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Zara's advertising strategy

The secret of Zara’s advertising strategy: how to make billions while spending $0 on ads

It doesn’t matter how old you are, what fashion style you prefer, or whether you are female or male. The likelihood that you haven’t visited a Zara store is 0, which is the same number as the amount of dollars this company invests in its advertising strategy. 

Wait, zero? You sure?

It’s not a joke! Zara is one of the most successful fashion brands in the world so it’s rather unusual that the company doesn’t do conventional marketing. Although Zara’s founder, Amancio Ortaga, is one of the richest people in the world and Zara stores are the busiest in the mall, the company spends only about 0.3 percent of sales on advertising. Let’s see what happens behind the scenes!

Zara strategy

 

Long story short – Zara

Zara’s story is quite long, and not even hardcore fans of the brand actually know much about how Zara came to be. Maybe that’s part of its strategy! You know, admire a brand for what it is. But you’ll have to judge that for yourself.

👉 Zara is a Spanish brand founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera. The first store offered low-priced, similar-looking products of popular, higher-end clothing.

👉 In 1985, Ortega developed a new design, manufacturing, and distribution process to shorten lead times and respond more quickly to new trends, which he called “instant fashion”.

👉 Over the next decade, Zara began to aggressively expand into global markets. Today, this clothing retailer has nearly 3,000 stores, including stores for women, men, children, and the home. Zara has stores in 96 countries and is the flagship of the Inditex Group.

And here’s a fun one:

The brand’s founder, Amancio, has never spoken to the media or promoted Zara in any way. So customer appreciation and desire are strongly driven by the brand experience.

 

Zara's advertising strategy

 

Zara has a policy of no advertising, so what does it mean?

Zara doesn’t do advertising, which means you won’t see a single television commercial, press ad, billboard, or a banner on the internet. So it’s true that Zara spends only 0.3% of its revenue on ads. But it should be noted that advertising isn’t synonymous with marketing. Zara doesn’t use conventional advertising channels, but the company does marketing in its own way.

Instead of advertising Zara…

👉 Focus on the customers through a bottom-up approach

The bottom-up approach means that designs are created based on immediate customer feedback. Zara co-creates its products with its customers instead of spending budgets on commercials. Anything customers report is taken to build better products. In this way, the brand builds customer loyalty and relies on consumers to promote it, and that’s the most powerful form of marketing.

In 2015, a woman named Miko walked into a Zara store in Tokyo and asked the store assistant for a pink scarf, but the store didn’t have any pink scarves. The same thing happened almost simultaneously to Michelle in Toronto, Elaine in San Francisco, and Giselle in Frankfurt, who all walked into a Zara store and asked for pink scarves.

7 days later, more than 2,000 Zara stores worldwide started selling pink scarves, to be exact more than 500,000 pink scarves were sold out within 3 days.

 

Zara's advertising strategy

 

👉 Choose the most prominent store locations

Where are the Zara stores usually located? If you ever paid attention, Zara stores are always located in high-street shopping areas in major metropolises. So, Zara invests in the locations and attractiveness of its stores rather than in their advertising. In any big city, Zara can be found next to big brands such as Louis Vuitton, Armani, or Gucci, even if their clothes are significantly more expensive.

👉 Unknown models and unusual poses

Another point that makes Zara’s creative approach recognizable is the models’ striking poses. Zara’s products are always presented by unknown models in different, not-so-common poses that attract people’s attention and make them talk about them. This is all part of Zara’s comprehensive strategy, which in this way, emphasizes the authenticity of the brand and, at the same time, increases its awareness. So when you see a model in Zara clothes, thanks to the special photos and poses, you know it’s Zara even before you notice the brand.

👉 Use story windows as a powerful communication tool

Did you know that Zara assembles 150,000 storefronts per year? Due to their philosophy of fast fashion, the store windows are constantly changing, as they play the most important role in the presentation of the collections. By preparing memorable and artistic window displays every two weeks and two additional window displays during the summer and winter sales, Zara connects and communicates with its customers. Behind the scenes, a team of the best neuromarketers and other window dressing experts test and modify numerous variations to find the final window display, which is then exported to stores all over the world.

👉 “Freshly baked clothes”

From the very beginning, Zara became one of the most popular brands among its customers thanks to its ability to keep up with rapidly changing fashion trends, or as they say, to produce “freshly baked clothes”. Zara keeps track of fashion trends and styles, creates new designs, and gets them into stores within a week or two, while other fashion brands take about six months. Thanks to its fast, stylish, and affordable clothing, the company is able to outdo its competitors.

Conclusion: dress cool, act as cool as Zara or…

The secret of Zara’s 0% advertising strategy is hidden in its overall brand strategy. From the beginning, Zara has been careful to build its brand based on the values of its ideal customers. The fashion company targets people who are stylish and follow trends, offering them the trendiest clothes at the time they are looking for them. So before you start a business, take a close look at your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and your ideal customers to determine their pain points. Based on this data, choose the best approach to building your brand. If you start with this, you may not need to advertise at all in a few years.

Dress cool, act cool, and get your brand on the right track from the start. Or, let us do it for you!

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