Along with continuous increases in the globalization of market, today’s business is challenged by a maturing domestic retail environment and an aging consumer market. Given this atmosphere in Korean fashion market, one of critical issues to survival for companies is a strong “brand power” with brand image (identity) and its strategic marketing Strong brands are viewed to differentiate themselves from unknown brands, resulting in favorable brand images that mirror the brand’s identity. As exploratory approach, this study identifies a strategic business focus on achieving brand power and provides an insight into developing effective brand positioning and fashion marketing strategy toward global markets. By focusing on a Korean fashion brand “Bean Pole”, objectives of this study are to profile the Cheil Industry in Samsung Group, define brand identity of the Bean Pole, and explore critical factors of strategic brand management. Korea’s economy ranks among the top 10 in the world, and its consumers have long been familiar with Western cultures through travel abroad and mass communications. Now, the Korean fashion marketplace is characterized by two market niches; (a) primarily domestically-produced, inexpensive apparel lines and (b) high-end collections dominated by designer brands imported mostly from the U.S. and Europe. More recently, apparel retail industry has shown strong rates of growth in South Korea, increasing its attractiveness to new entrants from foreign retailers. While some retailers selling apparel are highly diverse, many retailers still retain a strong emphasis on clothing, which intensifies rivalry. Cheil Industries is an affiliate of the Samsung Group, founded in 1954, as an initiative company with force in the development of textile industry, Korea. Today, the company has established a worldwide reputation for high quality and value in the three aspects: (a) leadership of electronic material in the IT area, (b) creating high profit by business structure of chemicals, and (c) gaining competitive fashion brand power. Currently, the Cheil Industry became a leading fashion firm with dominant brand power by launching various brands in domestic as well as foreign markets. As a traditional casual brand, “Bean Pole” launched in 1989 is currently expanding to family brands with different product lines. In 2005, the company had annual sales of $950million for fashion business. “Bean Pole” is the core fashion brand of the Cheil Industries, contributing 31% ($290million) of total sales in the fashion division in 2005. Now, the Bean Pole is number 1 brand in the retail venue of casual wear and children wear. Obviously, Bean Pole plays an important role as the best brand in achieving powerful brand asset of Cheil Industries’ fashion brands in Korea. This case study discusses Bean Pole from two aspects. The first thing is building brand salience. For fashion products, brand salience may be strongly related to brand image (or concept) including fashion image and style. The second thing is how to do strategic brand management. Strategic brand management involves the design and implementation of marketing programs and activities to build, measure, and manage brand equity. This study provides an insight into marketers and researchers to develop devise strategic brand management in the area of high-end fashion brand and underscore the inherent need for further, in-depth empirical research in the brand equity theory. A basic observation exemplify the brand identity of Bean Pole and its strategic brand management for sustaining strong brand equity in three aspects: brand extension, image positioning, and marketing mixes. In case of Bean Pole, success of marketing strategy for brand management heavily relies on its prestige image with high quality, establishing the brand equity. The brand equity can be leverage of brand extension entering into variety of new product categories within a same category of apparel. Especially, masstige brand positioning is critical to success of lifestyle brand extension for Bean Pole, which may have synergy effect on achieving strong brand value in both core brand and its extension. A strategic brand managing effort of Bean Pole can help companies establish brand equity. Fashion firms that are able to have a strong relationship with their customer should real a host of value, such as salient brand identity, premium brand price, and efficient marketing programs. Such understanding Bean Pole’s business focus allow marketers or retailers to entry into global brand extensions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Strategy and Management
- Management of Technology and Innovation