American Apparel (Group 4)

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Background of American Apparel

American Apparel is a brand that manufactures, distributes and retails branded fashion basic apparel. Founded by former CEO Dov Charney it is a company that oversees designing, manufacturing and distribution of all its products.

On 5 October 2015, the company filed for bankruptcy, the final wake-up call for management. In February 5, 2016, American Apparel exited bankruptcy after its financial restructuring plan was accepted. With this, the company is now privately owned by its creditors and bondholders Severing ties with all former stockholders as well as ex-CEO and founder Dov Charney.

This study aims to bring a fresh perspective to marketing a brand, particularly after a financial setback, and how a fresh start can be made possible with social media strategies.

American Apparel’s marketing strategies

  • Marketing Strategies before bankruptcy

American Apparel leverages on the old “sex sells” adage, advertisements built on the sex appeal of the models and their clothes. The advertisements are always simple photos featuring all natural, but scantily clad, or sexually charged models. In fact, some of their models are porn stars. In addition, models in advertisements are conventionally attractive, fit into narrow stereotypes of skinny, white. Although this aspect of the brand welcomes the marketing segment American Apparel is pursuing, it seems to isolate many other potential consumers.

This has resulted in very negative sentiments from the public, evidenced in various social media platforms. These negative sentiments were mainly centered on how American Apparel were not body inclusive and overly sexualized, and this was one of the many reasons for American Apparel’s downward spiral.

  • Marketing Strategies after bankruptcy

Post bankruptcy, American Apparel hopes to begin promoting small US manufacturers and collaborating to produce their designs. The company will try to return to its Americana roots by introducing a “Made in the USA” crowdsourcing initiative, in which it will sell small home goods and accessories from local artisans online and potentially within its 109 U.S. stores. Artisans can submit their ideas to American Apparel’s design and merchandising team, which will select as many as 30 winners. The company also plans to sell its first “luxury” T-shirt in premium-gauge knit for $30, and is tapping celebrity photographers, artists and social influencers to promote the merchandise in a new campaign.

American Apparel will still be retaining its sexualized billboard advertisements but they have also put regulations for these advertisements.

Proposed strategies

  • Facebook Strategies

i) Weekly editorial and video piece of genuine employee testimonials about what they love about AA.

Suggestion:

What we suggest is for American Apparel to feature stories and write ups about their loyal and stylish employees; featuring them as brand ambassadors for American Apparel and getting their opinions on what they love about the brand, why they love working for the brand and what they think of new collections.

Analysis & Evidence:

The insider perspective would be perceived by consumers as being more reliable as compared to direct engagement by American Apparel itself. Consumers will have a more positive attitude towards the company when the information is attributed to a peer customer, rather than a corporate source.

By getting employees to contribute in their own unique way with their individual experiences and opinions, the audience will also be left with the sense that the company really cares about its employees, and has a strong employee culture and morale.

By providing a positive insider perspective, this counteracts the previous sentiment that American Apparel was abusing its employees during the Dov Charney era,  signifying a change and raising awareness of the progress that American Apparel has made since bankruptcy.

ii) Full album of new campaign collections

Suggestion:

We would also suggest that American Apparel maximise its use of Facebook’s features and unique selling point of sharing, text posts, full albums and auto-play videos by posting the marketing collateral and editorial stills in a Facebook album for new collections in addition to featuring a full text write up about new collections.

Analysis & Evidence:

As opposed to the single post features of Instagram, launching the collection collateral on Facebook would enable the brand to give a more comprehensive view of the collection and better pique their interest as opposed to a single post on Instagram.

Moreover, with the Share feature on Facebook, which is absent on Instagram, American Apparel would be able to reach more people and generate more hype and buzz about its collection.

  • Instagram Strategies 

i) Adjust post content to show models of different body types and racial diversity #AAInclusivity

Solution:

What American Apparel can improve on and to strengthen its instagram presence is to adjust their instagram campaign to be more inclusive, something that it can achieve by including more models of racial diversity and of different body shapes in its instagram photos for a more inclusive image that appeals to the generation of millennials, the “instagram generation”.

Analysis & Evidence:

As body positivity and body inclusivity has become a major issue in recent years, especially amongst the millennial generation, as a result, businesses which have preyed upon body image insecurity have suffered in the face of the new educated millennial generation, one example of which is Abercrombie and Fitch. that many campaigns on social media are trending about the issue of non-representation of diverse body types in the media. For example, Blink Fitness’ new Every Body Happy campaign is all about inclusivity. Trending hashtags like #effyourbeautystandards (687,000hashtags), #honormycurves (294,000 hashtags), #celebratemystyle (125,000 hashtags) on instagram. E.g. Dove Real Beauty campaign.

ii) Inclusivity by capitalising on OOTD culture & featuring consumers on the instagram page

Solution:

Our suggestion is for American Apparel to capitalise on outfit of the day (OOTD) culture and hashtags where consumers hashtag their instagram outfit posts with “#AAOOTD” such that the team managing American Apparel’s instagram can select and feature the best dressed consumers on their instagram page.

Analysis & Evidence:

This would enable American Apparel’s consumers to develop a positive emotional connection with the brand by including them as part of the creative process in social media content generation that builds in them a sense of ownership towards the brand.

iii) American Apparel can consider using fashion influencers in their campaigns

Solution:

American Apparel also does not feature celebrities donning their apparel as a form of appeal to their target audience who are not as interested in celebrity culture. Instead, American Apparel can consider using Influencers in their campaigns like popular American street style blogger Jenn Im and giving them their own hashtag, #AAInfluencer for their followers to track.

Analysis & Evidence:

By appealing to influencers whose target audiences are of the same age group as American Apparel’s consumers, American Apparel would be able to tap on the influencer’s own fan-base to raise awareness, which acts as a kind of celebrity endorsement, and increase brand engagement since these influencers will enact the engagement that the brand needs.

Snapchat Strategies

Solution:

Instead of merely sharing snaps of behind the scenes of photoshoots and marketing collateral, American Apparel can fully utilise the real-time quality of snapchat to snap the daily life of an employee. They can include the day-to-day events of what an American Apparel employee experiences as well as the employee’s feelings and experiences while working on the job.

Analysis & Evidence:

Tied in with the Facebook strategy, it will lend more credibility to the brand image, in addition to connecting with the consumers and target audience on a more personal level.

American Express [Amex]: Social Media Analysis

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1.) Introduction: 

Amex’s business model generates revenue from both the consumer and the merchants through expenditure on its credit cards, and finance charges and fees. (MarketLine, 2016) Although Amex provides a wide range of specialized card services and privileges and discounts across the globe, we will be focusing our attention on the Singapore market, specifically the American Express Platinum Credit Card (“Amex Platinum”) product.

