There has been much debate within the fashion industry about what kind of branding strategy to pursue. With the increasing democratization of fashion ushered in by globalization fashion designers have been able to create and/or transform their labels to have a strong and strategic world-wide presence. The two main schools of thought within branding strategies are globalization and adaptation. Thus a fashion company must traverse the terrain and select which strategy suits the company’s policies, aims and mission.
Theodore Levitt launched the globalization debate in 1983 with his seminal essay in the Harvard Business Review ‘The Globalization of Markets” arguing that communication, transportation and travel created a new commercial reality where corporations did not cater to local differences in taste. He believed that the world, its various cultures and borders, were uniting, which resulted in the dissolution of multinational corporations, and the rise and domination of global corporations (Levitt, 1983). There have been many supporters toward this faction of thinking which include Elinder (1965), Fatt (1967), Buzzell (1968) and Dunne (1976) whom feel, as with Levitt that the globalization of markets has come about because of advances in transportation, and most importantly technology. This strategy believes that one marketing campaign can be used and translated to its customers world-wide, and is adequate for their purposes. Standardization also assumes that their target customer is completely homogenous and should be pursued in the same manner.
The adaptation strategy and its supporters on the other hand, believe that the market and its customers are heterogeneous. The followers of adaption namely Anholt (2000), Kanso and Nelson (2002) and Kotler (1986), argue that marketers and branding professionals need to consider difference in economics, cultures, competition, technology, sociology, physicality, politics, infrastructure; as well as the level of customer similarity (Vrontis, 2003). This strategy is clearly opposite to that of standardization. What the managers of companies need to decide early on is, which strategy they will adopt acknowledging that both factions has positive and negative points. Another approach that is widely exploited is that of a hybrid, adopting certain aspects of each strategy to obtain the greatest advantage whilst negating the negatives. This strategy is promoted by many since the late nineteen eighties namely Vrontis and Vronti, (2004), Kotler et al., (1996), as well as Douglas and Wind (1987),
With an abundance of strategies to choose from and the swift pace of the global fashion industry, which is becoming more competitive every day, it is of utmost importance to have a clear message and brand identity to launch to the fashion world. Using Marc Jacobs as a case study, this paper will investigate his labels approach to marketing and branding within the United Kingdom and the United States to demonstrate how Marc Jacobs uses standardization. This approach is illuminated through his product ranges, advertising, shop decoration, and marketing, which have been inherent since the beginning of the branding process. To keep up in today’s ever changing industry, fashion labels like Marc Jacobs, need to be highly differiented, customer-oriented, constantly innovative and create effective powerful brands (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000). Marc Jacobs has executed what Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000) set out with sheer precision. Since graduating from Parsons School of Design in 1984, where Marc Jacobs won two Golden Thimble Awards, he has had a loyal following both with the media and customers alike who have backed him through his many ventures. His clothes have been described as uptown, downtown – and all around, chic eccentricity, edgy and chic, friendly downtown cool as well as breezy and discreet luxury (Foley, 2004 and Cohen, 2001). Jacobs has an innate...
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