The fashion industry is versatile, ever evolving, and full of potential. Although various other companies occupy the fashion industry, its dynamism makes it accommodative of others as long as the newcomers bring something new to the table.
Alara is one such company that brings innovative and dynamic designs that offer a fresh set of luxury products to today’s consumers by availing options that match the current trends while maintaining a sense of elegance and sophistication, which are critical elements in all other luxury retail lines.
The industry aims at providing a range of products that are chic yet suitable for women in all age brackets, thus giving it a competitive edge against its other rivals such as Burberry, Miu Miu, and Moschino.
Alara’s spring/summer collection in particular has a fun feel to it without compromising on elegance and most importantly quality and comfort for the consumers.
This report explains Alara’s spring/summer collection in detail as well as what sets Alara apart from the traditional players (such as Burberry) in the luxury retail market.
The paper also carries an in-depth analysis of the current market trends and details on the potential that this line of products has in successfully penetrating the market.
The report also explains the marketing strategy for the company with the key idea being the use of technology and social media, as a cost-effective way to launch a start-up line.
In addition, this report gives details of the marketing launch plan and performance indicators including avenues for sale, promotion ideas, as well as budgetary estimates and performance indicators.
Alara Spring/Summer Collection 2014
The Alara line, as a new entrant in the luxury brand market, offers diverse options for clients to choose from through affordable pricing as well as dynamic designs that suit both the young tech-savvy generation while accommodating the older and more mature clientele.
The 2014 spring/summer collection, which is the focus of this report, is particularly versatile.
It consists cool and composed monotones mainly navy blues and whites, which blend together to give a relaxed feel to the outfits with the occasional use of stripes to add pizzazz to the outfits; an aspect similar to that in the Chanel collection exhibited in May 2013 (WSGN 2013).
The collection comprises seven mini dresses, three skirts, and three tops, thus creating ten complete looks out of the nine main items. However, each item in the collection is complete enough on its own for fashionistas to play around with in creating looks that are different from the ten main ones.
Chanel collection exhibited in May 2013.
The use of sober colours breaks the monotony of loud and vibrant colours that most brands use for their summer lines. The collection applies the signature use of plunging necklines and linear structure, thus setting it apart from other brands.
The designs in this collection are practical, beautiful, and playful owing to the fabric and the design. The use of silk organza ensures that the outfits are light enough for unrestricted movement, yet absorbent enough for the warm weather without compromising on durability.
Satin adds a touch of elegance while the use of stripes creates a uniquely playful look. The fabrics also ensure that the outfits are multi-purpose, viz. warm enough for a night out, sheer, and absorbent to combat the summer heat yet light enough to work as beach wear as well.
Therefore, the outfits provide value for money, thus making them next year’s must-have items. The colour scheme makes the outfits formal enough for work without the dullness that most work clothes posses while remaining casual enough to wear outside of work.
They can be dressed up or down depending on one’s accessories of choice.
Rationale of Range
Alara, as a luxury line, has various similarities with various other fashion lines in its category such as Moschino, Ralf Lauren, and Miu Miu.
Luxury brands, apart from other fashion brands, underscore the characteristic uniqueness, exclusiveness, and the limited production of such items by creating value that most other brands lack.
Most products made by luxury brands are limited edition pieces that are unique to the period, high in quality, and thus not accessible to everyone.
Another characteristic that sets luxury brands apart is the production of fashion items that can traverse time and remain relevant even as trends evolve with time.
Therefore, designers put considerable thought not only in the aesthetic value of the products, but also in their monetary value through the creation of timeless designs.
A good example to illustrate this argument is the Burberry signature checks design (show below) that was first created in the 1920s as a lining for Burberry trench coats.
This design exudes both simplicity and sophistication, which are qualities that have enabled it to remain significant even in changing trends.
Due to the above characteristics, it is common to see people that have high status in society going for these brands as they best represent the monetary worth of the personalities, retain their value, and are thus worth the money spent.
Emerging trends have ensured that people from all lifestyles craving for a taste of the ‘good life’ increase the demand for luxury fashion items. Therefore, in recent years, the production of cheap counterfeit luxury branded products has increased.
