Brand identity in men’s fashion simply implies the message a company is expecting to portray to its target market. When critically analyzed, a brand is probably the most important asset a company can have because it essentially denotes the image of the company.
Taylor (2011) explains that brand identity refers to what the customers think about a given company. This explanation implies that brand identity is beyond what many would consider a company logo because it incorporates basic functional areas of the organization, ranging from how the employees think and act, how the company looks, how the company is projected by the media and other variables (Taylor, 2011, p. 3).
When analyzed in the context of men’s fashion industry, brand identity becomes increasingly important because men as a target market have different consumer behavior when compared to other target markets such as women, children, elderly and the likes.
Brand identity is very important in men’s fashion industry because many men are increasingly knowledgeable about how various brands are projected in the society and none would like to wear a brand that is below par (Taylor, 2011, p. 3). This kind of standard is attributed to the high expectations men nowadays have.
Also, considering men don’t have a high frequency to shop (when compared to the female fashion industry), brand identity contributes a lot to the increase in profit margins (McMains, 2009, p. 3). This is an advantage investors who are hesitant in engaging in the men’s fashion industry because of their low profit margins can use to do away with such concerns.
In fact, established brand names like Calvin Klein, Nike, Sean John and other brands in the male dominated fashion industry, have been synonymous with attracting huge profits because of the power of their brand identity. McMains (2009) explains that “You need to understand that brand identity can bring you bring you profit more than you have spent on it and more than you have expected” (p. 5).
When concentrating on men’s fashion, brand names like Porfirio Rubirosa can be used to develop lucrative brand images because of the power of the brand name.
The same can also be said of Rolf Sachs who cut a mark as one of the most noticeable public figures in Europe, especially in the male fashion industry (Wallpaper, 2011). These two brand names can be quite lucrative in the men’s fashion industry because the people behind them are to a large extent, iconic to the male gender.
Porfirio Rubirosa can make a good brand image in men’s fashion because he was one of the most celebrated international diplomats who had a flashy life and had an easy way with women (Torres-Saillant, 1998, p. 109). In fact, in some media quarters, Porfirio Rubirosa was known to have had his way with two of the richest women on the planet (at his time) (Torres-Saillant, 1998, p. 109).
Porfirio Rubirosa strikes as one lucrative brand name considering his life was envied by many men of his time (and still would be envied by today’s men) (Yates, 2005, p. 191). Many men would therefore want to identify with him because many strive to have the edge he had during his time.
Associating a brand with a powerful personality is however a strategy that has been adopted by many marketers in the past and that is why some of the major world brands like Sean John and Roca wear have cut a mark in the men’s fashion industry (because of their association with some of the two most respected entertainment icons: Sean Diddy Combs (P Diddy) and Jay Z).
Rolf Sachs also commands the same power in brand identity because of his publicized lifestyle in the fashion industry. Such a brand name would especially be iconic in the men’s fashion world because most of his designs received good reviews and were termed as one of a kind during his time (Wallpaper, 2011, p. 1).
Wearing a Rolf Sach design would therefore imply that one is wearing items from one of the most world acclaimed designer. Such items could therefore be equated as quality works and normally, they would fetch very high prices.
Men have been noted to have a unique shopping habit when compared to other target markets. For instance, research shows that a third of men do not bother to try out a given piece of clothing before buying it.
Most women do (Epand, 2008, p. 1). More studies show a greater disparity between men and women’s’ shopping habits by reporting that about 64% of men go to shop because they have to, while a greater majority of women shop because they feel like (KOHL, 2005).
More studies show that most men actually shop less than three times a year while statistics attributed to women show that women can shop multiple times in a month (KOHL, 2005). Specifically, men have been noted to spend money on items other target groups wouldn’t. For instance, men have been observed to spend on items like electronic, cars, eating out, sports tickets and the likes as opposed to any other form of goods or services (Sullivan, 2009, p. 1).
However, it should not be assumed that men know little about fashion because they are actually fashion conscious and want things that are in style (KOHL, 2005). In fact, studies also show that men look up to certain figures of inspiration such as George Clooney and Michael Jordan for fashion inspiration while many also say that they dress good or shop because thy want to feel good about themselves (KOHL, 2005, p. 3).
Further assertions made to demystify men’s studying habits show that men know what they want in fashion but few have an easy time getting that (Epand, 2008, p. 10).
Market research has shown that among men shoppers, single men have been evidenced to have slightly different shopping habits than their married counterparts (Epand, 2008, p. 1). In this regard, it has been proved that single men are more organized in their shopping when compared to the average guy (Epand, 2008, p. 1).
In comparison to single women, it has been affirmed by Epand (2008, p. 12). that “single men also tend to use convenience stores and local shops more than single women do, which tend to use the larger supermarkets more for their shopping”.
Also contrary to public perception, many men rarely respond to promotions, discounts and offers when compared to other marketing groups (Epand, 2008, p. 13). This result from market studies that point out that less than 4% of men respond to promotions and offers (Epand, 2008, p. 13).
