If you’re seeking a shining example of what inclusive branding looks like on social, few brands do it better than Universal Standard.
The brand lives up to its name, creating a new clothing standard that embraces more of the world, offering fashion freedom to everyone from a size 00-40, and featuring models of various age ranges, ethnicities, body shapes and identities.
With a radically clear viewpoint and a reputation for leveraging social in innovative ways to garner an audience, Universal Standard is a treasure trove of social insights. The fashion retailer shows us a social strategy that’s less calculated and more human. Their inclusive branding, customer-focused content and broader real-world impact are elements of their social presence that stand out beautifully and are underscored with intention.
Let’s dissect a few ways they show us that intention through social.
They craft a strong, inclusive entity
Inclusivity isn’t a topping they pepper into their content plan. One look at their social grid or feeds shows you that they view their social strategy and brand mission holistically. Every post stands alone as a statement as they continually spotlight the different bodies and minds that embody their products.
ICYMI, last week we launched The State Of US, a weekly a weekly brand diary written by Editorial Director @amandakater. For our first column, we discuss the fallout of COVID-19, the changes we've made, and what all of it means for our future 💫https://t.co/ERLIjlEMCS
— Universal Standard (@universalstand) April 27, 2020
Where some brands may shy away from direct, stand-out content, Universal Standard walks confidently through the doors other brands leave open, showing real people and real issues that reflect their brand values. The visual identity and voice come across so clearly that as a result, while you’re scrolling through social, you’ll know when you’ve come across a Universal Standard ad or post before even reading the username.
Takeaway: Every social marketer will tell you that putting together a strong social strategy is a methodical process. But take the initiative to more closely align your social strategy with your business’s overall mission and watch how your content begins to shift. For Universal Standard, it results in a cohesive, powerful entity of inclusion. What could a more closely aligned mission-driven approach look like for your brand?
They let the people speak for themselves
Every brand has its own flavor of brand advocacy. As a brand that prioritizes inclusivity, it’s important that Universal Standard is able to showcase how inclusivity isn’t a surface-level message, but a value that runs through every layer of their business.
They manage this in a variety of ways, including a video series called How Clothing Connects Us, highlighting not only the diversity in the demographic their product serves, but the real ideas and feelings of the customers that make the brand what it is.
This personal level of content strikes a specific balance of illuminating and inspiring. You feel like you’re getting to know more about the brand’s people, the foundation of social connection. But it also leaves you feeling energized for a fresh take in a longstanding industry. On any given Universal Standard social post, you’ll find comments commending the brand for making customers feel loved.
Takeaway: The social marketing landscape has been swirling with conversations of how to centralize humanity in their efforts for years. And that’s manifested in a variety of ways, from promoting social takeovers to highlighting “get to know the team” posts to producing entire video series centered around both team members and customers. If you’re not already utilizing some of these trends, evaluate your content strategy and prioritize space (and production) for content that allows people across social to feel connected to your brand.
They make an impact outside of fashion
If you’ve followed along this far, you’ve got a clear idea that this clothing retailer’s brand message impacts more than just fashion.
Founders Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman say in their mission statement, “How can we bring all women together in a way that no one ever has before? We wanted a size 40 to shop in the same way as a size 00 – using style as her only filter.”
To bring on this change, the Universal Standard team frequently takes opportunities to speak on the intersection of fashion inclusion and universal themes in people’s lives, like mental health, self-worth and equal access to quality products. And they frequently use social to spread their message far and wide.
What better way to not only spread that message, but make it stick than by reaching young minds? The team recently released a children’s book entitled, “What Would Fashion Look Like if it Included Us All”.
We dream of a world where clothing connects instead of divides, everyone has access to clothing that works for them, and we’re all kinder to ourselves, each other and the planet. So, we made a children's book to share that world with future generations💫https://t.co/qtzcUqpOOg
— Universal Standard (@universalstand) April 15, 2020
The campaign included a free digital version of the book and printable coloring pages, ensuring their message isn’t hindered by lack of accessibility. They’ve also shared read-alongs with various public figures through Instagram Stories, a Shop The Book edit to purchase items featured in the illustrations and a Meet the Illustrator interview, further emphasizing the brand’s philosophy to expand their stage for everyone creating with them.
Takeaway: Universal Standard isn’t afraid to step out of the spotlight in fashion to speak on the issues their product and their customers intersect with. Even more successful are the methods they leverage on social to do so. If your brand has a strong message, use social to amplify it. Don’t be shy about experimenting with how you want to communicate and have a broader impact.
Not only does this brand push the future toward a more inclusive fashion retail landscape, but it sets a standard for how other brands with similar values can use social in thoughtful, intentional ways to serve that mission and expand the reach of that change.
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