My final year Uni project involved two stages: research and implementation. It was all about the fact that I, theoretically, discovered a business opportunity for Gap (UK) to launch a new sub-brand.
Initial company and casualwear market research revealed that the Gap UK brand, unlike key competitors A&F, Hollister, Jack Wills and Superdry, is experiencing a decline in sales, profit and market share.
Conducting a consumer survey showed that Gap has an older, loyal customer base, but they are not currently satisfying the needs of 18-24 year old consumers who are seeking more ‘new’, ‘unique’, ‘exciting’ and ‘trendier’ clothing.
I expressed my belief that Gap should look to build loyalty in a sector with disposable income where young people are forming brand allegiances and making purchasing choices for life, and bridge the gap from GapKids to the mainline, through a new sub-brand aimed at the 18-24 market.
Survey results confirmed that a small proportion of 18-24s form the existing ‘functional’ consumer segment, who occasionally shop at Gap for functional basics, but the majority of 18-24s form the new ‘fashion-forward’ consumer segment, who should be the target priority.
However, the sub-brand should cater for both consumer segments with a USP of using sustainable fabrics across the whole product range to tie in with Gap Inc’s high quality and ethical standards. The sub-brand’s identity and name should be created around the idea of the future, as sustainable products are the future of the fashion industry.
It should be called Destiny, and its logo should state ‘for Gap’ in order to create a more fashionable image for the parent brand.
The Marketing Mix (The Four P's)
Its first product range should be based on the S/S 13 trends and follow the ‘good, better, best’ system, improving in fashionability, quality, sustainability and increasing in price from ‘good’ to ‘best’.
Initial research found a gap in the UK casualwear market for a brand with a low-mid market price positioning. However, Destiny should adopt a more mid-market price positioning due to the higher costs of sustainable fabrics. Its RRP’s should still fall between Topshop/Topman and H&M, and be more affordable than Gap, in line with feedback from a focus group.
Destiny should be treated as a trial and sold as a concession in Gap’s largest flagship store, on Oxford Street in London, as well as having its own section of Gap’s website.
Conducting a three year sales forecast, with profit and loss accounts, showed that Destiny would make a loss during year one, break even in year two and make a decent profit in year three – due to extra marketing spend to build a profile for the brand in years one and two, before resuming the norm in year three.
Half of the 10% marketing spend budget in year one should go towards a S/S 13 communication strategy, to raise awareness of the launch of Destiny and drive WOM, store footfall and website hits.
This should be a four-part strategy with the creative campaign idea of ‘Be Ahead of Time’ to communicate the brand’s future themed identity and sustainable product range.
The first part would consist of a competition for young designers and an in store, PR, catwalk show launch event. The second part would involve regional advertising in London through outdoor and print mediums.
Then the third part would involve in store marketing through the concession’s fixtures in the flagship, and print advertising through posters and flyers in all Gap stores.
The final part would involve online advertising on their website and social media platforms (such as Facebook and YouTube), as well as utilising SEO.
This campaign would be implemented from June 2012 to January 2013 and, after conducting research, would cost £246,439.44.
Measuring Success and Future Recommendations
Success would be measured by reviewing sales performance, monitoring website and social media page hits, analysing flagship store traffic, monitoring press coverage and implementing customer surveys. Then an A/W 13 communication strategy could be launched.
After the first two years of business, the sub-brand would have the opportunity to roll out into more Gap stores, expand its product offer or conduct a completely standalone trial through its own store and website.
Even though this was a theoretical project, I felt strongly that the launch of Destiny for Gap would be a success. This is because it is a brand built on the strong foundations of a differentiated marketing led strategy, ahead of its time, catering for the 18-24 market and bridging the gap between Gap Kids and the mainline - ultimately increasing sales, profit and market share for the parent Gap Brand.
(Note: please do not copy. This post contains original artwork and ideas by myself, as well as images courtesy of Gap Inc, Corbis and WGSN.)