Despite the competition, several mommies brands have established their own brands and earned their brand reputations. Based on the ranking of the best-selling domestic clothing brands (see Examining on page 9), Affair is the only one as a specialized youth lady clothes provider. 2 Internal Analysis 2. 1 The Lady Complex–core brand value At the beginning of sass, foreign design styles have had strong impact on Chinese rag trade. Chinese designer were influenced more or less by Pierre Cardinal for his exaggerated and Junk Shinto for her Utopian longing for future.
Affair was one of these companies. Since it was born in 1991, Affair was known for its unique sign with some exaggerated details, especially the style of romantic and princess. After 20 years of sedimentation, the Affair has developed its own brand core value that is the Lady Complex. This is the most important concept of its brand operation, and has really acted as the guide of the whole company. Besides, the slogan–“the lifetime off beauty “which was first advanced by Ms. Kiang in 1991 has inspired the company to launch four other brands to convey the idea of Lady Complex.
Today, the Affair group has become a successful Chinese clothing company, who are unique enough to be identified by Chinese consumers. Whatever the fashion trend is, 2. 2 Brand awareness Brand awareness refers to whether consumers can recall or recognize a brand, or simply whether or not consumers know about a brand (Keller, 2008). In other words, it refers to the proportion of the consumers who know the brand. Since the first exclusive store of Affair was established in Sheehan, China, in 1991, there have been over 100 branches in China.
You can purchase the clothes of 1 Affair in more than 30 provinces in the mainland of China (see Exhibit 2 on page 9). Not only the first-tier cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Sheehan and Guanos, UT the second-tier and third-tier cities in China, even in Meme, a small and poor city in Chuan, Affair exists. In every city, the major department stores are where consumers can find Affair. Specifically, in order to find out the extent of Affair’s acceptance among consumers, we have performed a survey. Two pie charts were drawn from the data gathered from the questionnaires.
Nearly 65 per cent of consumers have ever known a brand called Affair and only 35 per cent have never heard the name. Over 55 per cent of consumers like the clothes of Affair and about 25 per cent consumers consider the sign of Affair is quite plain (see Exhibit 3 on page 10). The rest, nearly 20 per cent, dislike the clothes of Affair. In conclusion, a great proportion of consumers know the brand of Affair and most of them like the clothes of Affair. 2. 3 Brand strategy 2. 3. 1 Corporate Identity Strategy China is a giant country for manufacturing the textile products.
Because of the fiercest competition, Affair have to take some special strategies to survive in this field. Corporate identity strategy is such a powerful one taken by the founder of this brand, Kewaunee. Broadly defined, corporate identity (C’) refers to the way in which an organization reveals its philosophy and strategy through communication, behavior and symbolism (Leathers and Kohl, 1997). Managing corporate identity involves two key tasks: 1) selecting appropriate names for an organization, its brands and products and 2) selecting attractive visual symbols for logos, signs, labeling and packaging (Napoleons).
The Chinese brand name of Affair is ћshush-NV-we”, which means a lady whose behavior is elegant and graceful. The word ћshush-NV” also originated from The Book of Songs, an ancient Chinese poetry book. Hence its brand name corresponds to the traditional Chinese culture and people’s fantastic ideas about it could be easily aroused. Visual identity is the second key aspect of a firm’s corporate identity. First, the logo of Affair is a girl’s black plait with a purple silk ribbon. Three Chinese characters, which mean fair lady, are written in the lower part of the logo.
This logo gives us an image of the girl next door. Ideas of pure, simple, elegant, graceful and all the characteristics a fair lady should have are perfectly conveyed by this logo. Second, he design of Affair clothes is quite special, not only the style itself, but also the theme 2 represent the special beauty of the young ladies. Moreover, each of its product series has a special theme cater to Chinese traditional view such as The Lotus Pool By Moonlight (he-tang-ye-SE), Old Days Iii-RI-Uzi) and Missing My Hometown (Ian-GU- axing).
These different themes give us some emotional communication, creating a feeling of warmth and romance and etc. Third, decoration style of its exclusive stores is quite unique. The company has a strict standard for decorating and millions of Yuan are invested into the design of decoration (see Exhibit-5 on page 11-12). On every important festival, the parent company will set the decoration standard including some unique ingredients such as a poster with the plots of a story. Another important aspect of its visual identity is advertising.
