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Zag Ep. 50 -How Corteiz uses scarcity and exclusivity to build buzz, inside the mind of FaZe Clan's CEO, and the brands building the re-commerce category

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🧥 How Corteiz uses scarcity and exclusivity to build buzz

What they did: Corteiz (yes that’s the right link) is a high-end challenger streetwear brand out of the UK. They’re executing much of the tried and true challenger playbook - being purpose-led and authentic, differentiating themselves in what they say but also what they do, building a tight community that drives advocacy and buzz, etc. But they’re doing it to the extreme, and doing it very well…

The brand produces a limited run of each product they sell, and sell it only via a private e-comm site - you need to be selected and given a password to be able to access it. Sometimes they’ll do “drops” in-person, but always in surprise, pop-up ways that build the buzz even further. Oh and their Instagram account (with 190k followers) is also private.

It goes against much of what the traditional playbook would script for this industry, and certainly against the traditional “build mental and physical availability” theory that most of the leading CPG and retail brands subscribe to. But it’s working…Earlier this year they were the most searched-for brand in the UK on Depop.

Why is it working?

One key takeaway from a recent article on their rise says, “Buying from Crtz [Corteiz] allows people to feel like they’re part of a community”. And with Corteiz it’s not just any community, it’s a high-end, exclusive community. Scarcity drives value, not just of goods but also of social equity. Corteiz has created an aspirational and exclusive brand that people want to be part of. Now the question is how (and if) it can scale…

What it means for you: How can you create exclusivity around your brand to drive demand to be part of it?

🕹 Inside the mind of FaZe Clan's CEO

What they did: We’ve covered FaZe Clan before, one of the biggest and leading e-sports organisations that went public via a SPAC in the US last year. But we wanted to share this podcast interview with their CEO, Lee Trink, discussing the future of the business but also the category overall. E-sports (still!) is one of those trends that much of the wider world is still sleeping on and dismissing. And yet, it is absolutely massive with an audience of over half a billion people. Have a listen to the episode and spend a few minutes reading through these “26 mind-blowing statistics on e-sports”. If you’re a business that’s looking to reach any audience under 40, you should be looking at this space, not just because of the attention that’s there, but also because of how underpriced that attention still is and how much its shaping culture for this demographic.

What it means for you: If you HAD to do some kind of brand activation in or with the e-sports world, what would it be? See what kind of ideas it brings up…

♻️The brands building the re-commerce category

What they did: Since we just passed Black Friday (and are now into Cyber Monday) we thought we’d take a look at one of the challenger trends and brands looking to change this “category” of over-consumption around the holidays. Check out this really interesting article from Marketing Brew on how “re-commerce” is growing in popularity and giving rise to a whole new set of businesses supporting the regifting and repurchasing of goods around this time of year and in general. Many of the ‘challenger brands’ in this corner of the retail category are platform businesses like Thredup and Poshmark that are creating marketplaces for people to buy and sell used goods. They each have slight points of differentiation but for the most part they’re the “eBay of” xyz. Btw, it’s interesting to see Poshmark trying to create its own holiday called Second Hand Sunday - we think it could have legs! There’s been a good amount of this in the higher end side of the retail category with companies like SotckX, Grailed, and Goat that have built marketplaces and communities (To the tune of 36B, which is more than double to $77 billion ) for people to resell high-end, rate, or limited edition fashion wear. But the Thredups and Poshmarks are going for a more mainstream and much larger audience and market. It’s interesting in itself and surely will grow with the increasing consumer pushback against consumerism and capitalism at all costs, but there’s something else we think is really interesting that could enable much more change towards this goal. If you dig a bit further the thing that’s really interesting is the tech layer that’s being built within all this change by businesses like Recreate, that are enabling existing, traditional retail businesses to introduce e-commerce into their offering directly.

What it means for you: How will re-commerce (or in general buying used instead of new) affect your category?

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