The past ten years have been a lost decade for Chinese apparel companies.
With the massive invasion of foreign clothing brands, local brands that were once popular have fallen into decline. Brands such as Metersbonwe, Yichun, JeansWest, and Giordano are aging and showing signs of decline; brands such as Youngor, Langzi, and Shanshan have deviated from the main track of clothing and entered popular industries such as real estate, investment, medical beauty, and new energy; Rasha Bell, Angel Bird, and Inman gradually lost their way in the multi-brand expansion strategy…
On the other hand, foreign brands have unique scenery. China’s apparel market is worth trillions, and the biggest profits are captured by foreign brands. In the sportswear track, Nike and Adidas account for more than 40% of the market share, while in the fast fashion field, Uniqlo, Zara, and H&M dominate the market. From women’s clothing to men’s clothing, from the mass market to the high-premium track, international brands have the advantage.
In fact, China has the best clothing manufacturing factories in the world and is the production and manufacturing center of world-renowned brands. At the same time, its consumer population of 1.4 billion also supports China to become the world’s largest fashion consumer. But unfortunately, despite the unique conditions, China’s clothing brands have not won a place in the global competition, nor have they given birth to big brands with global influence. There are no giants in Chinese clothing.
So, in this war that should have been won, where did China’s clothing companies lose? How should we strategically break the situation? Dongji Positioning believes that there are the following four strategic blind spots in front of Chinese apparel companies. Only by seeing through these strategic blind spots can companies find the right way to break the situation.
Strategic blind spot 1: General lack of national self-confidence
When visiting major clothing shopping malls, it is not difficult to find that most domestic clothing brands prefer to use English names. Even if there are Chinese brand names, they are generally not highlighted. The Chinese name is only placed under the large English brand name as an auxiliary element. It is a common phenomenon that Chinese clothing brands love to wear “English vests”, and the essential reason behind this is actually that Chinese clothing brands lack national self-confidence.
A year ago, many international first-tier brands jointly launched a boycott of Xinjiang cotton in my country, which made the Chinese people see the collective decline of China’s fashion industry. Behind the boiling public opinion is the Chinese people’s protest and resistance to the arrogant behavior of foreign brands, and also the appeal and expectation for national clothing brands.
Once upon a time, Chinese silk, tea, porcelain and other luxury goods were popular in Europe for thousands of years. The smooth and gorgeous Chinese silk became a high-end fabric sought after by Roman nobles. Recently, in the 2022 autumn ready-to-wear series released by the French brand Dior, a skirt that resembles the traditional Chinese “horse-faced skirt” has also attracted a lot of public attention. Compared with the short history of industrial evolution in Europe and the United States, for Chinese clothing brands, how to make good use of the 5,000-year cultural treasures of Chinese civilization and build the national confidence of Chinese clothing brands may be the starting point for Chinese clothing brands to return to the top of the world.
As Wang Bo, the founder of Dongji Positioning, said: “China is currently in the era of the Chinese Dream, and all major industries are calling for national brands. Looking at strategists at home and abroad in ancient and modern times, we can find that the essence of strategy is to seize power and bring the entire industry together. The potential energy is gathered on your side. At present, the greatest potential energy of all major industries is concentrated on national brands, such as Huawei, Gree Electric Appliances, Feihe Milk Powder, China Li Ning, DJI UAV, Wolf Warrior Wu Jing, China High-Speed Rail Etc. The feeling of family and country is a huge competitiveness. In other words, who can speak for China, who can master core technologies and greatly improve China’s competitiveness in the world in their industry, and who will become the real leader of this industry. By.”
China’s clothing industry has also emerged with the emergence of a number of pioneers of national brands. For example, Bosideng and Fan De’an, driven by strategic positioning consulting agencies, have strengthened and highlighted their Chinese brand names, becoming leading brands in the fields of down jackets and fashionable swimwear respectively, and successfully created national brand images.
Strategic blind spot 2: too much emphasis on emotional appeals
“Qianbaihui: Colorful beauty, exquisite life”, “Metersbonwe, not taking the usual path”, “Peacebird: Leading the show of Chinese fast fashion”, “Bara Bala: Childhood is different”, “Seima: Whatever you wear is what you wear” …When you see these brand appeals, will you have the desire to buy?
Studying the advertising appeals of Chinese clothing brands, you will find that the vast majority of brands have typical emotional appeals, pursuing gorgeous rhetoric and beauty, but ignoring the true differentiation of the brand. These perceptual appeals are like strategic fog, hiding the true differentiated value of the enterprise. As Jack Trout, the father of positioning, emphasized, in the era of information explosion, consumers’ minds are troubled. The content conveyed by such perceptual advertising appeals is vague and even incomprehensible. Consumers forget it immediately, and it is naturally difficult to enter the customer’s mind.
An advertising slogan is not just a beautiful sentence, it reflects the brand strategy behind it. Classic positioning advertising must answer the question of what is the unique and differentiated value of the brand in the minds of customers, and this is also a fundamental problem that the brand needs to solve.
