Tag Archives: branding

Naming a New Brand is Tricky!

How important is naming a new brand? It is absolutely critical – and also exceedingly difficult to accomplish. Marketers have to come up with a new name that represents the product’s value and attributes, AND be attractive to customers, AND it must not be taken by another company, AND is not too common a name, AND is not offensive to any population. Whew. No wonder so many companies use made-up words as brand names.

A recent case about the perils of naming a new brand was the ‘Kimono’ shapewear brand developed by celebrity icon Kim Kardashian West. Although the branding was rigorously researched, the ‘Kimono’ name was criticized globally as being offensive and profiting from a traditional clothing article that was a cultural symbol of Japanese heritage. The name had to go, along with the Kimono Web site, logo, labels, and more. More than two million garments will need to be relabeled so that no products are wasted.

The stakes are high for the new brand. The global women’s underwear industry is valued at approximately $83.3 billion and is still growing. It is also fragmented with new comers gaining market share at the expense of older more established brands. To her credit, Kardashian West listened to criticisms and has decided to change the name prior to releasing any product. (The new name has not yet been announced.)

What’s in a name? Everything!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their viewpoints on the Kimono name. Do they agree with the decision to change the name?
  2. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. For ‘Kimono’ put students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis.
    1. Strengths: What is the company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: What needs work?
    3. Opportunities: What is going on in the marketplace that is positive?
    4. Threats: What factors should the company be wary of?
  4. Put students into teams. Have each team develop a new name for the Kimono brand.
  5. Post the names on the board and vote on a winner.

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company, other news sources

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Rent Furniture instead of Buying

Most college students likely have furniture that includes hand-me-downs from family and friends, or purchases from garage sales and Craig’s List. The sofa in their living room was probably once used by Aunt Helen in Kentucky, transported by Cousin Patrick to New York, sold to his friend Alan who moved to New Jersey, and who knows who else as it made its way around the country! And that is fine for young millennials who are just starting out. But eventually, their longing turns to new furniture that they view regularly on social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.

But it’s hard to swallow that high-priced new furniture. New furniture buyers are likely shocked by the price for that brand-new West Elm sofa. How can they afford that thousand-dollar sofa when they have to pay student loans, car payments, rent, and everything else?

Enter: Services that let you rent furniture through a monthly membership, giving you the option to swap out furniture when tastes and trends change. For example, a popular West Elm sofa may cost $899 in stores, but it can be rented from Feather at $52/month (12-month subscription), and then swapped out, renewed, or returned. Individual pieces as well as full-rooms can be rented in certain cities. It’s a new way to live more upscale without having to pay out the entire fee at once.

Shall we redecorate?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students. Where is their furniture from? Family, friends, neighbors, Craigs List?
  2. What would be their interest level to rent new furniture once they graduate and begin working? How much would they be willing to pay?
  3. Show furniture rental sites:

West Elm: https://www.renttherunway.com/westelm

Casa One: https://www.casaone.com/

Fernish: https://fernish.co/

Feather: https://www.livefeather.com/

  1. Divide students into teams. Have each team examine the information for a different furniture rental company.
  2. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  3. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  4. Based on the target market profile, what makes this service unique for these customers?
  5. Debrief the exercise.

Source: Carefoot, H. (25 April 2019). Can’t afford that West Elm sofa? Rent it instead. Washington Post.

 

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Schick Buys Harry’s for $1.37 Billion

The shaving industry is cut-throat (no pun intended) with fierce rivalries between Schick, Gillette, Unilever, and P&G. A few years ago, Unilever bought Dollar Shave Club for more than $1 billion. The deal gave Unilever access to a new market of online consumers for men’s grooming products. Last year, Procter & Gamble bought Walker & Co. which markets Bevel, a shaving brand focused on black consumers.

Not to be left behind, Schick has now announced a similar type of deal, buying shaving company Harry’s for $1.37 billion. Harry’s has roughly 2.6% of the men’s shaving industry, with Schick at 10% and Dollar Shave Club at 8.5%.

Harry’s differs from Dollar Shave Club as it has retailers such as Target and Walmart stocking its products on their shelves in addition to online sales. Harry’s also launched Flamingo as a new women’s grooming brand.

Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s built a direct-to-consumer business model which has been enthusiastically embraced by shoppers. Prices are lower, and connections are more easily built between the brands and the shoppers.

Where do you buy shaving products?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Where do they buy razors and grooming products? Approximately how much do they spend each month on these?
  2. Discuss competition: what are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. View Schick’s Web site: https://www.schick.com/
  4. View Harry’s Web site: https://www.harrys.com/en/us
  5. View Flamingo’s Web site: https://www.shopflamingo.com
  6. View Bevel’s Web site: https://getbevel.com/
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team analyze the one of the shaving Web sites.
  8. What are the points of difference? Key messages? Target market?

Source: Associated Press. Schick owner buys Harry’s in new shaving war alliance. (9 May 2019).

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