Dockers Case Study


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This powerpoint was done for a Case Study project for a Marketing & Brand Management Class. The assignment was to research the brand Dockers and to develop a thesis onto what went wrong with the brand, how they bounced back, and what they can do in the future to benefit sales.

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  • Levi Strauss & Co. originated in 1849 as a dry goods business. The company sold durable pants to gold miners. In the 1890’s, LS&Co. developed a blue jean product line, called “501 jeans.” The jeans became increasingly popular as famous actors such as James Dean and Marlon Brando began wearing them on screen. Levi’s jeans were the essential fashion for the baby boom generation. Jeans became a symbol of freedom, adventure, and independence. Levi’s 501 jeans were now an icon and the Levi’s brand name became synonymous with jeans.
  • Despite Levi’s iconic name, jean sales began to fall in the early 80’s. Sales fell 10% and net income dropped by a whopping 76%! The decline in jeans purchases was due to the baby boomer generation getting older. As jeans sales declined, SLACKS sales increased and companies began relaxing their dress codes. Former chairman of LS&Co. recognized the problem and said, “We had diversified too much. We produced everything from hats to $2000 suits, but we no longer stood for anything. We lost our focus on our core products. Our retail relations had sunk to a point of hostility.”
  • Struggling with the decline of jeans sales, LS&Co. knew that they needed to make a big change. To retain their original customers in the baby boom generation, LS&Co. introduced Levi’s Docker Casual Pants. The Dockers brand combined style, versatility & comfort and was a brand for both professional AND leisure activities. Dockers are more contemporary, less conservative, and more casual than other leading slacks. LS&Co. saw great success with the Dockers brand—by 1993, Dockers was a $1 billion brand!
  • In 1994 Dockers experienced its first drop in sales when a host of look-a-like and wrinkle-free competitors drew their customers away. In addition to losing already existing customers, the Dockers brand was failing to attract NEW customers. To keep up with the trends, Dockers launched their wrinkle-free products in November of 1994 as well as a new, sexed-up campaign with the tagline “Nice Pants”
  • The sexed-up campaign led to a reversal in the sales decline and despite increasing competition from the Gap, Dockers still claimed 26% of the khaki market.
  • Despite the increase in sales, LS&Co. further modified its Dockers marketing approach to make the pants more appealing to young consumers. Shortly following this, SALES DROPPED AGAIN.
  • Dockers also expanded products into several markets.
  • In 2004, Dockers experienced yet another sales decline. At this point, Dockers was contemplating selling its company, but decided against it. Instead, Dockers installed a new president, John Goodman, who came up with a new plan for the brand. Goodman developed a new tagline, “Dress to Live,” a new logo “Dockers San Francisco,” and a reorganized Men’s Line “Docker’s Four Wearing Occasions.”
  •’ “Four Wearing Occasions” are work, weekend, dress, and golf. The reorganized men’s line makes consumers aware of an expanded range of product lines. The new structure was working! Sales held flat in 2005 but overall, there was a higher profit meaning higher margins.
  • In 2010, Dockers introduced its “Wear the Pants” campaign to appeal to masculinity for men. Dockers wants consumers to get excited about khakis againFrom the LS&Co. website:Dockers® has embarked on a journey to reinvigorate the khaki category, with a new and improved Signature Khaki line and Soft Khakis collection in stores across the United States, as well as a global marketing campaign, “Wear the Pants.” More styles. New fits. Bold colors. And a debate about the modern definition of masculinity that is helping to reignite the khaki category. We have taken the category we owned and reinvented it for today.
  • It is important to notice the LS&Co. took a step in the right direction when introduced its Dockers brand. There was a gap in the market for these “new casuals” and LS&Co. took full advantage of that opportunity. However, due to constant restructuring of their new brand, LS&Co. couldn’t develop a strong brand image in consumers’ minds. Whenever the Dockers brand was doing well, corporate saw a need for change that turned out to hurt the brand in the end.
  • Dockers recently introduced their new “Wear the Pants” campaign to get people excited about wearing khaki’s again. Our recommendation is for Dockers to find a place in the market, stay there, and develop an image in their target market. The market for Dockers is defined demographically as white collar working men between the ages of 25 and 49 who lived in major metropolitan areas in the U.S. Dockers needs to establish their identity within this market and keep selling them the khakis that they need for the four wearing occasions (work, weekend, dress, and golf).
  • Dockers Case Study

    1. 1. CREATING A SUB-BRAND Stephanie Cafasso, Stephanie DeBruin, Shaynna Cutler, Evan Sauve, Will Jones
    2. 2. HISTORYLevi Strauss & Co. Originated in 1849 to sell durable pants to gold miners1890: “501 Jeans” evolved into an American icon Levi’s brand name became synonymous with jeans.
    3. 3. BOB HAAS FORMER CHAIRMAN OF LEVI STRAUSS & CO.1980-1982: Sales fell 10% and net income dropped 76% Decline in jeans purchases because the baby boomers were agingSlacks sales increased and companies were relaxing their dress codes
    4. 4. 1986 COMBINES STYLE, VERSATILITY, & COMFORTA brand for both professional and leisure activities. More contemporary, less conservative, and more casual than other leading slacks. By 1993, Dockers was a $1 billion brand
    5. 5. Wrinkle-free look-a-like brand led to Dockers’ first drop in salesDockers was losing existing customers and failing to attract new customers To counteract this: Dockers launched its wrinkle-free and “nice pants” campaign NICE PANTS
    6. 6. The sexed-up campaign led to a reversal in sales decline. Sales went up by 21%Dockers gained 26% of the khaki market share
    7. 7. Despite sales gains, Dockers still wanted to appeal to younger consumers. Dockers modified their “Nice Pants” campaign. SALES DROPPED AGAIN
    8. 8. 1998-2004 DIVERSIFICATION Dockers for Her Dockers Travel Dockers Recode Dockers Headwear, Gloves, and Scarves Dockers Mobile Pant Dockers Tour (golf)Dockers for Girls, Boys, Toddlers, and Infants Dockers Hi-Tech
    9. 9. 2004: 20% sales decline Dockers was going to sell the company but didn’t. Dockers installed a new president to the brand: John Goodman Goodman established a new logo, a new tagline, and a reorganized men’s line.
    10. 10. FOUR WEARING OCCASIONSwork • weekend • dress • golf “Head-to-toe lifestyle brand” Makes consumers aware of an expanded range of product lines Sales held flat in 2005, but there was a higher profit,meaning higher margins (more expensive products were being sold)
    11. 11. DOCKERS IN 2011
    12. 12. SUMMARY There was a gap in the market for “new casuals”/slacks and Levi Strauss & Co. took advantage of this opportunity. Dockers felt that they had to constantly restructure their brand to keep up with the times and with changing consumer tastes.
    13. 13. RECOMMENDATIONS Instead of expanding to new markets (home, travel,gloves, etc…), Dockers needs to focus on their already established target market. Dockers is on the right track. “We have taken the category weowned and reinvented it for today.”