In today’s fast paced consumer society, the latest fads and trends blaze in just as quickly as they blaze out. The fashion world epitomises that more than most. Keeping up with the trends is a game in itself for both consumer and producer. The challenge for companies is to be able to create a brand which can survive the cycles and consistently deliver for its followers.
One local Aussie company has been doing just that, building a brand and a big following in the process. The Academy Brand is brainchild of former advertising exec Anthony Pitt. It has evolved into a lifestyle brand which is known for producing quality, affordable products for Aussie dudes. The Academy Brand story is one of vision, worth ethic and a bit of good old fashioned craftsmanship.
We caught up with Anthony Pitt to find out about what he's learned throughout The Academy Brand journey and his tips for success; this is what he had to say:
Take your time
Good ideas take time to develop. Learning the value of patience was one of the biggest pieces of advice that Anthony Pitt could give any budding young entrepreneurs “Too often I see people trying to run before they walk. Any good idea needs time to develop. If it relies on cutting corners then perhaps it ain't a good idea in this first place”.
Look outside the bubble
Creating a brand and a following is about understanding what your customers are looking for. It can’t just be about what you like or what suits your tastes. When asked about the value of making mistakes, Pitt says he learnt very early on a valuable lesson in looking outside your personal view, “One of the biggest mistakes I made in the early days was trying to always design garments and creating a brand feel that catered to my personal tastes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be proud of everything you do, but to be a truly commercial and viable business you need to quickly understand that not everyone is like you! There’s a lot more people to sell to out there”.
Stand for something
To truly create a brand experience and something that customers feel a part of, you need to stand for something. For The Academy Brand creating an accessible and quality product is what it’s all about, he says “we started the brand based on these principles and they will continue to drive what we do. If a customer knows they can come to us and more often than not find what they are looking for then they’ll keep coming back”
Engage with your customers
The Academy Brand philosophy centre’s around creating something its customers will keep coming back to, and the best way to do that is to keep them engaged. Engagement may seem a simple thing to do, but according to Pitt, it’s something that seems to get overlooked far too often “The way retail staff interact with customers, the way product is presented in store and online, having reward programs in place, regular incentives for loyal customers, a strong and engaging website that allows customers to immerse themselves in the brand, having a consistent and interactive social media platforms. All the things any successful business should be doing, but many are not”.
Always push yourself forward
Cutting his teeth in the advertising industry, Pitt quickly learnt the value of the next big thing. Whilst good ideas take time and require patience and work ethic, you can’t dwell on the past; the aim of the game is to always be moving forward. As he outlined “Your past success can be quickly forgotten. This is one of the most valuable lessons I would pass on to anyone wanting to chase their dreams. Always push yourself to be better. Make sure you are always moving forward. It doesn’t matter if things move a little slowly. As long as you are moving forward.”
Staying true to this ethos, the Academy Brand has announced 2015 collaborations into surfboards and bikes, further building the lifestyle brand.