Though brand management is not limited to the apparels and accessories it is very evident that fashion industry has given the word a turnaround over time. From brand fanaticism to Brand commitment Fashion Brands have tendency to make a strong Brand id amongst the intellects of the consumers. Many of their brand management strategies have prevailed.
The global fashion industry is a giant in terms of the impact it has on economy, trade and business of several countries, the reach and need for its products and the effectiveness of its occupation.
Over the century, progress of the industry has been amazing in conditions of technology and revenue. The innovations have been rapid and expansion exponential.
Though source of branding goes back to historical times, fashion industry is one of the market sectors which capitalized the almost all of a Brand's strength. Fashion industry has a strong affinity to brand management, and most successful brand strategies like stores Zara, Mark & Spencer and Luxury custom brands like Louis Vuitton, Armani, Dior and YSL.
The Brand strategy of all fashion brands revolve around the idea of differentiation of products, aim for customer group and building brand-consumer romance from which is derived a Brand Personality and Personality of every brand. This personal information carves a niche for the brand on the market.
But there occur a few questions about this glamorous business' brand management strategy.
Does a successful brand management strategy signify ethical Brand strategy?
Does possessing a good turnover each year make a brandname strategy successful?
Can Ethics be inculcated in a brand strategy in a highly effective way?
In the recent years a new matter has developed for the business worldwide, the Ethics of business. The London fashion week, 2008 state governments that the fashion Industry has been found on the problem of moral and environmental clothing.
Though studies have been made broadly on Ethics and Business in most of the fields and industries very few initiatives had been made for the same in conditions of brand management ethics and in particular framework of Fashion and Attire Industry.
This Proposal aspires in studying this less frequented theme of research yet growing concern of ethical consumerism popular industry, certain requirements and processes included for a brandname to identify itself as a Holistic and genuine moral brand.
To examine the brand management strategy of successful and powerful brands
To understand the importance of Ethics as a critical factor for just about any brand strategy
To analyze the effects of integrating ethics into the brand strategy and the implications of the relationship
What is a brandname strategy management? What are the successful brand strategies?
What is business ethics? What is the necessity of Ethical Brand strategy?
What will be the implications of integrating honest business and brand strategic management?
Strategic management is significant for a successful Brand
Business ethics has become an important factor for competitive advantage of a brand
The marriage between brand management and business ethics can form an authentic ethical brand
This chapter seeks to analyze the theory of the research project which is basically grouped into three broader subject areas of the research, namely
Brand Management strategy
While fashion can be defined as the style or custom prevalent at a specific period of time followed by the great population in terms of clothing or behavior, it's been around from the time when people started clothing.
From 10, 000 BC when men uncovered a needle and loom to fabric themselves, through the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization where clothing got a religious interpretation through the roman and Greek civilization where clothing was given an symbolization of beauty through the evolution of modern Elizabethan and Victorian period and finally to the age of influence of designers like Dior, Chanel to arrive at the fantastic Fashion age of today, Fashion has been ever before evolving.
But technically an industry for the same flourished only with the tag of Ready-to-wear technology around the start of 20th century. Till then tailors made cloths specific to a person, until when they found similarities of body forms of people they developed habits which would fit more than one individual. Thus came in the Ready-to-wear clothes.
With the symbol of 20th century the tailor retailers were being turned into workshops to factories, where style drafting, bulk fabric cutting and sewing began. Industrial anatomist and quality confidence were introduced as with other business to yield increased quality and quantity of goods. Through the era of commercial revolution the industry flourished. Thus developed a billion dollars industry.
With market being flooded with apparel products, the industry learnt the method of survival is differentiation. Then the fashion industry started to adopt branding strategy for differentiation and creating particular personal information of products that could be held in the brains of the consumers which would make them to buy the products regularly. Thus evolved fashion brand management strategy.
The brand idea portrays grit, determination and interest.
The products of Nike send the declaration of a "detached, established, unsentimental" attitude.
Nike is synonymous with Cool
LV products are Beautiful, Sensible, Prestige, Luxurious, Desirable, Stylish, Value-for-money, Top quality and Ever-lasting
The brand founded and managed by the custom made Giorgio Armani is an extravagance brand created by the custom catering top-notch clients with exemplary designs, style and materials that differentiates it from the standard luxury brands.
The Brand Philosophy of Armani brands are founded solely after the founde'rs personality and idea because the unique selling point of the brand is that it's Armani's!
According to the North american Marketing Relationship (AMA), "A brandname is a name, term, sign, icon or design, or a combination of them designed to identify the products and services of 1 seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. "
But in a more generic definition maybe it's a means of differentiation an organization has over their opponents who produce similar goods. For Example: Procter and Gamble produces dental tooth paste and so do Unilever. They both have to differentiate and provide some product for their customer base that would make them dedicated to the company. Thus P&G created Crest and Colgate brands of toothpaste and Unilever created the Pepsodent. The name is not the brand. However the logo, symbol, the product offering, the beliefs on the whole is the brand a company creates. brands allow a buyer to easily identify the offerings of a particular company.
