Brand contradictions

Walking into a damp, mouldy 'clearance sale' hall in a shopping place, I encountered two of India's premium men's clothing brands on sale. The pitch? If I buy one, I get a 30% discount which goes up to 40% on a purchase of two, 50% for three. The brands, Arrow and Van Heusen were packed in crumpled plastic covers, obviously so, having been 'handled' many a times by browsing buyers.

What's ironic is that, the very same day's TOI supplement, Times Life carried Ads taken out by premium men's wear clothing brands that included one of the brand mentioned above, namely, Ven Heusen. The Ad copy got my goat. 'Adrenaline commute, pulse racing meetings, wowed clients, cowed rivals, celebratory jam-ups'. Whatever that means. It had the image of a cool dude staring back at me with a look that got me started on a hiccup.

Brands embody a promise. It makes sense for brands to embody a single promise and to consistently back that promise, both in terms of communiques and real time action. So, if Van Heusen stood for whatever that copy meant, what was it doing in a crumpled pack, in a mouldy exhibition sort of a hall, selling at half its original price?

Ditto for the rest of the brands. They must maintain the integrity of what they stand for. In an era of brand commoditisation, that's difficult, yet must be done by innovating on factors of differentiation. A brand must never, through it actions contradict what it stands for.

Comments

Sandeep said…
Interesting read.My firm does the DM activities for the various brands of Madura garments including LP,VH etc. And it was an eye opener to read your clip. But on the other hand is it not an uphill or near impossible task, to keep check on a retailer who wants to sell his stock off fast,why should he be really bothered about brand value?
Prof.Ray Titus said…
Sandeep....It is definitely difficult/near impossible to keep a check. The Brand owners will have to find a fine balance between restricted distribution,lowered sales volumes and brand image (the lack of volumes offset by greater margins). And again, the decision is not a binary one, a toss up between volumes and margins, it involves production capacity utilisation, logistical efficiencies and such factors among other things...
JANE JEYAKUMAR said…
i believe brands come at a price- when they're sold 4 way cheaper,its jus liquidisation/damaged stock/ya're walkin in2 sum factory outlet..

However, if ya're into women (rather women's clothes),4 designer wear, tat're totallee branded with sum fashion designer chica label- believe me, itz not worth payin tat shit- 4000 bucks 4 a fuscia buckle dress, hmmm even if i were kareena kapoor/malaika arora/posh spice, I'd still play with the idea of flickin the same frm a factory outlet/a cheaper store n flaunt it neways[:)][;)]
Sandeep said…
Jane,
I stick by you! really..if i can get something at a throwaway..i wont play with the idea..i'd jump at it!
:)
rantravereflect said…
A tangential comment-All I have to say is tat, ya're always jumpin straight at me with ya play with words.. ya need to play with ideas, objects and do the ' foreplay' before ya jump at nethyn[:)] wiser, ya know!

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