In January 2013, the Global Intellectual Property Centre (GIPC) reported the seizure of counterfeit items worth 1.3 billion dollars in China and Hong Kong. Most of the items comprised of handbags, shoes, clothes, and other fashion accessories (GIPC 2013).
The Alara line aims at mitigating this situation by taping into this emerging market, by creating luxury fashion that is more affordable without compromising on the quality of items or the value of the products.
Alara plans to incorporate the use of multichannel marketing strategies, including social media, strategic partnerships, promotional campaigns, and the use of token products.
The objective is to create as much exposure as possible about the brand while keeping expenditure low in order to maximise on profits and keep absorption costs low.
Indisputably, the mobile phone gadget is one of the most useful technological devices of this century. It has revolutionised the way people communicate as well as how they conduct business.
Although the device also has its disadvantages and challenges, its diverse uses outweigh its disadvantages (Lynn 2010).
One proponent of the indispensability of mobile telephony is the author of the book The Cellphone: The history and technology of the device that changed the world, Guy Klemens, an American engineer.
Klemens is of the view that the mobile phone is an absolute necessity and that even though it has some undesirable qualities like being an annoyance sometimes, it is something that most people ought to have (Klemens 2010).
The device is one of the most common technological devices in most homes (Poulter 2011), even more common than the television according to a survey conducted by the digital utility team at Digital For Real Life Research Centre on 26 March 2012.
On December 13 2012, The Guardian reported that an independent survey carried out by OfCom on media consumption indicated that 60 per cent of all mobile phone users in the UK own smart phones and that consumer spend, on average, a thousand and eighty three pounds (1,083) each on online shopping.
In addition, 62 per cent of adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four years use their mobile phones to access social networking sites such as facebook (Sedghi 2012).
Another, survey carried out by OfCom in 2012 indicates that 92 per cent of adults in the UK own mobile phones totalling 81.6 million subscribers (OfCom 2012).
Therefore, it would make sense to take advantage of these facts to launch an online brand campaign for Alara that targets publicity as well as sales.
Strategic partnerships involve working as a team with people or institutions whose objectives and strategies for their businesses compliment one’s own and provide for the optimal outcome in the business.
Apparently, without photography, the fashion industry contains a vacuum, as it underscores the main avenue that designers use to display their ideas as well as creativity.
Another key element in the fashion industry is the presence of consumer outlet stores, which form the connection between the consumer and the fashion company.
Alara aims at using these two options to facilitate the creation of the designer’s image while enabling consumers to get hold of the merchandise that Alara has to offer.
Other key players that the design house plans to utilise are models looking for a breakthrough and business owners with venues that would benefit from media exposure. As a start up brand, Alara needs as much media coverage as possible on a tight budget.
However, it needs to create an impact in order to earn its position as part of the leading brands and this aspect calls for creativity to make up for the lack of huge budgets that its competitor has the advantage.
Therefore, Alara plans to use the services of up-coming photographers with fabulous skills to take amazing images of gorgeous models in the collection for marketing the brand on the website and social media outlets.
Collaboration with venue owners will aid in the planning of a runway show that will be the main marketing campaign for the 2014 spring/ summer collection, thus ushering in Alara as a luxury brand into the industry.
The main campaign for the brand will be a runway event of the collection in March, ahead of the London Fashion Week scheduled for September 2014 (Rubin 2012).
The rationale behind this date is to allow participants to get in touch with the new upcoming trend that Alara displays as well as giving them an opportunity to shop for luxury outfits to wear to the London Fashion week and be the lot that gets accolades for being ahead of the trends at the show.
The venue of choice is the Royal Opera House located on Bow Street, Covenant Garden. The Royal Opera House is an iconic and picturesque location that matches the mood of the event while providing ample space for the runway event. Since it is mostly famous for ballet, most high society clients know its location well.
The building houses a fine dining restaurant and a champagne bar, which will be open to guests at the show.
The venue creates a relaxed atmosphere where high society clients would feel at ease as the space also gives guests a chance to interact and make orders for items that they like while enjoying cocktails and the breathtaking views around them.
