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When starting a business, one of the major concerns for a businessman is how he is going to sell his ideas to the world. Immediately, he realizes that he is supposed to make the world notice what he is doing. He needs to create a face for his company that the world will look at and immediately recognize with just a single glance. This face is the company's brand. A brand is a trademark. It is a mark of identification for goods of a particular make, and also serves as an image for the company that is creating these goods. Every successful company known to man has got its own unique brand. A brand is as important as the members of staff who work for the company as it elicits thoughts, emotions and even psychological responses from the customers. It forms the emotional and psychological connection that the company has with its customers. Marty Neumeier of The Brand Gap is quoted having said "A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service or company". When it comes to marketing, the entire framework that is involved in selling the company and its products or services is determined by the strength of their brand. Your company's brand must be the truth; it must be about you.
Successful brands have been put at the top because of the way that they have met the expectations of those that buy them. They have kept their promise to the buyer. As it is, these companies know that if they do not satisfy their buyers, the buyers will look elsewhere for the same service. The value of owning these strong and reputable brands in businesses is not one that can be contested by anyone. The brands that hold on to their promises often end up attracting the loyal buyers. These buyers will return to them at regular intervals for their services once more. The benefit of this to the brand owner is that they can forecast their cash flows in a much easier way. Thus it becomes very easy to plan ahead and manage the development of the business without the fear of going out of the market. Thus brands can be classed as productive assets. This is because they possess the ability to secure income in an exact way as cash, investments or even equipment. This is something that is recognized by the investors as well. Brands can play a major role in increasing the earnings of a company. Thus the company will improve on the overall performance and as a result, the share price will indeed go up as well (BBC news, 2010).
The Timberland Company is an American manufacturer and retailer that is concerned mainly with outdoor wear. However, despite having several lines of products, it has a focus on footwear. Timberland footwear is popular for hiking, mountaineering and is also famous for casual wear. Timberland Company is best known for its success in making the men's, women's and kid's footwear. Timberland also is recognized in the clothing industry as it makes shirts, outwear, pants and even socks. It is also known for making accessories such as sunglasses, watches and even belts. Timberland has got a well established brand. This company is widely known all over the world and it is among the most successful brands in the world. Timberland is sells its product all over the world through company owned stores that are about 220. It also has department and athletic shops. These are distributed in Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and even the United States. As a widely known Brand, Timberland has got other brands apart from itself too. These are SmartWool, howies and IPATH. Its relationship with its other brands and the production of quality products are what have made Timberland one of the most successful fashion branding labels (Stantham, 2010).
Merchandising is the act of getting a product from the company and selling it to the customer. In order for a company to be successful in merchandising, their have to go through a lot of commitment to make sure that their products are located at points well visible in the stores and are presented in a fashion that is appealing. Effective merchandising involves the ultimate use of the available retail space. This is to help the company merchandising its product to capture the interest of the customer to buy more of the product. The effectiveness of this merchandising of the product to the customer has been fund out to be the rationalising the psychology of the customer by correct placing of the product. This has to be accompanied by a good atmosphere of subliminal messages which will attract the customer and improve the sales.
In merchandising, the display location of the product really matters a lot in terms of the buying and the selling of the commodity. Placing a product on a location where the customers traffic a lot will enhance its marketing as the people will have a better access to it. An understanding of this idea can greatly influence the turnover in terms of the sales and the stock. A product that is less known but put in a high traffic area with an attractive packaging will get a greater chance of selling than if it was buried at the back of the stack in a corner. However, developing a brand will go a long way in enhancing its selling. A product that has already developed a name for itself will sell no matter where it has been located on the shelf of a store. Displays greatly affect the selling of a product as it is the deciding factor on whether the customer will be drawn to the product or he will not even notice it.
