In the Era of Killer Competition: Differentiate or Die

Q. In this era of killer competition a marketer has either to differentiate or die? Do you agree? Why? Discuss with real life examples related to fashion business? Ans. What is Competition? Competition is a contest between individuals , groups, nations, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or allocation of resources. It arises whenever two or more parties strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Humans compete for water, food, & mates though when these needs are met deep rivalries often arise ov er the pursuit of wealth, prestige, & fame.

Competition may give incentives for self -improvement. For example, if two watchmakers are competing for business, they will hopefully improve their products & service to increase to increase sales. If one watchmaker is more responsive to the needs of customers, this watchmaker will flourish. Three levels of competition have been classified as follows:- 1. Direct Competition: – This is the narrowest form of competition also called category competition or brand competition, where products which perform the same function compete against each other.

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For example, Vodafone & Airtel, if one of them launches a new scheme then other also has to launch the same scheme in order to survive in competition so that customers don? t switch to its rival. This is called direct Competition. 2. Indirect Competition (Substitute competition ):- In this form of competition, products are close substitutes for one another. Substitutes play a limit on prices & on profits. If technology advances or competition increases in these substitute industries, prices & profits in the segment are likely to fall.

For example, the arrival & growth of budget airlines in India has already seen a revision in railway fares and amenities. 3. Budget Competition: – The broadest form of competition is typically called budget competition. In this category, anything on which the consumer might want to spend their available money is included. Because of Competition it becomes important to use proper marketing techniques:Marketing is an integrated communication base process through which individuals & communities discover that existing & newly -identified needs & wants may be satisfied by the products & services of others.

The term developed from the original meaning which referred literally to going to market, as in shopping, or going to a market to buy or sell goods or services. Marketing practice tended to be seen as a creative industry in the past, which included advertising, distribution and selling. Thats why, it becomes essential to have marketing plan in mind before actually going to the market. MARKETING PLANS: Most business people agree that a good marketing plan is essential for success. Marketing plan is a detailed roadmap th at outlines all your marketing strategies, tactics, activities, costs and projected results over a period of time.

Marketing plan keeps your entire team focused on specific goals A good marketing plan typically includes: 1. Financial goals 2. Positioning strategy 3. Brand strategy 4. Product/service overview 5. Detailed goals by product, distribution channel &/or customer segment 6. Sales plan 7. Major marketing campaigns 8. Detailed budget 9. Dates to review progress It takes time to develop a marketing plan, but it? s important because it ties all of your activities to tangible goals. It? s also a great opportunity to focus on the future, generate new ideas, and inspire your team.

Even a simple plan is better than none, but when you invest more effort upf ront, you? ll have a better roadmap toward your goals. BRAND DIFFERENTIAT ION: – Differentiation is the art of designing a set of meaningful differences to distinguish the company? s offering from competitors? offering Differentiation is the way through wh ich the quality of goods is improved as often as required. Launching of new goods in an entirely new way is a radical change, often leading to changes in consumer preferences and perceptions.

Similarly retaining the customers is equally important to ensure the company? s goodwill. Therefore differentiation is the strategy of adapting to the changing environment and consumers. Differentiation allows the firm to get a price premium based on the extra value perceived by and delivered to the customers. Thus market differentiation is the way in which the marketer makes his business or product appear more desirable to the customer than all other similar ones. The following are a few commonly seen features: ? ? ? ? ?

A product that nobody can get elsewhere Closer or more convenient access to a desired product Better service Better price Better value Differentiation is the way through which the quality of goods is improved as often as required. In an evolutionary sense, differentiation is the strategy of adapting to the changing environment and consumers. Differentiation strategy:The Differentiation strategy is an integrated set of actions designed to produce or deliver goods or services that customers perceive as being different in ways that are important to them.

It is a strategy whereby a marketer offers a product as unique in industry by proving that it provides a distinct advantage over other products by setting it apart from other competitor? s brands in some way or the other, besides price. Differentiation strategy may b e related to a product or service or to any marketing activity. But here the emphasis is on product differentiation. Differentiated strategies include targeting, positioning and segmentation. A fairness cream for Males [Emami] can be taken as an example . It is a beauty product in the personal care category.

