The following analysis will examine the market presence of Abercrombie & Fitch in the United Kingdom market. We will be discussing the brand loyalty and customer retention from the brands perspective. The three main Marketing objectives that we will be looking at are:
To increase brand retention in the consumers mind.
To enhance the brand loyalty of Abercrombie & Fitch.
To increase Internet sales by 30% in a period of 12 months.
Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) is an American retail company founded in 1892 that deals in casual wear and other accessories for consumers between the ages of 18-22. In the US alone, they have over 300 stores and have also made strides in expanding to foreign markets. A&F has its headquarters in New Albany, Ohio and today, is represented in many countries worldwide (Histories, 1996). The company operates 1,104 stores across all four brands, Abercrombie & Fitch kids, Gilly Hicks, Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch (Fitch, April 2010) . The A&F brand has 340 locations in the United States, four in Canada, one in London, one in Milan, and one in Tokyo.
Oshman’s sporting goods bought Abercrombie & Fitch in 1978 with a sense of providing the brand with a wide array of variety in terms of its apparel focus and the kind of goods manufactured at Abercrombie and Fitch. Unfortunately this experiment did not come through and despite various attempts to revive the brand Abercrombie and Fitch brand equity kept diminishing.
In 1988 and 1992 the brand was repositioned as a fashion oriented casual brand (Dulisse, 2010). Over the years Abercrombie and Fitch has tried to establish itself as the niche brand among the many running brands in the same category. Though casual and more youth centric the brand over all maintains its identity as a high-end youth brand.
Based on the market research that was conducted, objectives have been created that will set the direction of the communications strategy, in order to provide direction and an action focus for the communication tools (Fill, 2009).
To become a market leader in UK retailing market
To align all functions of the UK A&F department in order to deliver the same messages to all stakeholders
To increase internet sales by 30% in 12 months
To increase UK ROI
To increase volume sales through the Internet shop
To increase UK market share
To attract more consumers to the online retail outlet
To increase brand retention
To enhance brand loyalty of Abercrombie & Fitch
To sustain current awareness levels through the deployment of solid communications
To educate the target audience about the values and benefits of A&F
After researching in to the psychographics of the target audience, 16-20, a positioning statement has been created to align the needs and wants of the consumers with the value proposition of A&F. The positioning statement reads as follows:
The only brand that to create a dynamic and involved communication experience to 16-20 year olds in order for them to choose their signature A&F style ‘ socialising is not just about looking good, its feeling good, choose your A&F’
The customer is at the focus of the 2011 A&F UK communications strategy. The target audience is 16-20 year olds, who are the end user but not necessarily the customer, therefore requiring segmentation of two groups:
End user – 16-20 year olds
Customer – Parents, Family Friends
By profiling these two segments, a strategy can identify in which to influence the end users who will turn into customers and influencers of purchasing behaviour. For the A&F ‘Summer Launch’ strategy, it is appropriate to use a Pull strategy in order to generate increased levels of awareness, to reinforce attitudes towards A&F, to encourage involvement and participation with the brand and finally to provoke motivation with the target audience (Fill, 2009).
One of the key objectives identified in section 1 is to reinforce the brand and stimulate repeat purchase, hence building brand loyalty. By implanting a pull strategy this will enable the UK division to target the end consumers and create a relationship with them.
The approach that will be implemented is to position the A&F brand as an affordable, unique and casual brand in the minds of the target audience. This evidence can be found through the market research undertaken with this age bracket, see fig 2.1. With this in mind, a media map has been created to identify the tools and strategies that will be implemented through the pull strategy. The strategies are identified in stages, which indicate the different tools and how they will be integrated throughout the communications campaign. The stages are presented as:
Stage 1: Advertising – Retention of the loyal customers and to create further awareness with the target audience
Stage2: Conversations/Direct Mail – to create a buzz about the brand and create intrigue
Stage 3: Public Relations – to build trust in the brand and create participation and involvement with the brand
From using the DRIP framework (Fill, 2009) the idea that will run across all these tools is to reinforce/ remind customers about the A&F brand due to 66% of our target audience already aware of the brand. With this in mind, the second part of the strategy is to inform customers about the new website and upcoming events. As seen from the context analysis, the current communications campaign is coming centrally from the US marketing division, relent on reputation and word of mouth. From assessing this finding, the pull strategy that will be implanted will concentrate on building communications localized to the UK market and the target audience. With this in place, the general idea that will be communicated across all tools is to create a countdown to the summer launch party. All communication tools will provide information to the newly established UK website to draw in consumers to the point of purchase. The countdown communications will be released at intervals throughout a period of time aligned with social events or key dates according to our target audience, such as school term dates. This will aim to incur intrigue and curiosity regarding the summer launch party and to reinforce awareness of the brand name around the UK.
Fig 2.1 Main Attributes of A&F
Fig.2.2 Media Map for A&F Summer Launch Party
Stage 1 Advertising
Stage 2 Direct Mail
Stage 3 Public Relations
TV Show Sponsorship
Direct Response press
Blogging, Facebook & Twitter
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