Friday, April 27, 2012

C & A or the paradigm of overcoming a branding on a custom market


The world marks their most complex lives at the same time more exciting as each day there are more challenges to overcome and create new. Selling a brand at the moment is not based solely on the product, the brand is everything and creating the lifestyle associated with it is essential. This diversification is key and the large textile companies are creating different branches depending on what they sell to public interest them, even to be cases where these do not even know what the firms that have the same company. To every rule there's an exception, today's C & A.

Despite all I can comment on, C & A has increased its turnover in its last financial year by 3.2% in Europe. A total of 6,800 million euros, with a market share of 5.6%. In Spain maintained its stable market share: 2.2%, leading to 440 million euros. So you still running the business, they know very well what they do and what my thoughts are simple thrown into the air. To complement this morning publish an interview with Carlos Valderrama, director of marketing for C & A for Spain and Portugal, where he will give us the vision of the company.

C & A as a company for the whole family

Customization is the key and the family can be successful in specific targets, economic times and steps to burn, but when you grow up hardly going to want to dress like their parents, rather look for another style with which to express and project their image, that in the end will be conditioned by all the impulses of marketing and the contexts in which to move. The young audience wants to have its own brand and not the entire family, including babies and grandmothers. While inside the store to find what you want, external perception is going to lead us to reject what is inside.

To this we must add that the identification is highest and at the time of purchase, time and preferences, increasingly tends to go alone or with a small company. Family consumption is the general tone and even less as it grows. Long ago the family ideal in advertising escapes some sectors.

The tactic to centralize everything under one brand

Black parade

The momentum of the branding does not work in all fields. In the current fashion companies have managed to stay in the background while you were creating a large number of brands that divide their interests. An umbrella brand does not work in a market in which the public increasingly want to be treated in a more personal and unique, in that it does not find everything in the store but at ease eating outside your family to find in that spot unmet needs.

The difficulty of creating a custom brand values ​​to each audience is extreme. C & A has to satisfy at the same time get the whole family and that's just hurting the brands that do not grow individually and as such are strengthened. C & A has a large number of brands being alone would achieve greater success to the respective public, that would change his regard for them, like Inditex avoid mixing in the same space and selling lifestyle targets as opposite as the Uterqüe and the costumers. What would be suicide for both brands in C & A can be seen some few steps into one of their stores. Why does not H & M has COS inside and has built itself as an independent brand? Why Sphere is outside El Corte Ingles stores own? Why all the group's brands LVMH not grouped in a single space? Why communication policies are so different from each other despite being owned by the same company?

A global communication is not effective if we are looking for a custom client. It is fished with a very large network, spending large amounts of money to reach a mass audience, when specifying the objectives in a few more space would be closed, the network would not have so many holes through which to escape and remain oblivious to the message received and even bring you avoid negative values ​​and ignore the brand.

To this we must add the difficulty of selling all brands within a store, the high cost of establishment, the conditioning of the situation in cities such premises ... divided into smaller stores covered a broader spectrum of the city ​​and the public as well as areas that interest us.

And if we add up the negative or crisis that any brand can have the cocktail is explosive, because if one falls they all fall. A C & A happened in Argentina, in Britain at the beginning of the 2000s and even in 1979 ... The Specials released a theme called "Man at C & A 'where icons ironized against established and the time of Cold War.

The Mickey Mouse badge Told the Ayatollah at his feet
You drink your oil you schmuck, we'll eat our heads of wheat
But I'm the man in gray, I'm just the man at C & A
And I do not have a say in the war games play That They

The failure to create differentiated targets


Customization is the key in the current marketing, especially in fashion. The customer feel special should be the maximum for any company. A feeling difficult to create a company that enhances corporate image and address the sub-brands within the same space.

The objective of creating a distinct target toward which to direct all our efforts fall under its own weight if the public views the sale as a tactic massive, directed toward a public, details of special importance in the young, which requires a greater attention to cover his insecurities and his desire for self-realization.

In a single store brands grow toward the target. This the most known, would care to enter and experience the atmosphere that have been recreated on these, music, decor ... Just as communication, which would save costs, since the public and are discovering themselves and not have to shoot air for everyone to see the flare for help, but so accurate that would point to where your audience is lurking, enjoying their particular lifestyle.

In my case, these days I was invited by C & A to launch their new Autumn-Winter 2012/2013 in Düsseldorf, a city which is located one of its host plants, and in the parade were presented one after the other collections almost without specifying which one it was (except for a minimum sign lights went out in a few seconds). The sensations were positive at first, with a line of women with more style and with the collection Clockhouse aimed at young, very similar to that style Isabel Marant both are drinking the many brands, but in between, there were not many outlets I passed the same and ultimately leave a negative taste if it evaluates the total, as each brand is aimed at various sectors, and brand X just throwing away the work behind the brand Y.

The price is not everything

The price policy as a driver of consumption may be good at times like this, where for days looking over the pocket more. For some brands positioning to the public as an economic product is the key but it's funny how despite having a good price C & A is not among the list of consumption low cost base among people fond of fashion, which is what speak here, not the general public. With prices as competitive, or more, White, Bershka or H & M (t-shirts around 7 or 12 euros in many cases, for instance), C & A is less seen as brand Primark or Pimkie, although it may win quality to several of them in many things. If this happens for a reason.

The other competing brands have gained a young audience with something more than just price, which is one of its bases, it is clear, with a product sometimes worse in quality, but adding other values ​​and key lifestyle placing a positive mark in the mind of the consumer.

New challenges, new stores

The challenge for C & A would have to be to get the consumer perceives the value of each brand separately. One of the weaknesses in any person to tell a story is narrated that whoever knows the whole story but the receiver does not, so the former tends to cut down the road because information is given by logic. For me, C & A falls into this error. They have brands such as Clockhouse potential or Jessica Pure but lost among the rest. The last thing you need to do the consumer is going to the store to discover, but rather the opposite, that they are caught. That gain added value and more emotional than they have. They must also promote an improvement in the image associated with each signature, with campaigns and lookbooks to transmit more than the current style, as competitive firms have been doing these years: the so-called low cost over the low chic.

The shops of C & A are changing gradually and the new and leave with another concept closer to the customization of which I speak but even this falls short compared to other brands like Mango or White to go to extremes to separate in a store their complements satellite, which seek to promote in a space just for them and get them out of the shadows and the shelves crammed with shops.

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