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Topman Research Portfolio

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For my dissertation I am working on a live brief to create a marketing strategy for the brand for the next 3- 5 years. This is a summary of my research findings.

For my dissertation I am working on a live brief to create a marketing strategy for the brand for the next 3- 5 years. This is a summary of my research findings.


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  • 1. RESEARCH PORTFOLIO LAUREN MITCHELL N0299038
  • 2. the brand FINANCE Topman was launched in 1978 (Arcadia, 2012, online), as the brother brand to women’s fashion leader Topshop. It provided a new approach to menswear retailing. Topman now boast over 185 stores in the UK, with the London flagship store seeing 75,000 visitors enter every week. (Topman,2012,online) Topman is Arcadia’s best performing brand followed by Topshop and Miss Selfridge (Neilan, 2012, Drapers). This forms part of the Annual profit: £57,745,000.00 that Arcadia made in 2011. (worksmart,2011,online) brandTopman has sponsored There are now Topman stores sponsorshIp In 2011 Topman expandedFashion Week for 3 years, into male grooming, with in over sixty cities worldwideand together with Fashion men’s fragrances and hair with boutiques in America, “Music has quickly become theEast produces ‘MAN’ a styling products. China and Japan stocking lifeblood of Topman - over re-dedicated showcase of (GQ, 2011, online) the brand. Topman.com sees cent years we have strived tonew menswear designers. over 160,000 visits a week support unsigned and new music(London fashion week, 2012, with international shipping. talent and we now own our ownonline). (Topman,2012,online) music platform - Topman CTRL.” (David Shepherd, 2009, online) products “The current uniform of skinny jeans, a check shirt and porkpie hat is a The brand has ‘has carved out a direct result of Topman,” special relevance in Britain’s says Richard Gray, editor of cultural landscape’ 10 Men magazine. “It’s one (Portas M, 2012, online) of the first times that a high-street brand has had such a major influence over what young men wear.” (Chivers, Simon, 2009, online) The brand has a talented in- house design team for the main ranges, which are refreshed on a monthly basis. (Arcadia, 2012, online) Alongside concession ranges and Topman LTD & Design.
  • 3. MEN’S UK FASHION MARKETsIzeThe men’s fashion market makes up 29% of the total fashion market in the UK (Mintel, 2011,online) It is rapidly growing, currently worth £9.7bn, set to grow reaching £13.7bn by 2021(Datamonitor, 2012, online).One of reasons for this growth is the new trends in male grooming . They have prompted mento take more care in their appearance. The trend of the “meterosexual” male among 16-24(Mintel.2011. online) populatIon & consuMer traIts The male population is changing the 16-24 age group is shrinking whilst the 25-34s have seen large growth for the past 3 years. (Mintel, 2010, online) There are 27.6 million men in the UK. (Office for national statistics, 2012, online) .The structure of the population is changing. The fastest- growing age bands from 2010-15 are: • 25-34s (+12.2%), • 45-54s (+6.3%) • over-65s (+15.9%) The biggest potential market will be the 25-34s, currently the largest sector with continuous growth for the past 3 years . (Mintel, 2010,online) The charts show that highest spenders are the under 25s. This age group are more likely to experiment with fashion, on average spend- SpendIng prIorIty ing £479 a year on clothes (Verdict, 2012, Clothing and footwear ranks as medium online). importance spending priority for men, with 35% choosing to spend extra money on fashion. A drop of 5% in the population of 15-24 year (Mintel, 2012,online) This graph shows that olds, bringing the demographic to 7.8 million clothing ranks as fifth importance. between 2011- 2016. this age bracket are the key drivers of sales within the fashion market. (Mintel, 2010, online)
