Canada’s favorite Hip-Hop artist, known around the world as Drake, is the owner of an apparel line called October’s Very Own (OVO) and is represented by this popular owl logo. The fashion brand is positioned to deliver big in-store retail sales numbers but it’s online ecommerce store is lackluster to say the least.
The man who literally put “The 6” on the map and is not only Toronto’s favorite ambassador but also one of Canada’s most famous celebrity rappers has his own apparel label. This ambitious fashion brand now has both retail stores in high traffic shopping districts around the world and an ecommerce website to process orders online. Hip-Hop artist Drake’s brand, October’s Very Own (OVO), has provided the means to successfully foray into the clothing retail business as well as the online ecommerce space with a degree of confidence and clout.
What started as a record label has blossomed into a global brand, hosting a music festival and has further branched out into a highly respected clothing brand. The brand is heavily associated with Drake’s hometown of Toronto, building a local community of followers who yearn to be associated with Drake. Drake’s hard work, talent, and fame served as the first boost of brand growth, as OVO’s community has become increasingly widespread and growing rapidly. Everyone wanted a piece of what Drake was offering, and OVO exploited this effortlessly. By releasing small bits of information about future offerings from the company with vague Instagram posts, captioned ambiguously with “Available Soon” the crowd was unable to contain their excitement. This has become the structure for Drake’s business OVO; slowly yet steadily develop and cultivate excitement. Their social media presence is well-executed, including giving consumers the ability to shop from their business website via an accessible link in their Instagram account description. This is a simple element that all e-commerce retailers should exploit, and OVO does so effortlessly. However, the brand does not provide links on individual postings of specific garments, which leaves something to be desired. If they were to provide a link directly to the shopping cart of OVO’s website, it would further increase accessibility and online conversions. Many other clothing brands already use this online marketing method to make the purchasing and checkout cart as straightforward as possible.
Drake entered the digital retail space well before the mainstream recognized the power it could bring to a brand and developed OVO as a blog where he posted his own music, art, photography, and fashion. Furthermore, he also created inspirational posts with the intent of intimately communicating with an online audience. As his global superstardom manifested, he began inducing a frenzy from his fans by releasing limited-time-only garments, in association with popular Canadian outfitter Roots. More OVO brand goods followed, partnering with other domestic enterprises such as the Toronto Raptors, RBC, and the high-end winter jackets manufacturer Canada Goose. Additionally, hockey player Wayne Gretzky agreed to model in their clothes in 2020, one of the most influential Canadians on the global stage, demonstrating the importance the brand already has at such a tender age.
The collaborative marketing strategy with Canada Goose has been mutually advantageous. The coat manufacturer benefits from OVO’s significant online presence; on Instagram, the brand has 1.3 million followers, with Drake’s personal account providing an added 74.3 million followers. Meanwhile, OVO has used the partnership to their advantage as well, using new fabric and textiles. Of course, the financial impetus is a factor as well, considering every collaboration the two companies have done has sold out in hours.
OVO has a competitive advantage over fashion brands that rely on wholesalers, as they are direct-to-consumer. When they launch a new product or announce a new collaboration, their candid relationship with their customers enables them to do it without a third party involved. Additionally, this helps gauge consumer reaction in real-time, as there is no middleman to determine whether or not a product launch is successful. Many celebrities have followed the same path by founding ecommerce companies, so that they may have added control over their business. When Drake was asked to explain his decision when deciding the approach he took when establishing OVO, he said, “Everybody else wants me to make it with the cheaper fabric and put it in Macy’s and make 100 million in the first year. That’s not what we are about. I’m not ready for OVO to be that. Because OVO is still something I represent.” This is a consistent belief among artists who venture into the ecommerce space. Many creative entrepreneurs are hesitant to cede control of their enterprise because it is closely associated with them. As soon as they decide to scale up production and hand over operations to someone else, it could mean a decrease in quality that they could not prevent.
OVO has steadily grown into one of the premier streetwear brands, and their success can be attributed to the consistency of their offering, the communication methodology, as well as not leaning too heavily on being affiliated with Drake. Other brands looking to gain notoriety and quickly enhance their popularity would desire to associate with an illustrious celebrity, but OVO has remained persistent with their initial vision of establishing a global lifestyle brand that remains authentic to fully connect with consumers. OVO is still in its early stages, with plans to expand its retail presence with more collaborations, and the opening of more brick and mortar storefronts worldwide, along with increased product lines.
The only weakness that is apparent with Drake’s desire to win at growing his brand globally rests with his frugal ecommerce website https://us.octobersveryown.com. The ecommerce website for OVO looks like someone with meager computer programming skills and lack of visual creativity was in a hurry to launch a first attempt at an online store.
To become a successful online retailer and generate high conversion rates from visitors requires a strong digital marketing plan combined with the foundations of a dynamic ecommerce website that has powerful call to actions (CTAs). Incorporate this with a good social media strategy and a strong web presence, you have the recipe for growing the brand. Here are some examples of Instagram campaign ads that OVO applies to convert their followers into paying customers. One marketing strategy OVO employs is partnering with social media influencers to announce new lines. In this image, Sofia Richie, a social media personality with 6.5 million followers on Instagram announced OVO’s new women’s line for fall & winter 2020. The brand had been teasing the release of the clothes, but by making Richie the face of the brand, anticipation & excitement grew even more. Up until the surprise release, the brand had only announced that there was a new release coming with no further details.
Another example of a partnership OVO utilizes is with the Toronto Raptors, the NBA franchise located in OVO’s hometown. OVO takes immense pride in representing Toronto & all of Canada, and it is more than empty signaling. In 2018, OVO & the Raptors made a pledge of $3 million to refurbish basketball courts with the two organizations’ insignia around the city, and another $2 million to Canada Basketball. In this Instagram post from December 2020, the two brands announced that they would be working on a new line without providing any further context and the excitement was unmistakable again. Below is a promotional video from the two organizations to build hype around the partnership.
OVO has a lot of momentum pushing the brand forward and Drake along with his business partners have done a good job creating an appealing clothing label that resonates with their target audience. We continue to wish the OVO team lots of success growing their company and achieving new heights. Our only recommendation is that they create an online ecommerce experience that will fully engage their audience and distinguish them apart from all the other noise out there on the world wide web.
RankWorks is a digital marketing agency that provides ecommerce businesses solutions that help companies grow their brands online. Our goal is to help propel companies to the next level by increasing online sales. We focus on developing digital marketing plans that are tailored to each individual client’s needs and wants. We offer our clients a dedicated team of digital marketing experts who can help with Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Amazon Store Management, YouTube Ads, Pinterest Marketing, Social Media Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and a vast array of other digital marketing services that will make your online business successful.
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