The success of an organisation is normally projected by a number of quantifiable measurements. These are known as the Key Performance Indicators (KPI).these indicators usually differ depending on the organisation that is in question. An example is a business, whereby its key performance indicatrs would be the percentage of income that it realizes coming from the returns of the customers. For a department dealing with customer service, the indicator would be the number of customer calls answered within the first minute. These key performance indicators must be able to show the organisations goals. They also have to be quantifiable. These indicators are normally important for any organisation or company in helping them achieve their profits and realise if they are moving in the right direction as well. The organisation may set these indicators to be different as they approach the realisation of their company goals (West, 2010).
For a company like Timberland, its key performance indicators would be in the profits that they make in the sales of their products. Timberland has worked hard to improve the quality of their brand in order to improve their stands in the market. As a result, they have invested in marketing their products by having various numbers of salesmen and women all over the continent. The indicators of their success have been the high returns that they have received from their customers. Their relation with the public through initiatives set forth by the Timberland Company has been one that boosted their name in the market to the top companies list. Timberland has kept up with the market trends also. Each season, they have been producing new designs of their products. The shoe line, for example, has been producing new shoe designs each season to keep up with the fashion in the market, initially the company used to specialise more in making boots. However, nowadays they have gone into making open shoes, ladies shoes as well as sketcher-sneakers. This has gone a long way into keeping them as a customer preferred company because of their quality products as well as them being stylish.
Every businessman understands that success is not brought about by just a single course of action. Rather by tiny bits that make up a series of activities and this create and build value in the end. These activities add up and in the end they are responsible for the total value delivered by the organisation. These series of activities are what M.E. Porter referred to as the value chain in his book Competitive Advantage. According to Mr. Porter, the company can be split into two; the primary activities and the support activities. The primary activities are constituted by the inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing and saes and the service. The Inbound logistics are where the goods are received from the supplier of the company. The Operations refers to the assembly of the goods received by the supplier for example the final tune for a motorcycles engine. The outbound logistics is where the finished products of the company are now ready to be supplied to their customers like the wholesalers. The marketing is an area that concentrates on selling the product to the suppliers. It is responsible for getting as many customers as possible for the said product that the company is supplying. This is where the importance of a good brand comes into place. A good brand will help in marketing the product to the customers and getting as many of them as possible. The service is inclusive of the after-sales service like complaints handling and so on.
The support activities consist of procurement, technology development, human resource management and firm infrastructure. These four are often viewed as the overhead. However, some firms have in the past successfully used them to develop advantage to their competitors. Procurement refers to the activity of purchasing the raw materials that the organisation uses in the value-creating process. The technology development includes the research and development in technology for use in the value-chain process. The human resource management is associated with the hiring, developing and compensation of the employees. The firm infrastructure is what handles the company's activities like finance, legal issues and quality management. These activities that make up the value chain are important to every company that is seeking success and building its name. Thus, it is an important chain and all of its parts have to be catered for if at all the company wants to realize positive results. An example of a company that has looked into all these factors and can be considered to be successful is Timberland. Timberland has been around for many years and is a company that is still being recognized to date for its success in the business world. It created a brand name for itself and this name was able to sail the company to greater heights. In this paper, I am going to look at a case study of Timberland.
Corporate Social Responsibility
When looking at the success of Timberland brand, one cannot help but notice that in terms of corporate responsibility, Timberland has stepped up in a huge way above all its other competitors in the fashion industry. Timberland cares about the strength of its neighbourhoods and the well being of the environment. They care about the quality of life in the community and it is because of this reason that they engage themselves in corporate social responsibilities. In the running of this company, Timberland has made a choice of putting the people before the profits. The involvement of Timberland in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) started way back in 1989. This was when the company became the founding sponsor of City Year. This is a Boston-based 'urban Peace corps' that brings together young people from all cultures in an effort for a full-time community service for a whole year. The Corporate Social Responsibility is a program that has got four core values. These are global human rights, environmental stewardship, community involvemennt and employees. A 2005 CSR report by the company showed that these four areas were the company's key performance areas.
In environmental stewardship, Timberland Company takes time to measure the impact that it has on the climate change, the natural resources and the renewable energy. The company acknowledged that while it is in the business of expanding its boundaries, it still has to take care of the effects that it may pose on the environment. Timberland has also become a corporate investor with regards to the community involvement. Its 'path of service' program began in the early 1990's and has since then been in the forefront of giving tits employees 40 hours paid time off. This time off allows the employees to serve the community and in total, statistics show that these employees have invested more than 278,000 hours in the community service. This has led to a creation of a feeling of satisfaction among employees at Timberland and this was indicated by a 2005 CSR report which showed the percentage of satisfied employees being 77%. Another contributor to the success of Timberland Company is the belief in social responsibility (Morey-Reuner, 2010).
Several roles and factors normally contribute to the brand operations. However, above all this, there is one factor that contributes greatly to brand operations; CSR. In building the brand of an organisation, CSR plays a very big role especially with reference to the communities that the company or organisation is operating in. This is typically the region where the manufacturing plants of the company are located and where the sourcing of the operations occurs. Overtime, with the organisation's brand growing each day and becoming widely known to the population, the customers are able to stick with the company even more. The company thus builds itself a good reputation in terms of trust and reliability to its customers. An evidence of this is the Timberland Company. The company's brand name has attracted a lot of trust from it customers from the way it has involved itself in the CSR activities it is involved in. CSR is not just a mere way of a company to spend its money. It is a good way that the company or organisation gives back to the community by taking part in various initiatives. Being part of the groups that work in solving the issues that affect the community by providing manpower and knowledge makes the company be felt by the people as being part of them. As a result, the brand name grows and takes the company to greater heights.
CSR forms the basis of what an organisation forms with its consumers. This strategically puts CSR as part of the marketing program for the company. By forming a link with the customer, the CSR helps the company promote itself by the way that it gives back to the community. Thus, it markets the company and also plays an active role in the value chain. Marketing is one of the most important aspects of the value chain. It forms the bridge which the company uses to explain its products and convince its customers on why their products or services are the best in the market. Marketing determines a lot on whether the brand of a company is going to sell or not. For any company or organisation, the primary goal is to make the company expand its boundaries and become a force to be reckoned with. The realisation of this goal is made easier by the CSR.
The Timberland Company is an icon of true success in the operation brand. The manner in which this company has risen from being an ordinary backyard shoe production company to the heights of being among the best company's in the world is a very commendable one. The Timberland Company has applied all the basics of fashion design and has observed the practices that make a company rise to the great heights. In addition to that, it has built a great image by the way that it markets its wide array of products to the public. Its products are of the highest quality and they do a great job of making this a constant factor by putting a lot of interest in the way that they make their products to be of quality.
Timberland has also shown that a good company is one that takes care of the environment that it is in. It has put forth initiatives to look at the effects that the company has on the environment around it and where they find fault, they go out of their way to correct. By paying attention to the environment, Timberland Company has proved that much as company's take a lot from the environment, they can show their gratitude by taking care of it for future benefits. The Timberland brand has also gained a lot of popularity because of their social responsibilities. They give back to the society and actively participate in the initiatives that eradicate the issues that pose danger by raising awareness on these issues (Timberland Company).
Building a company's brand is very important in determining the success of that company. It is this brand that sells the company as it portrays what the company stands for, its values and its vision. Company's that have paid much attention to building their brand are arguably some of the best in the world. However, it is not just about the company and what it stands for. For a company with good initiatives and good morals, it has got to take care of its surrounding. The surrounding means that the company is responsible for the environment that it is located at as well as the people who are around this region. By taking care of its neighbours and its environment, it creates a sense of trust as the people view it as caring. This is a good form of appreciation from any company as it shows that it is grateful for the support it is receiving and it will go along way in building its brand even more. A success in branding means a success in reaching the greater heights and achieving the set goals.