Tokens and gift vouchers
Psychologists indicate that people are more willing to do something when the chances of benefiting from it are higher. For instance, a person is more willing to help another when the possibility of reward or reciprocation is higher.
Alara plans to capitalise on this rationale by creating tokens and gift vouchers for ticket holders for the runway show, as well as fans on the social media networks and online buyers on Alara’s website.
This move increases coverage as it creates interest in most people, thus translating to a larger market reach and increased sales. The buyer of the ticket does not usually know whether he or she is going to win, but the possibility is usually motivating enough for him or her to buy the ticket.
The tokens and vouchers will also be available at retail stores for customers that would prefer to pre-pay for clothes as gift items and have their loved ones pick what they like in the future.
Alara’s Marketing Strategy
Alara’s website and social networking channels
Although most traditional luxury brands such as Burberry and Calvin Klein have numerous stores all over the world, especially the characteristic brick and motor ones, they have gained these stores over time. However, these stores face stiff competition from online retailers (Norick 2012).
Realistic expectations demand Alara to be different without losing its competitive edge and build up over time. Alara plans to open an online store that provides users with options for the purchase of items in the comfort of their homes or offices.
A delivery service that ensures the exquisite packaging and safe delivery of the items as well as consumer satisfaction will also be in use for the clients, thus completing the shopping experience as delightfully as possible.
Customers that buy outfits worth a certain amount from the online store earn a discount as well as get the option to customise an outfit of their choice as a pre-order purchase, by altering elements such as colour, length, and decorative details such as the addition or subtraction of pockets, stripes, and accessories such as beads and sequins.
This exercise allows the brand to maintain the element of exclusivity, as the customised designs chosen by clients are one of a kind and are not duplicable. It is also cost effective as opening and registering a website is cheaper in comparison to rent rates in most brick and motor stores that are characteristic for luxury brand outlets.
The website will apply the use of order and inquiry forms in the collection of information about the clients’ needs. This data will later prove useful in supplying information about new products directly to clients through emails or text messages on their mobile phones.
The current social media fashion trend involves fans of luxury brands taking pictures of themselves in outfits made by the brands in a bid to obtain publicity.
Michael Kors, Burberry, and Kenneth Cole have embraced this trend, thus encouraging the popularity of the brands among younger clientele.
Kenneth Cole, for instance, sent models walking down the runway with smart phones as accessories during the New York Fashion Week, Fall 2013 (Fishman 2013).
The pictures taken by the models were then posted on social networking sites to give the fans a runway experience from the models’ perspective. Alara prefers to take a similar, but different and unique approach.
The brand will employ the use of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for younger clientele, mainly between the age of fifteen and twenty nine years.
Alara works on gathering followers and translating the numbers to sales using fun competitions and random issuance of complimentary gift items such as limited edition accessories to fans that buy items from the collection and display it on their accounts.
The brand will also create a competition on the social media sites for models and photographers with certain qualifications. It will then organise a photo shoot, where the selected photographers and models will participate by using the spring/summer collection free.
The designer will then choose the images and models that best represent his or her idea for the collection and use them for the advertising campaign.
The designer will pick the best photographer to cover the runway campaign, while the winning model gets to be the face of the collection and participate in the runway show at the Mandarin Oriental.
One advantage of social media is that it is a faster form of the word of mouth that provides access to an international market as well as access to the age bracket that has a more adventurous fashion sense as opposed to the mature and settled older clientele.
This aspect provides a wider market and a better chance of having the brand absorbed into the market faster than it would if the items were displayed in a shopping outlet.
Secondly, the designer stands a chance to get immediate feedback, thus giving him/her the opportunity to judge the success or failure of the items comprising the brand and make the necessary changes if required.
The diversity of clientele and real-time sales allow designers to take necessary precautions to preserve the future of a brand. In addition, both the website and the social networks will be valuable in popularising the runway launch event.
Alara will collaborate with high-end retail outlets by offering to allow them to display the 2014 spring/summer collection in the stores for a commission on any sale made. The storeowners also have the option of buying the pieces at a discount and selling them at a price they deem as fit.
The retail store of choice is LN-CC located in London, which contains two brand new product rooms and displays outfits from the majority of the major designers.
