How Branding can Impact a Simple White T-shirt?

When you are shopping for clothes you see a lot of varieties of the same clothing item, right? A shirt made from a different material, with a different price or from a different brand. Why do you pay for T-shirt X a much different price than for T-shirt Y?. There is more to it than only quality or production. Branding plays a big part in this question. Keep reading to find out what you can learn from these brands and their branding: Zeeman, H&M and Supreme.  


Zeeman is one of the biggest textile stores known for its budget-friendly products. What you probably didn’t know is that Zeeman won the Golden Effie in 2018; the highest reward for different and effective marketing communication. Zeeman connects ‘cheap’ and ‘quality’. The brand decided to ditch the classic outdated folders and focus on television commercials, which succeed and let to a new target audience. (Wijman, 2019)

Zeeman stays true to its own brand identity with their campaigns and is different from the other brands. Instead of creating a lot of campaigns focused on the Holidays, Zeeman chooses to create a few big campaigns a year with subjects closely related to the brand’s message, with the slogan “Zeeman. How easy can it be.” Another example is the launch of the Zeeman wedding dress for €29,99 in 2016. The campaign went viral and created a lot of free publicity for the budget-friendly brand. 

Your wedding dress doesn’t have to be the biggest expense of your life.” 

Source: Pinterest

H&M is one of the affordable clothing brands out there and a lot of people think this is because of their ‘unethical’ production in Asia. This is a big misconception about H&M and it hurts their brand image. “We don’t aim for sustainability to be a luxury thing,” says Helena Helmersson, H&M’s head of sustainability. H&M customers are becoming more critical of the use of cheap labour. This led to the second-to-last place in sustainability ranking in its biggest market Germany in 2014. The brand is proud to be Made in Bangladesh but H&M knew it was time to change their vision. (Thomasson, 2014)

H&M’s vision now contains sustainability. They launched a denim collection made with cloth recycled from used garments returned to its stores and a new “Conscious” range using bamboo, recycled polyester and organic cotton. In their newest campaign, H&M focuses on the small details that contribute to the change happening. 


Supreme is one of the most exclusive streetwear brands of the moment under the 16-25-year-old men. When a new launch drops, it is sold out in a matter of seconds. Supreme created a hype around the brand through its exclusivity but that is not all there is. (Lenton, 2016) Streetwear obsessives want to impress other streetwear obsessives by wearing Supreme and its message. You should take notes from this successful brand.

By wearing Supreme, you understand the culture, the references, the celebrity, the style and the movement. Even if you don’t, everyone thinks you do anyway. You get it… whatever itis. The price too, as extortionate as it usually becomes, contributes to this attitude – “If I’m willing to throw away hundreds of dollars on a t-shirt, imagine how crazy the rest of my life must be!”

Luxury brands & Self-esteem

A retail and customer study shows the strong relationship between self-esteem and the consumption of luxury goods for self-directed pleasure. (Timmermans & Rasouli, 2018) Guess what? Buying a luxury product can boost an individual’s self-esteem by purchasing luxury goods. As a brand, you don’t only sell your product but also the emotion. A brand can give the customer a positive feeling, which makes him more connected to your brand. 

What can you learn from these brands?
  • Zeeman stays true to its own identity and dares to be different. It doesn’t have to be complicated, even a great simple idea can go viral. Which is excellent for a brand with a smaller media budget. Zeeman creates its own moments and so should you. Quality clothes don’t have to be expensive, as long as you think sober and keep it simple like Zeeman.
  • If a misconception hurts your brand, encounter it with spreading a different message. H&M gives a good example of how you should listen to your target audience and the market. Our world is moving towards are more sustainable society and your brand can’t leave behind. (Olynec, 2020)
  • Can you create a hype around your brand? Awesome! If not, that is totally okay and actually quite reasonable. What you can learn from Supreme is: focus on emotion. Your brand should have an ESP (emotional selling point), next to your USP (unique selling point). An ESP distinguishes your brand. (Mensink, 2015)

You could sell a simple white t-shirt or a crazy pair of shoes. Why will the customer choose your brand? Because of who your brand is. You sell your thoughts and ideas but also very important: your brand should trigger emotion. But in the end, it is just a simple T-shirt.

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