Recap Zalando’s Bread&&Butter

Written by

Yu-Ting Liu



24. September 2018

Estimated Reading Time

3:01 Minutes

Zalando’s Bread&&Butter

How Zalando has turned a trade fair into a consumer entertainment event:

It’s a little over two weeks now and I am still thinking about our recent visit at the Bread&&Butter Berlin. For me, it was the first Bread&&Butter since 2013, and I was amazed to see the development of this „event“.

This year was the third time since Zalando has opened the doors for the end consumers after buying the whole Bread&Butter brand in 2015, which was initially a fashion trade fair for professionals only.

The DNA of the trade fair has always included a lot of brand activation and parties. Some people might even say that the Bread&Butter has never been a fair where a lot of orders have been placed but a trade fair where relationships have been built among the industry community during the various dinners and parties after the official opening hours.

Recap Zalando’s Bread&&Butter
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Taking this brand’s DNA, Zalando’s ambition to continuously conquer new fields in the fashion industry and the new demands of a lifestyle-oriented target group, this year’s Bread&&Butter made perfect sense for the following reasons:

1. Offline still offers possibilities for brands which online can’t replace:

Besides outstanding booth designs, most of the brands demonstrated outstanding ways to let consumers experience the product. Not only DIY mechanisms to put your own little twist on the pre-produced item, but especially the storytelling around one single product showcased how much a new way of physically staging a product can help the brand to stand out in an oversaturated market.

2. Creating for the youth, means to participate in their lifestyle:

This event is a melting pot for all different kinds of professionals along the supply chain. From brand managers, product designers, to YouTube publishers, models and agencies, they all have been at the same location during this weekend. Beside the off-the-record meetings, content productions and open panel discussions all took place in an environment where the end-consumer was present. In my opinion, a crucial part of being a consumer-centric brand is this: To participate in the lifestyle of their target group and to be part of the community instead of developing top-line strategies in a closed board room.

3. Content has to be developed holistically - it’s not digital only:

What we as an agency are constantly praising to our clients is the understanding for „Digital Zeitgeist“. It’s not about thinking in channels or in touchpoints, but recognizing that these boundaries have been disappeared for the consumer a long time ago. Life has received an additional layer which has been fully integrated and can’t been seen as an add-on. The brands at the Bread&&Butter have shown how to think „instagrammable“ while building their booth designs, knowing that the visitors will automatically want to share their experience in a beautiful way on social media. Brands can be a positive enabler of those by providing the right scenery.

4. Hype business is a relevant business:

We have all heard about the evaluation of the label Supreme at 1 billion dollar after Carlyle Group’s investment in 2017, right? And some of you have even heard of the hype driven secondary market platforms such as StockX. The cravings for hyped products has been at an all time high among teenagers. Understanding the tools to create hype through celebrity endorsements, interesting collaborations, innovation, artificial product shortage and pricing strategy, Zalando has found its own angle to tap into this field. Positioning themselves as the host and curator of the event and letting the brands speak to their consumers directly is the most credible way for Zalando to gain authenticity at the desired target group.

Of course, Zalando’s Bread&&Butter cannot be compared to the pioneers of end-consumer fashion trade shows in the States like Agenda and Complex Con. But why should it be? Zalando took the concept, adapted it to their market and their own needs, just like most of the Rocket Internet businesses. Nothing wrong with utilizing the know-how of proven concepts.

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