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Four P's of a Rebrand

Guess the best-performing stock in the S&P in 2023.

It’s not Nvidia, but Abercrombie & Fitch.

It climbed by 285% in 2023 - even though it was voted the most hated brand in America in 2016.

So what happened in that 7-year turnaround?

A successful rebrand.

Which all starts with four pillars: people, product, positioning and perception.


Abercrombie & Fitch used to target only the “cool kids”. In previous CEO Mike Jeffries' words, "A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong."

This outdated targeting strategy gave it an elitist brand image (as a mass retail brand).

Fast forward.

You'd think they'd chase after Gen-Alpha, starting fresh with a new generation, one without the baggage of their past mistakes.

But you’d have to rebuild brand equity and familiarity from scratch.

Instead, they took advantage of their “heyday” demographic, gen-z & millennials who last wore A&F in middle & high school, and are now well into their first jobs and careers.

They doubled down on their core audience and evolved to help them rediscover their youth.


A&F's product rebranding was a master class in understanding and evolving with their audience.

After five years of studying their target demographic, they found this is a group of people starting adult lives, building careers, but also valuing experiences like brunches and destination weddings.

They even analyzed YouTube videos of women discussing jean fit issues like waist gap.

With these insights, the design team created a tailored assortment that fit all these scenarios.

  • Blazers and suits for the office.
  • Dresses for weddings and parties.
  • Curve Love Jeans with stretch (inspired by their YouTube research), which is now half of all their denim sales.


A&F used to position itself as a brand that was all about consumers "fitting into a certain lifestyle" starting from the brand's perspective rather than the consumer's.

It has now repositioned itself as a more inclusive and socially conscious brand, focusing on what consumers want: a brand that fosters a sense of belonging, embracing taglines like, "You bring the clothes to life. We just make them.”


No paid marketing would convince you the brand has changed for the better. You need to let people “stumble across” the new brand for themselves to believe it.

So they partnered with a diverse army of influencers to spread the word on social media.

This allowed for a more authentic shift in perception. Rather than Abercrombie telling consumers they had changed, consumers discovered this change through the voices they trust.

How to Leverage The 4 P’s:

If you’re going to rebrand, focus on these four pillars:

1. People: Identify who your audience is now vs who it used to be. Your target audience should reflect who is willing to buy and also who can resonate with the brand’s evolution.

2. Product: Make sure your product evolves with your changing audience. Lean into the voice of the customer to guide product development.

3. Position: Your position in the market should reflect your identity and the values you want to project.

4. Perception: A rebrand is a critical moment that is judged on authenticity. Use strategic partnerships with people who naturally embody your new direction.

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