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East Coast Lifestyle Brand’s Limited Edition Strategy Case Study

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Updated: Jun 13th, 2022

Independent middle- and small-scale local apparel brands seem to gain increasing recognition as the dangers of fast fashion become more and more publicly known. East Coast Lifestyle (ECL) belongs to this category, offering a high-quality and unique variety of clothes that attracts East Coast Canadians scattered across the country. Featuring nautical symbols, the brand’s hoodies and t-shirts strengthen potential customers’ need to emphasize belonging to their place of origin. Thus, the brand’s primary advantage appears to consist of the appeal to local pride, building, and differentiating the inhabitants of the Maritime provinces’ identity.

The Case’s Context

Despite a somewhat limited presence on the market, ECL reached the point where previous marketing strategies no longer satisfy its need for expansion. Alex MacLean, the company’s founder, is faced with a difficult choice between several options for its future development and the need to revaluate its existing approaches. The principal decision consists of whether to try to invade the United State’s lifestyle apparel market, consider other countries, or expand internally, encompassing Canada’s western provinces and developing West Coast Lifestyle (WCL). Since previously the company’s plan was too unfocused, the necessity to revolve around one principal direction became pressing.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Limited Edition Strategy

A limited-edition is a widely practiced approach for an array of apparel brands. It seems reasonable to suggest that such products enhance a company’s ability to be noticed among other brands, building its individuality. Additionally, this approach can assist in increasing revenue, as limited edition products are commonly sold at a higher price. In this aspect, ECL went even further as a sizable part of its products was exclusive. The sense of exclusivity is augmented by the fact that according to the company’s strategy, once such a product line is sold out, it is never recreated. This approach also creates a sense of urgency, which helps customers succumb to their desire to buy an item and potentially shortens the time to reevaluate the decision. Ultimately, these advantageous effects can result in additional revenue and brand recognition.

On the other hand, a continuous limited release strategy can exhaust customers, and the urge to buy such products can gradually cease. The strategy also results in a lost perception of uniqueness if the majority or a large number of products are branded as limited. In order to be efficient, limited edition strategy should harmonize scarcity and demand. It appears that ECL manages to achieve this balance, as the method works efficiently for it for seven years. Companies of different levels practice limited edition strategy, and the brand’s expansion would not interfere with its effectuation. As a brand that sells high-quality items, ECL does not seem to jeopardize consumer attraction and discourage them by an unnecessary sense of urgency, since they do not market trivial products as limited. Hence, the company should continue the strategy since it helps improve its profits and market share. Nonetheless, slight modifications could be implemented, such as increasing the proportion of regular items not to lose exclusivity during the brand’s growth.

The Brand’s Promotion Strategies

ECL’s financial limitations shaped its promotion strategies, in which social media play an essential role, specifically Instagram. Given the ubiquity and predominance of the platform among people whose age ranges approximately from eighteen to twenty-seven, the tactic seems to suit the brand’s needs in connecting with their target audience. Moreover, the platform’s nature allows ECL to establish close interactive relationships with its followers and enables the brand to connect with a broader audience. Currently, Instagram seems like a vital and indispensable tool for clothing brands, and ECL uses its potential maximally. Furthermore, ECL organized an ambassador program, collaborating with student influencers, which approximated the brand with its target audience by engaging people whose opinions it trusts.

Celebrity endorsement is another closely related to social media marketing branding strategy. The unpaid collaboration with such widely recognizable artists as Ed Sheeran and Classified helped establish brand equity, exposing it to a large number of people and rendering it more prominent by association. Despite its efficacy, this branding type can considerably damage the brand image if the celebrity’s reputation suffers damage. In comparison, the brand’s collaboration with Alexander Keith’s Brewery in a cross-promotional campaign also helped it access different markets and enhance brand recognition. Its promotion through philanthropy and involvement with Wounded Warriors and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation created a positive brand image, which could facilitate customers’ buying decisions. Overall, the company’s promotion strategies suit its target audience and are designed considering its initially relatively lean budget; it can be stated that they are adequately selected and cost-effective.

The Brand’s Expansion

In order to choose the international expansion direction, ECL needs to consider such factors as the competitiveness of the target market, the products’ relevance there, and the ability to execute. Although the East Coast of the United States has rich surf, skate, and snow subcultures, ECL may not be able to compete for this niche due to a considerable number of similar apparel brands. Furthermore, the experience with Rhode Island and Florida retailers did not meet the sales expectations and demonstrated the lack of demand. Capturing and interpreting the local identity of this new region may also pose a problem. Another option is South Korea – the country underwent a significant economic transformation and increased purchasing power, making it prepared for ECL’s price range. The country also has strong coastal identification; nevertheless, sizable cultural differences and peculiarities could present an inescapable problem. Conclusively, given the demand for ECL’s product in Canada, domestic growth, and developing retailer presence, there seems like the least risky option that builds on the brand’s strengths and local demand.

International expansion requires consideration of numerous legal issues, in-depth research of the target market, and the need to win the customers anew. In current socioeconomic conditions, deglobalization and logistics diminish opportunities for international expansion. The company could use WCL to facilitate the implementation of regional growth – it presents a basis for creating apparel relevant to the population of Central and Western Canada. By hiring local employees, the company would gain meaningful insight into the region’s clothing needs and perceptions. Additionally, ECL could use to its advantage the fact that many East Coast Canadians have to search for work in these regions. This situation helps extend ECL’s presence in new territories and potentially guarantees a loyal customer base.

Conclusion

ECL appears to be a company that was able to recognize and capitalize on its strengths quickly. The effective use of social media, exclusive high-quality streetwear, play on the sense of belonging, and local identity construction helped it gain traction in a short time. By assigning its clothing emotional value, ECL associates it with home and being proud of where one is from, the quality absent among mass-market fashion retailers. The decision about the future direction necessitates ECL not to lose what made it successful in the first place.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "East Coast Lifestyle Brand's Limited Edition Strategy." June 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/east-coast-lifestyle-brands-limited-edition-strategy/.

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