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Simplified Marketing Strategy of Supreme

Updated on: Sep 8, 2021
Marketing strategy of supreme | IIDE

Supreme is clothing, footwear, and accessory brand that dove into skateboards. Their products have a minimal design, great quality and are a rising brand among youths and adults. No matter how absurd the price, fans are ready to empty their pockets. 

How have they climbed to this esteemed status in society? It comes down to marketing. This case study will dwell on Supreme’s marketing mix, brand analysis, competitors, and SWOT analysis. 

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About Supreme

James Jebbia, a British-American entrepreneur, created the streetwear brand Supreme in 1994. It mainly offers hoodies, t-shirts, and other items both online and at its 12 retail locations. Later, they opened a skateboard store in New York City. Supreme has been named one of the finest streetwear companies of the year by publications such as GQ and Complex year after year.

The Carlyle Group, a private equity group, saw the brand’s appeal and decided to invest $500 million in 2017, valuing the company at $1 billion. It was the first time a significant private equity fund invested in the streetwear industry, making the brand’s purchase was noteworthy.

Supreme is not unique in its logo or target market but it lies uniquely in marketing its products. The brand is popular in Japan, China, and the US. They have a routine of releases – Thursday mornings they release in Europe and America and early Saturdays in Japan.

Supreme’s Marketing Mix

For every company marketing mix is a primary and most common yet important aspect. We will discuss the 4 Ps of Supreme – product, place, price, and promotion. 

  • Product

Supreme is a streetwear fashion and skateboard brand. The shop began by selling hoodies and sweatshirts to the developing skate community in New York. 

The company retains a reputation for being authentic. They offer clothes, footwear, accessories, and skateboards to all. They attain a minimal and edgy aesthetic The shop began by selling hoodies and sweatshirts to the developing skate community in New York.

  • Place

Supreme is established in New York City. They have 12 exclusive retail stores around the world. Their stores are located in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, London, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. They also sell via their e-commerce website.

The company releases new products through their retail locations around the world and on their website on particular days in particular locations. Their  customers gain awareness of their merchandise via social media promotions, exclusive emails, resale stores, and word-of-mouth marketing. 

  • Price

Supreme always had a modest inventory and never issued an extensive stock, preserving the feeling of authenticity while increasing demand. 

Any other brand would have opted to charge a higher premium and profitable rates, but not Supreme. The retail items are sold at a reasonable and affordable price. However, they profit from their resale market, which charges a 1200 % premium on retail price. 

  • Promotion

Supreme does not have a high budget and drives for traditional marketing and advertising. However, they use various unique methods to stay in demand within the market. 

Two exclusive marketing approaches are the ‘limited products, higher demand’ approach and email marketing. Additional promotional techniques are social media promotion and the resale market.  

They focus on celebrity collaborations as well. Supreme has partnered with various companies like Nike, Rolex, Playboy, Japanese Red Cross Society, MTA, and more. In 2017, Supreme and Louis Vuitton collaborated on their most significant brand partnership which added to the interest in Supreme.

By this, we understood Supreme has a sharp business model concerning its merchandise and target markets. Moreover, they followed it with some fresh perspectives that kept the crowds thirsty. 

Supreme Marketing Strategy

Every organisation sets aside revenue to meet its marketing targets. However, Supreme does not! So how is it they have reached the wardrobes of many?

Though the company values at 1 billion USD, it does not splurge on marketing or advertising. They run a few poster campaigns and collaborations with celebrities. The only budgets invested in marketing are newspaper ads in the New York Post and video promotions called ‘blessed’.

Let’s dig deeper into their specific and successful marketing strategies. 

Limited Supply Marketing Strategy  

Supreme has a unique marketing style and created a separate fan base for their products in a set niche – Streetwear. It is exciting to own an exclusive item and they have excelled in this marketing technique. 

They use a business model of ‘high demand, low supply’ keeping the target audience in view. They manufacture limited ‘edition’ pieces to maintain the demand and desirability. 

