House 337 launches The Demand Index into fashion market plus new ethical consultancy

House 337, formerly Engine Creative, seems determined to do things differently – the appliance of science you might call it, although that was washing machines – and it’s launching The Demand Index, a set of sector-specific reports.

First up is ‘Fashion – driving growth through desirability,’ home territory for ODD, the Next 15-owned fashion agency now incorporated into House 337.

Findings include:

• 90% of brands failed to meet consumer expectations on inclusivity

• 85% of brands falling short on product quality

• Only one in nine brands have memorable or relatable marketing

• Sports brands outperform wider sector

• 18 to 24-year-olds hooked on free online returns

• Two-thirds of high street bands underperforming online

The report deploys data gathered from the UK’s top 40 fashion brands. A panel of branding experts, futurologists, business leaders, publishers and social platforms were invited to challenge and interpret the findings.

The result is a comprehensive look at how many of the UK’s leading fashion retailers are underperforming on the key metrics that drive desirability: the brand itself, the experience of the customer, and the ability of the product to live up to expectations.

Each of the 40 brands in the Index has a bespoke scorecard, featuring 36 individual performance-based demand metrics to enable brands to measure performance and take corrective action.

Six major themes emerged for the report:

*Warm is the new cool: inclusivity supersedes exclusivity

*Cost per wear drives purchase decisions: perceived quality emerges as most important drive of desirability

*Brand experience is key to memorable marketing: compelling experiences are essential to stand out

*Customers align with communities that cross demographic boundaries: consumers now prefer communities to identity tribes

*Sustainable fashion has reached its tipping point: expectations have risen, but systems need to adapt and consumers need to change their behaviour

House 337 ECD Zara Ineson says: “Today’s consumers want a deeper connection to the brands they invite into their lives and wardrobes. What were radical brand behaviours five years ago are now the baseline. CEOs and marketers need to be bold to succeed in such a turbulent, yet hugely innovative, time for fashion retail.

“There isn’t one magic bullet – desirability is a sum of parts. Brands should be working with their creative partners to solve business problems in a more lateral way.”

Fashion expert Sam Sheterline has also joined House 337 reporting to CEO Phil Fearnley. He says: “We are living through a period of fear and confusion, but disruption brings great opportunity. The findings from this report are the perfect provocation for brands to take a step back and reassess what it takes to shape and win the future.

“At House 337, we’re perfectly placed to help brands on this journey. We believe the power of creativity can make the future better for their people, customers and planet.”

New ethical consultancy

House 337 is teaming up with Good Business to launch Ethical Consulting aimed at helping brands hit sustainability targets.

Ethical Consulting, a partnership between sustainability agency Good Business and House 337, will be led by former M&S marketing director Nathan Ansell, a founding director of House 337.

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