Compared with most of the other brands, the characteristics of Affair are elegance, romance and nobility, which give people a deep impression of youth, dream and beauty. Advertisements like these can build a world of fairy tales for every woman who wants to recollect her youth age (see Exhibit?7 on page 13-14). Mind identity (MI) and behavior identity (81) are another two key aspects of corporate identity. MI Systems are at the highest level of corporate strategy, and they are also the motivating force behind Corporate Identity Systems. Bal is founded upon and motivated by a Mind Identity System.
It determines the company’s internal management, employee education, and all of its social activities. Disappointingly, Affair lays little emphasis on MI and Bal. For example, the sales manager who accepted our interview only proposed a vague business concept. Besides, most sales assistants do not have a very good understanding of the corporation culture of Affair. Thus, their services cannot convey the spirits of Affair well. 2. 3. 2 Brand consistency–an integrate perspective Consistency is one of the key words of creating a great brand no matter what the industry is.
Since it was established in 1991, the brand Affair is always loyal to its style of romantic, tender and princess. Regardless changes of the fashion trends, Affair always sticks to its own characteristics, making use of the classical elements like bows, laces and pinky colors. After 20 years of sedimentation, Affair has engaged to create its own brand identity–a brand for young ladies who want to dress and live like princess. From a wider scope, with the slogan as “the lifetime of a beauty”, the Affair group has established a strategy of multi-brand.
The group has developed four other brands, covering all stages of one woman’s lifetime, which has repeatedly emphasized the concept of living like a princess from fairytale. Thus, In a chronological order, Affair group has Little lady for kids; Affair for young ladies with a princess dream, and Affair for matures ladies with a sentimental attitude. Besides, 3 the brand Natural elements provide more choices for trendy teenagers under the concept of Affair. And the bedclothes brand of Affair is representing a warm and romantic housing environment.
The multi-brand strategy enables Affair to tell a complicate story of a woman, and make up a delicate fairytale world for ladies. This 2. 4 Value chain Design: Affair tries to realize a feel of princess and romantic through the combination of European style and vogue elements. The designers have drawn their inspiration from classical Chinese and foreign play or literature and fairy tales. Thus, every series of it has its own story and soul when designed. Also, the name of each series is quite special and attractive, such as Swan Lake, Rose’s Story, Aphelia, Tokyo Streets and so on.
When the clothes are sold, a story or a kind of culture also comes down. Production : Since people in different area have different preferences for styles of products, the output of each style is based on the order forms from all agencies in the whole country. Before each season, the head office will send every agency a brochure which including the up-to-date design. Agencies could choose the styles and the numbers f the products based on the market in their area. In this way, it avoids the company holding many stocks. Distribution Affair has its own distribution channel in China.
The company often chooses the top shopping malls in the first or second tier cities where the consumers have enough consuming ability. The headquarter set up agencies in the important cities of one area, and the agency are in charge of all the franchise stores within the area. Now, Affair has more than 100 franchise stores since the first was set up in Sheehan in 1991. A distribution channel with the ability to reach most parts of China has been built. Via the chain, Affair can extend its brand image and decrease the costs.
The company can provide the clothes to shopping malls directly and collect the changeable market information such as the demand of consumers. Under this system, the headquarter administrates all the branches to make sure all the decisions are implemented. In addition, Affair also has established its flagship stores in order to reinforce the brand image. The major consumer of Affair The major consumers of Affair are young ladies from 1 5 to 30 years old. After a search, we found that they are mainly senior high school and university students or young ladies who are at work. Young ladies who are at work can steadily afford as well as have an ever-lasting desire for unique and stylish clothes to add their beauty. Price is not the most important factor they consider. Affair products are of good quality and can be a good representation of delicate life. Meanwhile, Affair combines the fashion and fairy stories together, which can recall people’s sweet memory and act as a good chance for young ladies to realize their princess dreams in their childhood. For the girl students, several factors are contributed to their choices.
Similar to young ladies, the emotional attraction of fairy-like clothes are the main reason. The second one is the peer pressure. Girls always do not want to go after their fellows. At last, with the result, the students are the loyal consumers of Affair. 3 Fierce competition Rag trade industry is always the fiercest battlefield among all the markets. Affair is now facing the challenging from two kinds of competition. The first kind is the competitors who have the same brand reputation as them. The second are the lowers.
