In 2014, Saks had a new president and a new direction: elevating the store’s product matrix, service and environment without alienating our current customers. My challenge was to redefine and communicate the Saks brand to inspire both employees and the public, and I started by coining a term for our new strategy:
I wrote a mini-manifesto in the voice of the charismatic new president, outlining a vision for the future of retail with Saks at the center.
With a miniscule budget, I worked with Studio Case to create a short film about the brand. There would be no testimonials or store walkthroughs—only artifacts I’d dug out of the archives that expressed the grand heritage we were now seeking to reclaim.
The film spawned a wide-ranging series of events, posters, digital communications and more for employees.
We built upon Saks Fifth Avenue’s historical connections to royalty, rock stars and artists, leveraging the term into a limited edition series of private label product.
We then created an entire spring fashion campaign around the idea. A partnership with Disney’s Cinderella led to princess slipper collaborations with top shoe brands, and I interviewed Sir Kenneth Branagh about knighthood for our new magazine.
The new brand strategy changed the course of the company. It instilled pride in the organization, defined our mission in a way that was actionable for employees and inspiring for customers, and reclaimed Saks Fifth Avenue’s rightful place at the center of the fashion world.