Free Essay About Marketing Plan: Charles & Keith
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An analysis of the internal and external factors that influence Charles & Keith showed the brand’s weaknesses as well as existing threats that would be detrimental to the brand’s image or reputation and revenue. Various issues that affect Charles & Keith include existing threats, and the political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors that influence decisions and operations in the company. Considering the brand’s weaknesses and existing threats, its capabilities, strengths, and present opportunities prove that Charles & Keith may improve its brand and compete with other brands in the sector through a marketing plan that addresses issues and problems. The succeeding report is the proposed marketing plan for Charles & Keith.
The main objective of the proposed marketing plan is to increase brand awareness of Charles & Keith by 40 percent through an integrated social media presence. The marketing plan constitutes strategies that focus on strengthening Charles & Keith online presence through integrated social media use, the improvement of its online store, and the development of a brand application that will be accessible to billions of smartphone users around the world. Other marketing strategies also include improvement in the product by adding value through collaborations with other designers. In this way, Charles & Keith may use its collaboration with fashion designers to establish its image and reputation in the fashion industry. Growth and expansion strategies also include adding a product line for men and developing other physical stores worldwide.
Executive Summary 2
Situational Analysis 4
Market Summary 4
Behavior Factors 5
Market Needs 6
Market Growth 6
Market Organization 6
SWOT Analysis 7
PESTLE Analysis 8
Marketing Planning 11
Marketing Objectives 11
Target Markets 11
Marketing Mix 11
Marketing Research 13
Implementation of the Marketing Plan 14
Charles & Keith is one of the main players in the fast fashion industry. Charles & Keith, which was founded by siblings Charles and Keith Wong, offers clothing for men and women, as well as bags, footwear, and accessories (Charles & Keith, 2015). One of the major needs of the brand is to grow in a highly competitive marketplace. For this reason, the succeeding discussion includes a marketing plan for Charles & Keith to help the brand address its weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and develop and implement marketing strategies and practices to improve its brand as well as customer appeal and reach.
Conducting situational analysis is highly important in exploring and assessing the internal and external factors that not only affect business operations but also the outcomes of the marketing plan (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel, 2011). Situational analysis may be conducted using different models but two main tools will be applied in this project: the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis and PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental) analysis. Both types of analyses will reveal the factors that are crucial to the success of the marketing plan as well as the factors that are detrimental to it so the brand may implement prevention measures (Smith & Taylor, 2004).
In terms of psychographic characteristics, the existing market for the Charles & Keith include fashion enthusiasts, particularly women who are interested in dressing well and being in fashion. These types of women consider shopping as their hobby. They are always aware of the latest trends in fashion and are interested in reading fashion magazines and shows. For this reason, this market appreciates anything fashion-related from red carpet previews to fashion spreads among others.
Since Charles & Keith is a multinational company and is available online, the brand’s market is not bounded by geographic location. Anyone from the countries catered to by the Charles & Keith website may purchase the brand’s products online. Others may opt to use other online stores to purchase Charles & Keith products. Furthermore, the brand’s market include local populations in key cities where a Charles & Keith store serves customers. Some of these stores are located in fashion hubs around the world catering to upper class consumers. Hence, the location of Charles & Keith stores are in upscale locations, which means that geographically speaking, the brand’s market include people from the upper middle and upper classes.
Charles & Keith provides clothing, accessories, and footwear for women. Essentially, the brand caters to women between the ages of 18 to 40. Women may be single or married or even with children as long as they are interested in fashion. Nonetheless, majority of Charles & Keith’s consumer base are single women.
Behavior factors that affect the market for Charles & Keith include its value for fashion and trends. Economic issues that affect households may influence the interest of some populations in fashion. Hence, this affects consumers’ behavior towards brands such as Charles & Keith. Other behavioral factors that contribute to the brand’s market include women’s interest in fashion and being trendy, and dressing well. As formerly noted, women who want to stay in fashion are the ones who will find the Charles & Keith brand appealing. Furthermore, women in the brand’s market who value social responsibility would support Charles & Keith because of its initiatives in social responsibility.
Considering Charles & Keith’s target market segments, this market needs instant access to trendy runway or catwalk fashion. Women want to be the first or one of the first to wear trendy clothes, footwear and accessories. This is how they differentiate themselves from others and build their image or identity. Furthermore, women want unique clothing that sets them apart from others. In addition, the impact of the global recession makes the cost of clothing important to customers. Customers want value for their money, which is why they will find bargains and deals that would allow them to purchase more high quality items at a good price.
Industry reports show a steady growth in the market in the next year. Since the 1990s, fast fashion grew steadily until in 2012, the fast fashion industry’s revenue reached $10 billion. Social media has also spurred the growth of the market with increasing interest in fashion due to the culture of showing one’s clothing online through social media (i.e. OOTD’s or outfit of the day hashtags).
Market organization is influenced by access to products or services – physical stores vs. online stores – and the availability of products at the earliest possible time. Exchange in the market is also influence by the cost of products. The buying power of consumers would determine the frequency and scale of their transactions with brands.
