Your Brand Strategy Essential? Agents
9 March 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
At The Anton Dell Fashion, Gift & Home Consultancy, matching brands to the right agents worldwide is an integral part of the work that we do. As we start to come away from the trade show season, it could perhaps be possible for potential buyers to still be wrapped up in the ease of being able to approach brands directly, without considering the benefits of having an agent throughout that process. However, as attendance at shows continue to fall, agents are more important than ever before to overall brand and company strategy.
Why have agents always been important?
Around twenty years ago, fashion agents – alongside reps, distributors and showrooms – were crucial in the development of brand for export, being the most familiar with both the market itself and clients. After this, brands did try to go their own way to save cost on commission, but quickly realised that the shift had significantly increased their fixed costs, massively reducing margins. Fashion agents still remain the key to facilitating retail-brand relationships, being able to provide localised services as well as global ones, always looking to agree mutual decisions whilst maintaining alert.
The main issue agents used to be the wariest of was understanding the nature of online promotion, which could determine their long-term future. This understanding has increased as we have become more digitally reliant consumers but is also the area where a brand could potentially go it alone. As agents are the keepers of all market knowledge, development in all channels remains even more essential with the agent-brand partnership.
Why do agents link to trade show decline?
It’s no secret that as more trade show seasons have passed us by, the number of attendees has continued to drop significantly across the board. Many participants (brands and buyers alike) have decided it is a cost too big to gamble on, citing a decrease in orders and a lack of needs being met from trade show organisers. This decline is something we have discussed previously in greater detail, but there is also a continued effect outside the exhibition setting. If a greater number of brands are now looking for alternatives to trade show showcasing, it has created the perfect opportunity for agents – and their experience – to capitalise on. An agents’ USP is the knowledge they have, something which would not be provided in a trade show setting regardless. The more that alternatives are being sought after, the more that brands will turn to agents to ensure their brands, strategies and products are all a success.
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