22 Nov 2018 19:27 IST

A flanking strategy may dilute the brand

Leveraging on the eco-friendly trend, Hidesign can use a shadow endorser strategy

What are your recommendations to make the brand grow at 25 per cent in India?

Shivam Shekhar

Aninda Halder

a) Women’s footwear as a category has a growth rate of 20.2 per cent y-o-y. However, footwear is not just a design-centric product category. Functional attributes of comfort and the durability of leather need to be addressed. Hidesign can leverage its quality and design strengths and increase brand share in this segment.

b) Luxury eyewear is growing at a rate of 24.8 per cent. India has a wide range of distribution channels for eyewear. Partnering with prominent multi-brand eyewear retailers in the country, such as GKB, Lawrence and Mayo, and Vision Express, can provide an opportunity to expand in this market of designer sunglasses and designer leather eyewear frames.

c) Leather apparel: Apparel is a growing market and will be an asset in a portfolio of products. This is a slight deviation from the original brand, which stands more on the accessories ground, to focus on lifestyle. However, if we look at who uses leather jackets the most, we see that it is often used as an accessory by bikers. Hence, one can keep the current brand image intact even if we expand in this segment.

Additionally, designer leather jackets (given the brand’s perception as a pioneer in design) are another area one can explore. The EBOs at airports can feature designer travel and multi-utility smart leather jackets. Partnering with prominent designers, such as Shantanu & Nikhil and Ashish N Soni, among others, can lend to the ‘reason to believe’ part of the design aspect of the apparel as well as complement cross-selling of accessories and feature entire looks for seasons.

If Hidesign decides to expand its market share by entering the lower-priced market, what should its positioning strategy be? Should it make synthetic leather bags?

 

Hidesign’s core proposition is accessories with good quality leather. The first brand association that comes to mind, when we think of Hidesign, is leather. Thus, moving away from genuine leather to synthetic leather will not only kill the brand’s ideology, but also its essence and value.

The current positioning is design-oriented (reflects in the name of the brand) and offers emotional benefits for premium customers. However, once a brand ventures into the lower segment, it is important for it to focus on functional benefits and have a benefit-based approach.

Hidesign needs to focus it on utility bags and pouches in the lower segment and come out as a brand that is value for money. This is in line with the current perception of Hidesign — high quality leather at affordable prices. However, one needs to use a different brand name in the lower segment market to avoid dilution of the premium brand. One could always use something such as ‘XYZ by Hidesign’, where the ‘by Hidesign’ reinstates consumers trust on the quality and authenticity of the leather used.

Should Hidesign have a flanking brand strategy, with different brands for various markets, or attack different markets with the same Hidesign brand?

It is necessary to attack with sub-brands in the lower-priced segment to prevent brand dilution. The key positioning for these sub-brands would be on the utility factor and they need to be promoted mostly through multi-brand outlets. An endorser brand strategy, such as ‘sub-brand for lower-priced market’ by Hidesign, will lend to the quality aspect in the initial stages, until the brand develops its own equity.

 A flanking strategy might lead to brand dilution. Hence, a shadow endorser strategy is recommended. For the premium market, Hidesign can use brand extensions. More importantly, it can leverage the eco-friendly aspect of the brand. With the trends going a similar way, customers can be charged a premium. A great example of this can be drawn from Nike Considered shoes and Levis Water<Less jeans, where they were able to charge customers more for an eco-friendly product. This caters to another niche market.

(The fourth runners-up are PGP students at IIM Bangalore.)

Recommended for you