The brand is targeted at males in the age group of 20-35 and is positioned as a „male fairness cream? , which can bring fairness to the male skin. This is a clear case where all the three strategies of targeting, positioning and segmenting are successfully involved and utilized. Titan watches, Priya pickles, Raymond? s clothing, Wills cigarettes are some of the classic examples of differentiation based on positioning. Competitive Differentiation: What sets your product, service and company apart from your competitors?

What value do you provide and how is it different than the alternatives? Competitive positioning is about defining how you? ll “differentiate” your offering and create value for your market . It? s about carving out a spot in the competitive landscape and focusing your company to deliver on that strategy. A good strategy includes Market profile : size, competitors, stage of growth Customer segments : groups of prospects with similar wants & need s Competitive analysis : strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the landscape.

Positioning strategy : how you? ll position your offering to focus on opportunities in the market. Value proposition : the type of value you? ll deliver to the market Before you begin Your competitive positioning strategy is the foundation of your entire business – it? s the first thing you should do if you? re launching a new company or product. Profile your market Document the size of your market, major competitors a nd how they? re positioned. Determine whether your market is in the introductory, growth, mature, or declining stage of its life.

This “lifecycle stage” affects your entire marketing strategy. Segment your market Understand the problems that your market faces. Talk with prospects and customers, or conduct research if you have the time, budget and opportunity. Uncover their true wants and needs – you? ll learn a great deal about what you can deliver to solve their problems and beat your competitors. Group your prospects into “segments” that have similar problems and can use your product in similar ways. By grouping them into segments, you can efficiently market to each group.

Evaluate your competition List your competitors. Include any competitors that can solve your customers? problems, even if their solutions are much different than yours – they? re still your competition. Rate your own company and your direct competitors on operational efficiency (price), product leadership and customer intimacy. It? s easy to think you? re the best, so be as impartial as you can. Stake a position Identify areas where your competition is vulnerable. Determine whether you can focus on those vulnerable areas – they? re major opportunities.

Identify products/services you can offe r to meet the true needs of your market in a new and better way. Define your value proposition There are three core types of value that a company can deliver: operational efficiency (the lowest price), product leadership (the best product), or customer intimacy (the best solution & service). Determine which one you? re best equipped to deliver; your decision is your “value proposition. Lux for the past 50 years is ruling the toilet soap market and continues to charm the masses with its Beauty appe al. It has defied the concept of time.

Colgate is one word for dental care and it is worldwide number one with the brands, Gel, Calciguard, Total, Sensitive, Herbal etc… Dettol has 60 years of history in the antiseptic lotions segment. Cadbury? s Bourn vita ruled the brown beverage market ever since its introduction. Johnson & Johnson, „No tears? Mild shampoo for kids. Marti Suzuki, since 1980s for its „Family car? in its Small Car sector. Arrow since 1950s for its premium readymade Shirts with proven quality Ponds in its Personal care segment over the years Nokia with the concept of „Connecting People?.

Maggi in the Instant Food market specifically targeting at children…. Now, we are going to give a brief description about two companies (one of apparel and one non – apparel), who differentiated to establish in the market. 1. Allen solly – Allen solly is probably the only brand that has truly redefined modern Indian’s wardrobe. Launched in 1993, Allen solly created ripples in the Indian market by releasing the rules in corporate dress code. It trashed whites and grey thereby making the corporate world a colorful and vibrant place. Originating from large portfolio of international brands of coats iyella – UK, Allen solly is most famous for creating the property of Friday dressing where in the message clearly is to stop wearing uniforms at work. This has of course been rated as one of the best brand launches. Over the years the brand has evolved to achieve a high fashion quotient and appeal through its exciting, fashionable merchandise and aspirational imagery. What started out as a journey for men’s wear was soon transformed in unisex appeal in year 2002, when Allen Solly launched its women’s wear line of clothing and accessories.

The brand has progressed from being category driven to unisex and to being lifestyle driven. There are today more than 30 product categories in the portfolio, making it truly lifestyle led and creating massive scope for itself. All of its categories have success including suits, hand bags, winter wear, scarves etc. in the marketing showing the grand brand equity. The Vision Of Allen Solly: The company aimed to emerge as a brand which was totally new and did not stick to conventions. Allen Solly brings together people from different walks of life and unites them in the matters of style and attitude.

