“The marketer creates a specific marketing mix, which includes direct advertising, retail design, presentation of the brand’s collection in stores, and PR-activity. The pace of this activity is important not to slow down. As soon as it goes down, the brand is automatically forgotten, and someone else takes its place ... ”, - Yulia Dyutey, Marketing and PRGeox Director, shared the key aspects of building a strong fashion brand. And the ShoesReport editorial board outlined the expert's recommendations.
Geox - Italian company, manufacturer of outerwear and footwear for women, men and children. The brand's trademark is the breathable and waterproof properties of shoes and clothing, the use of advanced technologies and modern wear-resistant materials. Today more than 65% of the company's turnover comes from sales outside Italy in 110 countries of the world. About 1 GEOX brand stores have been opened in the world. In Russia, GEOX brand retail is about 200 stores, in addition to this, shoes and clothing of the Italian brand are presented in more than 60 multi-brand stores.
Emotions play an important role in the formation and promotion of a fashion brand in the market.
Clothing, shoes, accessories - these are products based on mood, a certain emotional message that is conveyed to the consumer with the help of marketing tools. At the same time, successful sales can be achieved only if the brand is recognizable, it must be “on the ear”.
An advertising campaign consists of several components:
The first is brand visualization, for which photos and images are created, used for publications on the Internet, in print, in outdoor advertising, in the design of any kind of brand zones - the wider the coverage, the better.
The second is the influence of opinion leaders. Word of mouth helps to convey information about the brand to the consumer. The information wave can be triggered by interacting with so-called opinion leaders. In the world of fashion, these are fashion experts, editors of fashion publications, stylists, celebrities, bloggers - everyone who can sow some kind of emotional characteristic of a brand in society, so that this sowing is intangible. The end customer must be sure that he has developed a positive attitude towards the brand on his own.
This is achieved either by creating direct communication with the consumer through fashion experts, or by organizing certain events by the company itself - its participation in exhibitions, events that allow a certain image to be assigned to the brand.
The third is brand representation at exhibitions and in multi-brand retail. To create and maintain the image required by the brand requires both the participation of the brand in relevant exhibitions and events, and the presence of the brand in as many points of sale as possible. It is worth considering which brands are located in the neighborhood. There is a separate direction in marketing, the purpose of which is to interact with resellers, persuading them to put the brand's products on the "golden" shelves, with the right neighborhood. (The ideal neighborhood for the GEOX brand is the well-known global shoe brands and clothing brands in the medium and premium segments). As part of solving this problem, many marketing incentive programs are being developed for partner multi-brand retail.
Affiliate multi-brands should be selected in accordance with the brand positioning. True, in practice this task is not always fully accomplished. Especially if a commercial team has a goal to achieve certain quantitative indicators. Market opportunities are not limitless, so sometimes you have to deviate from the ideal and expand your focus.
It is clear that an increase in points of sale gives a greater reach of the audience. But the presence of premium brand products in a large number of multi-brand stores of a low price segment creates the risk that the product, in the perception of the target audience, will become unnecessarily massive and, at the same time, unjustifiably expensive. Market segmentation by assortment matrix and price offer helps to solve this problem: we have to find a basic product that differs from the main product for multi-brands in the mass-market category; select a product group that meets the needs of the target audience of luxury multi-brands, and ensure the broadest possible presentation of the brand's collection at its own points of sale. Thus, a correct representation of the brand in retail is created, without unnecessary contradictions and possible distortion of the brand image.
It is important to penetrate into the minds of consumers before they come to the mall.
In the subconsciousness of any buyer, a list of stores to which he is loyal is pre-formed and where he will definitely go when visiting a shopping center. The next priority group includes stores of brands that are heard or those that someone recently recommended. And there are stores where the client looks in spontaneously (for example, attracted the product in the window). Being able to meet all three conditions is an excellent indicator for any retail chain, but the top priority of the marketing department is to get the brand on the must-visit list for a pre-selected target audience. And this directly depends on the volume of marketing communications. If the company's capabilities allow, marketing activity can be as wide as possible (as a rule, the budget is limited by a percentage of turnover). If a company cannot afford high advertising costs, the circle of communication has to be narrowed down and efforts to be directed more precisely.
