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Aina Gasse is a Ukrainian fashion designer that has indicated a strong presence in the fashion industry global business. Starting from Ukraine, the company has managed to cut a niche in the business full of competition around the world. Concentrating mainly in women wear, Aina Gasse has currently decided to venture in the UK market, which is considered one of the most receptive countries in terms of fashion clothing (Shedroff & Rhea 2006: 69). Aina Gasse objective is to expand its international presence, and UK presents a potentially important market for its international strategies. The fashion company concentrates on women wear, with unique ability to create their personality. In her own words, the founder Aina Gasse says that she wants women to have strong and a little daring personality, hence the somewhat outrageous designs targeting women around the world. The designer has managed to enter Italy, and made a strong statement in Milam with its up-to-date designs for women-wear. Women who prefer to make fashion statement will make the bulk of the designer’s market segmentation criteria.
In order to reinforce their market presence in UK, various marketing strategies will be used. IMC Mix, with proper understanding of UK’s fashion consumer and business environment will be the backbone of this marketing strategy (Baskins & Earls 2002; Heig 2006). This report presents the proposed marketing criteria for Aina Gasse, with special focus on IMC Mix in line with its overall objective, and PESTEL analysis of UK as an international entry market for the designer.
UK’s fashion industry has seen a steady growth over the years. It is approximated that the employs nearly one million people, earning itself the title of the most promising industry in the UK (Haig 2003). Currently, fashion industry is ranked 15th among the top industries in the United Kingdom (Tan 2010: 23).
UK’s political environment is known for its stability (Jones 2006: 311). Moreover, many observers sees UK’s fashion industry success as a product of the successive governments support to the country’s top end designers on high street retailers and supermarkets, and the expansion of fashion brands into accessories, perfume and home ware (Jones 2006: 311). In the category of consumption of luxury clothes and wears for women, it has been attributed to the stable political environment and empowering of women by the successive UK governments of the past, and recognition of women’s political contribution (Tan 2010: 13). In fact, the election of women into major political positions has boosted their image, hence increased strong and daring personalities across the globe.
The major players in the UK’s fashion industry are proclaiming high level government support as their growth will have a positive impact on the Country’s economy (Kotler et al. 2009: 221). In an interview by Sky news, Harold Tillman, a renowned entrepreneur and investor said the sector ought to be recognized for the boosts it gives the economy. According to him the fashion industry can be equated to the food and beverages sector in terms of size and turnover. If this plea is taken into consideration then the sector is likely to grow and hence the major players stand a chance to make enormous profits.
Economic Climate in fashion
The economic climate of UK’s fashion industry has shown fair stability in the past few decades. According to a research conducted by Prologic (2008), most fashion companies acknowledge that their sales have been on the rise. This significantly shows that individual income of a UK resident has been on the rise, creating a possibility of more consumption in the future. In fact, this study showed that 30% of the companies had their sales increasing, less than 22% who reported reduction in sales volume (Prologic 2008: 2). The more promising finding is that women luxury consumers have been on a steady rise in the past one decade. There’s a clear confidence that sales is likely to increase in the future for luxury products.
There has been sudden increase the cost of raw materials as well as taxation on the finished products in the UK market (Hays 2003: 17). If the trend continues, consumers are likely to pay more for goods they purchase. In other words, the purchasing power of the consumers will be reduced to mnimum. Since Aina Gasse is more or less selling premium products in women’s wear, it is likely to face challenges in terms selling their luxurious products.
Employment opportunities have declined in the UK just like other parts of the World. More specifically, most of the current luxury fashion companies already operating in the United Kingdom are under pressure to diversify on their products so as to produce for the low-end market. A report by Shedroff & Rhea (2006: 117) shows that 25% of companies interviewed felt that the decline in recruitment for young graduates is not favorable for their business. In fact, it is predicted that by 2010, the average decline in recruitment level is about 6% (Shedroff & Rhea 2006: 117).
The increased technology usage in the UK and other developed worlds has been a blessing to the retailers all over the world. Internet has presented many companies in their strategies to reach wider market segments. With a high number of people (83%) having access to internet regularly, the market potential is high for fashion products (Nissanoff 2006: 22). At the production front, the company is likely to benefit from high tech production equipments to support their exclusive market.
