The business strategy behind the Neiman Marcus Group Awards – WWD

There’s no shortage of designer awards in fashion – but the Neiman Marcus Group Awards are gearing up to be something else.

Executives at the Dallas-based luxury retailer say their NMG Awards are “a 360-degree platform” to increase a designer’s distribution across NMG’s three sales channels — physical stores, e-commerce and distance selling — and its strategy of “retail -tainment,” which focuses on developing innovative special events and in-store activations. Exclusives are also part of the program.

In fact, the NMG Awards signal greater awareness of the award-winning designers and their brands in the US market and are intended to introduce them to new customers and build loyalty from existing customers.

“It’s really important to differentiate the Neiman Marcus Group Awards from other awards. It’s not just a recognition program. It’s a platform to truly recognize, celebrate and support the brands in an amplified way, backed by the full power of our merchandising and marketing engines,” said Lana Todorovich, NMG’s Chief Merchandising Officer.

“It’s not a statue to keep. There’s really this whole program behind it,” she said.

It’s also an attempt by NMG to strengthen its own relationships with designers and gain an advantage over other companies with which it competes most directly, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Nordstrom.

“We believe that strong relationships with brand partners allow us to buy with conviction and offer Neiman Marcus the best in luxury and exclusivity,” added Todorovich. “This awards platform exemplifies our modern approach to integrated luxury retail and curated assortments – we bring top luxury brands and luxury consumers together through exclusive activations.”

Neiman’s Chief Commercial Officer emphasized that the Neiman Marcus Group Awards “will help designers express their brand’s stories and present the full expression of their brands to our customers, and particularly to the US market.” This is important because while Neiman’s has a track record of developing in-store designer stores with large displays, usually created with the designers themselves with appropriate branding, designers have opened their own stores and sometimes feel that the retailers, who they sell to do not market their collections in a way that captures their true essence and scope.

Loewe Creative Director Jonathan Anderson receives the Neiman Marcus Award for Creative Impact in the Field of Fashion. Accessory designer Amina Muaddi receives the Neiman Marcus Award for Innovation in the Field of Fashion.

Brunello Cucinelli receives the prestigious Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. This award, which is being revived after a six-year hiatus, was established 85 years ago by Carrie Marcus Neiman, the late co-founder of Neiman Marcus, and Stanley Marcus, the late and legendary President/Chairman/Impresario of Neiman Marcus. It was last awarded to Carolina Herrera in 2016 but shelved when NMG was overcome by financial difficulties and management changes, filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and then had to navigate the pandemic.

Now, following its restructuring, which has resulted in a healthier balance sheet, the retailer is in a better position to forge stronger partnerships with luxury designers and brands, and return to awarding.

NM’s Distinguished Service Award has been presented to more than 100 luxury fashion luminaries, including Yves Saint Laurent 65 years ago, Oscar de la Renta 55 years ago, Ralph Lauren 50 years ago and Missoni 50 years ago. Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Estée Lauder, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and Miuccia Prada were also honorees.

The Neiman Marcus Group Awards begin with a celebration in Paris on March 3 during Paris Fashion Week with an event attended by brand partners and past NM award winners.

“Obviously it was a different time when Stanley and Carrie started the award, but it was about bringing designers into the Dallas market, especially the European designers,” explained Todorovich. “And then they always had a fabulous party. It gave the designers a lot of visibility in the US.”

Lana Todorovich

Lana Todorovich

Matteo Prandoni/

“These awards are presented annually,” said Geoffroy van Raemdonck, Chief Executive Officer of Neiman Marcus Group. “Our customers want to hear the news about the renewal of famous fashion houses and the breakthrough of new fashion houses.”

On April 18th, the Brunello Cucinelli Icon collection will be launched exclusively for Neiman Marcus. It includes women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes and bags that will be available exclusively in 10 Neiman Marcus stores and online. “Pre-sales went very well,” said Todorovich. “These are very exquisite pieces, almost like works of art. The kick-off event will take place at an external location. So that’s going to be one from Brunello first, and then we’re working with him on another activation in October, which will be in our Los Angeles store. And this second collection, kind of Hollywood glam inspired, will also be exclusive to us.” Cucinelli is expected to attend both launches.

Todorovich said each of the three designers will “take their own approach to how they want to express their brand to our customers” and offer exclusive lines. Muaddi is working on an exclusive footwear collection to be launched in the fall, while Anderson’s exclusive line is set to launch around the same time or later this year.

Todorovich also said that Neiman’s will “offer designers a 360-degree experience to make a meaningful impact with our customers. That’s how they truly express themselves through all of our channels – online, in stores, through the remote channel, where Neiman employees sell to customers remotely. “We know that customers who shop across channels spend five times more than customers who shop in just one channel,” Todorovich said.

Additionally, with the activations associated with the award winners, we’re harnessing “the power of our salespeople and the relationships they have with their customers because we also know that customers who have relationships with our salespeople have that level of trust that they spend 12 times more.” than other customers, she said.

The awards, Todorovich said, are a key component to expanding Neiman’s “retail-tainment” strategy.

“Looking back over the last 12 months we’ve had over 20 of these retail experiences and it’s something that’s such a powerful way to modernize and move our business forward,” whether it’s wrapping the exterior of the buildings Tag a Designer – “Take over” a business with oversized displays and special events, or host an event at a working ranch with Cucinelli. “Each of these 20 experiences that we have had a very different and unique flavor,” Todorovich said. “We have about 15 new ones planned for spring. The scale, the exclusivity, it’s all on a completely different level than anything we’ve done in the past. We know our customers want a personalized shopping experience with an element of entertainment, which is why we continue to provide such activations. These events generate strong engagement and prove that this approach works.”

Designers will also be included in seasonal campaigns in the Neiman-Marcus book and will benefit from increased exposure on and the Neiman-Marcus app. “You will be in the spotlight there,” Todorovich said. There will also be social content, targeted customer emails, VIP and customer events, visual in-store merchandising, messaging for sales reps via Neiman’s Connect, used to communicate with customers in a variety of ways, and retail tainment. -Activations.

Going forward, “we’re going to expand the awards program to Bergdorf Goodman, so there’s a lot of possibilities,” Todorovich explained. There will be a separate BG Awards strategy.


A Brunello Cucinelli “Muse of the West” event at a Dallas ranch last year was part of Neiman’s “retail entertainment” program.

Jason Sean Weiss/ The business strategy behind the Neiman Marcus Group Awards – WWD

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