May 27, 2024

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Claire’s Heads for Brand “Refresh” to Connect With Modern Consumers 


Claire’s, a leader in the ear piercing business for four decades, is rebranding the Claire’s piercing services for the first time in history to stay competitive as more rivals enter the market. The company recently launched “Pierced by Claire’s” a fresh approach to the Claire’s piercing services, aiming to appeal to Gen Alpha and Gen Z audiences. The rebranding includes a new design aesthetic and logo, with a strong focus on personalization during the process of getting a piercing. Claire’s intends to promote the new initiative through its second commercial ever and a special promotion offering free earrings.

Market changes

The ear piercing business has been a major customer acquisition and revenue driver for Claire’s, often referred to as the “connective tissue” of the brand. With e-commerce competitors like Rowan and Studs, and independent shops gaining market share, Claire’s recognizes the need to evolve and maintain its leadership position. The Pierced launch follows a temporary pause on Claire’s IPO plans. To adapt to changing consumer preferences, Claire’s previously introduced its first loyalty program, followed by a buy online and in-store pick-up service, and an expanded Walmart partnership. Additionally, it launched ShimmerVille, which is a Claire’s-themed virtual realm on Roblox, and invested in a website upgrade to strengthen its e-commerce business.

Branding changes

Claire’s selected Nicola Formachetti, the chief creative officer and Lady Gaga collaborator, to contribute to the launch of Pierced. Together, they crafted digital images to help the customers define their unique “Earprint,” embracing the latest trend of asymmetrical and multiple piercings. Claire’s piercing campaign features bright and colorful earrings in various shapes, ranging from classic cars to gummy bears, as well as barbell-style piercings. Additionally, it introduces a character named Pierce, constructed entirely of earrings, which will be prominently featured in marketing campaigns. Claire’s piercing specialists are also going to be receiving updated wardrobes to align with the edgy new look. The company’s overall brand aesthetic is undergoing transformation alongside the introduction of Pierced. Claire’s store in Paris exemplifies this change, boasting iridescent lighting fixtures, neon pink signage, and sleek surfaces. Claire’s may also benefit from a nostalgia factor, as millennial and Gen X parents who trusted the brand for their own ear piercings may now influence the purchasing decisions of younger consumers. Claire’s extensive global network of nearly 3000 stores also gives it an advantage over rivals.

Connecting with the audience

Despite these innovations, in-store spending, especially in the piercing segment, remains a core aspect of Claire’s business. According to the company, over 50% of Claire’s piercing customers made another purchase. The brand is also reshaping its physical footprint, opening more stores in strip malls and outlet centers compared to traditional shopping malls, as noted by CEO Ryan Vero. In the midst of competition, Kristin Patrick, EVP, and chief marketing officer at Claire’s, emphasizes the brand’s focus on finding new ways to connect with the audience. The promotion for Pierced allows loyalty program members who sign up for emails to receive a free pair of earrings every month for up to a year after they get a new Claire’s piercing, marking a first for Claire’s. The brand plans to introduce additional promotions in the coming months. Patrick highlights the need for increased sophistication in reaching consumers through a full-funnel marketing campaign, including a TV ad for the free earrings promotion. Claire’s acknowledges the ever-changing retail landscape and positions itself to future-proof its business across all fronts.

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