Scandinavian brands are my favourite project to study. In this opinion article, I will highlight in particular GANNI, a Swedish brand founded in 2000 and nine years later, led by Nikolaj and Ditte Reffstrup. Ganni is one of the stars of the Instagram boom of the last decade, but it wasn’t always like this. What started as a niche cashmere line, has blossomed into a brand with almost $60 million in annual revenues and has taken GIRL from Copenhagen all over the world.
“It’s not necessarily about where you’re from; if it’s the right moment and you have the right product, then that’s the recipe for what is successful.”
The “Cherry Bomb” T-shirt and the green Seersucker dress are some of the Scandinavian brand’s signature pieces. These iconic pieces sold out at launch and became viral in the looks of Scandinavian influencers. Ditte is the brand’s designer, and when the brand emerged in 2009 with a fresh approach, the creator showed right from the start that he has the potential to create and launch viral clothes that quickly sell out before the seasons are over.
“Copenhagen Girl” is the starting for the creation of these iconic pieces, full of identity just like Taisbaek, Frederikke Sofie and Caroline Brasch or Ditte herself. The relaxed and feminine style, always combined with trainers, flowing dresses, shirts with pleated skirts. Ganni has launched a breath of fresh air with commercial success on a global scale. The brand is famous for its contemporary collections and one of the most popular retailers in the online world. As a designer and buyer, Ditte knows exactly what the consumer is looking for, and the launch of new products, design and the styling along with the styling of each model, is looked at in a peculiar way with each launch with the aim of understanding what works best. The product is tested by Ditte who wears it before launching in order to improve it. The functional design transforms the product which is the basis of the brand’s success.
Although Ditte is a key part of Ganni’s success, the founders cultivate a strong organisational culture. Strategy, focus, a mindset and a strong mind are the basis of the success of the Ganni team.
If something doesn’t work, the team has to act fast and propose new solutions: test, implement, analyse and if it doesn’t work…test again until it does!
The brand has always tried to be ahead with the implementation of new technologies, as is the case of GANNI REPEAT, which consists in renting parts to give them a new life. You can see more here.
When it comes to sustainability, the brand started the process in 2016 with the tracking of its carbon emissions in order to decrease its impact.
Technology, fashion and design, merge into one from the moment GANNI implemented a Business Intelligence to analyse data on online sales. The access to this information, allowed the design team, to design and create the most sought-after and loved products in order to reduce stock and make the company financially sustainable.
“Everybody dreams of having this navyblue cashmere knit that just sells again and again. We’re not that kind of brand,” Nicolaj said. “We live off newness to someextent, but rather than kind of constantly reinventing things we are very good, I think, at identifying those details, and elaborating on them, and bringing them with us.”
If there are particular products that have sold well, the design team will focus on creating new similar pieces where the colours, pattern or detail changes slightly. The classics and iconic pieces are there… it’s the detail that differs. The brand’s DNA remains strong. We can identify a piece or a GANNI look on the INSTAGRAM feed if it is identified. This is what we call brand image.
BUILDING THE TRIBE
We can consider that GANNI is a brand born from INSTAGRAM. It was in 2010 that this social media platform emerged and became the brand’s biggest sales and awareness weapon. The brand already has around 700,000 million followers, including IT GIRLS and fashion insiders with a reach that goes beyond the Scandinavian market, extending to a global scale.
From early on, the brand had in mind to build a community. #GANNIGIRLS was the starting point to work the community of influencers that supported the brand from the beginning (2010) with the growth of the Instagram social network.
Social Zoo is the marketing agency of infuencer Teisbaek who helped boost GANNI’s INSTGARAM profile, introducing the brand to buyers who were not focused on Copenhagen.
GANNI has seen organic growth in followers of 230% since 2016 and had average organic reach of 51mil feed views and storys in the first few months of 2019. Through GOOGLE TRENDS, it was found that over the last decade, the brand has seen considerable growth in searches.
“Ganni was really one of the first brands to use social media and influencers to gain traction globally,” said Ida Petersson, director of mens and womenswear buying at Browns. “Their ‘GanniGirls’ hashtag was a genius way of spreading the word outside Scandinavia and their relationship with Scandinavian influencers such as Pernille Teisbaek, Thora Valdimars and Jeanette Madsen who were already doing the international circuit were key to ensure thatGanni’s clothes were seen on people thattheir target audience looked up to and felt had fashion authority."
As Social Media Marketing and Influencer Marketing has become mainstream, GANNI kept its strategy focused on data. It stopped focusing on celebrities, and started targeting local influencers or those from regions where the brand wanted to be: influencer people with a relevant number of followers who tend to show higher conversions. The brand then focuses on regions with interesting and significant numbers of people.
In an age where authenticity is the new commodity, the founders of the brand remain GANNI’s biggest ambassadors.
The brand has been defending causes and cares about its people and community. This is remarkable through the brand actions it has been developing. The emotional charge and connection with people is visible here and this is definitely the greatest asset a company can have: its community.
GANNI has a strong presence on INSTAGRAM and is a brand that influences in an extraordinary way.
THE DISTRIBUTION & PRODUCT LAUNCH STRATEGY
"This is in fact one of the secrets to their success - that ability to create the must have item of the season."
To keep the product fresh and consumers excited, GANNI adopts a hybrid business model. The standard collections are designed and planned months before their launch and are launched with the mental trigger “you have to have this! It’s the piece of the season and IT GIRLS have it too!”
It’s a strategy that works well in the crowded e-commerce world that depends on fast turnover and creating the desire for new pieces.