For example: Bosideng positions itself as “the world’s best-selling down jacket expert” and claims to be “sold in 72 countries around the world and has won more than 2″Chosen by billions of people” is clear and unambiguous, which also allows Bosideng to quickly enter the public mind. Fan De’an has established the positioning of “fashionable swimwear favored by celebrities” and appealed to “In China, more than 100 celebrities are wearing Fan De’an”, successfully seizing the market for fashionable swimwear. No. 1 brand. Rimba focuses on jackets to break through and appeals to “focus on jackets for thirty-three years.”
Strategic Blind Spot 3: The general lack of explosive thinking
Studying the development history of successful companies, it is not difficult to find that creating super hot products is a very common strategy for successful companies, especially in the fast-moving goods industry. For example: Feihe milk powder builds Xingfeifan as a strategic single product. In 2021, the revenue of Xingfeifan alone will reach 11 billion, accounting for nearly half of Feihe’s total revenue. Another example is Haitian, which takes soy sauce as its core single product and forms a matrix of five hot products to support its condiment empire. It can be said that creating super hot products has become a basic strategy for fast-moving goods companies, but it is still relatively rarely used in the clothing industry.
Clothing is a typical high-demand and high-frequency industry with a short product life cycle and fast iteration time. However, creating super hot products is also crucial in the clothing industry. On the one hand, hot-selling series can become the mental landing point for consumers to recognize the brand, helping the brand to enter the minds of customers efficiently; on the other hand, in this fast-updating and iterative industry, only super hot-selling products can transcend time to a certain extent. cycle, bringing a large amount of stable income over a long period of time.
For example, UNIQLO has supported its clothing empire with its three popular models, polar fleece, HEATTECH, and AIRism, and the global sales of the HEATTECH series have exceeded 1 billion pieces; Bosideng has launched windbreakers and down jackets to create super popular items; Fan De’an’s Little Red Heart series has become an enduring trend in swimwear. The Internet celebrity hot-selling model has declined; Burberry’s windbreaker series has been popular in the fashion industry for more than a hundred years; Jimba successfully broke through by focusing on jackets; in recent years, Jiumu Wang also intends to use the “men’s trousers expert” to overtake in corners.
Of course, creating super hot products does not mean that other types of products cannot be effective. Super popular products are the mental landing point and the bridgehead for establishing brand status, while other products are very important supplements. For example, Rimula positions itself as a jacket, but still sells pants, shirts and other clothing categories. Similarly, in addition to the popular HEATTECH series, Uniqlo also has many other series of clothing categories; Van De’an is also gradually laying out the layout after strongly dominating fashion swimwear. Yoga and other fashionable sports categories.
Strategic Blind Spot Four: Too Focused on Crowd Segmentation
Traditional old department stores will divide the floors into different types according to different groups of people, such as men’s clothing, Shaoshu, Zhongshu, and Dashu. Correspondingly, Chinese clothing brands also like to focus on a certain segment of the population. For example, Eveli focuses on urban white-collar workers aged 26-40, and Qiushui Yiren’s advertising focuses on “Urban ladies, I wear Qiushui Yiren” and so on.
Dongji Positioning believes that focusing on a certain group of people is a strategic blind spot that Chinese clothing brands often make. Clothing brands should be oriented by category segmentation rather than segmentation by group of people. They should seize the first place in categories such as business men’s wear, technical underwear, and fashionable swimwear, rather than focusing on a certain segment of the population. Studying most successful clothing brands, you will also find that they basically focus on seizing the clothing sub-categories. For example, lululemon seizes the yoga clothing category, Nike started with basketball shoes and gradually became the king of sports categories, and Adidas started with football shoes. In the sports category, Bosideng is positioned as the world’s best-selling down jacket expert, Youngor has emerged in the early stage with the shirt category, Jinba has suddenly emerged with the jacket category, and Jiumuwang has focused on the men’s trousers category.
The reason why we emphasize category segmentation orientation instead of crowd segmentation orientation is that on the one hand, the consumer groups are constantly changing, such as the rise of the younger generation, consumption upgrades brought about by increased income, changes in consumption concepts brought about by increasing age, etc. Focusing on a certain group of people will bring a lot of uncertainty, and seizing the first place in the category can form a mental perception that “the brand equals a certain category”, which is conducive to one word occupying the mind; on the other hand, terminal channels In the past, old department stores were divided into floors based on groups of people, but now shopping malls are open to all people on all floors, and no longer focus on a certain segment of the group.
Take Van De’an fashion swimwear as an example. In the early years, Van De’an’s consumers were mainly young people in their 80s and 90s. In 2019, they launched the strategic positioning of “fashionable swimwear favored by celebrities” and successfully occupied the No. 1 fashion swimwear brand, successfully attracting people in their 70s and 80s. There are multiple circles such as mainstream people, celebrities, celebrities and super high-end people. Another example is Bosideng, which was originally thought of as a down jacket worn by mothers. In 2017, it began to achieve a successful strategic upgrade and positioned itself as a “global best-selling down jacket expert.” Now mainstream people such as senior white-collar workers and civil servants have become users of Bosideng.