Charles & Keith’s strengths include its presence around the world, commitment to social responsibility, and its capabilities through its experience and presence in the fashion industry over the years. The company has more than 350 stores around the world, more than 60 of this are located in China (Charles & Keith, 2015). The company also supports causes including animal rights, human welfare, and environmental sustainability. Moreover, the company is also working towards reducing its carbon footprint (Charles & Keith, 2015).
On the other hand, Charles & Keith’s weaknesses lay in the company’s limited involvement in social responsibility. In addition, the brand lacks innovative strategies to create unique designs that would set it apart from the competition (Choi, 2013). Apart from Charles & Keith’s weaknesses, various factors in the external environment affect the brand such as the strength of the competition in the market, the impact of the global economic recession on the buying power of customers, and the prevalence of online stores in the same industry (Japan Consuming, 2013).
Despite existing threats and the weaknesses of Charles & Keith, the brand may take advantage of existing opportunities to reclaim its position and increase its market share. Charles & Keith only resorts to traditional advertising such as print media. An opportunity for marketing the brand exists in new media such as digital or social media. Moreover, Charles & Keith may improve its brand by creating and implementing better policies towards the goal of accomplishing social responsibility. To address the issue on Charles & Keith’s lack of innovative strategies, the brand may conduct research to determine fashion trends (Choi, 2013). Consequently, Charles & Keith would gain insight on what clothing and accessories to produce to gain competitive advantage.
Understanding the situation of Charles & Keith also involves a review of the political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental factors that could affect the brand’s operations and marketing plan. Political factors involve existing laws that regulate operations in the textile and fashion industry. Since Charles & Keith is a multinational company, its operations are largely influenced by laws implemented in foreign countries where its stores are located. For instance, Charles & Keith would have to follow licensing and building construction regulations or laws in other countries. Moreover, in countries such as in the Middle East where laws prohibit women from dressing provocatively, Charles & Keith should also consider selecting articles of conservative clothing to suit the needs and laws in the local community.
Economic factors would also affect company operations and marketing plans. As formerly noted, the global economic recession limits the buying power of customers. For this reason, Charles & Keith would be forced to limit its spending on marketing considering the decline in the number of consumers due to the economic recession. Aside from economic factors, social factors would also affect Charles & Keith and its marketing plan. Some social issues involved in the fashion industry include cruelty to animals due to animal testing and the creation of clothing made of real fur or animal skin. Other social issues highlight the role of brands such as Charles & Keith on those involved in the fashion industry such as cotton farmers or individuals working in textile and production factories. Companies such as Charles & Keith must make sure that their practices do not discriminate or unjustly treat farmers or workers in the industry (Smith & Taylor, 2004).
Technological factors would help Charles & Keith. Technological developments and the prevalent use of the Internet provide opportunities for the brand to grow through online advertising and the creation of an efficient online store through which the brand may sell its products globally. Legal factors, on the other hand, are linked to political factors previously discussed. Charles & Keith is bound to the laws implemented in host countries where the brand’s stores are located. Furthermore, Charles & Keith is also bound to comply with labor and employment laws. Violation of these laws would disrupt the brand’s operations as well as negatively influence its reputation (Smith & Taylor, 2004).
Environmental factors also affect Charles & Keith. Due to various environmental issues, companies in the fashion industry feel the pressure to implement policies including corporate social responsibility (CSR) to improve their brand image and increase the quality of their operations and production (Smith & Taylor, 2004).
Overall, the internal and external factors previously discussed affect operations at Charles & Keith because these not only set standards that the brand should follow but also set regulations or limitations in the way that the brand operates based on certain issues that must be addressed by the company. Hence, in creating the marketing plan, all the internal and external issues will be considered.
Financial projections based on industry reports show steady growth in revenue for the fast fashion industry. Figure 1 below illustrates the growth of brands in fast fashion or retailing over the years. The industry has remained unaffected by the economic recession in 2008. Industry report predictions show that this growth is promising for fast fashion brands such as Charles & Keith. As the number of sales revenue grows in the coming years, these brands will also gain momentum and access to the growing market share.
Figure 1. Growth in the Fashion Industry Over the Years**Source: Caro & Martizen-de-Albeniz, 2014
Key to Success
Keys to success in the industry include innovation and the ability of brands to meet the needs of customers in real time. The main objective of fast fashion is to provide fashion trends straight from the catwalk to physical and online stores. Consequently, consumers have become accustomed to instant gratification, which allows them to consume products at the earliest possible time, ahead of others. Moreover, customers in the fashion industry need to be trendy at all times (Tran, 2008). Hence, innovating would help Charles & Keith draw the interest of customers. Using social media is also necessary in helping Charles & Keith survive and compete with others in a hyperconnected society that is dependent on the Internet (Brown & Fiorella, 2013).