This aspect gives shoppers the chance to measure up products from Alara against traditional luxury brands as well as view other Alara designs and make informed choices.
The benefit of this arrangement to the retailer is that the storeowner does not have to buy the limited edition luxury pieces in order to have them.
The Brand actually pays him/her to sell the items if applying the first option, thus making it profitable for him/her to have more of the items in the store.
This arrangement benefits Alara for the price of the item is actually inclusive of the commission, thus shifting the burden of payment to the buyer.
This move ensures quicker sales and the availability of a retail outlet for customers that prefer shopping directly from retail outlets so that they have a more realistic feel of the items before buying them.
The storeowners will also hand out fliers with details of the runway event to customers creating further awareness of the event.
Tokens and vouchers
Tokens and vouchers will also be available both at the retail stores and on the website.
The aim of this move is to give customers, who would like to buy outfits as gift items for their loved ones without knowing their taste or having specific measurements, the opportunity to do so without disappointments.
This strategy works by buying tokens or vouchers that are redeemable in the future and registering them under the loved one’s name so that the voucher or token holder gets to choose any item from the brand for the price amount of the voucher or token.
This strategy increases the capital amount for the company, thus enabling the production of more items while reducing the risk of loses.
The runway show
This event will be the main avenue that formally introduces the brand, Alara, to the world. As aforementioned, the location for the runway show will be the Royal Opera House in London, which is an attractive venue that befits the status of the event as well as the people attending it.
Tickets for the event will be available on the Alara’s website as well as LN-CC selling the brand’s items. However, payment for the tickets will not take the conventional form of cash or credit card payments.
Instead, payment for the tickets will take the form of item, voucher, and token purchases worth a specific amount of money.
Every buyer that gets spends the specified amount gets an invitation with a serial number on it that enables the event organisers to estimate the number of people that will attend the event as well their personal details that will apply in the creation of the invitation list.
The logic behind this move is that people are more willing to spend money if they spend it on themselves as opposed to parting with cash to buy tickets. The specified amount will cover for the entrance fee as well as the price of the items bought.
There will also be pre order forms with numbered pictures of the items that will be on display during the show, with provisions for order details like the buyer’s contact information, the items chosen for purchase, the mode of payment, and delivery address.
The forms will be placed on each seat for convenience in case a guest decides to order for any of the items that will be on display. The forms will then be dropped in a box at the exit to ensure discretion on the items that each guest chooses.
Drinks will be served after the show and guests will be given time to interact in a serene atmosphere and give their opinions of the brand and the items on show.
This event is a great opportunity for people from different professions to create links and networks without the pressure of feeling as if they are in an interview.
Winners from the social network competitions will be allowed to take pictures, document, and share details of the event with their friends and followers on the networks thus creating hype around the brand and establishing the brand’s presence.
Alara’s strategy entails detailed ways in which it plans to get the most coverage out of the least budget amount possible.
Although it may seem as an expensive affair, the creative approach that Alara takes ensures that the marketing campaign takes off on a lean budget while producing quality results. Most of the key stakeholders in this event would willingly participate for various reasons.
The options provided for the storeowners ensure that they spend as little as possible in buying stock for their stores while obtaining close to 100 per cent profits without the possibility of loses.
The photographers participating in the process will build their portfolios free of charge, with models and outfits supplied by the brand. The winners from the competitions will attend the runway show free of charge and get exclusive photographs of the entire event.
The models get the advantage of participating in a photo shoot free of charge, adorned in limited edition items from the newest luxury brand.
The photographs taken are applicable in building their portfolios while the ultimate winner gets to be the face of the brand’s spring/summer collection, thus elevating her status and giving her worldwide recognition.
The clientele attending the event is mostly high-end and as such, managers of the establishment would be willing to use the opportunity to market the establishment, not only to the attendants, but also to the entire world.
Alara’s main expenditure would be on production costs for the items, website registration charges, printing charges for vouchers, tokens, and order forms, and delivery charges.
The brand seeks to distribute these charges so that they are transferable to consumers through the pricing of the items. A comparison of prices charged by competing brands also informs the decision on the price estimates for each item.
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