VENN is featured in this great article about the future of Abercrombie & Fitch by Suzanne Goldsmith in the June issue of Columbus Monthly.

While this article was published just prior to news of a potential acquisition by other apparel retailers, potentially including Express, the fact remains that what ails A&F is much larger than a new store design, or even an in-store experience. Instead the challenge is in determining the future growth strategy of the business and the brand’s positioning.

The provocative marketing and reputation for exclusivity that once made the brand so popular may have become its greatest liability.

A&F has a significant opportunity to recast itself in a more inclusive and multi-cultural light. For that to be effective however, the positioning will need to be equally provocative as the positioning under the former CEO Michael Jefferies in their heyday of the 1990s. The trick will be balancing any provocation with a celebration of the company’s more than one-hundred-year old heritage dating back to the 1890s by outfitting today’s urban consumer for social hunting rather big game hunting.

It won’t be easy but if they are to return to relevancy it will come as a result of leveraging their authenticity in a manner that appeals to today’s customers, and that cuts through via a more omni-channel approach to branding, marketing and retailing.