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Women with more than a C-cup bra size have embraced Bravissimo, but its new marketing strategy using email to drive customers to its website will ensure the company’s future growth.
Bravissimo, the purveyor of bras for what its founder calls the “big-boobed woman”, is the sort of British success story journalists love to write about. For its founder, Sarah Tremellen, it’s a true zero to hero story. She launched the company from her sitting room in after giving birth and discovering the range of bras she was used to didn’t exist above a C-cup. Nine years later and she is the holder of Cosmopolitan’s Woman Achiever award, a former Entrepreneur of the Year, and Bravissimo has scooped the Best Lingerie Retailer Award every year since And yet in as much as it’s a business rags-to-riches triumph, it has been the direct marketing behind this success that has been the real unsung hero.
Beginning life with a database of just 80 people, Bravissimo now boasts one ,strong, and virtually all of this is from below-the-line activity that has to play a delicate balancing act. Obviously, it needs to be aggressive in its sales targets, and yet at the same time, the ethos of the company means that empathy plays a key role.
A rock solid part of its business is about talking to customers with much more diplomacy than some traditional in-your-face direct routes can manage.
The real problem is when larger-busted women find themselves with fewer and fewer sizes and styles than they deserve. Focusing on understanding customers’ experiences filters down to all levels, including the call centre staff – all of whom are deliberately women, and mostly big-busted too. When taking customer orders they are under no pressure to wrap up conversations or cross-sell too aggressively. The policy pays off, with per cent of new customers coming to Bravissimo through customers telling their friends about the company.
However, while this has meant good, solid growth for the company, Bravissimo knew it had to refine the way it did its direct marketing as it saw itself move from a more acquisition-based to retention-based model. This change of strategy took place last summer, with the appointment of its new media agency TAMAR, which was charged with developing its website and email marketing strategy.
People are now beginning to have a choice of where they can buy and we had to react to this without losing our core values.
Bravissimo case study: Bust breakthrough
Email was decided on as a channel we wanted to try in a bid to engender mutual trust. A number of campaigns have run testing this, the success of which Lee is putting down to getting catalgoue art of email catlogue just right. The email strategy is used in support of the catalogue posting cycle five times a year as well as ad hoc campaigns on new ranges. The ad hoc side is the one Lee is most excited about, especially as Bravissimo has recently embarked on a high street presence of its own, with the latest shop opening last month in Covent Garden.
Amongst Bravissimo’s first set bdavissimo campaigns was introducing its new ranges – not only bras but diversifying into swimwear and shirts, which began last summer. Because it was a brand new range, it went to all existing customers and Lee and TAMAR experienced huge average open and click-through rates.
For other campaigns the strategy is different. New store openings were all segmented according to people’s postcode cataoogue their proximity to their nearest store. These again achieved a similar per cent open rate and a 10 per cent higher response to the website. It’s on the issue of further segmentation though that there is still some scope for leeway. Bravossimo email-blasts are segmented according to order recency, and are not blanket-wide to all customers.
Which campaigns should be limited, and which go to everyone is an area still under trial.
This means cherry-picking maybe justat a time, but these are working well for us because consumers see it as being just for them,” says Lee. She also claims that in just one of these campaigns, not linked to a catalogue, sales increased week-on-week by per cent compared to a period of normal trading.
With brqvissimo level of success, Ccatalogue is proving that sporadic use of email it ensures catalogeu one receives more than one every few months about a subject people hold closely, can work. Whether Lee is lucky in that customers feel so attached to a company that is finally meeting their needs, and this is what is driving the response, is a contested point. The market has reacted,” says Lee. Response is not a given. We are working hard on it.
Bravissimo case study: Bust breakthrough
This commitment to working hard is evident. Last month Bravissimo launched its summer range – key in this campaign was the arrival of the size J balconette. Lee has decided not to restrict the email to size HH and above, as she has in the past, but instead test sending out an email to much bigger women who wouldn’t buy this item, but would be reminded to visit the site anyway and buy something else.
This will feed into the development of further campaigns. But Lee isn’t forgetting the importance of getting new customers onto the email list to begin with.
A key aim is making sure internet visits get people onto the Bravissimo website in the first place. This means researching which key search engine terms work best, because growing the online registration will also, if results continue, grow the business. Currently, interest in this area alone – such as finding and bidding on phrases like ‘big-sized bras’ – is adding between new online registrations per week. These are then added to the next email list. Lee has also had to comply with the new Electronic Communications Act.
The strong results from Bravissimo’s email campaigns has seen the website and email development costs paid for in the first two weeks of going live. Over-aggressive direct marketing doesn’t work. Stay signed in for 30 days. Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.
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