  • 4. Who?The more fashion aware demographic tends to be the teens to 25 and the 25-34year old. Although it is the growing numbers of 25-34 year olds who will drive futuresales as they have greater spending power (Mintel, 2012, online).Mintel have identified three types of male shoppers:• 24% Shopaholics- confident with their style and love to shop for clothes.• 44% Alright Jacks – sense of style and like to look good but not interested in fashionor shopping.• 32% Sloppy Joes – comfort is key less interested in fashion but will pay more for quality and show some enjoyment from shopping. (Mintel, 2010, online) shoppIng experIence buyIng frequency The frequency of male clothes purchasing depends on a & brand loyalty number of factors, including age, location and social demographic grouping. As the graph shows most men buy “Men don’t hate fashion, they just hate clothing every few months. shopping the way it’s designed for women,” Believes Ben Lerer, founder of Thrillist, This is definitely seen with the under 25’s. They are the most dedicated to shopping and fashion with 57% purchasing new “The young generation of guys love to shop, clothing at least once a month. (Mintel, 2012, online) they love to talk about the brands they like and they really care about how they look.” (Frier S, 2012, online)
  • 5. CONSUMERThey describe their customer base as ranging from the Trend consciousBright Young Thing to the Indie Boy to your Typical Lad. (Topman, 2012, online)Yougov. Com describes Topman shoppers as proud, outgoing , alternative youth cultureand young. Typically shopping at both Topman and competitor stores such The youth market differ from other consumer groups.as River island, ASOS, Republic and Urban outfitter. This supports the findings After speaking with Laura- Jane Preston Youth editorinto competitors in chapter 5 . They typically read magazines include NME, from WGSN the following topics were agreed as mostGQ, FourFourTwo, The economist and Metro. (YouGov.com, 2012, online) important for affecting youth culture. Digital technology- The most defining factor of youth culture is the adoption of technology. They are the most digitally connected generation having grown up with rapid technological development. Instant gratification- Speed and efficiency drive purchases. Peer recommended products: They are more likely to trust peer recommendations. Youth turn to their friends (60%) when looking for fashion advice, with 56% of males asking their friends. (Ypulse, 2012, online) Brand engagement - “Young adults are looking for products that can help communicate what they stand for. And they tend to view brands as a means of expressing themselves, which is good news for brands“ Nick Tabbal, SVP research, Resonate. (Phillips, Carol, 2012, presentation) Brand Me - The youth market are experts at curating their online life. They know the power of branding and publicity. (MTV Research, 2012, online) Music/ Role Models- Music artists have a huge influence on youth culture. Young men are encour- aged by their role models (Musicians etc) (Tungate M, 2008, p 40)
  • 6. Questionnaire 56% of participants shopped at Topman with 44%A survey was used answer the question ‘who is the Topman consumer ?’ Stratified sampling saying they do not. Participants who did shop atwas used, as the survey was looking at the male population. Random sampling was then the brand provided similar responses, noting theused to collect the results. The survey was conducted using an online questionnaire format fashion forward clothing and price. None picked(Survey- monkey) with a total of 50 participants. up on brand image: this could indicate the brand is failing to connect. “I like the cutting edge style “ A wide range of consumers were “Relatively cheap, fashionable questioned to find out exactly who clothing.” Topman’s consumers were. The majority of people fell into the 21-25 (44%) category followed by 26-30 “it’s a reliable brand” (26%). It was important to find out why participants did not This shows the age range for shop at Topman. Topman is more diverse then the brand supposes. Reoccurring themes included the high price not being justified and a limited/ poor product range. An interesting response stated that the products were similar to Primark but twice the price. “I don’t like wearing the same shirt that 3 other guys in the room Most earned between £20,000 - £24,000 or £25,000- £35,000. The are currently wearing.” average income for men the UK is £28,700 (BBC, 2012 online), the lower “It’s not to my taste, nor do I bracket could relate to the student feel the quality is good enough for participants or those in part time the price” work. “I find the men’s range to not have any range at all,” “Over-priced, ugly & poor quality” Of the people interviewed These responses suggest, the brand needs to 28% were students 37% full improve the quality and range of products as well time employment and 32% as pricing. part time employment.
