KATHMANDU: William Shakespeare once asked, “what’s in a name?” He would obviously have not made it big in the field of branding! French Connect-ion United Kingdom (FCUK) has proved the importance of a name in building a brand. With the use of the suggest-ive acronym FCUK for its brand, the company has managed to grab instant attention. FCUK is not the first and will obviously not be the last brand to have been built around lust and desire. However, the FCUK brand is an interesting story of risking building a brand around a controversial corporate identity.
What FCUK is all about: The product offering from FCUK has evolved from the clothing line to many other fashion accessories, home products, drinks and vanity products. Most non-clothing products are licensed products which were introduced to capitalise upon the strong brand recall and equity the brand enjoys, with the target consumer group of 19 to 35 years. With brand verticals like ‘fcuk at home’, ‘fcuk spa’ to ‘fcuk spirit’, all products from the house of FCUK are meant be to a personification of the brand name. The products are high on the style barometer and ooze attitude. Style and attitude are the two elements the brand has come to be identified with.
Using the F-word: Uses of suggestive logos, advertisements and other publicity stunts have given FCUK a worldwide brand recall. It is a love it or hate it brand. For some, it is a brand built on bad taste while for others accepting the brand symbolises a carefree attitude. Its
advertisements have more often than not been controversial, based on sexual connotations and often banned by regulators. Controversies have only added to brand equity. The art of building a brand using controversy to gain visibility and publicity has been mastered by the brand and has been a key element in building the brand.
FCUK history: French Connection was founded in 1969 by Stephen Marks with a range of tailored upmarket women’s wear in traditional materials marketed under his own name. Recognising the need for a less expensive but carefully conceived women’s wear collection for a broader market, Marks introduced the French Connection label in 1972 and four years later showed its first menswear collection. The FCUK logo was used for the first time in 1997. Ever since, the brand has witnessed massive growth, clearly suggesting the positive role played by use of the F acronym.
Cool FCUK: All FCUK
advertisements are directed towards using suggestive language, making the user appear to be a non-conformist and carefree personality who would literally ‘wear his attitude’. Through its attitude positioning, the brand has managed to find the ‘value return’ equilibrium. The latest positioning of FCUK as a style and not a fashion is an attempt to continue the ‘attitude’ factor and extend its lifecycle. With use of logos like ‘the biggest fcuk in the world’ on its London store (its largest store), FCUK as a brand has brand equity that is global in reach and continues to attract ‘fcukers’ all over the world.
(The author is associated with The Chaudhary Group and can be contacted at email@example.com)