The Amex Platinum gives cardholders access to what Amex describes as “Singapore’s Ultimate Dining Programme”, which notably includes the Far Card Dining Membership and the Palate Membership amongst other dining privileges. Beyond food offerings, Amex Platinum also grants cardholders exclusive lifestyle privileges ranging from nightlife to golf to movies, and attractive offers on hotel and flight bookings. Overall, the Amex Platinum is a premier lifestyle credit card that targets the mass middle-income population segment with its minimum income requirement of SG$50,000 per annum.

Read More »

Group 7 – Summary of ONE Championship Final Report

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Company Overview

ONE Championship was launched in 2011 and has developed a great deal since. Carrying the mission of hosting the most exciting mixed martial arts competitions across Asia and starring the best athletes in Asia, ONE Championship is currently Asia’s largest sports media property. With a global broadcast to over 1 billion homes in 75 countries, it is widely recognised as the biggest MMA promoter in Asia with over 90% of the market share. As ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui puts across, his goal is to “bring MMA to every household, every single Asian, every single sport fan, every single fan in Asia”. ONE Championship currently has over 250 fighters under its banner and partnered with big corporate sponsors including G-shock, Haier, Cannon, and Under Armour. Its revenue stems primarily from ticket sales for live fights, pay-per-view, licensing, television contracts, and adverts.

Analysis of Social Media Performance

ONE Championship has been active on various social media platforms, with Facebook being the dominant platform (2.4 million likes and 951 shares per post on average). Its key strengths are its presence on major social media platforms, effective content marketing, community engagement on social media platforms, and building of local heroes through social media. However, ONE Championship 2 key weaknesses are the lack of sustainable online community for engagement and failure to address inherent brutality of MMA. This is primarily due to the nature of a sports business being susceptible to seasonal effects and MMA being a combat sport.

Research Question & Objectives

While there is no doubt that ONE Championship will continue to maintain its stronghold as the leading MMA promotion in Asia, there are still areas where ONE Championship can improve upon through the use of social media. Our research question will focus on how can ONE Championship improve its brand image and perception, and increase sustainable engagement through the use of social media?

Objective 1: Improve ONE Championship’s Brand Image & Perception

Objective 2: Increase Sustainable Engagement with Consumers & Build a Stronger Brand Community

Target Audience

The psychographics of our target audience are people who are interested in sports or personal well-being. These people involvement in sports are motivated by pleasure, physical and mental well-being, and aesthetic and moral representations. ONE Championship has done well in providing the identity and aesthetic value to address the consumers’ needs but lack in providing moral and sociability values.

Proposed Strategies

Message Strategy

ONE Championship’s message strategy has been for consumers to perceive ONE Championship as “one of the greatest platforms to unleash human potential” (Lee, 2016). Although the message is associated with the aesthetics motives and values for sport consumption, it does not address the image issues of MMA well and has an aggressive flavour with the phrase “unleash human potential”. Therefore, our proposed message strategy aims to emphasise that MMA is neither a “human cockfighting” nor a brutal sport. MMA is a sport that entails mental strength, discipline, confidence, self-improvement, strong work ethics, and a warrior spirit.

Strategy #1: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Approach

Based on our analysis of ONE Championship, we recommend that ONE Championship participate in CSR activities to improve its brand image and perception of MMA sport. CSR is the corporate obligation to conduct its business in a way that protect and improve both the welfare of the society and the interest of the organisation. Klara (n.d) avers that CSR is part of the strategic planning for organisations that want to improve their reputation and remain competitive (Asemah et al., 2013). Recent research has also found that CSR leads to greater corporate financial performance by improving customers’ goodwill, boosting sales revenue, and reducing business risk (Nurn and Tang, 2010).

  • MMA as an Extra-Curriculum Activity in Schools

ONE Championship can partake in CSR by partnering with government schools across Asia countries to set-up and sponsor non-competitive MMA as an Extra Curriculum Activity (ECA) for high school and college students who are interested in sports. It is important to educate parents that the focus of such an ECA is not to teach teenagers how to fight, but as a form of self-defence and a healthy sport activity. The trainings should revolve around the same core message of MMA as a sport with values of mental strength, discipline, confidence, self-improvement, strong work ethics, and a warrior spirit. However, it is not efficient for a business to conduct CSR if no one knows about its CSR efforts. Therefore, ONE Championship should publicize its CSR efforts on all of its existing social media platforms for simultaneous media consumption even though Facebook clearly leads the other platforms in terms of both followers (2.4 million) and shareability (951 on average per post). ONE Championship should then organise for its local heroes to participate as “star-appearance” coaches to emphasize to students on the moral values of training MMA instead of the fancy techniques involved. Both fighters and trainees are encouraged to share the ECA training on social media, accompanied with the hashtag #ONEFCApprentice to generate more interest and awareness of its CSR efforts.

  • ONEFC Cares Programme

In addition to the CSR approach strategy, we recommend a new initiative named ONEFCCares that utilise brand ambassadors in the direction that is aligned with ONE Championship’s message strategy. Under ONEFCCares, ONE Championship will handpick suitable fighters to become ambassadors for Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) such as anti-violence or anti-drug organisations. ONE Championship can also periodically arrange for their fighters to participate in community services. For a start, we have identified three areas for the programme.

  1. Mentoring troubled teens in homes or orphanage
  2. Organise special Olympics event for special needs children
  3. Entertaining residents at nursing homes

Similarly, ONEFCCares activities should be posted across all of ONE Championship’s social media platforms. The fighters who have participated in the programme need to share their experience through their social media accounts and hashtag #ONEFCCares to generate more awareness. This initiative will be able to create positive public relations and improve the perception on ONE Championship by the public. The results of such efforts are evident in the case study of National Basketball Association (NBA).

Strategy #2: Utilising Influencers

ONE Championship should invite famous Instagrammers that are well known for being involved in sports or workouts to achieve a healthy living, and have them to share their experience with ONE Championship through social media. An example of a suitable candidate could be Kayla Itsines who has 5.1 million followers that will allow ONE Championship to leverage on her huge follower base. ONE Championship could also feature other well-known top Asian sports celebrities’ interest in MMA sport. ONE Championship needs to invite celebrities such as Taiwanese basketball player Jeremy Lin, South Korean golfer Inbee Park, or even Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, offering them front row VIP seats in fight events and have them post their attendance on their social media accounts, tagging #ONEFCMMA (official hashtag). This would in turn generate interest and create a better brand image for ONE Championship, as consumers would view MMA as an elite sport that even top sportsmen from other fields are fans of.

