Banana Republic needed a better way to engage with its trend-setting customers to ensure the company could set fashion trends, not follow them.


  • The upscale clothing brand of global fashion retailer The Gap, Banana Republic has more than 700 retail locations worldwide.
  • In the fickle, fast-moving fashion industry, Banana Republic faces constant pressure to ensure its merchandise and in-store experiences meet customer expectations.
  • Banana Republic needed to find a way to reach its most fashionable customers for feedback and insight to ensure the company could set the latest trends instead of following them.



  • Banana Republic decided an engaged community of customers would help guide the design of its clothing and stores. The company turned to Vision Critical to help it build Banana Republic Insiders, an insight community of 50,000 trend-conscious customers.
  • Community members have the opportunity to provide monthly feedback to the company. In return, they receive sweepstake incentives and newsletters to keep them informed about how their insight influenced the company’s latest fashions.
  • Vision Critical developed a plan to recruit 50,000 “insiders” from across the country, and now helps the company manage the community and maximize customer engagement.



  • Banana Republic now has a much stronger sense of who its customers are and how they express their personal style.
  • The insight community has played a major role in helping the company stay on top, and ahead of, fashion trends. In one particular exercise, members were asked to photograph themselves in various outfits. The result allowed Banana Republic to peer into its customers’ closets. This has had a real impact on how the company designs both its clothes and its in-store experiences.
  • “Our insight community is cost effective, category specific and very proprietary. We’re able to use it for hypothesis generation and directional validation.”

The benefits of the Banana Republic Insiders community have been extremely quick turnaround and rapid research, with access to results in real time.