Branding Walk-Through

I’m about to help a client do up a re-branding initiative. I’ll call the company, X, for confidentiality purposes. I credit for providing the stunning graphics in this post. Here is, branding walk-through.

This post will be done in a “walk-through” style, where you peek into my brain and look at my exact thought process. It is going to be rough, crazy moving through, not nicely prepared for 8 months. But it should give you a good idea of the PROCESS, which you can learn and apply for your brand. I hope to make it as unpretentious as possible.



Company X is in the business of doing active swim wear for women. Compared to Adidas or Nike, it is not made for competitive swimming or has that level of celebrity endorsement. It sells the swimwear mostly in retail stores like BHG, departmental stores and the clientele ranges from teenagers to middle-aged women.


Problem 1 in X now: There isn’t other market segmentation, other than age. The lack of focus, makes it very difficult for the brand to Brand itself and speak to a market segment. No market= selling to everybody= selling to “a no one”. You can’t get people to be die-hard fans. You can’t nurture deep selling funnels with your clients. Takeaway: you need to have a clear market segment.

Global Trends Research 

Step 1. of creating a brand is to do gain market understanding.  A successful branding campaign starts with understanding the global trend in the industry (swimwear, in this case) and your brand’s position in the grand-scheme of things. Doing simple searches on the internet is step 1, unfortunately, this seemingly “brainless” step is not done by 80% of business owners!

Dear business owner, a brand story is not made in the basement of your office pantry room. It is through traveling, researching, and putting your eyes and ears as close to the ground as possible.

Company X, should do the exact opposite from the market leaders. Since large players are appealing to “premium, elite sports people”, we do the exact oppositewe don’t want the competitive sports people. We are appealing to people who care about health, care about figure, cares about their appearance in a swimsuit, and is a person who does recreational sports, light jogging, some yoga classes with girl-friends. We are looking at a female executive in her 30s, someone who goes for IPL/facial/manicures. Someone who earns about $4.5k-9k a month.

Here are the global trends:

  • Sexy Swimsuits are a no-brainer, they have been all the craze for the last 5 years, here is the breakdown of what women in the US (our fashion in Singapore is largely influenced by Western media).

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 8.31.28 PM

Looking at the figure below, we see that 2 piece suits are considered more “sexy” than one piece suits, with the exception of the bandeau top. Most women are unwilling to wear a bandeau top, because the risk of being accidentally exposed is high. (PS: the last image of the purple swimsuit is the Bandeau)


Note to self- look at the direct opposite of “sexy”- test the assumption. The assumption here is “women will always want sexy swimwear”. Is it always true? Yes, sexy swimwears have been a trend. But as with all fashion trends, there comes a time where there is a “fashion reversal“…. meaning, what was unpopular becomes popular. Now, I’m thinking, opposite of sexy is probably “modest”… Is there a market for modest swimwear?

A Google search says… Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 8.42.19 PM

Bingo- yes. Good start. Thought to self: Test if the timing might be right, is there a market here in Singapore for modest swimwear?

I’m thinking yes, first, for religious groups. The Muslims in Singapore are a sizable population. There could be demand. Next, I deep-dived and searched for more evidence to prove that modest swimwear could be the next trend.

BOOM, yes – According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, modest swimwear has now developed into a “competitive cottage industry.” Companies are beginning to pop up all across the web, devoting entire catalogues to modest swimwear, or even debuting their own lines. ModLi, an online shopping hub for all kinds of modest wear, says it has seen an increase in sales and demand for the modest swimwear it produces.

What are popular modest swimwears? “A pair of long black leggings and a matching short-sleeved top like surfers wear” etc. (more work need to be done here) But yes, there is rising demand for modest swimwear. Think of capitalizing on this later.

Now, think of risk mitigation for the business, if modest swimwear doesn’t catch on, what is the reason behind the need for modest swimwear? What is the deeper need that I can fulfill, through a less risky mean (ie: company X doesn’t have to change the entire line of swimwear)? — think of swimwear peripherals: cover-ups.


Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 8.40.15 PM

Look at the global market potential: The development of functional fabrics, swimming for weight management and growing participation in water sports—- These reasons for increased demand of swimwear will attract our target women.