However, market research identifies that men are only attracted to the “buy one get one free” sales strategies because evidently, very few would decline such an offer (Epand, 2008, p. 13). Research studies also, show that many men are lovers of variety and very few would fall into repetitive shopping habits unlike their female counterparts.
Also, many men have been identified to shop more on the basis of their friend referrals and not out of their own prerogative. This kind of habit when compared to women as a distinct target group is different, in the sense that, many women have been identified to rely more on the advise of their mothers, or fashion magazines (when they shop) and ultimately, their shopping patterns fall into some sort of habitual shopping pattern.
Men on the other hand tend to rely more on their social networks to influence their shopping patterns (Epand, 2008, p. 13).
These factors abound, it is critical to acknowledge that men as a distinct market group have their own shopping characteristics. In order to improve the sales of fashion items among the male population groups and to keep the patrons coming; it is important to avail a variety of fashion items.
This strategy is dependent on market research that affirms that men are lovers of variety (Epand, 2008, p. 13). It is therefore important for stores to stock a number of male products and refrain from availing traditional clothing or other male accessories at the expense of up-to-date fashion because the customers need to have a wide array of fashion items to choose from. This is a sure way of boosting sales and to keep customers coming back to the same outlet.
Secondly, considering many men rely on their social networks for fashion advice, it is pertinent for marketers to come up with a strategy to entice most male customers to invite a friend when coming to shop. This kind of strategy can be successful if marketers come up with a discount promotion strategy that rewards customers for coming with a referral (friend).
In this manner, many male customers will embark on spreading the word out about a given shopping outlet so that they can enjoy a discount. This strategy will especially be useful in keeping the customers coming and increasing the shop sales.
Lastly, considering many men don’t respond much to offers or promotions, it is going to be beneficial for any fashion outlet to attach a specific item with another, so that if a customer comes to shop, he can buy one item and get another for free. This kind of strategy can be most beneficial if an outlet has old stocks and it wants to get rid of it.
To avoid incremental cost in undertaking this strategy, a shop can increase the price of a given product so that it compensates for the other product so that it given as free. This strategy can work best in high-end markets.
There has been an increased trend among male and female shoppers to abandon high street shopping and depend more on online shopping. Such sentiments have been held by Sims (2008) who affirms that:
“Certainly, internet fashion retail is booming, with, according to market researchers Nielsen, 36 per cent of consumers with internet access having bought clothes, footwear or accessories online in the last quarter of 2007, almost double the figure two years ago. That suggests fashion is second only to books as the most popular internet purchase” (p. 12).
Traditionally, men have been considered to be better at online shopping than women. However, this trend is slowly changing. For instance, DeMarco (2006) explains that “In 1997, 65 percent of online shoppers were men. By 2000, that number had fallen to 51 percent. By 2004, women had overtaken men and accounted for 52 percent of online shoppers” (p. 21).
With regards to online spending, the trend is also inclined towards women because studies show that women currently spend more in online shopping than men do (DeMarco, 2006). For instance, studies done by Score global research panel (cited in DeMarco, 2006) affirm that, in more than one hundred and fifty thousand households sampled, it was established that women spend more than $215 in online shopping in any given quarter but men spend slightly more than $160.
When evaluated in terms of monetary spending per transaction, it was established that men spend more per transaction but it was observed that women had an average of about 2.9 transactions in a given quarter but men only had an average of 2.3 (DeMarco, 2006).
This kind of statistics led DeMarco (2006) into explaining that “So basically, when you look at that data, from my interpretation, women are almost buying once a month online….there’s where you start to see the propensity of women to be more active than men from a transacting standpoint” (p. 22).
Some of the factors identified to explain the disparity in online shopping come from the fact that women have increasingly shown signs of being empowered while men have increasingly stuck to the age-old attitude of being more powerful than their female counterparts (DeMarco, 2006).
It has also been observed than women are synonymous to scanning while men on the contrary dig for products and information.
Also, it has been affirmed that women normally expand their shopping mission while men are known to stick to one mission (DeMarco, 2006, p. 18). Lastly, it has been said that women are attracted to lifestyle first and then product later, but men have been observed to reverse this approach by choosing a product first and later defining their lifestyle.
To explain why men are performing poorly in online shopping when compared to their female counterparts, Ali Khan (cited in DeMarco, 2006), a business man dealing in male online shopping also attributes the poor online shopping habits of males to the fact that the media has only concentrated on bombarding women with items to shop online while the male folk have been consistently neglected.
Also, it has been identified that even though the male folk were predicted to be better at online shopping than females (because of the technological nature of online shopping), the fact that females had more experience in shopping made them outpace men in the shopping field (DeMarco, 2006).
However, as Sims (2008) notes, this trend is slowly changing and men are slowly beginning to appreciate online shopping. This is why Sims (2008) says that “There’s still plenty of opportunity for start-ups: more than ever men are looking for interesting clothes. And the internet is the best way of finding them and buying them” (p. 32).
DeMarco, A. (2006). Cyberspace Cowboys and Web Surfer Girls. Retrieved 16 February, 2011, from: http://www.buyerzone.com/internet/ecommerce-website-design/ar-online-shopping-habits/
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