Type of paper: Case Study

Topic: Brand, Company, Customers, Clothes, Market, Business, Life, Women

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/12/29

Eileen Fisher is among the premier bridge line brands. The brand was established in 1984 and named after its founder. As a working person, Eileen Fisher had challenges finding clothing that was both stylish and comfortable and that expressed her personal style. She sought beauty and style but did not want to sacrifice comfort for these. Realizing that this was a common problem to many women in her circumstances, Fisher saw a market gap. The market at that time either offered eclectic style clothing, which was not acceptable in the office or structured career clothes that were not appealing. Hence, Fisher set out to create a clothing line offering simplistic designs that merged style and comfort. The clothes were designed to be versatile enough to be worn both to the office, and to an evening out. This was embodied in the company’s brand statement “Beautifully simple clothing designed to move with real life.”
This brand statement is espoused in the company’s products, stores, marketing and even in its advertisements. Historically, the company’s brands have been all about style and comfort and clothing that moves with life. Despite the brand repositioning that the company has undergone, the focus has not shifted from what the company has always stood for. The STITCH and THREAD projects only sought to develop a brand experience that is richer for all women and appeals to them, regardless of the age divide. This is evidenced by the fact that the essence of the clothes having not been altered. The change has not been a radical transformation or paradigm shift but instead, it has evolved. A case in point is the addition of accessories. For example, the addition of belts to loose fitting dresses. This has the effect of adding some edginess to the clothes as demanded by the customers.
A look at the company’s stores and employees also gives insight into how its staffing is influenced by its brand name. The company, since its establishment, has never relied on experienced salespeople to do its marketing. Instead, just like the brand Eileen Fisher, the company prefers to hire creative and artistic people such as writers and artists. This is because these groups are a reflection of the normal customers that the company has. The company’s advertising also gives us a clue as to what it stands for. For years since the company’s inception, it used normal women as its models. That is, instead of using professional models with their petite frames, the company used women with a larger frame to model its clothes. This is a direct reflection of Eileen Fisher’s target market, and its traditional use of women models in flats and no makeup was designed to get in touch with the normal customers in their actual day-to-day life setting. Even the change in the appearance of the models used is still in line with the company’s brand. The company aims to create clothing that moves with real life. Hence, this image is a reflection of the actual life of the new, younger, and more modern clientele as well as the older generation who have an edgier side to them.
The firm’s brand story is impressively strong as evidenced by its being the brand of choice for an entire generation. That is the baby boomers generation who have worn Eileen Fisher almost all their adult lives. The brand’s appeal has imbued a strong sense of loyalty in the customers, especially larger sized women who are its strong proponents such as Oprah Winfrey. The brand’s strength is also evident in the way its customers have reacted to the apparent loss of its brand. The outcry on social media arising from the perceived shift in focus from its primary client base is evidence enough of the influence and reliance that Eileen Fisher has on its customers. Yet another evidence of its strength is the fact that even in the wake of recession, the company’s sales did not dip extremely and it actually did comparatively well as opposed to other brands, which lost significant market share. Rather than shift to lesser-priced brands, Eileen Fisher customers remained loyal.
At the heart of the Eileen Fisher brand is an association with an older clientele. This is evidenced by the younger clientele’s aversion towards wearing this brand since they describe it as something that is more likely to be worn by their mothers or grandmothers. This is both a positive and negative outlook. It is positive in the sense that the brand is identified and associated with a certain clientele hence this means that the brand has established itself. However, it is also negative because this amounts to a sort of pigeonholing of the brand, which creates a stereotype that makes it difficult for it to appeal to a new clientele.
Whether or not Eileen Fisher should reposition its brand to attract the emerging and nascent segments is a complex question. Brand repositioning is a double-edged sword. It may lead to the decline of the company, or it may boost it. Therefore, as the Vice President of Communication, I feel it is prudent to first look at the advantages and disadvantages of the brand repositioning before making this decision. The first advantage of repositioning is that it allows the company to broaden its market. Instead of focusing on just one segment, repositioning the brand will allow the company to gain a new and larger customer base, which can in turn boost sales and profitability. The second advantage of repositioning the brand is that it allows the company to introduce new products. Focusing on only its old customers mean that the company can only produce what they have traditionally produced. This means that we cannot diversify and branch out to other new products. If we reposition, it means we are able to tap into a younger market, which is more open to a range of items such as scarves and tops.
Another advantage is that through brand repositioning, we can ensure the continuity of our business line. This means that in the future, our line will not die off with our customers. At present, our brand is centered and built on an older clientele thus; failure to reposition means that as this niche market ages and loses its purchasing power, or even starts to pass on, the market continues to shrink. This mean that eventually, the business will crumble due to a lack of market. Besides, some of these older customers have begun to move away in search of an edgier look.
Despite these advantages, there are still some inherent disadvantages arising from the repositioning. One of these disadvantages is the threat of alienation of the core market. If the repositioning is too drastic, the company may find that its core customers feel that they are not really its primary focus anymore. This threat is made alive by the response of the customers to the decision to use slimmer models with makeup and high heels. A number of customers felt that this amounted to abandonment of the core business. Another illustration is the comments of Ms. Fisher about the use of slimmer models. The backlash on social media that resulted was a good indicator of the folly of alienating this market. This is particularly when the fact that 65% of the American women are plus sized is taken into account.
A second disadvantage of brand repositioning is loss of revenue. This may occur, at least in the short term. If the company repositions and the core customers flee, the company may lose money. This is because the core customers are mainly quite wealthy and thus are not price sensitive. On the other hand, nascent customers are not very financially stable. Hence, they are sensitive to prices. Thus, they may not be able to make up for the shortfall, although in the longer term they could do this through sales volume.
Another disadvantage is the loss of company identity. Brand repositioning may lead to the company losing its identity. This could be detrimental to its existence as happened with Ellen Tracy and Dana Buchman, which both lost their way after attempting to appeal to a younger market. A company must be synonymous with a certain thing and, in this case, Eileen Fisher is associated with this older and larger sized clientele. Rebranding could make us lose track of this and hence lose ourselves. However, the benefits to be reaped from repositioning far outweigh the disadvantages. The business must focus on the longer term, and hence perpetual continuity. To guarantee this, it must appeal to a younger market hence brand repositioning is inevitable.
The company has throughout its life stayed true to its brand. The fact that it is still able to serve its clientele is evidence enough of that. Eileen Fisher remains the design of choice for this core market. Again, the company still produces clothes that are in line with its brand statement to produce clothing that moves with life. What it has done is to evolve and change with the times. That is, just like our clothes, Eileen Fisher is moving with life. In future, this evolution will continue but the company will always remain true to its core values. We will attempt to accommodate emerging and nascent markets within the context of our brand statement and core values.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 29) Eileen Fisher Case Study Sample. Retrieved December 03, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/eileen-fisher-case-study-sample/
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"Eileen Fisher Case Study Sample." WePapers, Dec 29, 2020. Accessed December 03, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/eileen-fisher-case-study-sample/
WePapers. 2020. "Eileen Fisher Case Study Sample." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved December 03, 2022. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/eileen-fisher-case-study-sample/).
"Eileen Fisher Case Study Sample," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 29-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/eileen-fisher-case-study-sample/. [Accessed: 03-Dec-2022].
Eileen Fisher Case Study Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/eileen-fisher-case-study-sample/. Published Dec 29, 2020. Accessed December 03, 2022.
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