La Martina is facing difficult corporate dilemma, whether to focus on a production and selling of functional polo equipment or to become more mainstream and fashion oriented brand. Founder and CEO, Mr. Lando Cimonneti has always been step ahead and knew how to tackle stormy economic, political and social situation both in Argentina and worldwide. Innovative steps has helped the company remain successful and added an invaluable sense of uniqueness. La Martina has always been a company based on controlled growth, self-finance, relatively independable high profile exclusivity deliverying a complete portfolio of polo lifestyle goods which was a good strategy though challenging times of economic crises in their home country of Argentina. Over the years , polo has gained enough popularity in the fashion industry which offers a whole new world of controlled growth, guaranteed and high margins, but with the risk of losing professional reputation and exclusivity not to forget fierce competition and the threat of counterfeiting. Moreover self financing was no longer an option should the company take the mainstream fashion road, raising outside capital was to prove a necessity rather conveniently standing by as an option back through the years. (exhibit 1) 2) Alternative Solution
a. Mainstream Fashion Brand
If La Martina go into the unknown world of big mainstream fashion competition the company and its owner will face a challenge of their companies’ lifetime by putting behind his iconic polo brand and considerable stable market niche of around 8000 polo players and couple of hundred thousand followers across the globe.
Company now is facing a new identity challenge to change its main focus direction to the world of fashion, move that has to be executed promptly but with needed caution. In the current economic environment taking up the fashion market is not only an option or choice, but a compulsory action that La Martina must take. Firstly company will need to go beyond its well know market niche of core polo sport equipment and develop a complete new fashion oriented line and distribution channels control. This would require freshly adopted capital in order may to challenge the established competition in fashion world. Mr Cimmoneti must take a completely new path where self financing is no longer good enough if you want to be successful in the big fashion world. Raising additional, yet controlled amount of capital investments depending on the approach taken is unavoidable necessity that has to be considered in order to support such a daring move. Keeping the authenticity of the brand is essential though in order to maintain the interest in hard core polo fans and client to the brand while capitalizing on the interest of new clients potentially intrigued by the new brand lines and portfolio offerings. How different and specific can La Martina be in comparison with established brands on the same market place? They should be careful not to go too far from being themselves and remain creative using leveraged inbuilt DNA and philosophy for being close to the Earth and carefully building their strategy on what they really are. No room for big innovations or reinventing the wheel strategies otherwise they risk losing their exclusivity and fall into mediocre levels among established and fierce competition. Concentrating and carefully building its own exclusive market store network and applying stronger control over existing reselling partner networks is key in order to keep the quality of the product and customer care and the highest quality levels, which is their well know landmark. Five 'Ps' Analysis (exhibit 2) shows that La Martina has been successful over defining its brand targeting high society classes, yet their lack of distribution quality control has been a drawback and meant company products appeared next to less quality or even socially unacceptable ‘rivalry’ trademarks while...