  • 7. It is important to define the other stores 65% of participants would be interested participants visit. The most frequent in taking out a Topman loyalty card in response was River Island followed by return for discounts and rewards. This Next. Primark, H&M and ASOS were also could be used to increase account card popular. American brands were also uptake and increase brand loyalty. frequently mentioned such as Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch. The questionnaire highlighted important areas that the brand can improve which Other responses included Online and will be useful in informing stage 2. independent shops including vintage and street wear brands. Some participants stated that for more expensive items such as suits they go to specialists. This information will help define Topman’s competitors later in the report.Only 20% of participants had heard ofTopman CTRL and Topman Generation ,this is worrying as the brand is positionedas a music and fashion brand , putting alot of money into Topman CTRL andGeneration. 68% of participants were not concerned if Topman had an independent store or not. This area will need further investigation to determine if it is the right step for the brand.
  • 8. Primary Research Methods InterVIeW WIth a topMan Managerstore obserVatIon how would you describe the topmanA number of store visits were made to a range of consumer ?different sized stores in locations such as They like to look good and see Topman as the brand thatNottingham, Cambridge, Stevenage, Cheshunt can offer that whether they are buying the more basicand London Oxford street. ranges or the core fashion ranges. You get the fashion consumer buying the patterned shirts and moreConsumers ages were noted to see if Topman ‘statement’ pieces. Then you also have the style awarehad a wider Target market then the perceived consumer who are less concerned with what is in fashion16- 25 market. but like to look good.The chart shows the percentage of consumerswithin the age brackets. What age ranges do you typically see in stores ?The majority of shoppers fall in the 19-25year The age range is really diverse. You get 16 year oldsmarket . There is also a large proportion of 26-35 coming in with their mum or friends as well as older menyear old shopper, which Topman do not target in looking for something to wear on the weekend. The ageadvertising or models chosen. range is really diverse. You get 16 year olds coming in with their mum or friends as well as older men looking forThe research may be slightly limited as the something to wear on the weekend.I would say ageobservations were conducted a few months ranges are from 16 to mid thirties, in our store we tend tobefore christmas. have an older consumer base of 18-35, they are the ones consuMer dIarIes To gain greater understanding of the Topman target market, a range of who purchase more often. participants were asked to keep a photo diary for seven days of the clothing and brands they wore. Four consumers took part in the research. The research may be slightly limited due to the close ages of the participants.
  • 9. Stand alone store ? Topman already have two standalone stores, one in Spitalfields and one in Covent Garden. (Millar J, 2012, online) They are branded as the General Store Topman and are very different to the Topman stores. They are designed to look like an independent with no obvious visual connection to Topman. They have the feel of an up market boutique selling fresh undiscovered designers clothing. Brands include high end names like Levi’s, Fleet Iyla, John Smedley and Taxonomy. (Arcadia,2012,online). “General Store concept aims to‘This is Topman, the stock is Topman, make the shop part of thebut it neither looks nor feels like the community wherever it may open bybrand of which it is an extension.’ integrating the brand within the(Ryan J, 2012, online) neighbourhood.” . (Hay,E, 2012, online) Arcadia recently closed 250 stores (Warburton S, 2011, online) due to leases running out. Primary Research Many women buy clothing for their boyfriends or husbands, speaking to Arcadia staff members (Mintel 2012, online). Having both departments in the same store found that for the moment the plan means it is quick and easy to shop. It also encourages women is for brands to share a unit space. into the male department by being in the same store Meaning currently it is unlikely that Topman would be opened as a The primary online questionnaire showed that the Topman stand-alone store. consumer is not concerned if the store is standalone. (68%). Grouped stores may actually be more of an asset. In an informal Competitors offering both men and conversation with one consumer they said they look for a large women’s ranges brands tend to keep Topshop store, as they know there will be a Topman Department both departments in the same store. inside. With many men shopping with their girlfriend or wife it These include New Look, H&M, River makes sense to have the two brands under the same roof as it Island and Next. caters for both parties.