I will suggest company X to put cardigans and hats up for retail, because more people are looking to cover-up, notice how the coverups add to the outfit, like a beautiful, flowy, fashion statement, rather than looking like it is there to hide imperfections. The brand essence should encompass this idea of “Confidence” (too overused!!) , maybe the word “Celebration” , or “Celebrate In Style”, or simply “Celebrate Easy”.

Think of a picture of a celebration, and you see relaxed people, popping champagne at a pool party, laughing away at jokes, clapping, singing and dancing.

The idea of Modest? The company can consider releasing a line of modest swimwear. But make it cheeky: Celebrate Modesty. (But we don’t celebrate modestly, celebrate modesty.) Too much brainwork, hard to understand? Perhaps. Keep it more simple? Think more, Tae, think.



Now, the reason modest swimwear is catching on, is that there is a growing demand for “moms with children, women who want to stay protected from the sun, plus size women, and religious women.” People, who haven’t been happy with scanty swimsuits for petite women. Women who want to look good in their swimsuit and feel confident in her own skin, wants to enjoy a day at the beach in a breathable, second skin that accentuates her best features and gives her the level of coverage that allows her to be most comfortable. And body shapers. : design that is sexy, and accentuates the best features in the body. We dont “cover up flaws”, we accentuate best features. We use design elements that bring the focus to the shape, we make everything very wearable, like your second skin. You can celebrate in these.

We are targeting: Someone who is Practical, sensible with how she spends her time, energy and money, someone who picks up hobbies like recreational swimming to management weight, someone who cares about their body to pick up sports, a woman who looks after herself.

Think of the tagline: An image of the modest swimwear line. “Modesty never goes out of style”. Time to celebrate.

Or a lady in a modest swimwear, tagline “We don’t do modest celebrations”, “Celebrations are not meant to be modest”, or “Celebrate Modestly Modesty”, or “Celebrate Modesty” and a picture of happy women enjoying a day at a beach. Think, Tae, Think.

Another resource confirms the customer lifetime value, our customer is likely to own 4 bathing suits:

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 8.32.55 PM

The focus is getting clearer. These are our target market. Women who go for facials at least once a month,  use Tier 1/2 beauty products like Coralista, Amazonian clay foundations, Make-up forever, someone who owns around 4 swimsuits, someone who loves spending time with her child/children at the beach, but wants adequate coverage from the sun, wants to cover areas to make her most comfortable. Someone who would pay around $60 for a swimsuit that fits her perfectly and accentuates her best features.

$60 per swimsuit x 4 = $240. That is our customer acquisition cost.


Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 8.31.59 PM

This is an important reminder. Look at the demand for string bikini- still hot, and women who are curvier then to go for the string bikinis over the standard 2-piece. How do we reconcile the want for modest swimwear with the want to wear string bikinis? Perhaps the balance may be in getting a (some-what modest string bikini) and a piece of cover up (like a cardigan).

By selling the cardigan on the pretext of “modesty”, you get the best of both worlds. You do not lose your existing target market who are already going for the bikinis, but you get to upsell another piece of clothing and increase their spending, by introduction the idea of getting them to “celebrate modesty”- by getting a swimsuit coverup they can lounge around in after a swim or a tan.

The brand story is crafted backwards from this.

What is the greatest desire in the woman I’m targeting:

  1. She is 30-40 and wants to look sexually desirable in a 2 piece suit, which is considered sexy. The prints should be very trendy, it accentuates her existing curves and celebrates in this swim suit. It is THE swimsuit for her.
  2. What is her greatest fear? That she is past her prime to wear a 2-piece swimsuit, that people might think she is trying too hard and wearing something that is too “young” for her, or that she doesn’t have a body tight enough compared to a 20-something, to have any business wearing a 2 piece suit. Also, no fat rolls… She doesn’t want that showing up in pictures all over Facebook. She may have kids! What will her kids children think?! Disastrous! (mind my crazy expressions of exaggerations, I tend to think in extremes before the first cut).
  3. She wants to look better (Envy) than all her other female friends of the same age. She wants to be wearing THAT swimsuit combination with that outer wear where she can lounge in and look Different and better than all her other girlfriends. The texture of the silk cardigan should be so luxurious, soft, and trendy and it makes her stand out so much that all her other jealous mum-girlfriends are asking her where she got her cardigan and modest swimwear.