Strategy #3: Using Mobile Application to Create Online Brand Community

Although Facebook and Twitter act as a type of discussion forum, they are not considered interchangeable with more traditional forums. Some of the disadvantages of holding discussions on Facebook include content “disappearing” after user scrolls past it or when new posts are uploaded, and limited control over functionality. While there is already presence of MMA forums online, discussions related to ONE Championship are often subsets of those related to UFC and it is challenging to navigate through the overwhelming interfaces.

Besides, there is also no dedicated ONE Championship mobile application that caters to fans who prefers to access information online. According to Bonnington (2015), a smartphone could be our only computer in less than 2 years at the rate of mobile technology development. A recent Pew Research Centre report (2015) also states that 92% of teens report going online daily, and 24% say they go online almost constantly, with much of this frenzy facilitated by mobile technology. All these data clearly suggest that it is timely for ONE Championship to jump on the bandwagon to keep up with its competitors.

With these observations in mind, ONE Championship should invest and create a dedicated mobile App. The concept of this mobile App is a one-stop shop that provides users with majority of the functions currently available online with a focus on simplicity, usability, and shareability. Our users will be able to login to our mobile App through their existing social media platforms and share the contents in the mobile App to their social media accounts easily. Other than links to the latest news, videos and photos, fighters’ ranking and statistics, this mobile app will also include 2 unique features that are the forum, and a mini-game named “fantasy”.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we acknowledge that ONE Championship has done well in the past 5 years implementing effective social media strategies. Our proposal aims to differentiate ONE Championship from its competitors through CSR, Influencers, and mobile App by offering moral and sociability values to our consumers. These efforts from ONE Championship will attract a larger pool of fans and spectators, and take a big step closer towards its goal of bringing MMA to every household in Asia.

Sweetfish (Final Report)- G2

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Background

What is poke?

Poke is a Hawaiian word meaning cut, cubed or sliced. Traditionally seasoned with Hawaiian salt, limu kohu, along with a list of other Hawaiian ingredients. It is a form of marinated sashimi, or raw fish that is a perfect topping for rice, noodles or salads. Contemporary ingredients are included in Sweetfish recipes to give it the variety of flavors to satisfy every customer’s unique taste buds.

What is Sweetfish Poke?

Sweetfish Poke is going to be a pioneer in Asia that is centered on the dish that has already taking the U.S. by storm. Hawaiian poke. With its goals to be the first poke restaurant chain in both Singapore and Asia, it seeks to deliver the same quality product that has seen its demand rise in the West. As such, the very cosmopolitan and globalized Singapore would be an ideal birthplace for such a fresh concept.

Situational Analysis

Healthy eating has been the trend. According to a study by Euromonitor (Hudson), the trend for years 2012-2017 will see health and wellness continue to drive growth and innovation in the wider food and beverage industries.

Furthermore, Nielson’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey that polled over 30,000 individuals online and suggests consumer mindset about healthy foods has shifted and they are ready to pay more for products that claim to boost health and weight loss. Upon closer look on the survey, we can see the following key findings (Gagliardi):

  • Some 88% of those polled are willing to pay more for healthier foods.
  • All demographics—from Generation Z to Baby Boomers–say they would pay more for healthy foods, including those that are GMO-free, have no artificial coloring/flavors and are deemed all natural.
  • Functional foods—including foods high in fiber (36%), protein (32%), whole grains (30%) or fortified with calcium (30%), vitamins (30%) or minerals (29%)–that can either reduce disease and/or promote good health also are desirable.

Research Questions

After understanding the environment around Sweetfish Poke, as well as the background behind the company, two research questions that are closely related were formed:

“How can Sweetfish, a new establishment, leverage on the existing trend of healthy eating and the poke-induced food craze in the U.S., to engage their target audience via social media?”

“How can different social media platforms be used to differentiate Sweetfish from other similar stores?”

Main Objectives

Objective 1

Objective 2

Objective 3

Building brand awareness Actively engage Sweetfishs’s target audience by having customers actively share their positive food experiences Differentiate brand image from other competitors

Target Audience

The primary audiences are young professionals between the ages of 20 to 45 working in the Central Business District. These individuals are health conscious and into following trends. They can be separated into different groups following the engagement pyramid. Sweetfish will focus on two of the five categories: Watchers and producers.

Proposed Strategy 1: Instagram Contest

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Customers will be encouraged to post a picture of the poke bowl on their personal Instagram account. The caption would be positive feedback and comments about the food along with the unique hashtag #sweetfish_sg. This unique hashtag will help Sweetfish keep track of contest posts. Everyday three winners with the most creative social media posts will be announced. Winners will win a free poke bowl each, which they can redeem during their next visit. The free poke bowl incentivizes individuals to partake in this contest. The aim of this contest is to leverage on the word of mouth influence. In addition, allowing the consumers to be content producers on their own social media account actively engages them.

Proposed Strategy 2: Engage Social Media Influencers

Engaging popular food blogs such as ladyironchef and danialfooddiary to post about Sweetfishs’s poke bowls. The article will be positive and emphasizing on the healthy yet tasty bowls Sweetfish has to offer, along with encouraging the readers to try it out. Similar stores to Sweetifsh have engaged such food blogs to get their brand out there. (see Appendix B, figure 5-6) This strategy helps give Sweetfish an overall positive brand image; This is important as watchers read blogs to gather information before deciding on whether or not to try the food.

Proposed Strategy 3: Consumer Identity

The demographics of Sweetfishs’ target audience are young professionals between the ages of 20 to 40 years old. The vibe Sweetfish aims to exude would emphasize on relaxing and having fun, reflecting the Hawaiian culture, which will serve as an escapade for our target audience. Giving our consumers an identity to identity with, allows them to relate with the brand more. This strategy targets the watchers up to the producers. Sweetfish aims to spread this positive fun vibe to everyone within the engagement pyramid.

Limitations

The Instagram contest and the engaging social media influencers strategies are targeted to a specific group of Sweetfishs’s target audience. Though both the strategies together cover the entire target audience, there are still some individuals whom are not active on any social media platform. Social Media has grown massively, but it’s growth is now starting to plateau. The over 65s segment are now driving growth, as other age groups have plateaued completely and use is hardly growing it all.

This could be problematic as our target audience are not over the age of 65. However, the Instagram contest, would incentivice individuals to post pictures for a chance to win a free poke bowl. Also, though there might not be growth for the below 65 on social media platforms, the existing users are already more than half the population.

Conclusion

The proposed strategies are aimed at helping Sweetfish in achieving overall brand awareness, actively engage their target audience by having customers actively share their positive food experiences as well as differentiating their brand from similar brands in the market.

