How Corteiz leverages community in its marketing strategy

When it comes to fashion brands, a key consideration is brand engagement. One London-based brand, Corteiz, has been particularly successful in utilising the power of community to build this loyalty, developing a more relevant narrative than many fashion brands today. Three pillars have allowed their marketing to succeed: organic hype, the use of cultural references, and providing a strong pro-social agenda.

As with many streetwear fashion brands, the focus their marketing is less on the clothes and more on the community affinity and hype that the clothes generate. This is particularly evident in their clothing releases: access to Corteiz’s clothing is not limited by artificial scarcity or aspiration as with luxury brands but by engagement with the brand, particularly its social channels: new releases are announced spontaneously, triggering waves of organic social media attention. There have also been a number of in-person events, giving out items for free or encouraging the community to participate in football challenges to win clothing. Making use of both online and offline engagement, allowing its community to promote the brand, and generating regular hype cycles leads to many more touchpoints with the brand, driven by organic engagement and promotion.

Corteiz also benefits from being London-based, further developing their community using localised cultural references. Where many fashion brands aspire to be internationally oriented and project an image of inclusivity to global consumers, Corteiz grounds itself geographically to London in both its marketing and the communities it addresses. The in-person events typically take place in the areas of London where many fans of Corteiz live – areas often underserved by local governments – and not in the typical shopping districts. They shun exclusivity, again showing an awareness of their target demographic. They also made use of football’s popularity in London to promote their sneaker produced in collaboration with Nike by referencing the ‘crossbar’ football challenge, first popularised by famous footballer Ronaldinho. Corteiz recreated the challenge with Phil Foden and Eduardo Camavinga, who both wore the collaboration sneakers. By referencing nostalgic cultural moments and demonstrating an awareness of where their fans live, Corteiz provides an outlet for fans to bond and further fosters loyalty.

Also core to Corteiz’s vision of community is their strong social commentary, positioning the brand as a strong voice for the people it represents. In one of their most well-known in-person events, the brands offered the ‘BOLO exchange’ where fans could exchange a designer jacket for one of Corteiz’s jackets. The traded-in jackets were then donated to a local food bank, highlighting issues of economic disparity. Some of the events have taken place in areas often derogatively labelled as underdeveloped, such as Shepherd’s Bush. This stands in stark contrast to many high-end fashion brands. Corteiz thus offers a critique of gentrification projects in London, which often risk uprooting already underprivileged communities.

Corteiz’s brand value comes from the relationship it fosters with its community, facilitated by its unconventional and interactive marketing campaigns. It does not differentiate on the design or quality of its products; it offers an experience to fans beyond the product, widening access and addressing underserved communities in its marketing.