To reduce marketing costs in the fashion business should be approached very carefully.
Reducing marketing costs is the first thing that comes to minds of top managers in a crisis situation, because the exhaust from marketing activity is intangible, it is very difficult to monetize it in the short term. And everything that cannot be counted, people with a commercial mindset try to cut down, because they think it would be less risky. However, in making such decisions there is a risk of disappearing from the subconscious of the target audience!
If by the time the advertising budget is reduced, the brand already has a group of loyal customers that provides at least 30% turnover, the brand can afford to temporarily cut the budget from external communications and focus only on interaction with the loyal group. But with caution! Because even a loyal group tends to switch its attention to offers of other brands. If the brand did not manage to create a loyal audience, it is dangerous to halve marketing activity - there is no end customer, there are no wholesale orders from points of sale.
It is worth considering that in times of crisis, multibrands are often forced to reduce their procurement budgets, trying to keep only those brands that are in guaranteed demand. And the demand is precisely created by the marketing activity of the brand owner. Therefore, if in difficult times for business we reduce the budget for word of mouth, we run the risk of getting a decrease in retail sales and a decrease in the volume of bulk purchases in the next season.
The main channels for direct advertising for middle-up and above segments are glossy print media and the Internet.
The lack of TV advertising in our segment is due to a limited budget and cost per contact due to a narrowed target audience. The main tools for direct in advertising in the GEOX brand promotion strategy are the press and the Internet. These two tools need to work in synergy with each other and with other marketing tools. The Internet is essentially the same magazine - just part of the audience still chooses print publications, and some have already switched to online. Today, a presence in both magazines and online media is a must. Choosing one thing means refusing to communicate with half of the target audience of consumers!
Working with fashion bloggers is not a panacea. This activity should be supported by PR activity and an advertising campaign.
The interaction of the brand with fashion bloggers is a fashion trend, but GEOX does not limit the development of its communications to this tool alone. We try to maintain interest in the brand in society in such a way as to encourage bloggers to write about the brand on their own initiative.
Of course, if there is a specific event with a pre-selected target audience, when we know for sure that 80% of the audience we are interested in are subscribed to the accounts of specific ten bloggers, and it will be enough to cooperate with them to get a result, then cooperation has a priority. But when we are working with a mass product, interacting with ten bloggers becomes insufficient, hundreds of such opinions are needed.
In recent years, digital marketing has become an indispensable tool of a marketing campaign.
Digital marketing is appreciated by both marketers and the sales department, because this tool allows you to calculate the investment in an advertising campaign and their effectiveness. You can pre-set the contact profile, and get at least statistics on the number of clicks, the number of clicks to the site or online store, and accordingly evaluate the conversion. This tool must be used!
The success of retail franchise development depends on local marketing efforts
Most of Geox's branded retail, about 60 stores in Russia, is developing through franchising. The brand's own retail chain comprises only 10 stores in Moscow. The low level of business education of the general population of Russia is a reality that has to be taken into account when working with franchisees. Often people open a business by touch, without a prescribed strategy, tactics, calculated long-term plans. Often potential franchisees mistakenly believe that by buying a franchise, they will receive a ready-made solution, and in this case they will not have to do anything themselves. But the franchise only provides tools for doing business, and the franchisee must develop it himself.
Again, emotion is the basis for promoting a fashion brand, just buying a product and presenting it in a store is not enough, you need to be able to position the brand. In each region, this work should be carried out individually. The central office in Moscow forms the general perception of the brand in the market, but this echo will not reach the Far East quickly. Need additional recharge on the ground.
Often, many people understand marketing activity as an advertising campaign that leads people to the store here and now - leaflets, a light box in a shopping center ... But this is only targeted support for sales in the short term, and not the positioning of the brand as a whole.
The development of local PR-activities is not easy, but any city has its own opinion leaders - authoritative people, business community leaders, artists and top places they visit - restaurants, fitness clubs, golf clubs, etc. We must try to increase brand awareness in the circle of the local elite.
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