From the internal perspective a Brand is a notion held in the intellects of the consumers. Perceptions will be the psychological experience of humans. Hence a "brand" is actually the mental health experience or view a human being has about what it has to offer to them.
As Scott Bedbury, a leading branding specialist in his publication titled, "A WHOLE NEW World" rightly expresses "Brand has become psychological concepts placed in the brains of the general public, where they may stay forever"
Strategic management in a Brand world is the structured analysis, decisions and actions the brand takes in order to conjure the brand personality and value gives the ecological competitive advantage over its opponents.
Brand strategy is the building blocks laid for the creation of the brand Individuality which indicates the brand offer the customer needs. A brandname strategy encompasses systematic planning at each stage of branding process.
Realizing the mission and eyesight of the company,
Researching and determining the target customer section,
Zeroing on the initial Offering Proposition of the business,
Differentiating from competitors
Giving a personality to the brand, expanding brand principles,
Communicating the Brand ideals and brand promise to the customer
Until Sustaining the Brand the proper planning, decision making is termed as the brand strategy Management.
A firm to sustain in today's competitive market scenario should formulate and apply a value creating strategy, in order to achieve strategic competitiveness.
Strategy can be an designed and coordinated group of commitments and actions designed to exploit core competencies and gain a competitive advantages.
Strategic management process is the entire set of commitments, decisions, and activities required for a strong to achieve tactical competitiveness and earn above-average earnings.
Zara has adopted what is referred to as the involved cost management and differentiation strategy. This strategy involves participating in main and support activities that allow a firm to simultaneous pursue low priced and differentiation.
Today a consumer has high anticipations while investing in a good or service. They demand low-priced yet differentiated products to match their needs. To handle these demands organizations engage in major and support activities that may equip them to capitalize on both lower cost and differentiation. The aim of this strategy is to produce products of differentiated value successfully. Efficient development provides cost control and the differentiation of products add unique value to it. The companies thus become strong in networking among the principal and supplementary activities becoming experienced.
Zara has successfully adopted this strategy of cost control and differentiation to provide consumers with desired fashion goods at relatively low prices. The sophisticated design team, effective managing of costs, flexible production system and total quality of management are the functions of Zara gives it an strategic benefits over competitors
While the world is facing the effectiveness of business and business flourishing despite the economic slowdown, there's a silent movement amidst both the consumers and the organizations arousing matter for Ethical Business. Business ethics has now become the much debated subject not only due to its growing importance but also the complexity and difficulty in understanding and applying them in a business.
Human Beings have the power and ability to think and make a decision which other creations don't maintain. This capacity also includes options. And these alternatives require rational thinking. The humans thus should make the choice of which is right over wrong, utilizing their knowledge, views and analytical skills. But the right and incorrect are not explicit and requires troublesome decisions as the ethical decisions aren't easy to make and requirements more than what the individual or organization is ready to give. But such decisions are vital for the higher good of the business, people and environment
Ethics is one of the few terms with nobody fixed definition. It is an evolutionary principle. Its interpretation and purpose is growing as does the business enterprise. Listed below are the few views on ethics,
The Initial meaning for ethics was simple. Ethics was about doing right thing in context to morals, prices and culture. This works for a person who has personal instinct and acts according compared to that instinct.
When it involves an organization's perspective, defining what is the 'Right thing' and whom or what ought to be the primary concern for moral decisions - the company, the shareholders, the stake holders or the complete society, sufficient questions arise.
But inevitably men are greedy as time progressed since 1960's various ethical issues arouse running a business. Through the Employee-employer marriage tensions, bribery, financial frauds and mis-management, human being protection under the law, transparency issues, environmental issues to the Intellectual property stealth and cyber crimes every issue has led onto a more recent perspective and dependence on ethics running a business. These needs were recognized by various laws and codes passed on by the authoritative organizations. The developments include the earlier code of conduct and values established by companies, to the formation of ethics resource centre and corporate and business social responsibility actions and before Sarbanes -Oxley Work of 2002 business ethics have fallen under tight scrutinization of the regulations.
Business ethics in word meaning is 'The Guidelines, standards or rules that guide the organization and the organizers mutually available area'. The expectations will be the judging criterions for what's right or incorrect and what is acceptable and unacceptable by the culture most importantly.
But various studies suggest that ethics is ever before evolving happening. From being Just doing the right thing to the expectations and regulations of judging the right thing now ethics has developed to "Business beyond income and laws. Now Business ethics is about the "Triple IMPORTANT THING".
