In 2022, the footwear and accessories chain EKONIKA celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. Traditionally, the brand is associated with high quality, a cosy atmosphere in their stores and signature elegance in style. The brand has cherished its heritage and carefully considered any changes, focusing on the interests of a loyal audience. At yet another round of development, the company turned to us for a comprehensive brand renewal project. We also had the task of making the brand attractive to a new segment of urban fashionistas. By the beginning of the project, EKONIKA had significantly expanded its product line, focusing on trendy models, and implemented a series of fashion collaborations. Globally, our task was to harmonise the product and brand image.
At the start of the project, it may have seemed that fashion communication required radical changes, but it was important for EKONIKA to stay true to its values and not reject its legacy. That's why Signal (part of ONY) has started work with a series of studies to address the question: How can a brand with a history stay fashionable and attract new audiences? We have examined several international cases and have conducted qualitative research on the target audience, talking with a wide range of women –– from super-loyal EKONIKA customers to young fashionistas who perceive the brand as "the place where my mum gets her shoes". We found out that "fashionability" is a subjective criterion. Fashionability is impossible to form, but it can be "appropriated". In other words, what matters is not what we say about a product but rather in which conditions it happens. The audience considers a brand fashionable if its communication correlates with contemporary culture and current events. Thus, each segment has its particular idea of trendiness, which includes urban locations, influencers, certain objects and symbols. We have also carried out semiotic research in the Russian and European markets. It has helped us to identify emerging and outgoing visual codes in the portrayal of fashion footwear and find a fresh approach to content creation, which goes beyond the categorical bias of European origin, idleness or decorative elegance so typical in a social media environment.
An important finding that has helped to formulate the brand positioning is related to women's perception of their style. Regardless of their lifestyle, age or interest in fashion, women see their style as a way to tell their personality without words. They achieve it by combining topical, classic and accent elements uniquely into a single outfit. Many consciously develop the ability to see trends but remain selective and faithful to their dress sense. This principle is embodied in the EKONIKA positioning concept and the slogan "Everchanging and everlasting me". The metaphor of the brand, which has helped to grasp the visual concept, is the river – a vivid manifestation of changeability and persistence in nature. A river always follows its direction but can change its course alongside the landscape and surroundings. This image has helped us to convey corporate values and accurately describe the character of the brand's heroine, the woman who chooses EKONIKA. As a result of the work, Signal (part of ONY) has developed a communication strategy for the relaunch of the renewed brand, which outlines the logic of messages and channels for different target groups, recommendations for selecting celebrities for collaborations and guidelines for social media incorporation.