A clearly defined brand identity has never been more crucial.

Charlotte Hurd


With an uncertain economic market and a general feeling of insecurity, customers are putting frugality at the forefront of the agenda, and with this tightening of the purse strings comes a clear decision from customers to align more closely with the brands they favour and trust.  

This importance is only catalysed by a crowded and ever-changing landscape, in both physical and online environments as well as improved access to a growing number of new international brands. To stay relevant and front of mind, brands need to have both a clear mission and voice which strategically builds trust with both customers and employees.  

Clarity is key, with 94% of consumers stating that ‘it’s important that the companies they engage with have a strong purpose, whilst only 37% believe companies actually have a clear and defined purpose.’ Brands who have clear identities and well-articulated brand personalities across media can create a halo effect, drawing customers in and maintaining their loyalty and trust. (Forbes, 2020) 

FatFace: A strategy to re-engage and re-define customers 

Set up in 1988 by a pair of British skiers Tim and Jules (with the namesake coming from the founder's favourite black mountain run in Val d’Isère, La Face) FatFace has become a mainstay of the UK high-street. 

Historically, the FatFace business model was never intended to focus on technical products and instead always catered for après ski collections. Ski made way for surf to suit UK coastal towns and when the business was sold, more mainstream and high street locations were opened. FatFace was growing, but as the business aged, so did its customers.  

Loved by a broad aged, middle class family customer base, FatFace moved to an ageless, relaxed collection dominated by womenswear style and menswear classics and basics.  

This left a credibility gap for a younger audience as Abercrombie and Fitch and Jack Wills became the go to premium student wear. Alongside this, brands like Zara, Next and H&M all expanded, introducing new collections. Direct competitors followed suit with brands Crew, Joules and White stuff all embarking on expansion strategies. FatFace were being squeezed and brand clarity was needed. 

The One Off team worked with the Board to re-position the brand, which began with the decision to change the brand line ‘Life is out there’ to ‘Life with meaning’. Transferring FatFace’s core sentiment from a youthful, exuberant even selfish existence to a calmer kinder one based around stronger more compassionate values, maturity and empathy helped create a strong focus on delivering results across social and environmental issues and a relevance to a global FatFace family. 

This reflected much of the work the FatFace team were already actively involved with and the re-positioning saw the brand take on new collections, with the buying team exploring products, suppliers and causes which felt more authentic to the ‘Life with meaning’ strategy.  

Following the development of this strategy, a creative positioning was set. ‘Time Well Spent’ acted as a guide to the values we stand for, of doing good, of self-improvement of being with family and friends…for valuing your time and spending it doing the things you love with those who you love.  

The project began with an overhauling of the brand name and a redesigning of the logo itself, with a new sans serif capital font with supporting typography, brand palette and brand toolkit for use across all channels.

FatFace Article Branding Work
The previous FatFace logo (which was made up of a dreadlocked head and handwritten style typeface) was dropped and a new brand icon was developed, simplifying and distilling the original inspiration of La Face mountain.  

The Christmas campaign was the first to deliver the new FatFace brand positioning and identity, with the script providing a guide to living life with a little more wisdom. 

From there, the design team were able to develop a full campaign direction. From tone of voice lines to art direction, and photography for their Spring, Summer, and High Summer campaigns, working fully with the buying teams in terms of product selection, styling, and full design. Providing ideas for how the campaigns could launch across their channels with initiative ideas to add more value to their customers and build on their ethos. 

We also fully produced, art directed, photographed, and filmed three campaigns in Camber Sands, London, and Cape Town respectively creating all the corresponding content to help the internal teams roll out the creative across their estate. 

FatFace Article Photoshoot
The new creative positioning more accurately presents what the brand is doing now  
...a combination of life and style with a compelling brand purpose. It is fundamentally kinder and believable, and that brand persona is now being delivered beautifully across all channels, especially digital. It’s all making the difference to reducing bounce rate, adding attention time and delivering the better conversion numbers.” added Adam Devey Smith, Creative Strategic Partner at The One Off. 

Matt Burnett was Head of Marketing at Fat Face at the time of the brand refresh: “Through life and style, and a revitalised and defined brand purpose, The One Off have provided us with a unique and relevant platform on which to continue to grow the Fat Face brand and to communicate with both existing and prospective customers in the UK and globally.” 

FatFace: A Confident Brand  

Through re-branding, FatFace have been able to define a clear, authentic, and successful brand identity, which resonates with both existing and new customers.  

Because of this change, they are now able to curate relevant brand activations, campaigns and experiences which feel uniquely them and will ultimately speak to their customer.  
Over the last two years FatFace have announced the following initiatives… 

– A successful and engaging sustainable Christmas wrapping paper campaign  
– Partnerships with Land Rover and the Marine Conservation Society  
– A new pet’s range (FatFace families love dogs) 
– A partnership with Thrift+ to offer customers a Preloved site  
– Expansion into new global markets  

By defining a clear direction, FatFace have been able to move into a space whereby they have an authoritative voice when it comes to the things that both they and their customers are passionate about.  

And this also shows when it comes to sales… 
Fatface Blogpost All Infographics
– FatFace reported a ‘22% year-on-year rise in sales over the Christmas season, covering the five-week period to 1 January 2022.’ 

– Sales for the five-week period rose by 3% compared with the same period in 2019, and 22% up on 2020, when many of its stores were forced into lockdown amid Covid-19. 

– This performance was buoyed by demand at its online shop where sales increased 62% on 2019. 

“Looking back at our performance in the first half of the financial year, our focus on digital transformation supported by a highly productive store estate drove positive growth across the business with profitability returning to more normalised levels. Internationally, our US business continued to grow strongly and gives us a great platform for future growth..."

“As we look ahead, we will continue to execute our digital first strategy. We are on track and momentum is with us – we have a fantastic brand, a strong ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) agenda, and product ranges for the whole family to live life in.”  Will Crumbie, CEO of FatFace. 

Do you want to maintain relevancy with your customers and ensure your brand is fit for future expectations?  

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