Ethics is now beyond just doing business without harming the culture and environment. It is about conducting business and also contributing to the world and environment from where they take resources for doing the business enterprise and also sell the finish service or product. Thus the expectation is the fact while the business has progress there also needs to be the societal and environmental expansion.
This progression of ethics provided rise to a fresh field running a business namely the Corporate Public Responsibility. CSR is approximately an organization heading beyond what's legal and makes most revenue for the business to adding and reaching societal benefits with interest of most stakeholders.
While the business ethics is a lot debated and even though complex organizations want to interpret and implement them in business. Research and studies are conducted in this field of business ethics. But sadly Brand management and integration of ethics into the groundwork of branding still remains unobserved. The reason for the same could be many like the major misunderstanding that branding is focused on the powerful brand and name that enables organizations to sell products and rake gains.
But that is only one part of the branding. The merchandise branding is much regarded as with importance that group branding is forgotten. This study is to comprehend the importance of integrating ethics into firm branding and the tactical execution of the same.
Brands today have a powerful position in the imagination of the buyer. The consumers affiliate themselves with the brand and studies claim that bran is a 'Personality' in the heads of the consumer. This phenomenon causes brand loyalty or in serious case to brand fanaticism. When brand has such importance between its consumers and has immediate impact with its activities in contemporary society and environment, there is growing demand for Honest brands.
Considering the Case of one of world's powerful brand, Apple:
Apple has a perceived personality of sophistication and uniqueness in the brains of its customers and the modern culture.
But a lately one of Apple's dealer producer have been found guilty for substance poisoning of 49 employees and another provider reported to have used child labor.
Though Steve careers of Apple claim that Apple is not responsible for the same, these reports highlight shortage in moral concerns in section of development of world's popular devices. This might pose as a risk for the brand Image Apple has generated through the years and its own sustainability becomes questionable. Consumers contain the usage of information to realize Apple's sophisticated product is an end result of unacceptable work place and child labor. Then your Brand Personality in their minds might take an alteration.
Thus to avoid such a situation it isn't an option but a necessity for Moral brand Management Strategies.
Ethical brand is perceived as an oxymoronic term by business community most importantly. They are thought to be two contradictory terms put together. But the real sense in perceiving them is really as two complementary words working in synchronization with one another. Both is of no use when the other is insignificant.
While an average Brand Strategy aims to
Establish the brand principles amongst customers
Create Brand Individuality and market position differentiating from competitors
Create and preserve brand loyal customers
To maximize gain increased sales and enlargement of brand
These goals are basic and needed for any organization hoping to establish and sustain a brandname and make the organization profitable. But as the brand expands in size, power and fiscally, these seeks are testified for their moral commitments and then they flatter definitely.
The Ethical approach to the same brand strategy goals may be,
Establish the brand worth between customers - By not merely stating the values but integrating those values at every single stage of the business. Brand ideals are promise made by the organization.
Create Brand Identification and market position differentiating from competition - By contending fairly, without endeavoring to override competition unethically at any means
Create and maintain brand faithful customers - Without fake promises, with transparency and lasting brand routines.
To maximize gain more sales and expansion of brand - Without causing any harm to the environment, society and stake holders, and also adding to the world and environment responsibly.
The table will not follow any standard code of ethics but only a perspective in which the same goals can be redesigned for an moral brand.
Fashion industry is undoubtedly ever flourishing industry not only due to its size and hype but also since it produces one of the essential commodity that there is a ever increasing demand: Clothing. Fashion Industry is characterized by Labor intensive, customer centric, quickly changing trends, considerable raw material utilization, and tedious processing and marketing techniques.
Consumers of fashion brands are faithful followers of their brands. Whether it be high end designer brands like Dior and Armani to the mass marketing fashion brand like Zara and M&S, brand supporters have high expectation of the brands. From product quality to service these brands have to reside in upto their brand promises.
With Globalization, a brand's customers get access to information's of all forms. And the growing concern of the style consumer isn't just about how cheap their clothes are but also how moral are the clothes they wear?
It has to be brought up here that the same consumers who question about moral position of the brands also demand lower costs of quality products. As talked about previously in ethics there are always choices,
whether to provide higher ethical products and the bigger cost that accompanies it to make sustainable profits
whether to give less expensive, lower honest products but still make bigger profit
Unfortunately most fashion brands appear to own chosen the latter option that could be looked at as the immediate best answer for the brand and customers. But is the answer sustainable is the problem of the hour.
Gap, saying to be the world's most significant specialty retailer, was founded by Doris and Don Fisher in the entire year 1969 with San Francisco as the bottom. They include selection of brands namely Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. Difference now works 3100 stores worldwide.
Interestingly Space has dedicated a separate website for the cause of the Brand's interpersonal responsibility and honest practices. The Assertions and says are powerful and brings a confident aura about the brand.
