Victoria’s Secret Needs To De-Brand Before It Rebrands.


Here’s a question for my branding friends. Before you can rebrand, must you de-brand? I say that because I’ve been reading today in The NY Times business section about Victoria Secret’s efforts to redefine what the brand is — so as to make it more inclusive and more women-centric. Or maybe even more “we” centric, using the more nonbinary term.

Sexy, according to the article, has long been tailored to the male point of view.  The retail experience, the marketing experience has been using a dated prototype of the so-called perfect body. Well, Victoria Secret’s market share (in women’s underwear) has dropped 11 points since 2015 and that’s more than a clue. Broadening their market is the future. Redefining sexy to be more functional and stylish is the goal.

(When women in the 80s started shaving their heads during the punk rock era on the lower east side of Manhattan, it was a functional decision. It also became stylish.)

So, must Victoria Secret rebrand or de-brand? In this case, I’d go with de-brand.  Provide a mea culpa and an explanation. Do it once. Do it big. Then move on. With a new mission. A new creative approach. And a new motivation. The market will follow.

Not all brands need an interim step before rebrand. Many do.  In today’s world, it’s a thing.