Saturday, April 28, 2012

"The family has been a concept that we handle a lot but you have to go to the individual," interview with Carlos Valderrama of C & A

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Carlos Valderrama is the marketing director of C & A for Spain and Portugal. It is he who brings the corporate vision of the Dutch company and explains at what point is one of the international fashion chains more strongly in some markets, like Europe. The importance of marketing is crucial for fashion and even know what are the strategies that each company decides to promote.

What is the reason leading to C & A to prioritize your branding in front of the sub-brands in their communication?

In markets where the share is very high, marketing campaigns are branding campaigns. For example, the brand Clockhouse, brand or Canda Your Sixth Sense are poorly known. It is true that we have too many sub-brands. If you want to sell the entire spectrum of the family have to differentiate in the collection of sub-brands.

In countries like Spain, although it took a long time, our penetration rate is not as high. We we promote the branding of C & A that somehow is the umbrella that covers all brands of the company.

The trend between now and the coming years is to give a clearer message about placemark to C & A, let's ease up on the profile of the sub-brands. At the end we realized that there are many sub-brands that people will not know or know, then it is preferable to have a very clear message with two or three brands that are well known to the public and reduce a little sub-brands. In the last five or six years and have fallen sharply. In the past we have another sub-brands' advertising campaigns.

Now we are in a time when international after the reunification of C & A, to have international collections, we've been in Spain, as a matter of insight and knowledge of the company, to insist on branding C & A. On the one hand it is true that we must insist on the sub-brands, but otherwise, you are in a given time can be many and would have to restrict them.

Is not it hard to sell my mother as my girlfriend?

Yes, it is very difficult. We are unique, so we call a value retailer for the whole family. In an area of ​​1,500 square meters on average are doing collections for all segments of the family. It is easier to have a penetration rate in a fashion market where you are you going to a person between 20 and 37, as can many of our competitors, and then devote yourself to them. Ours is more complicated but it is the vocation of C & A.

That is, C & A has always been a company that is dedicated to the whole family from brands Baby, Baby Club, to young children, Palomino, to young people with Clockhouse, through the young woman with Jessica After a little more mature with Canda, more traditional in Your Sixth Sense, now a brand new Pure as Jessica, this obviously is a lot.

We speak of a handicap and an advantage at the same time. It is an advantage because you have specific areas to which you are going and coming to C & A because they know that they breed and is a disadvantage as you indicate, because from the standpoint of communication is much more difficult to establish communication channels with each these groups. This requires us to invest more heavily in advertising, when in difficult times may not be possible, or to have campaigns that fill this segment and we do the umbrella of C & A, which is the institutional brand that we promote at this time.

In Spain C & A has a contrasting image to go out and find the product inside.

They may not be sufficiently known sub-brands. What we are trying now in this time of crisis is very difficult to concentrate more supply, working with sub-brands to somehow reduce, ie to try within the large groups that want to meet C & A to do a little older groups. Maybe we can with two or three sub-collections in future make one, or enhance one. The new store concept will help us too much. You now walk into a store C & A and maybe observe fewer differences between departments. The new store C & A is intended to establish environmental departments where each brand has its own style, its own decor and its own environment. All this will help.

What you say is true, is very complicated, since our goal is from the baby to the person of 99 years.

Lack of knowledge may exist, what is clear is that when people come to C & A is aware that there are things I had not thought existed and immediately under the brand loyalty, that is what we have to work.

When introducing the new concept will store?

We already have stores in some places. We started doing new stores in Portugal, the first thing we did was in Sintra. In Spain we have opened a new store in Valencia, Galicia has a pair of stores in Lugo and Ourense, and now open in Majadahonda, Madrid.

The young audience is most difficult to conquer, how C & A presents the approach to them?

To win at young C & A has to have the best product possible. You can not announce anything and then frustrate people. You have to announce something having a base. The Clockhouse product has to be first best for young people.

Right now there is a restructuring of the young fashion department headquarters in Düsseldorf where we have many Spanish, many very young people working, and many new designers. All this is focused to achieve the best results. Once we have the product we have to see what communication channels we use. We are working hard right now in unconventional communication channels, from blogs to social networks. The advertising department is also working on conventional channels. Is a whole.

What we want is for the product, above all, and from C & A that defines the secret of our formula is the best product at the best price every day, whatever it engages people. Let's have it, let's be sure we have it and then we make available to young people through the channels customarily used. Let's see how they work. Clearly, the force that we would like to put on one channel do not forget to be distributed with many others. For us, toddler and baby are very important, the old lady, XXL sizes ... This is the wealth of C & A: serve multifarious audience, the whole family and have very different collections.

What would the media for this: institutional or individual as Clockhouse?

There might be a communication based on the mark Clockhouse, not selling the institutional brand. There would be a channel that would take into account not only the product, yes, is first, price and fashion trend, but then the shop, the shop window, many activities that can generate around a young fashion department .

You Say to day what is the philosophy that sells C & A to a client?

We are currently in the process of restructuring our image for the simple reason that we must increasingly define what kind of audience you want to address. Not the same address throughout the world, that market share, the young, the elderly ...

We are currently working with a group of analysis that it does is outline the customer groups, are focus groups in which we see what customer demand C & A, which specifically calls for our brand and others, what is missing in C & A and found in our competitors. This is a process that will last a few months. At the end we will have a clearer idea of ​​what is now in 2012 we do to improve what we have done.

So far all I can say is that C & A enters many people, as in C & A provides a criterion of choice based primarily on the extent of the collections and in the price. We are perceived among the major competitors as value retailer, ie we have the best market prices comparative and comparable items in such sector. But not only this. You can not be satisfied because your prices are the best but you have to be elected by the people and especially young people. Here in Spain we have great young fashion specialty competitors who do very well and with a high market share. We have to continue struggling to manage that world well.

Apart from price and output, what is the lifestyle that transmits C & A?

C & A has sent so far a normal lifestyle of a normal family in all sorts of countries. This concept of family, which is not a traditional family, unconventional, can be an open family of many members, two ... whatever. Is it a good concept? The client has to say. So far it has worked. I think we have the doors open to evolve the concept and is very important. We have realized that the person, customer, your individuality is very important.

The family has been a concept that we have handled much in the communication and marketing of C & A, but I think we need to start to handle the concept of the individual. Regardless of family ties that may have the formula, that have and are there because they are part of the story, I think it should be strengthened, and in fact we're at it, the individuality of the customers. Ultimately, the consumer world is what you pointed out: a world of rooms, you are you depending on your circumstances, your needs, you will want to take this and you'll find it on the market and C & A has to be a option in it.

The issue of C & A is that it is a very large company. Communication patterns, marketing strategies and sharing with the customer are made at the international level. Then it is up to individual countries to adapt, relativize the concept a bit, maybe a little mold it to our market. In Spain we worked very well this familiar concept but maybe now is the time also to adapt a little to the concept of individuality. You're going to meet you, you are our hero, so we'll have to change a little communication.

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