Their products aren’t sold in large retail stores, keeping their availability limited. Even though they use a technique prominent within luxury brands, they ensure their products are affordable. They focus on creating a buzz among the buyers by keeping them in anticipation. 

Supreme Digital Marketing Strategy

The digital marketing of the company is via e-commerce. Along with retail stores, they sell on their website. The merchandise is released via a ‘drop’ phenomenon. 

Supreme is maintaining a well-driven social media presence. They have over 13.6 million followers on Instagram, 2.2 million people follow Facebook. A week before their release, they share images from their lookbook and shots from partnerships. The hunger for content on Supreme is huge, however, the lack of water keeps people interested. 

For many, including Supreme, reselling popular items has become a lucrative industry. Since social media makes it simpler to advertise exclusive merchandise, it is a crucial facilitator for the resale industry. 

When a consumer buys Supreme on the resale market, they frequently become resellers. As a result, the goods will have an even larger markup. This feeds a resale market cycle, making the brand distinctive while also providing free and simple marketing.                     

Email Marketing 

Supreme is known to handpick a limited set of consumers and then offer them exclusively exclusive updates. 

It is unclear if they pick these people at random or in a predetermined order. Supreme’s email strategy is so mysterious that they frequently fail to deliver order confirmation receipts to its consumers. 

While all of their rivals strive to bombard customers with emails promoting special deals, discounts, and promotions – Supreme utilises their email list as another tool in their marketing to convey the notion that “you chase us.”

Though Supreme had no set budget margin for marketing their products, they did inculcate unique strategies. Now that we have understood their distinctive strategies, let’s move on to the SWOT analysis of the company.

SWOT Analysis of Supreme

SWOT Analysis data is another vital tool to understand a company better to help them grow. There are 4 components: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Let’s analyze Supreme’s SWOT Analysis.

Strengths

These are the resources a brand uses to achieve its objectives. The strengths of Supreme are:

  • They are highly successful at Go To Market strategies for their products.
  • Automation brings consistency in work which allows them to control the production.
  • Having a dealer community where they promote the product and train the sales team.
  • Free cash flow allows the company to expand its business.
  • They focus on investing in staff training and development schemes that ensure a high quality of work expectancy from their employees. Weaknesses

Weaknesses are the disadvantage of businesses, which prevent the company from achieving its goals. The weaknesses of Supreme are:

  • The gap in product range can give rise to a new competitor.
  • The company is not able to handle the challenges of the new players entering the market. 
  • They can’t compete in the Research and Development of new products in comparison to their competitors.

  Opportunities

Opportunities show the scope where the company can expand its business and generate more revenue. The opportunities for Supreme are:

  • The new purchasing trends of the customers is a big opportunity for the company to capitalize on.
  • The company can acquire new customers from the online mediums by spending less compared to the traditional medium.
  • Threats 

  • Threats are harmful to any company. The threats to Supreme are:
  • Having a shortage of skilled employees is one of the biggest threats to the company.

New product development by the competitors can disrupt the market and will give tough competition to the company.

Supreme Competitors Analysis

Supreme has limited competitors within its premium target industry. The top competitor companies of Supreme are SHUT skates, Stussy, DC Shoes, and more. SHUT skates are one of the top rivals of Supreme. This also has its headquarters in New york.

This company also competes in the same logistics and retail distributors industry. It is stated that SHUT Skates generates 13% of Supreme’s revenue. Stussy and DC Shoes also generate some of the Supreme’s revenue. However, Supreme still stands leading among all its competitors and possible alternatives in the market. 

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Conclusion

Supreme has placed itself in the spotlight with its distinctive marketing strategies. They target certain segments of society in specific locations. A hilarious aspect is how their resale – second-hand products – sell for nearly three times its retail price! It all rounds back to the ‘limited supply, high demand’ phenomena.

Supreme’s business model is interesting from its logo, product designs to its market reach. Isn’t that the most important thing? To make a statement! Let us know your inputs in the comments below.

We hope this blog was insightful and interesting. If you’re interested in the marketing field check out IIDE’s course on Digital Marketing. These are skills you can utilise to understand and curate effective marketing strategies for various industries.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]

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