Fashion essentially involves change, defined as a succession of short term trends or fad and the very nature of fashion, where change is intrinsic, gives different emphasis to marketing activities (Eeasey, 1994). Furthermore, process research, according to Pettigrew (1992), in strategic management is paradigmatically diverse and empirically complex. Therefore, analysis of process model of strategy specific attention should be paid in fashion industry. Since it is significant without any doubt for a fashion company to choose the proper model to complement marketing strategy, evaluation of strategy process model could be essential. This essay attempts to evaluate Johnson & Scholes’ traditional model and Hill & Jones’ model in fashion industry by analysing and comparing these two models via a few cases of fashion companies. By virtue of making a case study of a listed company, Metersbonwe Group, analyzing its strategy it could have an evaluation of Johnson & Scholes’ traditional model while the “Bravo” of Burberry would illustrate advantages of Hill & Jones’ model despite of certain limitations.
Evaluation of Strategic Marketing Models in Fashion Industry
Overview of Models
●Exploring Corporate Strategy model
(Johnson and Scholes, 1999) The exhibit above indicates the three main processes in a linear sequence: understanding the strategic position; strategic choice; turning strategy into action (Johnson and Scholes, 1999). Johnson and Scholes (1999) pointed that each process is supposed to be regarded as closely associated, and none has priority over another process realistically for these three processes are interrelated and interconnected in circles. In Exploring Corporate Strategy model, according to the Johnson and Scholes (1999), strategic position means that strategic analysis and understanding of the impact on strategy of the external environment, an organisation’s capability (resources and competences) and the expectations and influence of stakeholders, which lays the foundation of the future strategies. In the strategy creation and choice part, there are several strategic options available for manager making a reasonable decision to choose congruent methods. Next, the strategy implementation involves the ensuring that chosen strategies are actually put into action.
●Strategic Planning Process model
(Hill and Jones, 2004)
Evaluation of Strategic Marketing Models in Fashion Industry
The figure shows that there are five major processes of the Hill and Jones’ model: selecting the corporate mission and goals; analyzing the organization’s external competitive environment to identify opportunities and threats; analyzing the organization’s internal operating environment to identify the organization’s strengths and weaknesses; Selecting strategies that build on the organization’s strengths and correct its weaknesses in order to take advantage of external opportunities and counter external threats, which should be consistent with the mission and major goals of the organization; implementing the strategies (Hill and Jones, 2004).
Analysis of Comparison and Evaluation
From the description of the processes of two models, it could be found that there is a difference in process between Johnson and Scholes’ model and Hill and Jones’ model. In this part, evaluation would be concluded by case analysis. In Johnson and Scholes’ model, they prefer to analyses the impact on strategy of the external environment, external elements (resources and competences) and the expectations and influence of stakeholders before choosing a congruent strategy between several options. Take Metersbonwe Group as an example, the company, which was created by President and Founder, Zhou Chenjian in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, in 1995, is a listed company specialized in casual wear apparel designing, manufacturing and retailing, playing its role as a leading casualwear apparel company (Shiwei and Hengjing, 2011). It had achieved great success in past several years. To extend their business, Metersbonwe had a new strategy to imitate the fashion model, which was initiated by Zara.
In the market process, the company made an analysis of it internal and external environment. However, they had an imprecise market prediction of fashion trend, which made the company’s sales not as expected thus increasing company’s inventory in the dynamic market. According to China Scope Financial (2011), as of September 30, 2011, Metersbonwe’s inventory value was CNY 2.98 billion, 83% of its net asset and although Metersbonwe’s cash flow in the third quarter of 2011 became positive for the first time since the third quarter of 2010, the growth of its income and profit has slowed down. One of the main characters of Zara’s fast fashion model is that in the rapid supply chain maintaining low inventories of this model is the basis for profit (Maolijief, 2012).