The core of this project lies in creating awareness for a new emerging business in the food industry. If effective, these strategies can be adapted by other new start ups in the food industry.

Zac & Sarah (G2)

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An Insight into Red Bull’s Social Media Engagement

Introduction

Background
Today, the use of social media in marketing is such a powerful tool as it enables conversations to be created between the consumer and the product. The consumer then identifies with the brand and is engaged especially when brands are able to convey positive images through their messaging. What marketers are striving for, is to create customer evangelism (Neti, 2011) when they are able to go beyond purchasing the products but are also loyal advocates as explained in the marketing funnel in Figure 1.

Motivations
The motivation behind this research is to uncover the Social Media Strategy of Red Bull and analyze how their current strategy of employing word of mouth marketing through brand ambassadors and megaphoning can be improved with the use of social media.
Red Bull is known for their extensive reach and coverage in promoting the values of the ‘adrenaline junkie’ and one who seeks adventure (Red Bull, 2016). It has been widely targeting sports enthusiasts as well as young people especially university organizations and student bodies, through the use of student brand ambassadors. Thus, we would like to find out if these brand ambassadors; known as Student Brand Managers (SBMs) and Wings Team Members (WTMs) are able to relay the brand through their own social networks effectively (Bughin, Doogan & Vetvik, 2010).
For the purpose of this research, we have narrowed down this research to study the effectiveness of these Red Bull Brand Ambassadors, SBMs and WTMs, in Singapore and how they have managed to reach out to tertiary schools in Singapore; namely Junior Colleges, Polytechnics, Universities and other tertiary Institutions.

Critical Analysis of social media use
Use of social media analysis tool to evaluate organization’s current use
With the help of marketing tools, we were able to gather insight on Red Bull’s engagement on social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, during the recent period of 24 April 2016 to 23 May 2016.

Red Bull SG Facebook Analysis
Based on a social media analysis, the engagement during this period on the Red Bull Singapore Facebook Account, the growth of fans seem to be decreasing from a 3% growth at the beginning of that month to a -5% decrease at the end as shown in Figure 2. The level of engagement was also low with only a 20% rate of interaction. (Social Bakers Analytics, 2016)

Red Bull SG Instagram Analysis
Similarly, Red Bull Singapore faces a low engagement rate on Instagram with a declining interaction rate within the month from 25 likes to 5 likes and 22 comments to 19 comments (interactions per 1000 followers), as seen in Figure

Red Bull SG Twitter Analysis
While their Facebook and Instagram accounts seem to have some activity, even if the engagement levels are not impressive, the Red Bull SG Twitter account is not an effective platform in comparison with their other social media accounts. There has been no activity in the Twitter Account in that month and the total number of followers seem to have taken a dip as shown in Figure 4. (Social Bakers Analytics, 2016)
The social media analysis on the current use of Red Bull SG’s Social Media Accounts is helpful in indicating the level of engagement and activity within a month which enables us to form a deduction that the local accounts are not performing actively, especially in regard to generating content alongside their Student Brand Managers (SBMs) and Wings Team Members (WTMs).

Analysis of the Global and Singaporean Social Media Accounts
We did a comparison of the Global and Local Red Bull accounts in order to find out how the accounts in Singapore fair in comparison to their Global brand and to see if the reach is as similar. We used the same time frame as well in order to make a fair comparison and analyze the social media activity within the period of 24 April 2016 to 23 May 2016. We also chose to compare between the Facebook and Instagram accounts as they are the more active accounts in Singapore.

Facebook
The Global Red Bull Facebook account has 45.3 million Likes with an average of 5-8 posts per 24 hours, average of 750 shares per post, average of 14,000 Likes per post and 2% of the comments being replied, (Synthesio, 2016). In comparison, the Red Bull SG Facebook account has 20,610 likes with posts created only during events.

Instagram
The Global Red Bull Instagram account has 4.6 million followers with an average of 4 posts per 24 hours with likes amounting up to 108,000 the highest in the month. (Synthesio, 2016). In contrast, the Red Bull SG account only has 263 posts and 1552 followers.

Evidently, Red Bull SG accounts are not performing as well as their Global counterparts. This calls for higher active participation and engagement via social media for Red Bull Singapore. Moreover, the content on the two social media platforms mainly drive the user back to the Global page and only covers local events. The idea of engaging the local consumers is not explicitly shown in these Red Bull SG accounts.

Analysis of Red Bull Singapore’s Hashtags
In order to find out the level of engagement in the area of SBMs and WTMs on the Red Bull SG social media accounts, we analyzed the current use of Hashtags used by these Red Bull Singapore ambassadors. We analyzed 3 hashtags related to the ambassadors and 1 hashtag for Red Bull Singapore. The former, consisted of #beststudentjobintheworld with 2972 posts, #wingsteamsg with 275 posts and #sgsbm with 174 posts and the latter, #Redbullsg had 2175 posts. It is very apparent that these hashtags, while they seem to promote the word of mouth marketing element to the brand, has low levels of engagement. As such, more can be done to increase the activity on the local accounts.

Research Question
After understanding the low level of engagement rates on the Red Bull Singapore accounts and the use of their hashtags, we were able to conclude that the local social media accounts needed more attention and retention from local consumers. Moreover, there is little emphasis or exposure of the SBMs and WTMs in the various Red Bull SG social media accounts. The content in these accounts are mainly driven by featuring professionals and extreme sports influencers, based on the Global Red Bull pages. Therefore, we have come up with a research question in order to bridge the gap in the content of the Singapore and Global accounts and at the same time, increase the level of engagement in the Red bull SG accounts, by finding out;

How does Red Bull utilize their Marketing Strategy in integrating Student Brand Managers and Wings Team Members through the use of social media in Singapore Tertiary Schools?

 Moreover, we would like to build up on the content used in the Red Bull SG accounts by making it more localized and suited for the Singaporean population. By localizing the content, we are able to reach out and find a common ground and understanding in the Singaporean context, and in turn, be able to engage students in Tertiary Schools in Singapore and bring about the awareness of our local Student Brand Managers and Wings Team Members.