Brand Story
X features a woman who developed this company because after giving birth to her first son at the age of 30, she gained a lot of weight during pregnancy and she decided to pick up swimming to lose weight. When she went shopping for swimwears, all she saw were skimpy, loud-colored swimwear for 20-somethings, bikinis that had no support for her larger breasts after pregnancy, with badly made materials that didn’t make her feel safe. Then, she considered the 1 piece- they were so outdated and ugly that she looked like mashed potato in a hot dog casing when she wore it. Eww. Her mummy friends met her for tea and she is deeply frustrated about how there isn’t a solution in the market. She looked at her beautiful friends who were so radiant when they become new mothers, they were strong, independent women who looked after themselves and their husbands and their children. But none of them could feel comfortable in their swimwears like they did when they were 20s. The heroine saw all these women kick ass in all other aspects of their lives, but they have lost confidence in their bodies. Our heroine wanted to do something for all the incredible women out there, who’s bodies took a different form of beauty after childbirth and the stresses of life. She created her first line of Modest swimwear, featuring bikinis that provided the highest forms of support, of adequate coverage. That accentuated the women’s new-found curves after child-birth, that hugs her best features and felt like second skin.

This bikini is made for the new-found body of the woman who has come to be. After all, doesn’t a woman truly become a woman and feel most like a woman when she is breast-feeding? When she lives in an entirely new body with new curves? Shouldn’t her swimsuit rise to the occasion and allow her to experience the best celebration in her life— her childbirth experience! Her motherhood!

And yes, with X, she can now do all of these. Celebrate modesty, but never celebrate modestly.

Last image shows a group of 4 beautiful women, cradling their beautiful children in arm, rocking their modest 2 piece in lovely, flowing cardigans, having fun at a beach. They look good, they feel good, from the inside out- they have come to be in an entirely new, beautiful body.

Brand keywords

  1. Modesty
  2. Celebrate
  3. Motherhood
  4. New-found curves
  5. Heroine (every woman who wears your swimwear is to be addressed as a Heroine)
  6. Brand Idea “Celebrate your new body” (the word NEW is important. It can mean, new curves. It can also mean the new body that is formed when the lady works out hard to transform her body.
  7. We support you  (support is a great word, it can mean breast support, butt support (physical support). It can also mean supporting her celebration of her body. It can also mean supporting her journey in losing the baby weight to get fit. It can mean supporting her self-love in looking after herself. It can mean supporting her as she supports her baby, her husband, supporting her as she becomes a new mother. (This is where your marketing can get interesting– 🙂 )

Ideas of execution 

  1. Start looking at modesty line
  2. Start selling peripherals, shawls, cardigans, coverups. (take reference from global players, especially from Korea- check out Rakuten’s ecommerce page on best-selling items)
  3. The campaign will take from this reference (ps: we have another market in the modest, intelligent PHDs, classy -piano-playing community, or the religious communities)


Here is the brand-walkthough! It was fun 🙂

I hope you can takeaway the ideas behind forming a brand.

Here are the steps

  1. Brand is  built from a business angle- from what the market wants(global trends)
  2. …To what we can do and stand behind (the product/service),
  3. …To a deep-understanding of the target audience (we get to know our customers more), then,
  4. …We craft a brand persona (the person that our target audience can most relate to), then,
  5. …We write the brand story to include all elements of the deepest desires and fears, lastly,
  6. …We pick out the key words.
  7. Move to create the marketing funnels

Beep me for branding and marketing brand storming sessions- it’s going to be a great time. PS: College is getting busy soon, so beep me before college monopolizes my time 🙂 Drop me a message under “About”.

Singaporeans, I will be having a branding and marketing course which made me $8.9k in 2 weeks this coming Thursday, 24th September 2015. Beep me if you want to have a blast with us.

Good luck!



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