Considering the internal and external analysis of Charles & Keith, specifically the weaknesses of the brand and existing opportunities for it to grow, the main objective of the marketing plan is to develop various marketing and promotional strategies to increase brand awareness by 40 percent with the use of contemporary advertising tools and techniques. The internal and external analysis of Charles & Keith show that the company is missing out on its promotions due to its absence from social media. At present time, Charles & Keith mainly relies on traditional advertising to promote its brand. Hence, it is highly important that Charles & Keith adopt social media as one of its marketing practices.
Since the main objective for Charles & Keith is to adopt social media, Charles & Keith’s target markets would include social media users, particularly adults and young adults who take interest in fashion. Charles & Keith would also benefit from its partnerships with fashion bloggers or ‘vloggers’ who are ‘in the know’ when it comes to fashion. For this reason, the company should target women between ages 18 to 40. To expand its brand, Charles & Keith is also expected to create products for men in the same category. In terms of socio-economic status, Charles & Keith targets those in the upper middle to upper classes.
The marketing mix represent four different aspects of the marketing process namely the product, the place of distribution, the price, and promotion (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel, 2011). In developing a marketing plan, it is important that all four aspects of marketing are addressed.
Product. Charles & Keith’s products include fast fashion clothing and accessories for women. In terms of the product, Charles & Keith has successfully set its brand apart from other brands. Charles & Keith is known for its simple yet sophisticated design, particularly in the brand’s footwear for women. Moreover, the brand’s footwear is even recognizable and therefore, carries the brand’s essence and image (Japan Consuming, 2013). As part of the marketing plan, Charles & Keith may improve its products’ appeal by addressing customer concerns. Charles & Keith’s strength is in the brand’s footwear. The brand may, therefore, expand its markets segments by including a product line of footwear for men.
In addition, Charles & Keith may improve its products and improve its marketing strategies by collaborating with other brands and fashion designers. Many brands have done this. An example of a good collaboration is the one between H&M and fashion designer Isabel Marant. H&M has also collaborated with other designers in the past decade (Vogue, 2013). This strategy is good for marketing because the involvement of other brands and designers would create added value to Charles & Keith’s products.
Promotion. Charles & Keith’s promotional strategies are mostly traditional in nature such as print media advertising (i.e. newspapers and magazines). Charles & Keith, however, should take advantage of its online presence to improve promotions. Charles & Keith has a website, online store, and social media accounts but the brand needs to maximize its online presence. The brand may do so by actively using social media to post pictures and videos of the brand’s products, pictures and videos of famous people wearing Charles & Keith, and discounts or promotional offers for customers. Charles & Keith must also extend its online presence by using other social media networks such as Instagram or Pinterest to post the brand’s latest collection. All content must be linked to Charles & Keith’s online store so it would be easy for customers to purchase products posted online. Charles & Keith may also extend its social media advertising by working with an application developer to create a Charles & Keith application for smartphones. Customers with smartphones may then download the Charles & Keith application from which they would receive real time updates from the brand about promotions and discounts, contests, and pictures of new clothing, accessories or footwear. Overall, Charles & Keith has established its media presence but to improve it and ensure that the brand takes advantage of it to market and promote its products, it must integrate all online media content to link with the online store (Lea-Greenwood, 2013).
Place of Distribution. Charles & Keith has hundreds of physical stores around the world. Physical stores are ideal places of distribution. Nonetheless, Charles & Keith may expand its distribution online. Charles & Keith already has an online store but it is limited to specific countries and the structure is not efficient nor easy to use. Hence, Charles & Keith’s online store may benefit from a re-haul to improve the online store’s appearance and configuration.
Price. Charles & Keith’s current pricing strategy is good considering the brand’s competition. The brand offers competitive prices considering the quality of the brand’s products.
Charles & Keith should conduct marketing research in order to glean data and information about trends in the fashion industry. The brand must do so by first identifying its target market segments. Consequently, Charles & Keith may conduct research about the preferences and interests of its target market to establish the demographic and psychographic characteristics of its market segments. Consequently, Charles & Keith would be able to adjust its marketing plant based on the characteristics of its target market segments. Common types of marketing research include data mining online or analyzing patterns or trends of online purchases and interactions with the brand, and conducting surveys or interviews with customers (Mueller, 2011).
Implementation of the Marketing Plan
The implementation of the marketing plan necessitates thorough research and assessment on the part of Charles & Keith. The brand should initially clarify its target market segments and assess parts of its operation that needs improvement. Consequently, Charles & Keith need to use existing information from research to design the marketing plan. Working with an advertising agency may also help Charles & Keith towards its goal of rebranding to improve its image and to produce meaningful and relevant advertisements for its online campaigns to increase its presence and influence in cyberspace.
The foregoing discussion illustrates the internal and external situation of Charles & Keith. Based on information, the brand is prepared to improve its marketing strategies by adopting practices to help the brand gain more traction online. There is an existing market for the brand and industry reports show growth in the industry in the coming years. Charles & Keith may take advantage of this by increasing its reach to customers through social media and expanding its product line to cater to men.
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