Methodology
Qualitative interviews
We conducted qualitative interviews by meeting up with 2 Wings Team Members, 1 Student Brand Manager and 1 Regional Marketing Manager individually in order to find out their sentiments toward the brand and understand how Red Bull has been able to employ the word of mouth marketing strategy through the use of SBMs and WTMs. These interviews were conducted face-to-face and they were recorded for an accurate analysis. Questions asked were mainly around the program and activity of the SBMs and WTMs and we found out that these ambassadors are usually tasked to engage in school events and actively reach out to various student organizations in order to create collaborations and sponsorships for events and activities. They are usually involved in mostly sports clubs in the schools and provide Red Bull products during sports matches and sports events. On top of that, the SBM who was interviewed included that in order to reach out to the whole student population, he distributes Red Bull drinks in the school library and study areas during exam periods and posts about them on social media, garnering a lot of mentions and likes. The WTMs that were interviewed also mentioned that on top of visiting school events, they make regular trips down to the campuses in Singapore on normal school days in order to increase awareness of the brand and allow students to try the drink.
This concludes that the reach that the SBMs and WTMs are trying to achieve is not only in the consumers who are interested in sports but also the general student population. The brand is being advocated to them as a lifestyle mirroring around the idea of being youthful, fun and adventurous. Hence, they reach out more to the general student population and engage them through social media so that they can garner a community of students who can identify with the brand.
On top of finding out about the activities that the SBMs and WTMs do in order to engage consumers, we also asked them about their own personal sentiments towards the brand. We see generally positive sentiments towards the brand and that these ambassadors have a high identification with the brand as seen in Figure 5.
These SBMs and WTMs feel a positive inclination towards their jobs as they feel that they have been able to reach out to the community and have brought about positive feelings along with the brand and the drinks that they provide. They also highlight that their jobs allow them to create conversations and relationships with the consumers that they interact with.
Based on further investigation, Red Bull has been rated 3.9 out of 5 as a great brand to work for and that 76% of its employees would recommend having a career with Red Bull to a friend (Glassdoor, 2016). This highlights that Red Bull not only focuses on the positive brand image to consumers but to their employees as well.

Sentiment Analysis
In order to develop more insight into the local sentiments towards the brand and how consumers generally view the brand, we used a social media analysis tool to derive at the overall brand sentiments (Rambocas & Gama, 2013).
We have found that 55% of the mentions of the brand on social media was negative and 45% was positive (Sentiment 140, 2016). However, after developing more insight into these results, we attributed that a majority of the negative sentiments mirrored in the tool could be due to false analyses based on phrases such as “I’m tired” or “I’ve been all day without a Red Bull”. As such, we decided to streamline our findings by eliminating these phrases and found that majority of the conversations on social media are neutral 60% and 30% positive and 10% negative (Synthesio, 2016) as seen in Figure 6.

Secondary Research
Case Study: GoPro’s Brand Marketing Strategy
Background Information
GoPro strongly promotes personal heroism among its consumers, by empowering users to feel professional with their cameras. It uses its camera as a means to create content. With a small and durable camera, it can be attached to almost anywhere. This brings about innovative videos as videos are shot from creative angles and with the highest quality. Apart from investing in amateur content, GoPro simultaneously encourages professional’s input too. With the large quantity of user generated content, it enahnces cultural citizenship through the constant sharing of one’s home community. Furthermore, it also emphasizes on users’ strong preferences to share knowledge and culture in communities. The strong participatory engagement shakes up power relationsihps between the media and users. It has also evolved from being a tactic to promote GoPro cameras, to a brand that cultivates innovation in its community.

Comparing GoPro’s Branding to Red Bull
GoPro has comparable social media reach, as comapred to Red Bull. It has millions of followers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. These platforms help to reinforce brand loyalty by getting users to sell and promote products to other users. Both Red Bull’s and GoPro’s target audience are not confined to the sports community alone, but it crosses over to several spheres of interests. GoPro dazzles its crowd with durability of products and the new angles that videos are taken form.
As of 2016, Red Bull and GoPro has formed a mega media house. They work together to products, distribute content that does cross-promotion and encourages product innovation. With GoPro as its exlusive provider of point-of-view imaging technology, content can be easily amplified on their social media channels. This amplifies their collective international reach.

Discussion
Therefore, based on the extensive research done through evaluating the use of social media on the Red Bull Singapore accounts as well as interviewing the ambassadors in Singapore and evaluating their marketing strategy alongside GoPro, we have concluded that what Red Bull Singapore is in need of is to increase awareness and engagement of consumers on its social media accounts and at the same time, develop a brand community within Singapore.

Proposed IMC
Objectives
Brand Community
An imagined community has the ability to bring people together and create a sense of belonging and pride among the people in the community. Thus, by developing a brand community within the Singaporean consumers, we are able to promote the Red Bull lifestyle and uphold the brand identity as youthful, fun and adventurous. This may take off well with the youth who are actively engaged on social media and if we develop Red Bull SG into a brand community, we are able to generate local hype around the brand and its target consumers.

Increase Social Media Activity on Red Bull Singapore Accounts
Currently, there is significantly lower activity on Red Bull Singapore’s social media accounts, as compared to the Global Red Bull accounts. Although the size of the target audience of Red Bull Singapore is smaller, there is a lower frequency of posts on the accounts. The current lack of activity on these social media accounts causes Red Bull to lose out on the engagement it may possibly have with its customers. Engagement translates into customers feeling more involvement and a greater association with the brand (Albert M. Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001). With increased activity, it will also increase awareness for the brand and its activities in Singapore.

Connecting Brand and Users
This would be done through creating a platform for creative exchange of ideas among consumers. According to the Psychological Ownership Theory, the ability and empowerment to contribute to the larger Red Bull community will give users a greater sense of ownership and loyalty to the brand (Pan & Crotts, 2012).

Proposed Action
Our proposed plan revolves around the engagement of users by the Student Brand Managers (SBMs) ad Wing Team Members (WTMs) through the use of social media. This would require the creative exchange of ideas among the various players and users of the Red Bull community. According to the Psychological Ownership Theory, consumers feel validated by being heard and sharing their views in order to influence other people’s decisions or ideas (Pan & Crotts, 2012). With the shift to having more user generated content on Red Bull’s social media accounts, there will likely be a more personal brand image created too (Albert M. Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001).

Hashtags/Contests
Currently, most content on Red Bull pages are posted by the company and features strong influencers and professionals. Undoubtedly, this has helped the brand to raise awareness of itself and build its attractive brand image. However, to go a step further in this engagement, there could be opportunities for users to put up their own content as well. This will help to cultivate a brand community, where users can ride on one another’s innovations and ideas. With the opportunity to contribute to Red Bull’s community, users will fosters a greater sense of belonging and connection to the brand and other users in this community too (Albert M. Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001).
If it is not attractive enough for one to be associated with Red Bull, users also stand the chance of having their videos and images featured on Red Bull’s social media accounts. Having more than 45 million followers on Red Bull’s Facebook page alone, users can be assured that their creations will go further than before.

