for everyone to move between the two floors inside the shop. This is typically H&M shops – they often have multiple entrances making it more accessible and easier to find. The shops are often located on very strategical spots where people naturally walk by, either in shopping malls or in town centrums. They avoid placing their shops where people have to drive and pay for parking (unless in a shopping mall).
Their products concerning, the shop is packed with products, hanging tight on the racks. They are placing products they want to give extra attention on tables and hangers around the shop, displaying combinations of jumper and trouser or skirt, making it easier for the customers to take a buying decision. By the cashier, they always have products in deep boxes with 5-pack socks, as the chance you grab with you one of these as you stand in line, is quite high.
H&M´s promotions often focuses on price and sales. In addition to that, they often show happy, social, fashionable people wearing their clothes. They have customers in all ranges, from first time buyers to the loyal ones, giving them the opportunity to customize the promotions to their different target groups as most people already know the brand and many have made up their mind whether it’s a brand they like and buy or not and don´t. One of their main promotions are their shops windows – always showing the seasons fashion and news on dolls with price tags clearly visible.
H&M products have a low price and people today are used to help themselves around in low-price ranged shops, whilst in more expensive shops, you’ll expect a whole other level of customer service as “Hello” as you enter.
The People working at H&M shop are young, mostly women, looking fresh, healthy and cool. They are always helpful, polite, provides good service and have good knowledge about fashion and the products in their shop, but mostly you´ll have to ask for help.
d. Evaluate the customer experience according to the brand ideal. (For example, if the brand ideal is “innovation”, do you get a sense of that ideal when you visit the outlet?)
I really do get the feeling of value in the shop as the clothes makes the interior with no fancy furniture, wall-colors or floor tiles. The clothes stands and tables are clean and does not speak “extravaganza”, it’s more cost efficient. The clothes hangers are made of plastic and are also showing more cost-efficiency. Their products are at a low-price range, the clothes are of decent quality and also up to date.
e. Evaluate the visual display of the products according to the brand ideal. (For example, if the brand ideal is “value”, is this expressed in the way they display the products?)
In the H&M shop, signs with low prices are all over the shop and there is no doubt what the products costs. You also have “Buy 3 for the price of 2”-products and for example 5-pack of socks for all the family members (men, women, teens and kids). On their price-signs you can also see they focus on the price rather than the product (Price in large letters, the product category in small letters).
H&M’s products are affordable, the quality is good, they are up-to-date in the fashion industry, they are concerned about the environment (H&M Conscious products), the shops are easy to find (physical shops), the shops are packed with clothes to choose from, the web shop is intuitive, feels safe and easy to use, and they have a good range of sizes and choices no matter what clothes to whom you are looking for – woman, men, teenagers or kids.
H&M consistently remain true to their brand identity in their shops, that they: “Offer Fashion and quality at the best price – in a sustainable way – today, tomorrow and in the future”.
«Create a Brand Strategy» by Lindsay Pedersen
«Branding foundations» by Boyd Drew
«Logo Design Techniques» by Nigel French
Logo Design Book «A hands-On Guide to Creating Logos» by Adams, S; Morioka, N; Stone T.
H&M Advertising policy