The innovative garments of Allen Solly give people an identity in the work place and while chilling out. Allen Solly Products : * Allen Solly manufactures very comfortable cotton and linen half and full sleeve shirts in solids of beautiful prints patterns like checks and stripes. They come in attractive color combinations of white and yellow, blue, pink, green and the list goes on. *Allen Solly T-shirts are available in half or full sleeves in vibrant colors like orange, black, blue etc. The t-shirts are made of pure cotton. *Allen Solly Trousers are pure cotton varieties which have flat or pleated fronts. Allen Solly is considered to be the brand that breaks all rules and conventions of men’s wear. Following are the Differentiation methods which Allen Solly adopted:1. Creating stretch & wrinkle free trousers:„GO? for sharp look Allen Solly introduces a unique line to take corporate vogue by storm. Presenting „GO? stretch and wrinkle free trousers with „DOW XLA’ – the only stretch fiber with the twin benefits of no-iron convenience and stretch comfort. Wrinkle-free and stretch powers join forces in the revolutionary GO trousers, So „one can leap, soar and fly through everyday battles?.

This new line also offers the soft hand feel and colour fastness that make it a must-have for every wardrobe. The collection has been launched keeping in mind the discerning executive, who demands comfort, performance and style… GO was a collection of clean and contemporary trouser designs and was available in six colors- Grey, Black, Beige, Camel, Chocolate and Navy. 2. Introducing ‘Friday Dressing’ concept in India:- Allen Solly created ripples in the Indian market by releasing new rules in corporate dress code titled „Friday Dressing?.

It trashed whites and greys thereby making the corporate world a colorful and vibrant place. Originating from the large portfolio of international brands of Coats Viyella-UK, Allen Solly is targeted at young, contemporary corporate who was ready to challenge conventions and create their own identity. Encouraged by its progress, over the years the brand has evolved to achieve a high fashion quotient and appeal through its exciting, fashionable merchandise and aspirational imagery. 3. Entering into women’s wear:Allen Solly took its first step towards becoming a true lifestyle brand when it launched Allen Solly women? wear in 2002. Allen Solly questions the norms of conventional dress code at work and reflects one? s unconventional mind like no other women’s formal wear brand can. Allen Solly women? s wear is targeted at the new age Indian woman who holds key management positions in the corporate world. The idea is to give the Indian woman executive a range of relaxed formal wear with visual appeal. Apart from the work wear range, the brand also has garments to suit club wear and casual wear. 4. Kids wear(nov,2008):Allen Solly unveils kids wear collection

Allen Solly announced the launch of its Kids Wear Collection, which is funky, uber cool, fun, stylish, frill free and comfortable. Primarily making Kidswear merchandise different, casual, fun, international and stylish. Commenting on the launch, Mr. R Satyajit, COO, Allen Solly, said: “The organized kidswear market, excluding school uniforms, is estimated at around 2,000 crores, growing at 30% every year. The kidswear market is among the fastest growing segments in the apparel industry and Allen Solly aims at playing a key role in the branded Kidswear segment. ” 90% of the merchandise s made of 100% cotton fabric, which is most comfortable for Children. Four strong collections namely: Colour My World, Urban Holiday, Sports Academy and Enchanted, have been built around the numerous occasions in a child’s life. Strict quality parameters have been followed while designing these clothes including testing for saliva and perspiration color fastness. An attempt has been made at making the merchandise child safe for e. g. care has been taken to not provide any drawstring around the neck and wherever it is included – it confirms to specified length.

Available in sizes 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 & 14 corresponding to the age groups, Allen Solly Kidswear is priced in the range of Rs. 499/- – Rs. 1299/-. Focus on accessories such as eyewear, watches and women’s bags; have added to the lifestyle quotient of the brand. There are today more than 30 product categories to its portfolio Conclusion:? ? ? A strong brand identity commands a price-premium. Therefore it is important to use good differentiate techniques. A price premium creates the perception of quality. Perceived quality has been shown to positively affect customer usage. Consumers tend to select brands they perceive to be quality brands.

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