Abercrombie & Fitch

A Gilly Hicks Brand Reposition

Consumer Insights and Brand Strategy 

A shift in brand towards inclusivity and encouragement

The ways in which Gen Z thinks about and searches for identity has changed. To meet them where they are, we researched their values and desires to help Hollister strategically reposition their teen intimates brand Gilly Hicks.

For years, a major shift has been underway for teen women.

As female empowerment movements like #MeToo were dominating the cultural conversation, many brands, including direct competitors, were anchoring their positions on encouraging concepts like strength, confidence and bravery. 

Gilly Hicks needed to carve out its own space in the conversation while still aligning with the positive, upbeat nature of its sister brand, Hollister.

Archrival kicked off an extensive custom research project that included 2000 quantitative responses, 250 digital qualitative responses and dozens of deep dive interviews to better understand how female-identifying teens were interpreting the media’s messages of empowerment. Our goal was to uncover what these teens were feeling in relation to the category that no one else was saying.

Key Insight 

Gen Z females have felt just as much pressure to be strong, confident and intelligent as they have to meet a standard of physical beauty. At their core, they feel frustrated by a lack of freedom to just be — whatever that means to them.

The results surprised us. The most universal theme that emerged from the data was around pressure as you might expect. Except, teens were expressing they felt just as much pressure from messages telling them to be strong, confident and successful, as they were from messages considered more traditional for the category around being beautiful or thin. 

To them it seemed it was all the same — society was telling them who and how to be.

This massive insight became the cornerstone of Gilly Hicks’ new brand position. As part of its brand evolution, Gilly Hicks aims to be more gender-inclusive, launching products in patterns and colors that fit any style, regardless of gender identity. In addition, Gilly Hicks is increasing its size inclusivity with the introduction of a new Future Stretch fabric designed to meet the needs of different body types.

In the end,

Archrival and Hollister rallied around a new brand strategy of Wildly Undefined” that gives space for teens to interpret, own and express what it means to be themselves.

Video courtesy of the awesome Hollister creative team.