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Caitlin Armstrong: What can B2B businesses in Scotland learn from the fashion industry?

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Caitlin Armstrong: What can B2B businesses in Scotland learn from the fashion industry?

Caitlin Armstrong: What can B2B businesses in Scotland learn from the fashion industry?

Caitlin Armstrong takes a look at what B2B businesses can learn from the fashion industry.

Fashion brands are consumer-facing so have nothing to teach business-to-business brands – right?

Wrong.



The fashion industry is a hub of innovation, prominent influencers and brand collaborations – particularly in Scotland. So B2B businesses, from software start-ups and manufacturers to health clinics, have lots to learn.

Here are a few places to start.

Innovation and Adaptability

Fashion brands are renowned for their ability to predict trends and quickly adjust to – and lead – shifting consumer tastes.

B2B businesses can take a leaf out of the same book by developing their own predictive skills. For example, by staying on top of industry updates, joining online courses and attending local industry events. (A favourite of ours at GRA are the events run by The Scottish Marketing Network, which are always super-informative and relevant!)

Technology is also an essential aid in keeping informed of industry advances.

We recommend subscribing to LinkedIn pages dedicated to areas of your industry and expertise, to make sure you’re always up to date. Information is power – and increasingly the key to competitive advantage.

Sustainability

Fashion brands have had to become experts – and leaders – in climate change as evidence grows on carbon emissions from industry and how these contribute to global warming and more extreme weather events.

B2B businesses can learn a lot from the fashion industry’s approach to sustainability.

For example, more and more fashion businesses are sharing details of their supply chains, so consumers and customers can see that their products are ethically sourced and produced.

With 77% of Scots now saying that they’re worried about the climate crisis, transparency like this is vital.

It shows that you’re listening to your customers and you’re open about what you do – which suggests you’re a trustworthy organisation to work with – and for.

Collaborations

Carmaker Henry Ford famously said that: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is a progress, and working together is a success”.

The power of a collaboration should never be underestimated – and fashion brands are masters at this.

For example, we often see fashion brands team up to create powerful campaigns that leverage each other’s strengths and resources to reach a wider audience.

Why can’t B2B organisations do this? The answer is they can – and should.

If you’re in hospitality, for example, could there be potential to collaborate with a sustainability charity or champion? If your business is in tech, could you collaborate with other aligned tech organisations to host seminars with shared goals?

Collaborating with a partner who has complementary strengths to yours is also a winning formula. For example, your focus might be web development, but your prospective partner is an expert in data analysis.

What magic could you make together?

Now is the time

In times of economic, social and political upheaval, strategies like these can be a source of strength.

Observing other sectors can be a great source of ideas and innovation – and where fashion brands have led the way, B2B brands can follow.

In my own career in Digital Marketing, I’ve seen lots of businesses find success and growth through this kind of lateral thinking. Strategies like collaboration also help to minimise risk, by sharing loads and obligations. Why face industry problems alone, if you can tackle them together instead?

And in Scotland, we are blessed with a wealth of inspiring and expert businesses in every sector. So, as a fashion brand might say – go ahead and fill your boots.

Caitlin Armstrong is social media & content assistant at Glasgow-based marketing agency GRA

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