Red Bull TV
Tapping on the existing digital platform that showcases global events, lifestyle, sports and music entertainment, there would be an existing fanbase that will view the footages put up. When there are events organised or supported by Red Bull, SBMs and WTMs can be mobliized to shoot interesting footages of these events. An additional category for these videos could be created on the platform. With GoPro cameras, high quality videos can be taken anywhere and anytime. It will be fresh to see videos taken from a different perspective as compared to the usual perspective of current videos on Red Bull Television. This may potentially help the brand to appear to be more relatable to the crowd and customers

Red Bull YouTube
Red Bull has an existing YouTube channel that has over 5 million subscribers. This initiative could be carried out on this existing channel. Alternatively, if it may cause too much disruptions or clutter for the existing fanbase, a sub-channel could be created. Singaporean YouTube celebrities have gotten on the bandwagon of creating listicles and short drama series. Red Bull could ride on that trend and create hype for themselves through their very own online reality series. An additional advantage of having the online series posted on YouTube is that Red Bull will be able to better engage with viewers and get them to voice out what they want to see on their channel.
Red Bull recently organised an event called “Can You Make It 2016”. This was an exciting event where participants got to travel around Europe without their phone, cash or Internet. They were supposed to use Red Bull drinks as their currency. This event created hype among the young and adventurous crowd. Modelling after this successful initiative, there could be an adaptation of this challenge in the Singapore Context. More specifically, it could take place in Polytechnics, Junior Colleges or Universities too. This could be part of an online series that features participants completing various tasks.
Other than the main event, short and impactful videos and listicles could be done by SBMs and WTMs. These videos would contain content that is related to the life of a typical or ideal university student with an interesting twist.

Limitations
Clutter Existing Social Media Channels
Red Bull’s social ecosystem is made up of specialized social media channels that appeal to the adrenaline junkies. As most videos and photos are made by professionals, the shift towards greater user generated content may cause a fluctuation or decrease in qualities of videos. Furthermore, there is little guarantee that consumers will put up relevant photos or videos.
However, there could be a filter system put in place, where photos and videos are vetted through before it is published on the official Red Bull Pages. This will ensure that irrelevant media will not clutter the social media channels.

Additional Workload For SBMs And WTMs
The initial hype that is created on the Red Bull Singapore Channels will have to be sparked off by SBMs and WTMs. This is to encourage the users to generate content on their own. These SBMs and WTMs have to be more proactive in sharing this initiative to other users.
Even though the start may be more taxing on SBMs and WTMs, once users have gotten used to interacting in the Red Bull community, the workload of the SBMs and WTMs will be back to normal. If necessary and able, Red Bull Singapore could consider reimbursing the managers with money, based on their level of engagement.

 

References

Albert M. Muniz, J., & O’Guinn, T. C. (2001). Journal of Consumer Research. Journal of Consumer Research , 27 (4), 412-432.

Glassdoor. https://www.glassdoor.com/Overview/Working-at-Red-Bull-EI_IE12190.11,19.htm Last accessed: 30 May 2016

Bughin, J. Doogan & O. J. Vetvik. (2010). McKinsley Quarterly. A new way to measure word-of-mouth marketing. Marketing and Sales Practice.

Pan, B., & Crotts, J. C. (2012). Theoretical Models of Social Media, Marketing Implications, and Future Research Directions. Social Media in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality: Theory, Practice and Cases , 77-86.

Red Bull Singapore http://www.redbull.com/sg/en Last accessed: 31 May 2016

Social Bakers: The Smartest Social Media Analytics Tool.   http://www.socialbakers.com/products/analytics Last accessed: 24 May 2016

Synthesio: Social Intelligence and Listening Platform. http://www.synthesio.com Last accessed: 24 May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Group 3 – Innisfree

 

Innisfree is a South Korean cosmetics and skincare brand owned by AmorePacific Corporation, focusing on providing natural and environmentally friendly beauty products to females between 18-25 years. While no financial results are available, Innisfree Singapore’s strong growth over the years can be inferred from its rapid store expansion, especially given the exorbitant rental rates in Singapore shopping centres (Heng, Singh, & Kua, 2016). Indeed, Euromonitor International reports (2016) affirm that the Korean beauty wave, and in particular the offering of natural products, looks set to remain major driver of the growth of the beauty and skincare industry in Singapore.

As such, Innisfree Singapore’s business goal would likely be to maintain a strong presence in Singapore. This leads to our research question, which is: How can Innisfree Singapore continue to maintain a sustainable revenue through better use of social media? Currently, Innisfree Singapore uses social media to promote brand awareness. Their all-natural Korean image is strong, as evidenced through comparison with the social media accounts of other Korean beauty brands in Singapore. Given Innisfree Singapore’s 80k of followers on Facebook and the rapid store expansion, they have done well in that respect. Innisfree is now ready to take its social media strategy to the next level, which is to add value to the company. Our proposed strategy are as follows:

Objective #1: Expanding its current target audience to include potential male consumers between 20 and 35 years old, as more Singaporean men within this age bracket are becoming beauty-conscious (Heng, 2016) and the Korean wave continues to support this trend of redefining traditional norms of masculine grooming (Tee, 2016).

Strategy: It has been shown that men are more likely to rely on social media and search engines when shopping (Honigman, 2013). Specific to skincare shopping, some men have also turned to male celebrities for inspiration on how to groom themselves (Heng, 2016).Therefore, Innisfree can feature brand ambassador Lee Min Ho advertising the men’s skincare range – Forest For Men, complete with captions on product information and benefits. Sponsored posts may be used in order to reach out to the Facebook community. Following the posts on products, like and share giveaways can then be conducted. In view that men hardly post on social media, these contests will involve female followers tagging their male friends on why he deserves to be pampered with Innisfree men’s skincare range. The hashtag #ForestForMen will be used for all the posts related to the men’s skincare range, so as to create more awareness and a distinct difference from the ladies’ products.

Objective #2: Increasing engagement levels with current customers, as increasing engagement levels to build a strong brand community would go a long way in increased product experimentation (Euromonitor, 2016) and thereby ensuring the sustainability of sales.

Strategy: Engagement is most effective through face-to-face contact, via roadshows and events held. Effective usage of social media through media richness, can amplify the audience reach of such events by enabling those who could not make it to the event, to vicariously experience the event. Based on a case study of Laneige’s Beauty Road event, Innisfree can similarly utilise the 3M framework to have effective event-related social media postings before, during, and after the event.

Before the event: Like-and-share contests, requiring followers to share these online posters with their friends in order to win exclusive event merchandise. This will tap on the ‘Monitor’ element, whereby Innisfree can monitor to see what people are saying about the event, even before the event commences.