On contrary, the Metersbonwe had committed a fatal error in their process of strategy choice, declining inventory rate and slowing operation time many times. In fashion industry, high inventory each retention day means devaluation (Maolijief, 2012). In addition, on account of the management of the Metersbonwe, the positioning issues were all important for Metersbonwe when it is confronted with the high inventory crisis and decline of their brand image. The external environment offered the threat and ever-growing competition from other brand such as Semir. Its strong Apparel brand and existing consumer group were key advantages for defending its position. In the dynamic market, especially in the fashion market, which is undergoing a myriad of changes in the twinkling of an eye, if the company made an inappropriate strategic option and could not change to cope with the unpredictable situation in their process of strategy, they would turn from a success into a failure while process of strategy planning is essential. In contrast, in Hill and Jones’ model, analysis of organization’s external competitive environment and the organization’s internal operating environment are followed by a clear mission.
The UK fashion brand Burberry will suffice to illustrate this point. Burberry started a new strategy after appointing Rosie Marie Bravo in 1997 as chief executive, which has made Burberry from boom. In the new strategy, Rosie Marie Bravo (CEO) set a mission to reposition the Burberry’s brand by selecting the corporate mission and goals, which could be regarded as the first step of Hill and Jones’ model. Burberry’s goals were to rebuilt Burberry brand image, to keep the traditional consumer base as well as attract a new, more fashion forward client base by regaining control over distribution and taking back the power over design and product development. In the process of analyzing the company’s external competitive environment, Burberry made a decision of opening a flagship store on New Bond Street in London, competing with stores such as Gucci, Versace, Prada and Chanel by placing itself on the level of these luxury fashion brands.
Besides, Burberry’s fashion shows in Milan, as other luxury fashion brands usually do, was a congruent approach to draw the fashion media’s attention and to enjoy media coverage, thus empower itself highly competitive in international fashion market. The next process after selecting the mission was analyzing the internal situation such as their narrow scope of customers and lacking of controlling design and product distribution, then Burberry made a strategy to establish six new brand levels under his direction and incorporated several alternative fashion directions previously ignored thus leading Burberry to attract majority of the potential consumers. With these new brands extending their range varying from traditional menswear to womenswear, children’s apparel, and accessories, Burberry could cope with their weaknesses of narrow scope of customers to achieve their mission.
In addition, Burberry made a plan to renegotiate with these foreign companies that the licenses previously endorsed. In this way, Burberry enabled itself to overcome company’s internal design and distribution disadvantages. In the fourth steps, Burberry took a new strategy in three aspects, according to the company’s mission and analysis of both internal and external situation to turnaround Burberry: plenty of approaches to marketing and rebranding; controlling product design and manufacture; changing distribution policy. After the implementation of the new strategy, Burberry achieved considerable improvement in its financial performance, showing a profit increase of 630 per cent between the years of 2000 and 2003 and constructing itself as a fashion luxury brand. The Burberry case demonstrates the characters and significance of every process in Hill and Jones’ model.
Although, Hill and Jones’ model has its limitations as well as merits, just as Katja Kanngiesser (2004) pointed out that traditional strategy process paid much attention on analysis, reason and period of stability and presume that based on their analysis they could make reliable future prediction. Hill and Jones (2004) admitted that valuable strategies often emerge from deep within the organization without previous planning. Furthermore, other researchers hold the opinion that the real world is unpredictable and they doubt the role that lower-level managers could play in the management process (Gavetti, Levinthal, and Rivkin)
This essay presents two generalizable model of firm strategy in the fashion market and illustrates model with two cases. From the analysis of two kinds of strategy process model in company cases, it could be concluded that Hill and Jones’ model has an advantage over Johnson and Scholes’ model by virtue of analysing of Metersbonwe and Burberry while Johnson and Scholes’ model and Hill and Jones’ model have many similarities in the process of strategy model. Both Johnson and Scholes’ model and Hill and Jones’ model have its limitations as well as merits.
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Evaluation of Strategic Marketing Models in Fashion Industry
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China Scope Financial, (2011). Metersbonwe Faces High Inventory Pressure. [online] Available at: http://www.chinascopefinancial.com/news/post/1736.html [Accessed 27 December 2011].
Maolijief, (2012). Metersbonwe brand clothing high inventory problem analysis. [online] Available at: http://mens-clothes-online.tm96.net/20120724/metersbonwe-brand-clothin g-high-inventory-problem-analysis-2.html [Accessed 24 July 2011].
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