We all know those rainbow coloured plastic shoes. Ugly they maybe but they are worn by young and old alike. Indestructible is the name. So, why did Croc use reality TV- the Apprentice in the USA to campaign to donate crocs to charity?
Let’s look at the growth of the business first. The company is young and in 7 years sold 100 million pairs globally. A success indeed but the challenge is not to sell the first batch of products but to build the business. It is all in the value offered to the customer. The problem was that Croc went mass market. They were copied, rapidly becoming a cheap commodity. Croc lost £113 million last year and cut jobs. It has generated 1.4 million Facebookers who are campaigning to abolish Crocs.
Ugg boots faced a similar issue. They have managed the brand better and moved to focus on a niche and refresh with new boots, which fortunately for Ugg need replacing.
Marketing lessons. For the marketing assignment you could examine that Croc needs to think long term about the brand and how it can be positioned to offer value. It could have focussed on the childrens market and moved into games and toys or clothing. That would have removed the ability to commoditise the product so that it is copied in every pound store around the country. For the marketing exam use the segmentation aspect to show how Croc needs to target its market
Waitrose is seen as the luxury end of the supermarket industry in the UK. It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, which furnishes and clothes us in some style.
It was not immune to the effects of the recession which was biting into sales. Even the more well heeled customers were buying less per visit and also leaving to shop at less expensive retailers.
The challenge for Waitrose was to stop the exodus without damaging the brand. This is tricky, if you cut price it takes away the very base of the brand. Waitrose took the challenge and launched its Essentials range. According to Marketing Week, the chain expected sales of the initial 800 products labelled ‘essential Waitrose’s to hit a target of 15% of sales by October.
A direct marketing and outdoor media campaign was launched and sales are way ahead of estimates. Targets have been hit 3 months early and beat even the most optimistic of forecasts. The plan is now to expand the range to cover around another 600 products.
The Marketing Lesson here is the avoid damaging the brand. The launch was an addition but if too many products become ‘essential’ this could devalue the brand as the overall balance moves away from the core brand values
The current BBC series Mary Queen of Shops seeks to transform the Charity Shop culture in the UK. It changes the traditional view of everything as bargain basement and a hotch potch of somebody’s junk. It transforms into a modern boutique to offer specific products for customers and to move with the times.
The issue is that the staff are mature volunteers who are used to charging rock bottom prices. £20 for a Jimmy Choo handbag, I don’t think so. Yet the challenge is not just meeting the changing perception of the consumer but also the way the staff run the business. It was not an easy task for Mary.
Following some opposition, staff training and a total refit with Conran designers. The result is that more people come into the shop and spend more money in a day than they did in a week. The new manager then has to attract new stock, manage the staff and to deliver the cash. All within a very limited budget.
The marketing lessons are to focus on a different business model. Challenge the way the shop presents itself, build the brand, improve the perception of the consumer and also to change the culture.
Mary Portas Queen of Shops, look for the next progamme, easy watching and lots of good marketing examples