During the event: On Instagram, Innisfree can use the ‘Magnet’ approach in the following way: Roadshows and events generally would have photo booths and product giveaways. These photo booths are often very popular, with users posing at these photo booths and uploading photos to their personal social media account. Simultaneously, product samples are distributed freely without any meaningful customer interaction — Customers merely have to queue for the product. With the ‘Magnet’ approach, Innisfree can require customers to post photos of themselves at the photo booths, complete with the event hashtag, in order to redeem the free product. This interaction would be much more meaningful to both Innisfree and the consumer, thereby creating engagement in real life and in the virtual space.

After the event: After the event, Innisfree can use the ‘Monitor’ approach to follow-up in engaging consumers. For example, they can run a contest whereby consumers post make-up video tutorials on Youtube of their favourite Innisfree products launched at the event, and stand a chance to win a hamper of that product line. This will get consumers to actually think about what they enjoyed most at the event, and which product they would continue to use post-event. In that way, Innisfree will be subtly building a strong brand community.

To that end, both our social media strategies work in tandem to convey the message that Innisfree is not just a beauty brand, but a community where both the current and proposed target audiences – female and male consumers, want to belong in as their needs are met. Our strategies have also taken into account the limitations of the strategies, such as the extensive work required. However, given that Laneige is a sister entity of Innisfree in the AmorePacific Group, an internal secondment of social media staff or mentoring program between Laneige and Innisfree social media staff can be arranged so Innisfree can implement the social media strategies in the most efficient way.

While Innisfree Singapore has been performing relatively well over the past few years, the proposed social media strategies are aimed at value adding by fulfilling the main objectives of (1) expanding Innisfree Singapore’s current target audience to include potential male consumers and (2) increasing engagement levels with its current consumers and thus building a strong brand community that is loyal to Innisfree. Ultimately, Innisfree Singapore’s consumer base would be widened and its consumers would resonate with the brand on a deeper level, therefore translating into increased sales.

 

Group 6 – Han’s Art & Living

 

Summary

Han’s Art & Living was established in 1997, providing different genres of art for children. Han’s Art & Living started out with the belief that art is integral in moulding children’s thought process, unleashing the finer virtues within them. Furthermore, it also served as a platform for local artists to display their talents through art pieces.

Since its establishment, Han’s Art & Living relied on workshops and classes to sustain its business. In 2006, to expand its business, Han’s Art & Living started an online store to sell its wooden creation and art decorations.

As Singapore welcomed her way into the Golden Jubilee – 50th year of nation building in 2015, Singaporeans were also going towards a cultural and mindset shift. With the shift in mindset observed, it signified the growing acceptance among society to measure success in different areas.

In 2016, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth set aside $20 million fund to boost art scene locally and internationally. Through the funding, more world class exhibitions would be showcase locally and local artists would be able to have more opportunities to perform on international stage.

However, despite such policies in place to promote the art scene in Singapore, art scene in Singapore was still unable to flourish.

In light of the current challenges to boost the art scene in Singapore, the research question was to find out how can Han’s Art & Living leverage on social media to increase its brand awareness and engagement, hence playing a role in boosting the art and culture scene in Singapore?

Proposed social media strategies

  1.  Han’s Art Workshop

As Han’s Art & Living started out by conducting art workshops for children, we decided to leverage on its expertise in our first strategy. As such, our proposed first strategy aims to increase awareness in Han’s Art & Living through art workshops, that will be conducted at Han’s Art & Living’s own studio.

  1. Aspiring Artist Program at Art Flea

After Strategy 1 has been put into action, we hope to have established Han’s Art & Living’s social media presence through the creation of a more solid foundation of their social media standing and following. Building upon that, for Strategy 2, we aim to increase awareness of Singapore’s artists’ work to increase the efforts in the exposure of art to the public.

  1. Digital Interactive Arts

Upon establishing a more robust social media presence for Han’s Art & Living, and attaining an increase in awareness of work and crafts done by our local artists, the last strategy we want to implement is to build a community interest in art work in effort to sustain the art scene in Singapore.

Conclusion

By revamping our social media platforms through the uploads of more interesting and eye-catching infographics, as well as to seek the help of social influencers in promoting our workshop, the public will gain greater exposure to art and hence gain awareness of our company, Hans’ Art & Living. Therefore with this, we are certain that we will see an increase in our followers on all our social media platforms. With this increase in followers, further promoting efforts are likely to receive greater positive responses from the public as these efforts are able to reach out to a higher number of people. Thus, we believe that we will be able to attract a greater number of people for our Art Flea, and also, predict a high participation rate for the Aspiring Artists program as it provides one with an opportunity to be exposed to art as well as a chance to win attractive prizes. Therefore with this strategy along with the first, we will be able to build a larger community.
Thus, we believe that the interactive Arts’ effort would be successful as it will be promoted through our social media platforms, which will have a larger number of followers than the period before the implementation of our strategies. Additionally, as Singapore is a collective society, such efforts which require a collective effort would appeal to the citizens of our country, contributing to the higher success rate of our strategy.

#HansArt #HANdicraft #HuntwithHans

 

 

 

 

 

PETA Opened a High-end Leather Store but…

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I came across an article through social media and felt the need to share it for a good cause. It’s pretty impressive for PETA to come up with such genuine and viral content that is definitely relatable to their crucial stakeholders. The video produced had about 1.4 million views in the last 2 weeks. Do take a look if you have not done so.

 

American Express (AMEX)

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Background
American Express Company (hereon known as “Amex” or “the company”) is one of the largest providers of travel related services and payment services in the world. Together with its subsidiaries, Amex provides financial products and services to individuals, businesses, corporations and institutions. It has a worldwide presence, although the company’s chief market is the US.

The company consists of four business segments: US card services (“USCS”); Global Network and Merchant Services (“GNMS”); international card services (“ICS”); and global commercial services (“GCS”).

Importance of Social Media to AMEX
Let’s face it. American Express credit cards are not the cheapest to own for consumers nor accept for retailers. Yet American Express has been steadily succeeding at charging a premium above its competitors. The reason is simple: Amex offers quality service. In the past, quality service was rendered through toll-free hotlines or fast response emails. As social media increasingly become the mainstay of communication, Amex has evolved to render quality service through the said new form of digital communication. According to the Annual Financial Report for FY15, there are two aspects of Amex’s leverage on social media for quality service:

1)  Direct communication
First, Amex’s customer service-related Twitter account, @AskAmex (its US-based customer service handle). The account is used to field questions from card holders in real-time between the hours of 9am to 10pm in the US. Combined with AMEX 24/7 customer service department available by phone, email, or even post this contributes to the impression that every effort is made to address problems – that the company is not afraid of complaints or difficult requests, and that there is always someone available to help.

