Why would Redcats USA, the parent company of the former Lane Bryant catalog, abandon such a recognizable name last November by changing it to Woman Within? Plain and simple: The company’s hand was forced.
As part of its licensing agreement with Limited Brands, the former owner of the Lane Bryant company that sold the catalog division to Brylane (renamed Redcats several years ago), Brylane agreed to stop using the Lane Bryant name for its mail order catalog 15 years after the acquisition, which was last October.
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After unsuccessfully trying to renegotiate the licensing agreement with the management of Charming Shoppes, the current parent company of Lane Bryant, Redcats USA braced itself for a name change. The firm, which also mails Metrostyle (renamed from Lerner New York in 2006), KingSize, Chadwick’s, TGW, The Sportsman’s Guide and Roaman’s, among others, was given a year to plan the name change before implementing it.
“We started to prepare the final name in 2006,” says Redcats USA Chairman/CEO Eric Faintreny. “And we’ve been informing our customers by doing everything we have to do to re-establish a new brand on our customer file for a year.”
Although there’s little precedent of catalogs changing names, Red-cats USA learned from prior experience: The Metrostyle name change had been due to a similar licensing agreement.
Using all media available — catalogs, direct mail, the company Web site — Redcats USA began to feverishly communicate the new name to customers in October 2006. All units of the company were involved, Faintreny says, from customer service to marketing to creative.
Redcats used the catalog’s cover to make customers aware of the impending name change. Following a three-step progression over the transition year, the cover verbiage evolved through each new edition:
1. Lane Bryant introduces Woman Within
2. Woman Within, formerly Lane Bryant
3. Woman Within (on its own).