"Several years ago, VF Corporation, the world's largest apparel manufacturer, embarked on an aggressive growth strategy that rests heavily on branding, including opening new retail outlets. The company, which had been known for producing intimate apparel and everyday Wrangler and Lee jeans, is building on a group of brands that symbolize an entire lifestyle.
The model is based on North Face, a label that encompasses products ranging from jackets and shoes to shorts and tents, all communicating an outdoors-oriented lifestyle. Since it acquired North Face in 2000, VF has gone on to buy Reef -- which is aimed at surfers -- high-end jeans maker 7 for All Mankind and lucy, a women's active apparel brand focusing on the loose-fitting yoga look. VF also sold off its long-time intimate apparel divisions, which manufactured the Vanity Fair and Vassarette labels, because research showed that consumers viewed those lines simply as products, not as a symbol of a broader lifestyle, according to VF CEO Mackey McDonald.
"Our capability today is in building brands," he says. "That is what I believe is driving our growth and success."
If VF's strategy is any indication, brands don't seem to be losing their luster. Despite serious challenges from private label manufacturers and low-price global production, branding remains an important way for consumers to choose among products in a crowded marketplace. At the same time, brands are also taking on a growing role in building consumers' own identities, according to Wharton faculty and marketing analysts. But, these experts add, with little room to compete on cost, brands will need to be vigilant when it comes to differentiating themselves from increasingly sophisticated competitors." Source: Knowledge@Wharton, Univ. of Penn.
Download full pdf report | Link to online article