Today's global market witnesses a cut-throat competition. Many new products enter the market, stay for a while, and then go obsolete. Fads come into existence and vanish even quicker than they appear. Rapid changes in the consumers' choices, increase in their disposable income, globalization, media exposure, and influence of global and psychological trends attribute to this behavior. In order to sustain themselves in the market, it is necessary for every manufacturer to build a 'brand image' for his product in the market. This is more important for apparel makers as garments have a short life cycle and trends keep changing every now and then. Brands create the strongest competitive advantage for the manufacturer, and the retailer.

 

Importance of Branding:

 

To compete in the domestic as well as the global market, creating, and sustaining a strong brand image is necessary. Some apparel makers attempt to create a brand for their product in the global market, while many others just supply to international buying houses or retail chains according to their specifications. Branded apparels not only add a stylish image to the apparel, but it also gives something extra to the consumers. It enables them to create perceptions about the value of the apparel and the brand itself. The value of the brand or the 'brand equity' is the difference of cash the customer pays for a non-branded garment, and a branded one. The customer can buy a similar apparel somewhere else; without the label and for a lesser price as well. But, a branded apparel with a label on it gives a status symbol to the customer thus satisfying his ego. The reputation that the brand image carries helps in promoting the product among status savvy consumers.

 

What is in a Brand?

 

Strategic thinking is required in the creation of brands. Customers do not evaluate a product in all the parameters while shopping. A psychological approach is required to build faith in the minds of the consumer and make them believe that the particular brand is always associated with quality. Once customers develop faith in a particular brand, they do not evaluate their notion every time when they go for shopping. Buying a particular branded apparel every time reduces their searching time, and also gives them a mental satisfaction that they are only buying quality apparels.

 

A brand generally consists of the following aspects:

 

  • Apparel with a higher value may signify higher quality to the consumers.
  • Limited distribution of the product symbolizes uniqueness to discerning consumers.
  • Brand image signifies the quality of the product, thus giving them the satisfaction of buying quality items.
  • Brand indicates a status symbol, and satisfies the ego of the consumer that he is wearing a reputed company's outfit.
  • Branding helps in developing a customer commitment. Once the customer develops brand loyalty for the product, he jumps into buying decision without much thinking as his mind set is already molded with a positive opinion about the particular brand.

Branding Benefits:

 

Branding helps the retailer to 'push' the customer into sales. For example, if the customer is not confident about the quality of the fabric, he may hesitate to buy the apparel. He will assume it is risky to buy the product. On the contrary, if the garment has a label mentioning a renowned brand name, it gives confidence to the consumer and makes him to believe that he is buying a quality product. Here, the brand name speaks the goodwill the company has created over the years, and motivates the consumer to take the purchase decision. Branding highlights the positive features of the product and displays it 'Out of the Box' in the consumer's eyes, thus encouraging him to buy.

 

Our society contributes to some facts about every product over the years. During the course of time, these facts make the image of a product, thus building a strong brand. 'Brand' does not essentially mean a logo or a name, it's the confidence, the consumer has in the company and its product.

 

References:

 

  1. "Building Brand Identity: A Strategy for Success in a Hostile Marketplace", Lynn B. Upshaw,
  2. http://www.brandbuilding.com
  3. http://www.va-interactive.com
  4. http://www.expresstextile.com
  5. http://www.brandingasia.com