Sunday, November 15, 2009

Park Avenue – Brand Extension Strategies in Indian Context



Altaf Fakhrul Mohammed, Thattey Chinmay Sudhir | IIM Ahmedabad

Introduction
Park Avenue is one of the many brands offered by the Raymond Group. It provides stylish and innovative wardrobe solutions and is famous for its good fittings. The brand provides formal clothing for various occasions like regular office wear, high powered corporate meetings and festivals. Park Avenue started off as a men’s wear brand. In 2007 ‘Park Avenue Woman’, a range of business wear for women was launched. It is designed for the working women professionals of today.

Brand Proposition of the original product- Park Avenue Men’s Wear
The rationale for using the name Park Avenue for Raymond India’s ready to wear men’s clothing (premium segment) was to give a western name which was synchronous with great fabric and great fit.
The brand has over the years undergone many changes as it tries to reach out to the urban young corporate consumer. While it started off as a brand that was fashionable and meant for slightly older customers who trusted the Raymond heritage, the brand repositioned itself later to tap the new managers, who wanted to be different, that emerged in the 90s.
In 2000 the brand came up with the new positioning tagline- ‘Start Something New’. The brand launched a new print and television campaign in order to shed its old image and target the young entrepreneurs who were emerging in the booming IT era. It realized that these young consumers wanted to be different and break away from the traditional ways to start something new.
The logic for this new positioning, along with which the company also came out with smarter designs, was the fact that though Park Avenue was seen as a premium brand, young consumers viewed it lower in status and less fashionable as compared to other brands like Arrow, Van Heusen and Allen Solly. The latest tagline that the brand has chosen is “Play the lead” whereby it is once again trying to target the young ambitious consumer who aspires to be a leader.

Analysis of the Brand “Park Avenue”
On the basis of discussion with consumers, analysis of ads, discussion with retailers and information gathered from the website, we have done the following analysis of the brand -

  • Target Audience: The brand targets young middle class corporates who are fashion conscious but need to wear formal clothes on a daily basis. The brand also has a secondary audience in the form of older men which is primarily due to the strong heritage that this brand has.
  • Brand Personality: Park Avenue symbolizes a person (male) who likes to explore the unknown, do something different. He has an entrepreneurial spirit and wants to be a leader in everything he does. He is a person who wants to express himself and his style through his clothes.
  • Key Brand Values: The key brand values are- Smart, innovative, different, exciting, premium, trusted. We also believe that the brand also stood for masculinity before venturing into female clothing.

Brand Extensions
The brand has extended into:
  • Accessories: Ties, belts, shoes, cufflinks
  • Men’s Toiletries: Soaps, deodorants, aftershave, shaving cream, talcum powder, gels

Analysis on the basis of Criteria for Brand Extensions:-

Fit
The new category into which a brand extends should be in line with the nature of the parent brand and sometimes even the expertise it represents.
  • Accessories: While extending into accessories, Park Avenue leveraged its expertise in clothing and the association that consumers make with looking good in a corporate/formal environment. Thus we believe that this is a natural extension for the brand to give consumers the full range of formal dressing-right from clothes to belts and shoes.
  • Men’s Toiletries: Men’s toiletries are an extended part of a man’s looks. We believe that there are products in this category which fit in line with the brand Park Avenue. By doing this, they have made an attempt to evolve into a brand that not only cares about your clothing, but rather a brand that stands for complete male grooming. Thus in this category the company is not leveraging its expertise (clothing) but rather is leveraging its image as a classy male grooming brand.

The value perception
A successful brand extension has to ensure that there is consistency in the value perception of the brand in the new category as compared to in the original category
  • Accessories: The accessories that Park Avenue sells are premium and elegant due to which they fit in with the values that the brand stands for. The description that we got for their accessories on their website was as follows:
  • Shoes: Crafted from fine European leather and finished with a lustrous shine.
  • Ties: Complete your ensemble with the perfect tie from Park Avenue. These exquisite woven and printed ties come in various designs. These silk ties give a new meaning to the term power dressing. From these descriptions, it is clear that Park Avenue continues to maintain the premium, classy, new age, youthful image that it has built in clothing.
  • Men’s Toiletries: The deodorants and perfumes that they sell have a label which reads as follows-“Genuine French Eau De Parfum” with information on the pulse points which act as mini fragrance pumps. The French fragrance again adds uniqueness to the perfume which is in line with the brand values. The logic behind entering perfumes and deodorants was that research showed that there was no major perfume brand in the men’s market. Also most international brands were too mild for Indian conditions.