The business of producing, selling, wearing and disposing fashion clothes can pose a great problem to the environment (Schullz et al. 1993: 229). The current research shows that fashion and textile industry is one of the most damaging to the environment, placed at the same level with chemical industry. In the UK, it is estimated that over 35kg of textiles and clothing are consumed per individual, and only 13% of which is recycled or re-used (Stothers 2007: 182). There is general trend of high volume consumption of fashion products, hence several attempts by the governments to regulate the industry. In other words, only sustainable companies with intention to protect environment will be recognized.
UK retail industry, and fashion sector in specific, has experienced significant changes in its legal system in the recent past. These changes have without any doubt played a big role in way firms conduct their business. For example, there were the introduction of age discrimination and disability law, legislation requiring changes on the minimum wages, and the obligation for firms to recycle some of their wastes (Sugden 2009: 79). These laws therefore increase firms’ production costs, which are consequently passed to the consumers.
The table below summarizes the PESTEL analysis for UK market
UK has been one of the countries with fairly good social structures. As an industrialized nation the country is known for its high social security system. The gap between the rich and the poor is narrow, and luxury products are highly recognized. However, the recent global economic crisis has put pressure on employments and job security. This has consequently lowered the purchasing power of the population.
UK is a country with high usage of technology in production, sales and marketing. Aina Gasse will benefit a great deal with this development as it will be in a position to increase its production, and reinforce sales and marketing strategies
The adverse weather, especially the biting cold Winter is likely to limit some designer clothes sales, especially the ones meant for warm weather. However, this will put a lot of demmand on heavy clothes, which provides Aina Gasse with another opportunity to diversify on its designer range.
Various legislations such as health and safety, employment, and environmental protection related legislations have been introduced in the UK in the recent past
Marketing fashion products normally concentrates on two main approaches to marketing; mass market, and exclusive market. Aina Gasse, being a luxury women wear producer, is best marketed using the latter approach (exclusive) for it to focus on its target market. International market segmentation is normally considered a myth and firms nowadays focus more on accessing market segments for their fashion products on a micro-basis. In this case, there are key factors which determine the shape of the target segments namely: lifestyle and the benefits consumers derive from its usage.
The company’s overall objective is to expand and dominate the global market of luxury clothing for women around the world. With the increased economic and political empowering of women around the world, these emerging groups of women have the money to spend on clothing in order to reinforce their strong and powerful personalities in their social niche. This kind of trend is what drives Aina Gasse into venturing into the UK market, which is known to have had history of powerful women in both social and political scenes of the past and present. With proper entry criteria, the designer is likely to gain competitive advantage, larger market share, and increase its sales volume.
International Marketing Communication
A study showed that twenty three million people in UK claimed to be uninfluenced by marketing activity such as advertising, magazines and websites (Mintel International 2010). In this research, Mintel International (2010) found out that promotional discount vouchers, however, remain the most popular enticement appealing to almost 7million people. Content relating to fashion found in celebrity, fashion or lifestyle media has been found to be a great influence on the shopping trends in fashion (Nissanoff 2006). Favorably, this trend is found to affect women more, and presents a better opportunity for Aina Gasse to penetrate the UK market.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Aina Gasse can use social networking sites such as twitter, with an aim of attracting the attention of the rich and exclusive market. Although many social marketing analysts have not totally approved social networking sites as a genuine marketing, it is apparent that strategies deployed in the process of marketing also matters. For example, it is advisable to categorically state the nature of products, clearly indicating what it entails in terms of exclusivity and target segment. The aim of doing this is to capture the potential market when they are relaxed, and thus be able to provide information on their brands and indirectly lure them to buying the products.
It is apparent that UK has many brands of fashion in its market today. This has necessitated the use of marketing consultants who have to point out the difference in a particular brand and then communicate it to potential customers. It is imperative for Aina Gasse to collaborate with marketing companies to try and market their Haute Couture products. This will ensure they get the possible methods to market themselves appropriately.
As Haute Couture concentrated company, the use of various types of media for advertisement must be selective. That is, media houses which target mass market must not be placed at the forefront of marketing strategies. Because most companies use entertainment channels, music, social media and travel to reach out to potential Customers, it must be categorically stated that Aina Gasse is not a mass market company, but a company for the rich, hence the need for exclusivity. The point is not to outdo other companies in terms of advertisements but to have specific types of ads placed on appropriate media (Bohdanowicz and Clamp 1994: 2). The aim is to maintain quality and exclusivity. This therefore calls for the use of fashion magazines such as Glamour and Ebony, which are known to be the hallmark of celebrity exposure magazines, hence Aina Gasse market segment. They can also choose a woman celebrity in the UK to be the face of their products, giving it a local dimension in terms of taste and class.
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