Vera Bradley: No Longer Your High School Sweetheart

We know Vera Bradley as those printed cotton lunch bags that the popular girls brought to school or the lanyards you stuck your college ID in, but Vera Bradley doesn’t want you to remember her that way.

Vera Bradley CEO Rob Wallstrom has a five-year plan that will completely makeover the brand as you know it, and he wants you to do a double take when you see it at the five-year high school reunion. With their segmentation analysis crowning the “daymaker” as their muse, Wallstrom is making headway into what is one of the biggest rebrandings in the fashion industry that I’ve seen in a while. Who is the “daymaker” you ask?

Daymakers are idealists, go-getters, and “choreographers” who are able to “balance 1,000 things” well for family, friends and themselves, he said. They also love to host others and are “joiners,” not loners… She appreciates femininity and beauty in color and prints and thoughtful details and in her relationships. And that’s what’s important. It’s not just beauty as something you acquire, it’s also beauty as in something you are and something that you do. – CEO Wallstrom, March 2016

Vera Bradley’s fresh marketing campaign launched this past week, with the brand tagline “It’s good to be a girl.” The marketing campaign includes influencer posts, social media, print ads, as well as digital audio on Spotify and Pandora. The move is intended to follow the primary audience as they age from high school and college into the working world, where printed cotton bags aren’t chic, and young professional women yearn for something more grown up.

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The new logo

The changes are gradual but seem sudden – cotton bags used to make 90% of the brand’s collection but the refresh has pushed that number down to 50%, replacing the jaded prints with leather and similar materials. In an effort to compete with other premium brands, Vera Bradley has increased its assortment available in department stores, where being merchandised next to its peers should highlight the value-boasting prices of Vera Bradley (about $200). In addition to upping the handbag materials and styles to keep up with its graduated audience, Vera Bradley added more jewelry in July and increased its collection of scarves in addition to home products and perfume.

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The new Vera Bradley

What do you think of the rebrand? Do you think that it will make the brand relevant again?

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