Face Your Fierce: Abercrombie & Fitch and The Trevor Project
Since 1892, Abercrombie & Fitch has been a specialty retailer of quality apparel outerwear and fragrance designed to inspire global customers to be confident and feel comfortable. A staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community for years, A&F’s parent company A&F Co. has been recognized for 14 consecutive years with a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaigns Corporate Equality Index and recognition by the organization as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.
A&F’s target consumer base are millennials aged 25-29, a group hyper-focused on inclusion and authenticity. Demonstrating A&F’s genuine and authentic commitment to inclusivity is an integral component of driving additional brand consideration and loyalty by young millennials and upaging members of Generation Z. Under new leadership, A&F Co. has changed significantly over the last several years. It aims to be more inclusive with everything it does and is committed to molding and shaping the world into one where people of all identities are comfortable and confident being themselves. Going into 2019 A&F sought to showcase this commitment in a unique and truly authentic way.
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Trevor’s research estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth seriously consider suicide every year in the US alone. Last year, Trevor served 98,000 LGBTQ youth with free and confidential crisis counseling via phone (Trevor Lifeline), instant messenger (TrevorChat) and text message (TrevorText). This is a year-over-year increase of 44% reflecting their rapid growth. Still, this is only 5% of the 18 million youth who could benefit from Trevor’s services.
Entering 2019, Trevor’s goals were to raise funds to support programmatic extension, expand awareness and send a message of inclusion.
Working in partnership, A&F and Trevor embarked on a campaign called ‘Fierce’.
A&Fs goals for ‘Fierce’ in 2019 were:
Engage A&F customers by demonstrating its real and authentic support of the LGBTQ community. A&F knows that authenticity demands action and directly contributing to a cause impacting the LGBTQ community year-round (not just during Pride month) is an integral part of supporting this community. By expanding its partnership with Trevor, A&F had the opportunity to leverage its assets as a retail company to raise funds and awareness that would connect more LGBTQ youth to the vital resources and support that Trevor provides.
Expand brand affinity for A&F’s fragrance ‘Fierce’ by promoting inclusive values and representation. Fierce is the #4 mens’ fragrance in the country and one of the top SKUs for A&F. It’s been a hallmark of the A&F brand and it is the iconic scent consumers immediately think of in relation to the brand. By creating a campaign that redefined what it means to be ‘Fierce’, including who represents Fierceness, A&F took an invaluable opportunity to use its top SKU to promote self-expression, individuality, representation and style for all.
The partnership consisted of:
Direct Financial Investment: To raise funds for Trevor’s programmatic expansion, A&F donated corporate funds and activated customer donations in-store and online. A&F used its unique assets as a retail company to maximize its contribution including a ‘Round-Up at the Register’ where customers could donate their extra change to Trevor at point of sale as well as donating proceeds from select products. A&F provided significant funds for Trevor to build organizational capacity.
Awareness Building: To raise awareness for Trevor’s services, A&F and Trevor partnered on multiple co-branded marketing campaigns throughout the year, which included digital assets in-store and online calls to action and event activations. It was a strategic and intentional decision to take a 360 degree “always on” approach to the partnership for the first time in 2019. With 208 stores, 16M followers across social media and robust internal production, influencer marketing and events teams to reach a large audience, A&F featured Trevor’s brand across the company to ensure more LGBTQ youth knew Trevor was a resource for them whenever, wherever they need support.
Storytelling and Diverse Representation: To share a story of inclusion and demonstrate to LGBTQ youth that they are perfect just as they are, A&F and Trevor collaborated extensively on cause marketing campaigns including A&Fs ‘Fierce is Love’ campaign from May-June 2019 and its “Chosen Family” Holiday campaign in December 2019. These campaigns elevated the voices of LGBTQ activists and Influencers of diverse identities. Together the partners leveraged A&F’s most iconic product to send a powerful message to LGBTQ young people and beyond about representation and acceptance.
As a result, with the help of their customers, A&F donated $758K in 2019, a significant increase over 2018. A&F received significant media coverage including on WWD, Out Magazine & Gay Star Business.
During the Pride campaign, traffic to the ‘Fierce’ landing page increased and had a higher Revenue-Per-Visit compared to the rest of the site, showing that the campaign drove both product awareness and sales year-over-year. Direct-to-Consumer revenue for Fierce increased as did Fierce sales overall.
As one of Trevor’s largest-ever corporate partners, A&F’s more than $750,000 contribution has been directly invested in scaling crisis services programs. Through leveraging these funds to grow capacity across their Lifeline Chat and Text, Trevor will reach the capacity to serve 252,000 crisis contacts annually by July 2020, more than doubling the annual impact.