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Q&A: How Abercrombie rebranded on TikTok

Insider Intelligence spoke with Megan Brophy, Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Abercrombie & Fitch, about the brand’s work on TikTok and the prevalence of livestream shopping in the US market. In the past few years, Abercrombie has gained traction as a result of realigning the brand mission to be more inclusive, and becoming the “internet’s best kept secret” with younger consumers who share the products widely on TikTok.

Insider Intelligence: What trends are you seeing with the target demographic of Gen Z and millennial consumers?

Megan Brophy: Our target demo is 25 to 29 years old, as we started to rebrand and evolve in the TikTok space. We call this customer the “Zillennial” who has a bit of both Gen Z and millennial mentality. They're living their lives very differently, and therefore expect really different things from brands.

We know because of what the past two and a half years have brought, our customers are telling us, "We are trying to make the best of every single day." It's not just about living for the weekends or living to work, but it's about making your Trader Joe's trip and your hot girl walk with your girlfriends after work just as exciting as your weekend plans and your getaways with your friends. This has informed the way that we approach our storytelling and the way that we think about product offering to ensure that we show up for these customers for all of their needs as they've evolved so much.

II: How can brands be part of culture on social media platforms?

MB: It is about listening – brands used to be the ones to tell consumers how to live, how to dress, what they needed, and that's not the way of marketing and branding anymore. The social space has evolved. TikTok has taken that to a whole other level where brands need to listen, as TikTok is like a billion person focus group.

We're always listening to whether consumers are talking about us or about what they need, and we talk to our customers. It's a part of our culture to ensure that we put the center of what we do and know that that customer changes and evolves and quite quickly in the world that we live in today.

In the TikTok space and social selling in general, it is in the people's hands to create culture. TikTok creates culture and we're there to learn from and respond to and continue to feed that, but it's not us or even young millennials who are really reacting to culture. It's TikTok is creating it. Zillennials are creating it.

II: How is Abercrombie thinking about livestream shopping?

MB: The initial idea was that it worked in the Chinese market, so the same version of it must work in the US market but brands in these platforms are learning that it's not an exact copy paste. We need to figure out how the US customer thinks about and uses these platforms. We've tried live and live shopping, which are different functionalities across Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok as a lot of brands have and I don't know that anyone's figured it out yet.

US customers are still a little apprehensive about live shopping. They love lives, and seeing people authentically show up and talk and humanize brands and show how to consume products. We're all trying to figure out where shopping plays into that – is it as much about an event to shop in this moment while I'm live or is live a moment for me to better understand the brand, better understand the fit of something, better understand how the product is made?