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Victoria's Secret is now the most popular brand in the world, beating out established giants like Levi's, Macy's, and Old Navy.
The lingerie brand ranked number one in the annual YouGov BrandIndex perception study of apparel brands.
In addition to that accolade, Victoria's Secret has reported record sales for three years straight, defying the challenges that destroyed competitors like Frederick's of Hollywood.
How did Victoria's Secret do it?
Through years of expensive and impeccable marketing.
“It’s hard to generate increased buzz on a regular basis without spending a lot on advertising and promotion," Ted Marzilli, global managing director for the BrandIndex, told WWD.
The lingerie chain's ramped-up marketing efforts are best-demonstrated by its annual fashion show.
In 1995, Victoria's Secret spent $120,000 on the show. Last year's extravaganza was estimated to cost more than $13 million.
The fashion show has become an American tradition, with 9.3 million viewers in 2012. The company shelled out to hire young talent like Justin Bieber, undoubtedly bringing in a new crop of customers.
“Our show is seen, in one way or another, in over 200 countries in print, Facebook, YouTube, and television specials,” Ed Razek, chief marketing officer, told the Business Of Fashion in 2011. “It is must-watch television for young women in the United States. They learn to walk in high heels in this show.”
The brand is also careful to appeal to a wide range of women. While Frederick's of Hollywood limited itself to kinky lingerie, Victoria's Secret launched a PINK line that's appropriate for teenage girls.
Smart marketing made Victoria's Secret the leading American brand.
"I think the secret sauce on Victoria's Secret is super simple: ton of marketing (online, print, and through in store deals) and consistent new product introductions (bras) that make the stores seem fresh every time the customer walks into, or by, the store," said Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions.
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