The experience one has with a brand is significantly influenced by their five senses. These senses include; sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Brands are experienced by customers in physical brick and mortar stores, as well as in online environments. People often view themselves as a combination of all the things they are associated with. The more a brand possesses the characteristics that one wishes to have the more they will want to be associated with or involved with the brand. This holds true, especially for fashion brands. Fashion items are widely known to be used as an outlet for self-expression. People buy brands that give off the vibe that they want to give off the others while wearing the brand.
One fashion retail brand with a very perceptible brand personality is Victoria’s Secret. The environment of the physical retail stores of Victoria’s Secret reflects the personality and purpose of the brand. The mission statement of Limited Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, is- “Limited Brands is committed to building a family of the world’s best fashion brands offering captivating customer experiences that drive long-term loyalty and deliver sustained growth for our shareholders” (Thebalance.com). The customer’s experience is very important to Victoria’s Secret. The stores are designed in a way that as soon as a customer walks into Victoria’s Secret the seductive, confident, feminine, modern and sexy personality of the brand is apparent. The customer experiences this with all five senses.
Before you even enter Victoria’s Secret you see the big bright pink glowing sign popping out of the black background that states the brand’s name “Victoria’s Secret”. Or, a bold black “Victoria’s Secret” against pretty pink and white pinstripes. In the windows of the store you see items being advertised in different mediums- on mannequins in the window display and in print advertisements of models with “perfect bodies”. Most of these models are people you are familiar with. These are usually the people you wish to be more like, the people wait to watch the Victoria’s Secret fashion show each year. Kendall Jenner, Adriana Lima and Taylor Hill are a few of them. When you look around a Victoria’s Secret store you will notice that all the fixtures, floors, and walls are a chic jet black or a romantic cream. Dim lighting with warm undertones can be seen throughout the store making the lingerie and clothing look even sexier. The mood lighting immerses the customer into the sensual atmosphere of Victoria’s Secret. They feel sexy and now want to feel even sexier. They, therefore, want the brand to become a part of who they are and can achieve this by making a purchase(s). Pink accents can be seen on the furniture and walls throughout the store. Complementing these accents are large contemporary lamps that can be found on the ceiling above select fixtures.
Many of the fixtures throughout the Victoria’s Secret store are large. They grab the attention of the customer. Each collection has its own section of the store, making it easier for the customer to view each style and to feel less overwhelmed. “Designers opted for larger-scale fixtures in the new store. In the Body By Victoria room, for example, the central fixture has a mannequin sprawled across the top, with panty displays and merchandise surrounding it. Nesting table arrangements are utilized so the lingerie can be spread out and easier to see. All fixtures are coated in high-gloss black lacquer with cream accents and brushed titanium” (vmsd.com). The fixtures have a modern feel to them.
A customer’s view of a brand is even affected by the smells they experience in the stores. Aromas have the ability to immediately trigger a feeling in a person. They can make us feel calm, relaxed, stressed, energized nostalgic, etc. Victoria’s Secret stores have a scent consisting of a mixture of sweet perfumes.
The sweet scent of the perfumes gives a feminine feel to the store. This can also affect the “taste” one gets from the store. Even though clothing brands don’t usually have a literal “taste”, sometimes you feel the atmosphere is so strong that you could almost taste it. A customer may think Victoria’s Secret has a sweet taste.
One’s sense of touch influences their view of a brand as well. In Victoria’s Secret the furniture and fixtures feel smooth and shiny. This reflects the brand modernity. A lot of the drawers are lined with silk, and some tables are covered in silk fabric. This elegant, sexy fabric contributes to the store’s atmosphere as well.
The atmosphere of Victoria’s Secret retail stores is reflected in the sounds one hears while in the store. The stores have a set playlist that is often updated. They play classical music which gives an elegant feel to the store and lends an air of prestige to their merchandise. The music is usually a medium to low volume to suit the classy and feminine atmosphere. The customer should feel like they are in a Victorian boudoir. The customer should feel calm and comfortable.
The ambiance of the e-commerce site for Victoria’s Secret is consistent with that of the physical store. The colors consist of jet black, pink, and cream. While looking through the website, the customer is bombarded by advertisements featuring famous models wearing the newest items. The body continues to be glorified, promoting body confidence amongst viewers.