  • 10. “They are too ugly and girly why would you want to shop from a brand that uses them. I don’t want to look like that so I wouldn’t shop there.” MarKetIng The group were then shown an image from a competitor. The feedback was mixed. Many agreed topMan Models that they were more appealing then the Topman ad After discovering a tweet from a Topman but felt that they still were not a good representation consumer stating that Topman’s models of the male consumer. looked “malnourished” and “ugly”, a “Much Cooler. Doesn’t look so try hard focus group was used to investigate and pretentious.” whether other consumers shared this opinion.A focus group looked at the current advertising for Topman and that of a competitor. 5 They were asked if they would be more likely tomale students were asked about the images and if the models in the advertising shop here based on the models. The results wereinfluenced them to shop at the store. 50/50 some participants said they would as they felt they were a lot better then Topman. WhereasThe responses were negative. “These guys are not cool or even good others felt they would not due to the models still looking. It’s trying to be too looking feminine and unappealing. alternative and doesn’t work.” When asked about musicians and artist modeling for a brand, respondants were in agreement that itThis was an opinion shared by the group; they also stated that the models looked too was a good idea and can bring the brand a moreyoung and feminine. When asked would you shop at Topman based on the models credible image as long as the partnership seemsalone the feedback was a unanimous no. authentic and the right person is used.
  • 11. MarKetIngTopMan ctrl & topMan generatIonThe biggest focus for the band in terms of marketing is Topman Generationwhich is a progression of CTRL. Topman CTRL is a online music show created Topman CTRL is now part of Topman Generation anfor Topman consumers. online across platform magazine focusing on fashion, music, film and art. (CTRL Topman, 2010, online)In 2010 Topman launched Topman CTRL (Topman CTRLFacebook, 2010, online)The CTRL platform aimed to bring together social media platforms andtraditional music platforms. The face of the campaign was Huw Stephens Readers can interact with the content, favorite(BBC radio 1 DJ) hosting the podcasts. Guests and Huw can post content features and share them on social media. (Campaign live, 2012, online) Recent interviewsonto the Topman CTRL feed, including videos, photos, music and TV shows.(Bounce digital, 2010, online) include Example, Kristen Dunst, Rankin and Yoko Ono. Content includes daily viral videos, film reviews, CTRL track of the day, music, fashion and interviews. (Magazine Topman, 2012, online) “Creativity is at the heart of the new CTRL platform, with some of the best music content all housed and collated in one space. Topman.com/CTRL will become an all-important music filter run by the people pushing music forward to create a key music discovery destination.” Danielle Ford - Senior Marketing Manager, Topman. (Bounce digital, 2010, online) It is difficult to see how popular the Topman Generation magazine is. There are daily tweets about the brand using the #TOPMANGENERATION on twitter. The magazine does not have its own Facebook page or Twitter page, which CTRL did. Instead it is a more integrated part of the brand. However with only 20% of The Topman Generation the participants questioned in the online survey knowing about the magazine, Despite the success Out of those content is handpicked by Topman still need to work on raising awareness. Topman CTRL only interviewed only 20% has 6,389 likes on had heard of the ex-Dazed Digital arts and Facebook. (Topman campaign. culture editor John-Paul CTRL Facebook, 2012, Pryor, (Metro, 2011, online). online)
  • 12. MarKetIngSocial media Like many fashion brands Topman communicate with their consumer with Social Media, including Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Tumblr and Instagram.These tools are used on a daily basis adVertIsIng Topman have created a cinema ad for their fragrance Topman Distil. (Shortlist,through competitions, pictures and 2012, online) the ad is 37 seconds and feature British model Jester White (ftape,messages. Topman have been 2012, online) who has featured in the Topman A/W 2012 campaign. The adinnovative in using the different is also available on You Tube.media to create competitions toencourage consumers to promote Although striking it is notthe brand using the Topman hash appealing to the male consumer.tag #Topman when they send in The video has only been watchedtheir answers/ pictures. 4,329 times and out of those who viewed it only 18 people liked it.The content across all the social (Topman You Tube, 2012, online)platforms is the same; there doesnot appear any need to follow thebrand across more than one social Compare this to Lynxmedia site. These different platforms Excite ad, which hascould be so that Topman can been viewed 838,750 andcommunicate with their consumer in has 2,004 likes. (Lynx Youa way that the consumer chooses. tube, 2012, online) Topman need to rethink the video so that it appeals to the consumer and gets the consumer sharing the content.
