Apparels with inexpensive price tags are seen increasing in numbers in the store racks, nerve-racking the market existence of the classy brands. How do the latter deal with the situation?

One of the toughest situations faced by the executives of premium brands is how to respond when low cost competitors appear in the market. Decision should be taken whether the business should be continued as usual, or the company should modify its strategies and come up with counter approaches to tackle the situation.

When Premium Brands misjudge their cut-rate rivals:

Generally inexpensive brands build a momentum in the market in slow and subtle ways. They attempt to build their market in undeveloped segments. Or they just make a replica of the well established apparel brands. Customers who prefer to own premium brands, but are reluctant to pay hefty prices, would go for this option. Many a times, brands that are well established in the market are more preoccupied with their traditional competitors, that they do not even realize the entry, and existence of low cost rivals. What tactics the big brands may assume futile regarding the cheap brands might turn out to be a big success, and may even turn out to pose a threat to the market existence of big brands. Thus, the premium brands face a frustrating catch 22 situation where they need to suppress the cheap brands to survive the market, and they need to survive the market to suppress their cut-rate rivals.

Big Brand Strategies:

Big brands need to develop reasonable and effective strategies to upgrade their brand. Establishing a genuine market appeal for their brand of clothing is especially important to survive in this increasingly sophisticated and competitive apparel market.


As the competition for apparels gets heated up, mere window display alone is not sufficient for a brand to build its image in the customers mind. Tactics such as captivating commercials and celebrity endorsements form a part of brand promotion. This creates awareness about the brand, thereby enhancing it. Here the prime consideration is the choice of the brand ambassador, which otherwise, might not create the desired interest. Public image of the ambassador, the target consumers, and their market appeal are a few things to be considered while choosing a brand ambassador.

Haute Couture brands such as Armani, one of the biggest brands has Beyonc, at its celebrity face, Chanel has Keira Knightley and Dior in association with Monica Belluci, seeking perfection for their brands. Preppy looking British action Nicholas Hoult is the brand ambassador for showcasing Tom Fords designer collections for 2010. After H&M employed Karl Lagerfeld to display its clothing line, the designs turned out to be a hit among the consumers; worldwide. The brand experienced a 12% increase in their sales within the first month. Following this success, H&M engaged the catwalk queen Stella McCartney to exhibit a new range of designer clothes at high street prices.


Brand Positioning:

This involves market positioning, re-positioning, and de-positioning. Through market positioning, brands attempt to create an image in the minds of their target consumers regarding their apparel brands. Re-positioning changes the product identity among the target consumers. De-positioning changes the rival products identity so as to enhance the image of their own products in the minds of the consumers. Selecting the range of their target consumers is more essential. Some of the casual wear brands target customers in the age group of 15-35 years. Apart from this, education level, occupation, and income level also needs to be considered.

Sometimes to position their apparels, and increase their sales, premium brands slash their prices, even if selling at lower prices does not belong to the high end tag. Allen Solly, Marks and Spencer, Provogue, Turtle, Van Heusen, and Scullers are a few to name.

Brand Extension:

This involves diversifying the existing brand by entering into a new product category by new product development. Positive image and strength of the parent brand are leveraged to bring success for the new product. This presents integrated brand architecture. Using the parent brand for a new product in a different category motivates customer acceptance to the new product, and enhances his purchase intention.

Nike runs diverse product categories of athletic shoes watches and apparel. The brand extension strategy of Nike fits the perceptions and image of the parent brand into the consumers mind. Park Avenue has extended into accessories such as belts, shoes, ties, and cufflinks. It has further extended in the mens toiletries range as well with soaps, aftershave, deodorants, gel, and powder. The new category of the brand should fit into the nature of the parent brand. It has to ensure consistency in the value perception of the brand in the new category along with the parent product.

Presence of low cost apparel brands result in an unintended second level effect that fails to catch the attention of the premium brands at the initial stage. Premium brands need to concentrate on the market signals to prevent a severe attrition of their market position. A good brand does not always need to offer competitive difference over their rivals. It should offer its consumers some advantage to motivate them to adopt their product.


1.       &sec=article&uinfo=<%=server.URLEncode(2999)%>" target="_blank">

2.       &sec=article&uinfo=<%=server.URLEncode(2999)%>" target="_blank">

3.       &sec=article&uinfo=<%=server.URLEncode(2999)%>" target="_blank">

4.       &sec=article&uinfo=<%=server.URLEncode(2999)%>" target="_blank">

Image Courtesy: