Michael Kors is an American fashion designer that is looking to continue on the growth
path that has been set through the company’s past and recent success. In the beginning,
that path was rough and full of setbacks, but currently the Michael Kors brand is receiving
recognition for its stability and accomplishments within the apparel industry.
After research and analysis of the company and its competitors was performed, a list
of strategies and actions were developed. The strategic goals that have been set for the
• Increase revenue by 30% in 2014
• Increase market share to 13% in 5 years
• Introduce new products via a men’s accessories line, a children’s line and a sports line
• Keep prices stable or increase to grow profits
• Increase Facebook and Twitter followings by 5% each month
In order to achieve these goals, there are several strategies that need to be implemented.
Prices of products must be increased or remain the same; no discounting should be
used. Awareness needs to be increased, new channels should be found and new products
should be developed. Product differentiation and innovation are of the utmost importance
to set the brand apart from its competitors. Strategic alliances will allow the company to
grow into avenues that it has not previously experimented with. Limiting availability is also
another tactic to increase demand. Finally, maintaining brand integrity allows Michael
Kors to continue on the path to success.
The steps that are proposed are in line with the goals of the company and facilitate
growth. Michael Kors must implement these strategies in a timely manner, continue to
create innovation within the apparel industry and continually measure/reevaluate the
strategies and actions to see if changes or adjustments should be made to benefit the
Michael Kors is a global luxury lifestyle brand with a jet-set aesthetic that combines
elements of style, elegance and sport. The company was established in 1981 and is led by
Michael Kors, a prominent fashion designer based in New York City. The business operates in
three different segments: retail, wholesale and licensing. Their goods are sold in companyoperated retail stores, leading department stores, specialty stores and through carefully
selected licensing partners.
THE AMERICAN FASHION ICON
Michael Kors is the founder, designer and Honorary Chairman and Chief Creative Officer
for Michael Kors Holdings Limited (KORS). He is a fashion icon who not only designs
clothing and accessories, but is also known for his appearances as a judge on the Emmynominated Project Runway. He was born Karl Anderson, Jr. on Long Island, New York in
1959. He is half Scandinavian and half Jewish. His mother was a former Revlon model and
his father was a college student. His mother was remarried when he was five and he took
the surname of Kors, his stepfather’s name. His mother allowed him to choose a new first
name as well, and the name Michael David Kors was born.
Michael was exposed to the fashion industry through his mother’s career as a model. As a
child he decided he would either become a movie star or a fashion designer. At the age of
4 he was in cereal commercials and when he was a teenager he studied acting in Manhattan. He
began designing his own clothes around the same time and sold them out of his parents’
basement. Eventually he attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He
began school in 1977, but dropped out nine months later.
Next he moved on to work for Lothar’s, a boutique on 57th Street in New York. He clothed
many women here including celebrities like Cher and Diana Ross while learning valuable
lessons about the fashion business. Eventually Kors decided that he could design better
than the clothing that he was selling, so he launched his womenswear line in 1982 at Saks
Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. His clothing was an instant hit and Michael Kors
became a relevant name in the fashion industry.
Kors has received many honors throughout his career, but most recently in 2013, he was
selected for The Time 100, Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the
world. He is also noted for participating in and helping causes such as world hunger, HIV/
AIDS and cancer research.
The company is based on two different collections: the Michael Kors collection is the
luxury segment of the brand and the MICHAEL Michael Kors collection is a more accessible
luxury collection. Both collections offer accessories, apparel and footwear.
Michael Kors collection
The items in this collection are made from the highest quality materials such as leather
and other exotic skins. The handbags and small leather goods retail from $500 to $6,000
while the footwear ranges from $300 to $1,200 and the apparel retails from $400 to $4,000.
MICHAEL Michael Kors collection
The Michael Michael Kors collection focuses on handbags and accessories, but also
includes footwear and womenswear. The accessories include small leather goods (such
as clutches and wallets, wristlets and cosmetic cases) as well as women’s footwear and
dresses, tops, pants, jeans, skirts, shorts and outerwear. The handbags retail from $200 to
$800, the small leather goods are from $45 to $200, the footwear retails from $70 to $500
and the women’s clothing retails from $50 to $500. This collection is much more accessible
and affordable to those who want the “Michael Kors look” without the high price tag.
WATCHES Michael Kors watches have been
licensed by Fossil since 2004. They are sold in
Michael Kors retail stores and to wholesale
customers as well as in select watch retailers.
They are priced from $150 to $500.
Eye wear Michael Kors’ exclusive eye wear
licensee since January 2004 has been Marchon.
Sunglasses are the key category and the collection
is focused on “status eye wear.” The items are sold
in MK retail stores, to wholesale customers and at
select sunglass retailers and prescription eye wear
providers. The retail price is from $85 to $285.
JEWELRY Since 2010, Fossil has been the exclusive
fashion jewelry licensee for MK. The collection
includes bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings.
These items are designed to compliment the watch
FRAGRANCE & BEAUTY Starting in May 2003,
Estée Lauder became the exclusive licensee of
men’s and women’s fragrances from Michael Kors.
The fragrances are sold in their retail stores, to
wholesale customers and at select fragrance retailers.
The retail prices range from $20 to $115.
Recently, a new fragrance and beauty collection was introduced in
2013. The tag line for this collection is “Sporty Sexy Glam,” which
continues the company’s standard of jet set style. The collection
includes perfume as well as beauty products ranging from lip
color to nail color
PRODUCTS/DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES
Michael Kors offers clothing, shoes, accessories and fragrance/beauty products for women.
He also designs for men in these categories, although the selection is much more limited.
The ready-to-wear women’s category includes dresses, tops, jeans and pants, shirts and
shorts, outwear and swimwear. The price range is $89 to $3695.
The possibilities are endless when mixing clothing pieces from Kors’ lines
The beauty of the Michael Kors collection is that a woman can create an entire look with
any combination of MK’s pieces from the outfit to the accessories, shoes and beauty products,
everything is included in the collections. The outfits illustrated above are examples of the
many combinations that can be imagined with Michael’s products.
Medium Weston Shoulder Bag-$298
Large Selma studded Saffiano tote-$428
Large Miranda Python Tote-$2995
The item that is most well-known in the collections is the handbag. A wide variety of totes,
shoulder bags, cross body bags, satchels, clutches, wallets and wristlets are part of both
the Michael Kors Collection and the Michael Michael Kors collection. The price points of
the collections vary, but he makes sure that there are affordable options for the modern
woman. The prices start at $68 and go up to $2995.
MICHAEL Jet Set Jelly-$49
Teagan Camouflage Peep-Toe Boot-$670
Glam Studded High Top-$195
The shoe collection is made up of sandals, pumps, wedges, flats, boots and booties and
sneakers, once again covering all the needs of the target women. Price: $69 to $995.
Nude Leather Runway Watch-$160
Camille Chronograph Watch-$250
Gray Stainless Steel Glam Everest Watch-$895
Michael Kors’ watches range from silver, gold, rose gold, turquoise and horn, glitz and
leather. They are a fashionable alternative to extreme high-end watches that cost thousands
of dollars. They start at $160 and go up to $895.
Astor Baguette Hinge Bangle Bracelet-$145
Pave-Horn Lariat Necklace-$375
The jewelry collection ranges from $45 to $375 per piece and includes bracelets, rings,
earrings and necklaces.
Logo Belted Bag-$88
Dylan Aviator Sunglasses-$126
Michael Kors’ accessories include tech accessories, cold weather items, sunglasses and
belts. The price range is $48 to $295.
GLAM Nail Laquer-$18
SPORTY Bronze Powder-$50
GLAM JASMINE Eau de Parfum-$95
The fragrance and beauty collection consists of perfumes, colognes and cosmetics. The
price point is $18 to $116.
Kors has become a household name after many years of struggles. Here he rings the opening bell of the NYSE in December 2011.
Although it may seem that the Michael Kors brand has become a success overnight due to
his recent popularity, it took years of hard work and dedication in making Kors’ vision and
dream a reality. After 32 years of creating simplicity, luxury and comfort, Kors has reached
great heights, especially recently as he continues to surpass other well-known brands in
the same category. It was not always this way, though.
In the early 1990s, the brand faced many financial setbacks that even forced Kors to
discontinue the more affordable line for quite some time. He was unable to execute his
complete vision for the accessories and perfume line in the early stages of the company
because of the lack of funds. The company was forced to reorganize under Chapter 11
The setbacks only made Kors more hungry for success. Earlier this year he was named
one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, an honor that not many ever achieve.
Zac Posen, a younger notable designer, had this to say about Kors: “When I started
designing fashion in high school, around 1996, Michael Kors was the epitome of the
new look of American sportswear: elegant luxury, easy glamour and effortless chic. His
clothes merged the worlds of fashion and accessibility, which isn’t easy — there was a
sense of cleanliness in his designs. Nearly two decades later, Michael is poised to become
fashion’s next billionaire. It takes a great deal of resilience and staying power to last for
decades, and it’s a testament to Michael’s very clear vision.”
On top of the Michael Kors brand, Michael held the title of creative director for Celine in
1997. While he was working there for 6 years, he continued to work on and expand his own
line. The brand gained the most notoriety when he became a judge on Project Runway,
which he almost turned down. It was perhaps his greatest move that propelled him to the
stardom that he has today. In 2012 he stepped down from the role, but still makes guest
appearances as a judge from time to time.
Honorary Chairman, Chief Creative
Officer and Director
JOHN D. IDOL
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Senior Vice President,
JOSEPH B. PARSONS
Executive Vice President, Chief
Financial Officer, Chief Operating
Officer and Treasurer
LEE S. SPORN
Senior Vice President of Business
Affairs, General Counsel and Secretary
Board of Directors:
Michael Kors: Honorary Chairman, Chief Creative Officer and Director
John D. Idol: Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Director
M. William Benedetto: Director
Silas K. F. Chou: Director
Judy Gibbons: Director
Ann McLaughlin Korologos: Director
Stephen F. Reitman: Director
Lawrence S. Stroll: Director
Jean Tomlin: Director
The company culture at Michael Kors is customer focused, as Kors is constantly looking
for ways to outfit the modern woman/man according to his or her needs. When entering
the retail stores this is evident in the way that the customer is treated. Those who work for
the company put an emphasis on pleasing the customer and finding the right products for
him or her.
When looking at the employee satisfaction, there is a high level of respect for the company.
Employees note that MK takes the time to train each individual to know the brand and to
properly convey the correct image. Websites such as indeed.com include mostly favorable
reviews from those who have worked for or currently work for the company. From the
very beginning, Michael has made a strong commitment to pleasing the customer which
is reflected in the way that the staff is trained. The in-store experience is high class and
reflects the “luxury” positioning of the brand.
Employer reviews show that the company is focused on training employees to be brand ambassadors. Source: indeed.com
Michael Kors is a leader in its category within the luxury goods industry. The following
share performance graph indicates how their stock has been performing in relation to
competitors such as Coach, Inc., Guess, Inc. PVH Corp, Limited Brands and the Ralph
The market share of Michael Kors is quite respectable for the apparel industry. While
Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Gucci make up a large part of the market, Kors is not far
behind. Ralph Lauren remains the only direct competitor that has a higher showing. This
is expected for a brand that has such a rich history.
Resilience: The first strength of the Michael Kors brand is the fact that it is resilient. The
company has great brand managers have rescued the brand from a period when the quality
was not so high. They have been able to raise the prices on the product thus allowing the
quality to go up as well.
Segmented brand: The fact that Michael Kors offers two different lines: the Michael Kors
Collection and Michael Michael Kors allows the brand to reach a larger audience. While
the Collection may not be accessible to the general population, MK has created a more
affordable line that is still considered high-quality, but at a fraction of the price. This allows
those who cannot afford the Collection to feel as if they are a part of the MK brand. Reaching
a larger audience enables Kors to become more well-known and popular.
Celebrity Factor: Michael Kors embodies the jet set lifestyle that he promotes in his
brand. He is recognizable because of the fact that he has put himself in the public spotlight
as an ambassador for the brand. His appearances on Project Runway have enables him
to reach the viewers as well as celebrities. Michelle Obama and Heidi Klum, for example,
are known for wearing MK. When the general population sees these celebrities wearing
his clothing, shoes and accessories, they want to emulate their favorite stars and own the
Philanthropy: Fashion is not the only priority for Michael Kors. He has received numerous
honors for his philanthropic work. In 2013 he was listed on The Time 100 list, which names
him as one of the 100 most influential people of the world. For the last 20 years he has
been involved with God’s Love We Deliver, a non-profit organization that delivers meals
to people living with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. He is also known for
working to further cancer research.
High-quality goods and suppliers: The Michael Kors brand is known for producing high-quality
goods and that is also reflected in the suppliers that they work with. The licensing deals
with Fossil, Marchon and Estée Lauder are an example of this. These three brands have
great reputations and enhance the overall quality of MK. For those who cannot afford a
Louis Vuitton bag, for example, Michael Kors provides an alternative that is stylish and
Jet Set style: Michael Kors associates himself and his brand with a “jet set” style that
personifies an individual who travels around the world in style. In a high economy, this
standard is not only something that the consumer desires, but is also attainable. The
everyday business woman, for example, can purchase clothes, shoes and accessories
from the brand that give her a “high class” feeling. MK’s print ads as well as online
promotion remain consistent with this ideal.
“Jet Set Style” includes imagery of yachts, private jets and glamorous parties in upscale locations. These are just a few examples of the
ads that the Michael Kors brand has used over the years.
The subjects in Kors’ ads are most often about to board a private jet or are hanging out
on a yacht in the French Riviera. Wearing the MK brand can make anyone feel as if they
are jet setting, even though in reality they are sitting on the couch reading a magazine or
commuting to the office. The standard of luxury at an attainable price is a strength for the
Brand dilution: Since the Michael Kors brand is known for its high class jet set style, one
would not expect to find its products in bargain/discount stores such as Loehmann’s Ross,
Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. Unfortunately, MK’s products can regularly be found here, which
in turn dilutes the brand. While this availability makes it more accessible to lower income
people, the standard that the brand sets is more upscale than these bargain basements.
Those who are paying full price may become skeptical and find another brand that is not
as easy to attain.
Jet set in a low economy: When the economy takes a turn for the worse, consumers are
more concerned about buying necessities rather than achieving the “jet set” lifestyle.
Priorities change and high-priced handbags, jewelry, shoes and other accessories are no
longer as important as they were in a high economy. Income becomes discretionary and
people become much more cautious in their spending habits.
Michael as the face of the brand: Michael Kors himself personifies the brand image and
is a crucial part of the overall look. There is no successor to the brand as he does not have
children or relatives who would take over. The fact that he is so hands on and the brand
relies on him is a strength now, but if anything were to happen to him, the future of MK
could be in jeopardy. Similar situations have occurred with other brands such as when
Gianni Versace was murdered. Luckily his sister was able to take over and revitalize a
brand that was linked with his image, but with no successor, MK could fail.
Global impact: Michael Kors defines his brand by creating a worldly feel, and the global
presence has become greater in recent years; however, the brand is still much more
relevant in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Michael himself is known as
an “American fashion icon,” but wants to expand his brand to gain much more importance
throughout the world. To increase this presence, more stores must be opened outside of
the US and heavy marketing must be done to make other countries aware of them.
Global expansion: The weakness of lesser presence of the brand globally can be solved
through expansion throughout the world. This gives the brand a chance to enhance their
current image and increase sales. In addition to pushing the product globally, Kors can
use his philanthropy angle on a larger scale. He has begun to do this with the #watchhungerstop
project where he has teamed up with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in
the fight against hunger throughout the world. Rather than focusing on issues in the US, a
more global outlook could benefit the brand. #watchhungerstop is a step in this direction.
International philanthropy will help to increase brand recognition throughout the world and expand the brand beyond the US.
Purchase more brands and develop them: By using the profits from the Michael Kors
brand, he could purchase and develop more brands to include in his portfolio. This would
not only increase sales and profits, but also add more variety to the brand.
Children’s products: Currently, Kors focuses on women, with a smaller collection for
men. His collections do not include children, which could be key for company growth.
While women and men want to attain the jet set lifestyle, they often have families. The traditional
family from the past is now history and parents are including their children in their travels
and lifestyle choices. There is a wide variety of clothing, shoes and accessories offered for
children and Michael Kors could capitalize on this with a brand such as “Mikey” Michael
Kors, which plays off the MK name and gives it a fun youthful feeling.
Sub-Branding: The Michael Kors Collection can be unattainable for some while the Michael
Michael Kors brand is more attainable to the general population; however, there is still
room for a brand extension that caters to a lower budget. Companies like Ralph Lauren
have several different lines that are accommodating to every budget and fit different price
points. If Michael Kors wanted to extend his line even further, he could create “Mike”
Michael Kors. The shortened name reflects lower prices and a more casual attitude. This
would allow those who could not previously afford the other lines to get in on the overall
jet set feeling.
Men’s line: While the current focus of the brand is on women as the target market, there
are great opportunities to further develop the men’s line. Men are no longer simply being
dressed by their girlfriends/wives; they care about how they look and put a lot of effort into
their personal style. Since Michael himself embodies this style, he is the brand ambassador
for modern men. Men are now picking up GQ and Esquire magazine to get ideas on how
they should dress. By advertising more frequently in these publications, men can get a
better feel for the brand’s message.
European debt crisis/Chinese economic bubble: Just as Michael Kors looks to expand his
brand to the rest of the world, the European deb crisis is an extreme threat. As previously
mentioned, when the economy takes a downturn, people are no longer spending the way
that they used to. This has a negative impact on the brand’s expansion. MK must find a
way to market products in a light that shows them as being affordable, which is possible
with the Michael Michael Kors brand. This brand is much cheaper than brands such as
Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci or Chanel for example. It is important to emphasize this and
show that the brand is a high-quality yet cheaper alternative.
United States Government Shutdown: The problem that is occurring overseas is also a
threat in the United States, especially with the recent government shutdown. The shutdown
caused a major panic where consumers were not purchasing anything while waiting to see
what would ultimately happen. The situation could even push us back into a recession and
a down economy is not ideal for a brand that pushes a jet set lifestyle. Frivolous purchases
are no longer a priority when people are struggling to buy necessities.
Increase in textile prices: An increase in textile prices could force the brand to charge
more for products, which would make it less accessible. On the other hand, if Michael
Kors were to use cheaper textiles, the brand’s quality would decrease significantly. This
would, in turn, cause them to lose customers and brand loyalty.
Cancelled contracts: Fossil, Marchon and Estée Lauder are very important as partners
with the Michael Kors brand. If contracts were cancelled by any of these companies it
would put MK into a situation where he would have to find new partners. There are long-standing
relationships with these other brands and ending them could tarnish the image of MK
and/or lower the standard of quality depending upon which companies replace them.
Generation gap: Currently Michael Kors is popular with certain generations, specifically
for career minded women who are sophisticated. The clothing/accessories and shoes are
targeted toward this market, but the question remains as to how well the company will
do when this market becomes too old for the look that he sells. Will the next generation
embrace MK in the same way that the current one does? Or will they find a new style icon
that fits them better?
REVIEW/SUMMARY OF SWOT ANALYSIS
Kors is strong in the US, but the true test will be how well he can perform in China, a country that loves luxury goods.
Based on this SWOT analysis, it is evident that the Michael Kors brand has many
strengths, which is why they are a fierce competitor in the apparel industry. Michael Kors
himself is an asset to the brand and his celebrity friends help him to gain notoriety and
popularity. The current economy is not only a weakness, but also a threat to their sales;
however, this is a factor that is affecting the entire industry and is not unique to Kors.
The company should increase their presence overseas, especially in China, where luxury
goods are very popular. They also have a great opportunity to expand the brand to include
more items for men and add children into the mix. The combination of these two opportunities
creates a powerful combination that can take Kors to the next level.
The current state of the apparel industry is up in the air due to the economic downturn.
This unfavorable condition, paired with the fact that we only make 2 percent of our clothing domestically, could lead to even greater problems. The industry in general has hit hard
times as commodity costs are increasing, populations are growing and resources are becoming
much more scarce. In addition to those factors, there is an intense need for social responsibility
in this industry.
When Bill Clinton was in the White House, he made great efforts and strides towards
regulating the apparel industry. His White House Apparel Industry Partnership helped to
establish rules and regulations regarding labor issues including sweatshops overseas.
Currently, there are more sweatshops in China and Southeast Asia, which makes it much
more difficult to regulate due to distance, language and cultural barriers. President
Obama has been under a microscope when it comes to these issues, mainly because he
has not commented on tragedies involving garment workers who make clothing for US
companies. Within two months there was a factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed over
1,110 garment workers and then 2 people died in a shoe factory that collapsed in Cambodia.
Another issue that plagues the industry is the use of underage models to promote clothing
in ads and on the runway. This goes along with the current lack of social responsibility.
This past summer, legislation was passed in New York that limits the amount of hours a
model under 18 can work. The industry is also working on promoting healthier bodies and
supposedly discourages eating disorders and waif-like models. This has yet to be seen
from many fashion houses, though, as they often put models that are underweight on the
According to Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands for 2013, the major apparel industry leaders
include Louis Vuitton (#17), H&M (#21), Nike (#24), Zara (#36), Gucci (#38), Hermes (#54),
Adidas (#55), Prada (#72), Burberry (#77), Ralph Lauren (#88) and Gap (#100). The fact
that more affordable brands such as H&M and Zara appear near the top of the list reflects
the current economic situation.
Designers and retailers both are not expecting much improvement in sales for this current
holiday season; their exact prediction: slow growth. On top of that, there are six fewer days
between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, which leaves less time for shopping as
well as impulse purchases. One source of hope for apparel manufacturers is the ease of
online shopping, which is more prevalent than ever.
Michael Kors serves more than one market due to his wide variety of products and pricing. The
luxury line serves a high-end clientele while his more affordable line is targeted toward
the middle class who would like to appear to have the top of the line brand at a fraction of
The markets served can be broken down as follows:
The Affluent Market Segment: There are only certain people who can afford Michael
Kors, especially when it comes to the high end line. However, there is a greater amount of
people that can afford this brand than extreme luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton. The
chart below details the “rise of the mass affluent,” which shows that the population that
is considered middle income is rising while the higher income is rising as well. While the
middle income is rising, they aspire to feel like the higher income. Michael Kors is going
after the mass affluent market and capitalizes on the fact that the middle income want to
feel like the high income, so they created the more affordable “Michael Michael Kors” line.
The Gender Market Segment: Michael Kors appeals to mainly women in his strategy,
and with good reason. The majority of household expenditures on apparel are courtesy
of women rather than men. The chart below indicates that in all age groupings, women
clearly spend more than men on apparel. Men are leaving this responsibility up to their
spouses, which is why Michael Kors is strategically targeting women.
Even when it comes to shopping online, women are more likely to pay attention to marketing
emails than men. Kors’ aggressive online approach is another avenue to get women interested
in his products. The online/social media factor will be covered in more detail later in the plan.
The Age Market Segment: Women and men alike all want to feel young. Rather than identifying
with their own age group or an older group, they would most often consider themselves
as a part of a younger age group. This lack of acceptance makes them feel as if they are
more hip and trendy than their peer group. For this reason, Michael Kors appeals to many
age groups. Currently the brand is in high demand by a young generation. Many of these
customers are living at home as opposed to spending money to rent their own place. This
leaves them with an abundance of discretionary income because they are not paying for
housing. When this income is not consumed by rent, there are many options for the 18-31
year olds. They can easily purchase clothing and accessories that make them feel as if
they are part of the “cool” crowd, thus fitting in with their peers.
The following chart indicates that the amount of 18-31 year olds living at home has been
steadily increasing from 2007 to 2012. In 2012, the highest amount of 18-24 year olds were
living at home while the 25-31 year olds had only dropped off by .5%. The steady increase
overall is expected to continue as rents are raised. The economic downturn forced more
young people to live with their parents, even if they had jobs.
The Geographic Market Segment: The Michael Kors brand has been known as an “American”
brand since it was founded. While he has continued to slowly expand into other markets,
there is a great need to expand into more countries, China being the most important. The
growth potential in that part of the world is huge at the moment and Kors needs to capitalize
on this. The chart below illustrates that the Chinese prefer to purchase brands that are
well-known internationally. This even overtakes superior craftsmanship in the leather category.
The Chinese are being driven by perception, and if Michael Kors becomes a popular brand
worldwide, then they would be more likely to purchase the products.
Customers Based on Purchase Behaviors
When it comes to purchase behaviors for the Michael Kors brand, there are four main
groups of customers. These customers buy based on their values. The values are as follows:
These are the people that buy based on their income. They spend in accordance with what
they earn and attempt to purchase products that will not “break the bank,” so to speak.
They look for deals and discounts and the Michael Michael Kors brand is perfect for the
careful spender as they can feel as if they own a luxury product, but are paying a lower
price for it because it is not Kors’ top of the line.
This group of customers consists of those who buy based on the quality factor. Kors’ products
are known for using high-quality materials and they are also known for their craftsmanship.
This group will purchase the brand because they know that the goods are not going to fall
apart and will age well over time.
The internet has created an entirely new avenue for customers to purchase products.
There are customers that will only purchase items online due to the ease and comfort of
shopping at home and having them delivered to them. On the other hand, there are customers that
prefer to go into a store, look at the product and deal with a person rather than a computer.
The fact that Kors has perfected both of these avenues bodes well for the company. Keeping
a strong relationship with online clients as well as in-person shoppers allows the company
to stay relevant in this technological era.
Most shoppers enjoy feeding their egos through purchasing high-end items. Michael
Kors sells products that fit in this category. There are customers who want to always have
something that their friends do not have and high-priced items are often a way to achieve
this. This is especially prevalent when it comes to Kors’ luxury line.
Michael Kors faces intense competition from other companies in the industry. The company’s
top competitor is Coach, Inc. Two other top competitors are Ralph Lauren Corporation and
Marc Jacobs. The following is an analysis on the three main competitors.
Coach began as a leather-goods maker in a Manhattan loft in 1941. They began as Gail
Leather Products, but changed their name to Coach Products, Inc in the mid-70s. The
company currently sells accessories that include handbags, wallets and watches in their
stores as well as in boutiques in select department stores and specialty retailers.
There was a long period where Coach was number one in their space, until Michael Kors
slowly came in and began to steal customers. Recently there has been a great deal of
buzz in the fashion industry about the performance of the Coach stock vs. Michael Kors’
stock. Kors has been on a steady climb while Coach has been falling. This holiday season
has shown that within the younger audience especially, Kors is the top choice. Coach has
become stale and “older” as of late and the brand needs to address this in order to remain
The Coach shopping experience is the closest competition for Kors. The look and feel of the stores are even very similar.
COACH SWOT ANALYSIS
While Coach is known for their quality leather goods and accessories, the brand has become
diluted because of the fact that they have a large amount of outlet stores. This fact can
lead to customers not seeing the prestige of the brand as they had in the past since everyone
can own a Coach item; therefore, it is no longer “luxury.” Like Kors, the company is more
American than global and needs further expansion overseas. The changes in trends indicate
that Coach needs to change their looks to be in line with the times. Their social media
presence is also lacking compared to their competitors. It seems that they are resistant to
the current social media boom and need to catch up to Kors in that area.
Ralph Lauren is a company that designs, markets and sells clothing, accessories, home
furnishings and fragrances to men, women and children worldwide. It was founded in
1967 by Ralph Lauren, a notable American designer. Polo Ralph Lauren is the flagship
brand while there are several other brands under the company name. Those labels include:
Ralph Lauren Black Label, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Ralph Lauren Blue Label, Lauren
Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco and Chaps.
Ralph Lauren has had great success in marketing his products due to the fact that the
labels cover many different looks an feel while remaining true to the brand image at the
same time. The looks are much more traditional than Kors’ and tend to appeal to an older
audience than those who are fond of Kors. The diversity of the brand ranges from red
carpet gowns to athletic wear for sporting events. Ralph Lauren is known for having his
clothes in the Olympics as well as in numerous sporting events throughout the world.
Ralph Lauren offers a more “classic” look and feel to their stores and products than Kors.
RALPH LAUREN SWOT ANALYSIS
Ralph Lauren’s rich history and broad range of products are an asset to the company.
There are, however, issues that come with that. The classic looks may be preferred by an
older audience that is more traditional. They may want to create another line that is more
modern and appeals to the audience that is interested in Kors’ updated looks. Ralph Lauren
also needs to increase their social media presence. While many lawsuits and controversies
have plagued the company, they need to focus on PR and finding a way to engage the
Perhaps the only direct competitor that sells designs that are trendy with the younger
market that Kors is currently dominating is Marc Jacobs. Marc is another well-known
American fashion designer who began his career designing for high-profile companies. In
1993 he launched his own company, Marc Jacobs International Company, L.P. In 2001 he
introduced the Marc by Marc Jacobs line, which is in direct competition with the Michael
Michael Kors line.
Marc Jacobs has been met with many challenges and controversies for years. Between
plagiarism accusations and other lawsuits, he has continued to create fun designs that
resonate with a younger audience. The different price points of the two lines make it more
accessible than other luxury companies and a threat to Kors and his different lines.
Jacobs continues to use his creative director status of different companies such as Louis
Vuitton and Diet Coke to keep his name fresh and to make sure his image is constantly
evolving. He currently has about 300 stores in 60 countries.
Marc Jacobs is perhaps the only competitor that captures the trendy look as well as Kors. However, their sales are not as high.
MARC JACOBS SWOT ANALYSIS
While Marc Jacobs is very similar to the Michael Kors brand, Marc himself has caused a
lot of controversy throughout his career. He has not only been accused of plagiarizing the
design of a scarf from another designer, but it was recently discovered that the “faux” fur
that he uses in some of his garments is actually fur from raccoon dogs in China. The company has great opportunities to capitalize on its social media popularity and compete with
Kors on that level, but Jacobs’ flamboyant and outspoken personality tend to get him in
Technology and Innovation
The Michael Kors brand is known for constant changes and innovation in the new lines
that are presented each season. The “jet set” style is the underlying focus of every collection,
but there are always new twists presented. The inspirations, fabric choices and designs
are constantly evolving.
The customer experience with the brand is their number one priority. By interviewing several
Michael Kors team members at one of the company’s stores, it is evident that a luxury
experience is the main priority. The most important goal is to make the customers feel
comfortable and welcomed rather than to simply try to make a sale. The innovation in the
overall experience enhances the brand image without pushing items on the customer.
The iphone 5 & 5S clutch is a technological innovation from Kors. It is also one of the products that is also sold at the Apple Store.
Another factor that enhances the Michael Kors brand is that he is up to date with technology.
When cell phones became popular, women were looking for a fashionable way to carry
them without having the hassle of losing them in their purses. Michael Kors came out with
designs that included cell phone pockets. Recently, the wristlet became very popular, as it
is a way for a woman to carry a phone, credit cards and cash without having to use a large
purse. Michael has specifically designed these wristlets with the right dimensions and
pockets to hold a phone. He has also designed presentation cases for ipads, which are a
stylish way for women to carry their tablets to work or just for fun.
Michaelkors.com and destinationkors.com provide a shopper with style ideas and innovation.
The Michael Kors website is a technological innovation as well. It enables the customer
to view the items, learn about them and to also find out more about the company’s vision
through their blog, destinationkors.com.
While remaining innovative and incorporating technology, Michael Kors uses these factors
to promote helping important causes. He has created campaigns that benefit the less
fortunate, with the latest being #watchhungerstop, which has helped deliver millions of
meals to those who cannot afford to eat.
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: just three of the many social media platforms that Kors is dominating at the moment.
As a technologically savvy brand, Michael Kors is active on all social media platforms. He
posts on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, gains followers on Tumblr and posts images on
Instagram. He is quick to adapt to new platforms and sees that social media is not just a
fad. The amount of followers that he has on these sites is overwhelming compared to his
The assumptions that I have for the Michael Kors brand are:
• Sales goals will be up for the year 30%-40% based on the past growth.
• Market share will grow, especially in the accessories space since
it is growing across the board on a worldwide scale.
• New markets will be expanded into China
• New consumer groups will include men and children
• Prices will go up at the rate of inflation (3-5% increase)
• Incentives such as a loyalty program will be added
• Strategic Alliances will be made including the men’s/sports
market and expanding into a new market: children
SHARE to 13% in
Increase price of product
Add ultra premium label
Find new channels
Open more stores in China
New product innovation
BY 30% in 2014
Add more stores/Go global
Demonstrate quality &
Maintain brand integrity
FOLLOWING BY 5%
No discounting or sales
Increase # of SKUs, no
increase on quantity per SKU
Demonstrate quailty &
1-Sales Goals: Increase revenue by 30% in 2014
2-Market Share: Increase market share from 6.6% to 13% in five years
3-New product intro: Include Michael Kors Men’s Accessories, a
sports clothing line as well as a children’s line within 3 years
4-Price: Prices are to remain stable or increase in time
No discounting will be used
5-Brand Awareness: Increase Facebook likes/Twitter followers by 5% each month
Increase revenue by 30% in 2014
INCREASE PRICE OF PRODUCT
In order to increase the prices of the products in the Michael Kors lines, an ultra-premium
label (MK Michael Kors) should be introduced. This should be included at the top of the
brand and consist of items that are high-quality and produced in small amounts. Only the
highly affluent customers will be able to afford these products, which will cause others to
aspire to be on this level. These items, made in small quantities, will increase demand and
the popularity will rise because of the limited amounts.
Social media, product placement and PR are all actions that support this strategy. By
creating buzz, especially online, the brand will become even more prevalent than it is
currently. A social media campaign will be implemented that combines the Kors celebrity
factor. Through online contests, customers who purchase products and share their
experiences will be entered to win a day with one of Kors’ celebrity influencers that he
has used in the past/present to promote the brand.
Traditional advertising will also be continued. Magazine ads, billboards and TV commercials
will all be reevaluated regarding how effective they have been in the past. Changes will be
made, if necessary and new campaigns will be created to increase awareness.
FIND NEW CHANNELS
Currently, the most promising international channel is China. The fact that the country’s
inhabitants are obsessed with purchasing luxury goods helps Kors to expand his presence
overseas on an international level. By opening stores in China and advertising in a way
that will impress the Chinese people, Kors could become a new competitor in the luxury
NEW PRODUCT INNOVATION
Research and Development is the key in new product innovation. The brand has become
very popular based on its unique looks that make women feel beautiful. Through extensive
research, Kors can continue his development of these products. By including new lines
for men and children, he can take the brand to a new level. Men’s accessories are a must,
judging by the international demand for them. New lines and items will support the goal of
Increase market share from 6.6% to 13% in five years
FIND NEW CHANNELS
By going more global with the jet set lifestyle look, the customer base will expand and the
market share will steadily increase. As previously mentioned, China is the main target for
opening more stores. Not only is it important for Kors to utilize this channel, but also for
him to find out what the Chinese are looking for and do extensive research before further
entering the market. Development of products that are important to the population in
China will give them the edge over brands who simply release the same products in China
as in the US. R&D is important when completing this task.
Another way to go about this is to also add more stores in the United States. The proper
research needs to be conducted to decide where more stores are needed. Simply adding
new stores is not always helpful, so strategically placing these stores is important.
In order to gain a larger portion of the market share, the products must be differentiated
from others in the same market. Demonstration of quality and unique features is a must.
By not discounting the products as well, the customer will see the value in the brand an
view it as a top tier brand rather than something that can be found in a bargain bin. Kors
must not allow his product to be sold in discount stores such as Ross or TJ Maxx. These
stores dilute the quality of the brand as a while.
The website now includes a blog that Kors uses to promote his products in everyday use.
This site and blog can be further enhanced by creating a new section: “What makes us
different.” This section would detail the innovations that separate Kors from other brands.
For example, the partnership with Apple is a point of difference as other companies in his
category are not partnered with them. Kors needs to outline the key features on the products,
such as the iphone clutch that was mentioned earlier in this plan.
Include Michael Kors Men’s Accessories, a sports clothing
line as well as a children’s line within 3 years
Not only is it important for Kors to introduce new products, but it is also necessary for
him to create products that are innovative and different from that of the direct competition.
Innovation in any industry will be copied as soon as it is implemented, which makes it
important to continually conduct research and develop products according to the needs of
Rather than simply creating new products, expanding upon existing products is also a
must. Research and development is again key for this to succeed. Existing products
become “old” as soon as they are in the stores because there are new features that are
always being introduced.
By creating a children’s line, a key expansion will be made that opens an entirely new
market segment for Kors. This could put him in front of the competition that has not yet
entered this arena. It is crucial that the expansion makes sense. For example, Kors can
design children’s clothing, but also focus on children’s accessories. By expanding in this
area, he will have an edge due to the fact that he is already well-known for his women’s accessories.
Aligning with other companies has worked well for Kors as outlined earlier in this plan.
In order to come out with the proposed sports line, Kors should first experiment with this
idea by partnering with Nike to create a limited-edition Kors for Nike line. This alliance
would allow him to test the waters without immersing himself completely. By using the
experience and notoriety of Nike as an asset, Kors would be exposed to the world of sports
clothing including learning the best methods and what materials should be used. This
partnership could be short term or continue based on sales and demand. Both Nike and
Kors come out as winners if it is a success.
Prices are to remain stable or increase in time
MAINTAIN BRAND INTEGRITY
To keep the Michael Kors brand image at a premium status, the integrity of the brand
must be monitored at all times. Prices should remain stable or be raised in order to make
sure that the brand does not take on a “cheap” image. For this reason, there should be
absolutely NO discounting of the products. Apple is a company that follows this model to
much success. To appear luxurious, shoppers should not be grabbing at discount bins or
shopping for Kors’ products at a bargain store.
Since Kors’ products are also sold in stores such as Macy’s and Bloomingdales, those
companies will not be allowed to place the merchandise on sales that the stores are having.
For example, Macy’s coupons that apply to the entire store must have a clause on the back
that prohibits the coupon from being used on Kors’ products. This keeps the company on
track to keep prices stable or raise them.
In order to limit availability of the products and create buzz in the consumer’s mind, the
amount of SKUs should be increase while the quantity per SKU should decrease. This
makes the consumer believe that they are purchasing a product that is in high demand
because there are not many of them. Not only does this work for sales, but it also makes
them feel more important because they have something that not many other people have.
MAINTAIN OR INCREASE DEMAND
Social media and PR create buzz that helps Kors to increase demand of his products.
Using celebrities to display his products in public makes the brand appear chic and
important. Online contests via Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr enhance this strategy. By
creating a contest that allows users to win a day with their favorite celebrity, Kors creates
buzz that increases the memory of his products. If someone is entering the contest on a
social media site, he or she will be exposed to the products and may end up clicking on a
link to buy something.
Increase Facebook likes/Twitter followers by 5% each month
In order to increase awareness of the brand, the use of social media must be optimized.
Currently, Kors is the clear leader when compared to his competitors, but in order to keep
up with Marc Jacobs, who is inching up on him slowly, he needs to remain transparent
and unique. The number of tweets/posts is not the key when it comes to social media; the
quality of each one is of the utmost importance. Marc Jacobs tweets almost twice as often
as Kors, but still does not have as many followers. Carefully crafted tweets and posts engage
the audience without overdoing it.
Other brands may tweet more than Kors, but his tweets are focused and targeted, which gain more followers in the long run.
Increasing awareness is easy when a brand is clear and authentic. Kors himself has one
Twitter account for himself/his brand, that way the customers do not become confused
and forced to follow two different accounts. Marc Jacobs, for example, has one account for
himself and another for his brand. This segmented approach creates uncertainty in followers
who may decide that following more than one account is not beneficial for them. People
want all of their information clearly laid out in one place. Jacobs may be losing followers
while Kors gains them in his clean approach.
Marc Jacobs attempts to clear up the confusion due to the segmentation of his brand on Twitter. Are people listening, though?
While increasing consumer awareness of the brand through social media platforms, the
brand must also be differentiated from its competitors. One point of differentiation is that
Kors himself composes most of the tweets for the brand. Often companies have generic
writers who tweet about the brand in general, but Kors makes sure his stamp of approval
is included with the tweets, therefore he becomes more genuine in the eyes of his followers.
Personal touches such as tweets that include photos of Kors in everyday situations make
him more real than a predictable and untouchable CEO.
One point of differentiation is that Kors is taking the time to become a strong presence on
Tumblr, which is where the young audience currently spends their time. Rather than relying
on the traditional avenues such as Facebook and Twitter, he takes his campaign to a different level.
This may be a reason that he resonates so well with the younger generation. Kors needs to
use this account to post contests/giveaways as well.
The rumor is that the kids are all on Tumblr, so Kors is, too. Adapting to trends is key in the apparel industry.
Another point of differentiation is Kors’ use of hashtags. His current hashtag is #WhatsInYourKors,
where followers are encouraged to share what they keep in their Michael Kors handbags.
They are invited to post words and images that can easily be searched by other followers.
This provides style inspiration from the community rather than Kors dictating what his
customers should be wearing/carrying. Kors needs to continue creating unique hashtags in
order to increase followers. This, along with contests, will attract more users.
#WhatsInYourKors encourages engagement and give Kors an authentic image
VI. DIVISION OF RESPONSIBILITIES/
DIVISION OF RESPONSIBILITIES/TIMELINES
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Finalization of plan
Research & Development
Social Media Marketing
• New Marketing: Marketing team, financial team, sales teams, public relations, social
media team, web development, advertising, event production will increase operating
profit by 46%.
The current state of the economy in both the Unites States and the rest of the world has
created unfavorable conditions for the apparel industry. Michael Kors is one company that
is thriving despite these factors. Kors continues to climb the ladder of the industry and is
passing key competitors along the way. Coach, for example, held a much larger share of
the market at one time, but Kors is now surpassing the brand.
While Kors continues to differentiate his products from others in the market, he will have
to take several steps in order to continue to grow. The focus and goals of my marketing plan
include increasing revenue, increasing market share, introducing new products, maintaining
or increasing prices and increasing brand awareness through social media platforms.
Actions and strategies that were set forth support these goals. They include new product
innovation and current product expansion, finding new channels, forming strategic alliances,
maintaining brand integrity, limiting availability and product/brand differentiation.
The implementation of my strategic marketing plan will ensure that Kors’ brand continues
to thrive and grow for many years to come.
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Timberlake, C. (March 15, 2012). Michael Kors Brand Takes on Coach in U.S. Luxury Market. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-16/michael-kors-brandtakes-on-coach-in-u-s-luxury-market.html
Tumblr (n.d.). Retrieved from http://michaelkors.tumblr.com/
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Strategic Marketing Plan for the Michael Kors brand.