  • 13. MarKetIng experIentIal Topman run in-store events in the Flag- ship stores. More exciting events have taken place in America where the brand is still A popular event that runs in the London building brand awareness and a & Prague flagship stores is the Fashion consumer base. These events include Friday event, on the last Friday of every pop- up shops (some at Universities), a month. The event takes place in the pool party, free gig tickets and stylist’s lounge where customers can sponsored music nights. (Topman Face- shop get advice from stylists whilst book, 2011, online) As well as a road trip listening to live DJ’s. There are discounts, with a Topman branded van touring goodie bags and wet shaves from popular cities. Customers who spot the Sharps Barber shop. van received a free bag and bottled (Bergin O, 2010, online) water. The van was track able using social media. (Bergin O, 2010, online) Topman have also run a gaming night in 2011 sponsored by Xbox. (Topman official There have been no recent large blog, 2011, online) This was again held in scale event or campaigns in the UK. the London Flagship store. They could be seen to be neglecting their home market, which they can More recently Topman gave 3 not afford to do. Especially as Primary competition winners the chance to win research has shown that there are a personal shopping night with singer negative opinions about the brand and Olly Murs. (Topman Facebook, 2011, only half of those questioned shop at online) This was a success but questions Topman. as to whether Olly Murs was the best choice for a male brand remains. Topmans other tools include bus ads in London, magazine featured items and Primary research into his fan base using a blog. However analysis of the blog his Facebook page shows his fan base is shows that it undermines the Topman predominantly women. Topman would Generation magazine. Consideration have been better using a male musician needs to be made as to whither the who appealed to the male market blog is needed and if so how it can be made more influential.
  • 14. MarKetIng to Men Marketing to men is very different to marketing to women. Few men are confident enough Mark Tungate in his book Branded Male explains to dress entirely by instinct (Tungate M, 2008, p55) Magazines men are wary of any advertising that contains a hint of narcissism. (Tungate M, 2008, p 37) such as GQ and esquire offer tips on leg length and styling . Authenticity is important to the male consumer. This lack in confidence means, Topman need to offer a strong unique reason to men are heavily influenced by choose them over their competitors. Men look for role models. For example Daniel longevity, heritage and craftsmanship if none are Craig in Casino Royale (2006) available they choose familiarity.(Tungate M, 2008, p saw an increase in sales of tight 219) swimming trunks. (Tungate M, 2008, p56) Topman can utilise this by using recognised popular roleMen can be very loyal customers if they are treated models as the face of the brand.well, returning to the same brand again and again.(Tungate M, 2008,p 219) Men appreciate guidelines for dressing (Tungate M, 2008, p61) which GQ have featured in articles writtenMen have moved online with a subsequent drop by the Style Guy explaining how to use a tie clip andin physical retail sales (Tungate M, 2008, p 136) With which shirts to choose. It is important to recogniseTwice as many men as women shopping online that men do not like to be dictated to by magazines(Scivisum, 2012, online) the internet is ideal to reach (Tungate M, 2008, p136)men. Sedge Beswick, Global social media marketing executive at ASOS explained in a lecture that marketing to men online is also very different. They do not respond the ‘fluffy’ talk instead preferring engaging social media tools such as asking ques- tions, fill in the blanks (of a tweet) to win a prize, or ‘which do you prefer ? have a look here”. They respond to minimal copy and engaging and inter- active digital tools.