Among them, the brand ELAND has been considered the strongest by themselves. 3. 1 Giant Competitor: ELAND ELAND Group was built in 1980 in Korea. As the first class group in fashion clothing and retail, ELAND Group has three major sectors: fashion business, retail business and emerging businesses (see Exhibit on page 15). ELAND Group entered China in 1994 by launching a company named “ELAND Fashion Clothing (Shanghai) Co. , Ltd”, with local agencies in Beijing, Gaining, Dahlia, Changed and Inning. At present, ELAND Group (China) has many stores all across China.
From 003 to 2007, the compound annual growth rate of ELAND Group (China) had reached to 79% (see Exhibit on page 15). The brand ELAND was launched in 1980, rooted in the American New England traditional culture, with the American university campus style, emphasizing on the classic and tradition. It is targeted at the young ladies and men in their twenties. Mentioning about ELAND, Chinese young consumers always come up with the image of monochrome plaids clothes or stripe shirts from this brand (see Exhibited on page The main competition between the two companies is their youth lady dress brands:
Affair and ELAND. It is interesting phenomenon that the two brands are usually set up next to each other in most department stores. Before the other fashion brands from Korea and Japan swarmed into Chinese market in the past few years, the two brands 5 seldom participated in sales activities on festivals or department stores’ anniversaries, which castes a special scene illustrated that two brands would never lower down their brand images and values by cutting down their prices. We have made a comparison between Affair and ELAND (see Exhibit 1 on page 17).
Affair is local brand born in the early sass which has earned much reputation in the fashion clothing industry through CLC strategy. However, we noticed that ELAND has expanded by accumulating management know-how. As a knowledge- based company, ELAND seems to be more vigorous and competitive. Additionally, The ELAND Group has successfully grown from a pure fashion business to a full scale retailer, which means that ELAND owns a more mature distribution system than that of Affair. 3. 2 Threats from Followers successors are going through.
The Affair’s styles are easily to be imitated, although n most situations the imitations are of low quality or inferior sold at low price. Through the research of the most popular followers and some clothing brands having the similar styles, we find out these brands are good at price cutting (see Exhibit 12 on page 17). They have been leading a price war, which was disdained by Affair at its early times. However, since 2009, while the followers are emerging, Affair doesn’t get adjusted but have to Join in the price war, which does harm to maintenance of its brand image.
We have compared the Affair and followers (see Exhibited on page 18). First, we can easily found out that those followers rely on alliance, while Affair only set up direct-sale stores. It is well-known that regular chain provides higher quality of services that allied chain, which is an advantage to Affair. Second, those followers usually invite celebrities in entertainment industry to act as their spokesmen (see Exhibited on page 19). This has helped them to expand their publicizes and win loyalties from the fans of those celebrities.
Nevertheless, Affair never invite any celebrities to advertise its brand. Actually, one of the little models of little lady & John (Kids wears) is the daughter of the designer Quaking, but few people knew about it. Recommendation 4. 1 To be stronger from the inside For Affair, its brand image and culture is unique things that distinguish it from other brands. And this is exactly where Affair’s core value lies in. In order to better pass the value to consumers, from the inside, changes should be made from 6 employees.
Pre-Job training must really work. We suggest that the Affair try to embed the concept of Lady Complex into employee’s minds. That is to say, employees of Affair should learn to love the lady Tyler from their heart. Only when the employees are deeply infected by the core value, the system of the company can be sustainable, and the idea of Lady Complex can be conveyed to its consumers. That is the guarantee of its distinctiveness. The external images of sales assistants are also important.
Whether or not they look good are important factor influencing consumers’ choice. 4. 2 To be more consumer oriented As a brand advocating Lady Complex, considerate sales assistants are not enough. Consumers should be pampered throughout their stay in the stores, feeling that they re treasured and being treated as noble ladies. So we suggest that every Affair store has at least one design adviser. The advisers are the professionals who are good at clothes selecting and rich in the brands’ style information.
If a consumer has any question about matching, the design adviser should be able to offer appropriate alternatives at once. New products come out, members can be informed and there are fixed discounts for them. It makes the consumers feel accepted and being in a family. This is a way to attract more regular customers and reinforce brand image. 4. Be sticky and good at changing In consideration of profit margin and brand positioning, price-cutting is not very smart choice because of the danger of brand dilution. The royalty to good quality and princess style is much wiser.
Distinctiveness and superiority are always appealing to consumers and can build a steady high-level brand image among consumers. As compared with other brands, the princess style of Affair is its most obvious characteristic. However, that is also the other edge of the sword: it is too fussy for some modern ladies.