Problem Definition: According to a study conducted by Global InSites Consulting, H&M is considered to be “cool” brand by Gen Y (consumers aged 18 to 30). This meant that this problem needed to be further narrowed down in order to find the right solution.Findings from further research: We have conducted some one on one interviews with consumers aged 18 to 24, to see how their choices in fashion and fashion retailers are influenced. Our key findings are listed below:• Low differentiation: After speaking to the target market , we have uncovered that while they shopped at H&M because it offered globally “trendy” clothes at affordable prices, they shopped at competitor retailers (including Zara, Topshop and GAP) for the same reason.• Global VS Local: While majority of fashion trends do spread globally, not all trends can be “pulled off” in local markets: “I bought some really cool bright outfits at H&M in Europe, however I haven’t had a chance to wear them in Melbourne yet as I feel that they can look slightly over the top here” – Female respondent, age 22.• Peers, not celebrities make trends locally ‘acceptable” – while celebrity endorsements are great, consumers aged 18 – 24 look at their peers to see whether a certain trend is “accepted” in their local market – “I first thought that male scarves looked slightly “gay”, but then I saw a bunch of guys in bars wearing them so I decided it was ok to get one too” – Male respondent, age 24.• They take pride in the uniqueness of their local fashion, and also celebrate the exotic nature of overseas fashion: “I like how Sydney fashion is always bright and vibrant, but I also loved how people in Tokyo dressed. Everyone there wore such quirky and colourful clothing!” – Female respondent, age 23.
Target Audience• Young adults (Males and Females), who like to look relaxed yet still stylish during the day.• These people are yet to be burdened by real responsibilities (aside from work and expenses), and have a lot of spare time to do the things they enjoy.• They like being out and about and catching up with friends, and value unique experiences – whether it’s going to music gigs or checking out the latest trendy exhibitions.• They love to travel (or to plan their travels), and value the experience of exploring other countries and cultures.• While they consider themselves to be individualistic, they are highly socially influenced by their peers (whether they are seen as leaders or followers of fashion by their group).• They love sharing their experiences on social media, and social media also helps them feel connected to their peers.
Objective and Strategy:Based on our research, we came up with a refined version of the problemdefinition:Fast fashion retailers currently have low differentiation in the minds of consumers, asthey all offer generalised “cool” global fashion. Therefore, even if H&M’s brand isconsidered to be “cool”, it is not necessarily any “cooler” than the other retailers whoalso offer trendy clothing at affordable price. Therefore, we must find a differentiationpoint that will give H&M a distinctive advantage over its competitors.Following the objective above, we propose the following strategy:Communicating a differentiation point that is relevant to the target market (consumersaged 18-24, fashion followers as well as leaders), by demonstrating that H&M does notonly bring globally “cool” fashion to local markets, but also is in touch with the local“cool” trends in each major market.To put it simply, we must show that H&M does not only bring global “cool” to local, butalso local “cool” to global.
Basketball Shoe Launch Strategy• The launch of the new basketball show range can be a great opportunity to communicate to the consumers that H&M is not just about mass-producing the global trends, but also understands the “cool” trends of the each major city it operates in.• We propose getting local influential designers / artists to create a locally designed basketball shoe for each major city that H&M operates in.• We feel that targeting the “influencers” of fashion may not be the right approach, as there are only few leaders and many followers in fashion. Therefore, we recommend selecting designers that are “local” enough to be seen as influential peers (rather than celebrities), in order to make the “followers” of fashion make them want to buy their shoes (because they are “approved” by their influential local peers). We believe that this would be a better strategy to help your company reach the business objective of selling 1 million pairs of sneakers by the end of the year.