On talking to some consumers we felt that the key differentiating aspects for the Park Avenue soap were its good masculine fragrance and its large size, which again strengthens its masculine image.

On analyzing the distribution strategy of Park Avenue’s toiletries, we saw that the company’s distribution strategy is in line with its pricing strategy. Park Avenue soaps and deodorants are available at normal general stores. Perfumes are available at supermarkets unlike big brands which are available only in shopping malls. This is because the perfumes, which are priced at around Rs. 450, need to be made available easily to the middle class consumer. We felt that the pricing strategy in toiletries was in line with the pricing in clothing which is to appeal to the middle class consumer.
On the whole we felt that Park Avenue’s brand extensions maintained the original values of the parent brand.

The Edge
The last criterion we used for analyzing the brand extensions was to see the competitive edge. A great brand in one category need not always offer a competitive difference over other brands in another category. It is necessary for the brand to offer consumers some advantage in order for them to adopt the product in the new category.
We felt that the brand’s strong heritage and its ability to produce the best quality clothing helped it to easily extend into ties. However that is not the case for shoes and toiletries. Here the brand is leveraging on values of the parent brand like the premium and classy feeling that have been created over the years.

How are the extensions helping the brand?
It is interesting to see how these brand extensions have helped ‘Park Avenue’ as a brand.
To study this we will first have a look at how a brand pyramid gets built over the time period & then look how various extensions have strengthened the ‘Park Avenue’ brand.
  • Presence: Initially consumers become aware that such a brand exists. It’s very important for a brand to have a solid base as it builds on this (i.e. only those who are aware of the brand are likely to consider it for further evaluation). Success of this stage primarily depends on effective communication & word of mouth (which in turn depends on performance, the third stage of this pyramid).
  • Relevance: Out of those who are aware of the brand, some find its proposition relevant to their needs. This is the stage where a brand gets into the consideration set of prospective consumers.
  • Performance: If the first two stages of the brand has invoked enough interest in the consumers’ mind then they experiment with the brand. Those who find its performance satisfactory at this stage put the brand into their repeat consideration set.
  • Advantage: Those consumers who are satisfied at the 3rd stage of pyramid, start repeating the brand & their interaction with the brand starts. At this stage they start experiencing the ‘extra advantages’ that the brand offers to them.
  • Bonding: Out of those who have found extra advantages about the brand, some interact very frequently & intensely with the brand & form an emotional bond with the brand.
  • Now let’s have a look at how various extensions have strengthened ‘Park Avenue’ overall as a brand:
  • Presence: As ‘Park Avenue’ did advertisement (especially Print ads) of accessories & some toiletries (especially soap), it strengthened base (presence) of the ‘Park Avenue’ brand.
  • Relevance: By evolving as a “complete grooming solution”, they have increased their relevance to the consumer.
  • Performance & Advantage: Here the brand values of ‘Park Avenue’ which were transferred to extensions, boosted these two levels of the brand pyramid.
  • Bonding: Consumers’ bonding with the brand increased as it gave them ‘a complete grooming solution’.
  • So, we can infer that the extensions have led to strengthening of the brand pyramid (& hence have been successful).

5 comments:

chandrashekar said...

excellent example

Subrata Paul said...

my also visit www.brand-quiz.blogspot.com

nidhi purohit said...

NICE.............

rhea scott said...

"Thanks for the post!
I was looking for a few articles on Park Avenue India and I came across yours inspiring read."

Shesha Kotian said...

Park Avenue is one of the best brands a man can use. Park Avenue provides complete wardrobe solution for men. I had visited the showroom in High street Phoenix. You must check that out - http://www.highstreetphoenix.com/brands/park-avenue

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