How brands can avoid alienating their core audience

Informed by its recent work with the North Face, creative agency B-Reel talks to CR about how brands can target new demographics without losing touch with existing audiences

For many brands, resonating with audiences and staying relevant is a priority in a world where consumers are now in the driving seat. Given the importance of appealing to a wide range of people, brand collaborations are increasingly being used as a creative way to reach new people and be seen in new spaces. In fashion, this has led to swathes of luxury fashion houses teaming up with unlikely counterparts. Gucci and the North Face’s much-hyped 2020 collaboration, for example, has resulted in two further collections from the two brands.

The North Face has also worked with the likes of Maison Margiela, Supreme, and Dover Street Market, signalling a willingness to lean into its high-end street style status. “I really don’t believe in collaboration for the sake of collaboration. There’s more and more products coming into the market, and sometimes collaboration can feel a bit like a gimmick,” Darren Shooter, the North Face’s design director, told CR in 2021. “At the North Face we choose our collaborative partners really carefully, so we can meet in the middle and create something really special. Obviously, we like to shock, we like to surprise, we like to do the unexpected.”