2) Engagement
Second, with a certain degree of overlap with the abovementioned point, Amex makes use of social media to engage customers. Relevant use of multiple channels to keep its customers engaged with the brand, with the aim of making it as easy as possible for card holders to communicate their issues directly and have them speedily resolved. Social media channels, particularly Twitter and Facebook, is used frequently as part of its customer engagement strategy, posting new deals and offers to its @AmericanExpress Twitter account (which has 832,146 followers) and Facebook page (which has over 5.7 million likes) to keep card holders engaged and as yet another marketing channel highlighting the Amex brand message of quality service.

With the combination of customer service and engagement, American Express’s rewards are some of the most retention-focused and therefore ultimately more valuable to the brand in the long term in the market. They provide a combination of positive experiences, largely through direct interactions and customer service and generous financial rewards, Amex makes its card holders feel they are valued, and that they are getting good value for their money.

Research Question:
How can American Express expand its consumer base by targeting youths aged 18-24, while retaining its luxurious brand image and complying with all credit regulations?

We look to convince parents that when youths come to age, granting a supplementary card is a sign of maturity and trust. We aim to convince youths that having an Amex card is cool, granting  unparalleled access to certain privileges.

Value of the study is to increase the credit card usage rates further by targeting the youth consumer segment (18-24) through the changing of current social norms where consumers only apply for credit cards after they start working.

Methodology:
A. Secondary research

    1. Find demographics of credit card and supplementary card users
    2. Find food and entertainment trends among youths
    3. Find social media usage patterns among youths

B. Primary research

    1. Focus group to collect youth’s perception of credit cards
    2. Focus group to collect youth’s perception of AMEX compared to other brands

Social Media Strategy & Objectives:
Targets youths by speaking to their need to be seen as mature and independent enough to be trust by:

    1. Changing the perception of credit cards entitlement among youths.
    2. Making youths realise the perks associated with getting a credit card through word of mouth from peers and social media platforms (mainly Instagram and Facebook).
    3. Attaching the image or mindset that youths should be given a credit supplementary card when they “come of age” as an overarching social media campaign.
    4. Create a new market of youth supplementary card users.

Conclusion:
By introducing a youth-centric supplementary card, we can target a whole new untapped segment, and this needs to be done through an effective social media campaign.

Group 5- Weijun, Shaun and Rachel

 

American Apparel (Group 4)

American Apparel

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Background

American Apparel is a US-based company, which designs, manufactures and sells clothing and accessories for men, women and children through retail, wholesale and online distribution channels. American Apparel is a manufacturer, distributor and retailer of branded fashion basic apparel that operates around 239 retail stores in 20 countries in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

The company operates its business through the following four segments: U.S. wholesale, U.S. retail, Canada and international.

American Apparel’s U.S. wholesale segment consists of the company’s wholesale operations of sales of undecorated apparel products to distributors and third party screen printers in the US, and online consumer sales to the US customers. U.S. retail segment consists of American Apparel’s retail store operations in the US, which comprises of around 136 retail stores.

The company’s Canadian segment consists retail, wholesale and online consumer operations in Canada. The retail operation in the Canada segment comprises of around 31 retail stores.

American Apparel’s international segment consists of the wholesale, retail, and online consumer operations outside of the US and Canada. The retail operations of segment comprises of around 75 retail stores operating in 18 countries.

American Apparel is unique for two main reasons: Since its inception in 1989, it has been positioned as an environmentally and socially responsible operation. It’s also a domestic producer — a rarity among major U.S. clothing lines — that sells in both the wholesale and retail sectors.

American Apparel’s Downward Spiral

There were 3 major causes to American Apparel’s downward spiral. Firstly, CEO strife led to the severing of ties with all former stockholders as well as ex-CEO and founder Dov Charney. Secondly, American Apparel also had financial issues they had to settle such as legal fees and debt. And finally, they had continued losses in sales that can be attributed to the controversial branding.

The company filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. on October 5, 2015. In February 5, 2016, American Apparel exited bankruptcy after its financial restructuring plan was accepted. With this, the company is now privately owned by its creditors and bondholders, severing ties with all former stockholders as well as ex-CEO and founder Dov Charney.

Despite the large percentage of American Apparel’s customer base, consumers can easily avail themselves of alternative products. This lack of exclusivity can be attributed to the apparel industry being highly saturated and competitive and due to the nature of American Apparel’s low-differentiation type of product; basic apparel.

Among consumers, American Apparel has become a cult brand with a strong Facebook and Twitter presence and 3-year history of creative online marketing ventures, albeit having quite a negative reputation regarding its controversial campaigns.

Research Question

Given this pretext, our group is focusing on rebranding the retailer’s brand image by analysing American Apparel’s marketing strategies before and after bankruptcy and explore how social media can help to reinvent the brand. Our objectives include strategies to improve any negative sentiments post bankruptcy by analysing marketing strategies before and after bankruptcy.

This study aims to bring a fresh perspective to marketing a brand, particularly after a financial setback, and how a fresh start can be made possible with social media strategies.

Marketing Strategies Before Bankruptcy

Pre-bankruptcy, much of the company’s advertising relied on controversial branding. Long known for edgy, sexually charged advertising and store displays, the company lost its grip on the hottest fashion trends and basic retailing strategy, with stores selling the same goods year-round. The racy print advertisements generated lots of publicity for the company, but much of it was negative. In 2015, the struggling brand, which was founded in 1989, spent no money on marketing.

Marketing Strategies After Bankruptcy

The company purportedly ditched the suggestive branding and, in a June 2015 presentation, outlined a new branding strategy that’s in line with a “positive, inclusive, socially-conscious” mindset.

Firstly, the company will try to return to its Americana roots by introducing a “Made in the USA” crowdsourcing initiative. Secondly, the company is also tapping into celebrity photographers, artists and social influencers to promote the merchandise in a new campaign. The marketing strategy includes media buys in print, digital and out-of-home, as well as a robust social media plan.

American Apparel have partnered with the Global Philanthropy Group on issues of women’s rights and LGBT rights, to “take the brand to the next level”. However, this is in contrast to the advertising that they will still be carrying out, where racy billboard advertisements are still a mainstay.

Our Project Outline

  1. Research current social media initiatives on social media, focusing on the company background and articles available on the social media  strategies that American Apparel uses
  2. Identification of flaws by comparing current social media initiatives to that of an ‘ideal situation’ using the framework of “Strategic Options for Social Media Development”
  3. Suggestions by recommending a set of solutions tailored to the company