Gap areas that they believe not only in the basics of ethical business tactics but also to accept a broader, deeper responsibility to the people and the planet. The statement claims that the brand stacks up to look after the stakeholders, contemporary society and the environment at large and they make selections which bring no harm to them. In addition they ensure the Distance customer that each and every time a Difference product is bought the buyer acknowledges a Brand which cares about people and world.
But the true depth of these statements becomes questionable when GAP is currently caught in the center of quality of the task environment Distance suppliers are subjecting their staff to. The Telegraph accounts about child-labor in factories in India sewing GAP garments.
The Saipan Islands of the pacific, Officially under US has a legal system for placing their own immigration system which facilitated garment manufacturers to generate cheap labor from china and use product labels stating Made in USA. The large Chinese owned or operated garment factories generate young female workers from china and usually south-east Asia with guarantee of good salary and work environment but contrastingly with sweat shop work environment.
A critical examination of what Distance has stated as their honest insurance policy is strikingly in contrast with these records. In the event the ethics is as built-into Gap's vision as they lay claim what could be possibly be the reason for these situations in factories supplying Difference clothing?
The instances of Space and H&M are just examples of ethical failures in Fashion Brand management. There are a great many other big brands associated with ethics failure the list including Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Wal-Mart plus more.
These circumstances plainly illustrates these companies didn't lack a eyesight for sustainability. That they had well-structured eyesight and objective for sustainable moral strategy, but what they lacked was the execution and monitoring of the same.
It is also essential to begin this process right from the fundamentals. That is ethics and brand strategy should incorporate from the essential and progress up-wards through all procedures of the brand development.
This research proposal aims in laying the foundation for the comprehensive dissertation to follow on producing an honest brand strategy platform for the fashion industry. The proposal aspires in locating the problems of existing moral strategies and their execution and monitoring systems.
DESIGN & MERCHANDISE
Ethical check point
Scheduling & source allocation
Raw material procurement
PLAN & SOURCE
Ethical check point
Garment Sewing Management
Fiber to textile monitoring
Marketing & Ads Management
PRODUCE AND MARKET
Ethical check point
Transportation to showrooms
Ethical check point
Floor planning & VM
Sales & feedback
Sales & Trend analysis
SALES, ANALYSE & AFTER SALES
Ethical check point
Human Learning resource Management
Ethical check point
The idea of the research construction Fig is to guarantee the brand can be regarded as practicing an moral strategy if and only when code of ethics is included at each degree of process flow of product development.
The construction is organised to focus on six vital process categories for a brandname to produce the finish product. The categories include
The design and merchandising is the first stage in a fashion brand process move, as this where the product is conceptualized and given form. The craze examination, feasibility of design, materials selection, sampling and all merchandising coordination processes takes place at this time. This is actually the mind work area of the fashion product development.
Planning includes the pre-production arranging, source of information allocation, backward planning and guaranteeing commitments. Sourcing includes procurement of raw materials for the development process. This level requires large distributor and buyer co-ordination and resource planning.
The apparel creation is the most labor intensive of all levels of product development. However computerized, the actual slice, sew and pack requires ample labor force management. Marketing is where in fact the brand transports its worth to the customers and will involve PR
The syndication is the most important of the source chain activities, inventory and warehouse management of finished goods, allocation planning and travel to the showroom.
This is where the product is manufactured into earnings through sales. The showroom management, floor planning, aesthetic merchandising all permit consumers trafficking the showroom while the sales analysts evaluate the sales habits and suggest on replenishment. The after-sales services and waste material management of the Brand's products are areas of concern.
The support activities form the backbone of the brand process stream, which includes the fundamental human learning resource management generating, training and maintaining labor force, research development causing new inventions for the brand's stock portfolio and the general administrative department taking care of the overall working of the brand from conceptualization to customer support.
The Ethical Checkpoint
The research aims to find the feasibility of experiencing an ethical checkpoint at every stage of product development of any apparel brand. The purpose and functionality of the ethical checkpoint could be
To ensure only ethically sustainable products go through different degrees of brand's creation process.
Each brand should establish their own moral criteria and code of ethics to be used at each degree of the Brand's product development. This code of ethics should maintain compliance with both global and local ethics standards relating to the brand's demography.
The function of the honest checkpoint is to ensure that at each degree of process stream the ethical criteria are met of course, if any moral issues arise the best ethical solutions are arrived at before the product spread to another level of the process flow.
In this way the merchandise at each level is made certain to be sustainable. Thus the brand self-monitors itself for ensuring the sustainability guarantee it has made to its consumers
The end product is not merely name sake moral but holistically moral made by moral requirements from the scratch to the finished goods stage.
By adopting this plan the brand not only ensures it remains committed to people, entire world and product but also they promote positive consumerism among their consumers. That is one of the possible frameworks of real ethical brand management strategy for the fashion industry.
A descriptive platform for the honest check point could be
Ethical check point