Marketing is the promotion of business product or service to the target audience. Common examples of marketing at work include television commercials, billboards on the side of the road, magazine advertisement and in the last 20 years new all kind of forms of online marketing. This report will look at one of the American iconic companies: Ralph Lauren Corporation.
Ralph Lauren has been a reputable leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories and fragrance. For more than 50 years “Polo” reputation and distinguished image have been consistently developed across an expanding number of products, brands, and international market. (Ralph Lauren, 2018). As the brand celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is also looking at ways to expand its sales and target markets as recently the company’s bottom line and appeal have been less than satisfactory. Ralph Lauren developed new advertising concepts and marketing strategies, which will be discussed below in more detail.
There are five distinct marketing approaches to how effective marketing is achieved by the company – the concepts of production, product, selling, marketing and societal marketing. These concepts are shortly defined below by an outline of the driving philosophy behind them and discussed further as to how and to what extent they have been utilised in Ralph Lauren’s recent campaigns.
1. Production concept
The production concept relies on the belief that considerate consumers want products that are easily accessible and inexpensive. This concept is thriving nowadays with the ‘fast fashion’ phenomenon and the ability to increase output while decreasing the cost. Ralph Lauren has utilised his concept in the past with its less expensive lines, for example New Polo women, as well as placing its merchandise in outlets and off-price retailers, and on discount shelves. This strategy backfired, however, as it weakened the brand as a supplier of luxury merchandise and trained the customers to pay less for a Ralph Lauren product. Efforts are being made to withdraw from the above practices and rebuild the brand’s image, but to all intents and purposes it has been an uphill struggle.
2. Product concept
Ralph Lauren business originally evolved around the product concept – that the most important priority for customer is quality within a product. This means that customers are seeking out the best of what is currently available. This concept has been weakened by the above production concept strategies employed by the company, and the new marketing ruse is attempting to convince the customers that Ralph Lauren is a high-quality brand worth paying the steep price for. However, as stated above, this renewed focus on the product concept has not yet brought a significant increase in sales.
3. Selling concept
The selling concept assumes that consumer is looking for aggressive sales and promotion from companies. Many times, marketing tactics driven by the selling concept are based of the company’s needs to sell rather than the consumer’s needs to purchase. Instead, a consumer can be persuaded with strong marketing or advertising techniques. Fashion brands rely heavily on the selling concept as the very nature of their merchandise is frivolous and excessive. Fashion brands therefore very successfully rely on the selling approach and it can be said that it is the main concept utilised in their marketing strategies. Ralph Lauren spreads the word and creates the demand in its new focus on advertising through the digital means and social media to spread as wide a net as possible or, as Patrice Louvet, president and CEO elegantly put it, to “reach and acquire new consumers”. Ralph Lauren also continues to rely on traditional media and endorsement – it had three major magazine covers over the past several months featuring the designer collection dresses, including Angelina Jolie on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar 150 anniversary issue, Jennifer Lawrence on the cover of Vogue for its 125th September anniversary issue, and J. Lo on the cover of Vanity Fair. These particular campaigns are based on the selling concept in that they create within a consumer a need to either conform to the fashion standards espoused by their peers, to succumb to a bombardment of adverts when they open their search engine or Facebook page, or to the ever-effective employment of celebrities and product placement, as in the case of the high-profile magazine covers.
4. Marketing concept
The basis of this marketing approach is that companies believe that customers want to see the products meet their wants and needs. Companies direct their marketing effort to achieve customer satisfaction. Ralph Lauren has been attempting to utilise the marketing concept to a lesser degree, focusing largely on the three ones mentioned above. It can be argued, however, that the marketing concept has been included in Ralph Lauren’s marketing strategy by default in conjunction with the product concept, as the need for a high-end product was first instilled in the customer by targeted advertising and star endorsement, and then met by a supply of the desirable product.
5. Societal marketing concept
This concept stresses not only customer satisfaction but also gives importance to customer welfare – Societal Welfare. Primary two elements are included in the societal welfare, that is a high level of human life and pollution free atmosphere. This latter part has clearly been not utilised in Ralph Lauren’s present marketing strategy as the company is focussing only on spreading its reach and increasing its market share in the premium goods market through the well-tested means of the product and selling concepts. Nevertheless, considering the rapidly rising public awareness as to environmental issues, this new angle of marketing might be worth exploring.
Creating the neat recognition and information search they open the way to evaluation alternatives for potential future Ralph Lauren customers. Their purchase decision it’s mainly base on quality of the product and brand. Creating the new 25 new looks from “Polo” brand in contrast with unique collection like Black Label Double RL label, Chaps or Club Monaco give the young woman’s today more choices. Lauren.R (2018).
The above marketing concepts clearly illustrate the current and the desired target consumer of Ralph Lauren merchandise. Over the past years the weakened image of the brand has relegated its products to the bargain rails in department stores and the new marketing campaigns aim at training the customer to associate the brand with higher-end products with the premium price-tag, while at the same widening the potential market through aggressive presence on the social media. The short-term effects of the strategies have been unimpressive, but its executive believe they will prove fruitful long-term.
It has been clearly shown that some of the marketing concepts form a backbone of Ralph Lauren’s advertising strategies in the expectation of increasing the profits and market share, whilst others have been omitted as not appropriate for the type of merchandise and in which Ralph Lauren specialises, or its financial goals. The concepts, therefore, have been applied in accordance with the intended outcomes and appropriately in respect of the target consumer.