Design• We have done some further research into the best shape / style design of the basketball shoes that should be released, based on what people currently wear on in the streets. We thought this was an important part of the basketball shoe range launch, as the target market generally shops at H&M in order to get the items that are currently fashionable at an affordable price, rather than for items that start a new trend.• We must also keep in mind that the majority of the clothing range sold by H&M is very stylish and not too athletic (apart from the sports wear range), therefore the design of the shoes has to take style into account to ensure that they can be warn with everyday casual clothes, and not just with the sports gear.• The term “basketball shoes” can refer to a range of shoes – from Nike Air Jordans to Converse Chuck Tailors, and given that majority of consumers currently sway towards the Chuck Tailors or Nike High-Tops design, we recommend staying closer to that style without completely replicating the look. A good example of this is the range of basketball shoes / sneakers by Chanel – stylish yet casual.
Advertising Ideas1) Firstly, we must communicate very prominently that H&M are launching a new basketball shoe (otherwise referred to as “kicks” or “sneakers”) range – specifically tailored to the local market. In order to reach the target market of young adults who are into social and cultural experiences, we can organise a street/ laneway gallery in each city, where the top 10 potential designers can showcase their proposed design for the shoes on a canvas painting or a screen print. This gallery will also be available online, and people will be able to vote on their favourite designs while viewing the gallery. We believe that not only will this generate the publicity we require, but this will also help shift H&M’s image of mass-produced generic fashion retailer to a brand that is in-touch with the local fashion and unique street culture.
Advertising Ideas2) Fashion purchase decisions are based on social influences, therefore social media can play a crucial part in using the power of peers to influence the target market to purchase the shoes. To build on the idea of bringing “local” cool to global markets, we can install digital photo booths into each main (flagship) store in the city, where the shoppers can take a photo of themselves wearing the shoes, and post it up on their social media pages. Given how much the target market likes sharing their opinion online, the photos will be accompanied by their answer to a question around why they love their city / what is the coolest part of this city etc., which will be “printed” on top of the photo when they post it online. Each photo will be taken against a background of a prominent landmark of the city (portrayed in a hip, fashionable way, rather than looking too “touristy”), and sharing can be incentivised by offering a discount to those who post their photo up on their page. The idea of this is to allow the local consumers to show their pride for the local fashion culture online, and influence their peers to do the same by purchasing these shoes. All photos can then be posted on a separately created H&M hub as well, where consumer can view photos of different “local” H&M shoe designs from around the world, and also view the answers of why other people of similar age love their cities.
Advertising Ideas3) Finally, to really bring the idea of bringing the local “cool” to global markets to live, we can allow consumer to vote online for the top 10 international designs that will be produced globally. They can either vote for the design of their own city (to share the “coolness” of their city with the world), or vote for the designs of other cities that they would like to purchase at their local H&M. Given the target market’s fascination with travel and the appreciation of uniqueness of fashion from different cultures, these shoes will have an appeal of being designed by influential “locals” from around the world. The feeling of “local authenticity” of each design from around the world can be further emphasised, by tying it in with a unique Shopper Marketing idea: each global “locally designed” shoe can have a tag that gets activated in the changing rooms (the moment the shoes are tried on), which will have speakers and LED screens installed to play a montage of the streets of that city, and trendy music from each city that the shoes were designed in.
Launch TimingsWe realise that making tailor-made products for each localmarket is not the most cost-effective strategy. Therefore, wepropose only creating these local designs for the first 3months, followed by 9 months of selling the global top 10designs in all stores. These designs can also be accompaniedby the generic designs produced by H&M, for people who areafter a more casual look. The key objective for this productlaunch is to shift the perception of H&M, so the extra costsspent on the first 3 months of production will pay off in termsof helping to establish H&M as being in touch with the localtrends (without having to re-design the clothing collections).
5 Questions for the Client:1. Could you please explain why you believe that H&M is not currently perceived as “cool” brand?2. Why do you believe that launching a range of basketball shoes is the right solution to the problem?3. Are you aiming for this range of basketball shoes to be targeted at the same target market as your current range of clothing?4. Are you open to creating designs that are market specific, rather than just global?5. What is your production budget?