Hi guys! I know it’s been a while since my last blog. I’m so sorry! School has held me prisoner. However, I do promise to make it up to you. How do you ask? Well, what better way than to share my personal experiences?! (Of course!) I recently graduated from Oxford Brookes University, and to prepare for my graduation, my aunts bought my suit – a beautiful Calvin Klein outfit. But of course, that didn’t go without a hitch. The suit was too big. So where else would I get this expensive suit altered but Calvin Klein itself?
So picture me, walking into Calvin Klein with my less than fashionable, old T-shirt and jeans, holding my suit in a Lidl supermarket bag. Not to mention, Oxford Street was hot and sticky and I am quite certain that I reflected exactly that. I was definitely out of my element. In contrast, “debonair” would be the best word to describe the atmosphere as I walked in. It was lovely, with friendly staff positioned to cater to any request on entry. I do have to give it to them. They did not batt an eyelash at my attire and served me with the same fervour as any other customer. I was quickly fitted by a lovely consultant, who made sure that not only I could fit into the suit but that I loved the look he was going for. It was somewhat magical. I was definitely happy with the process and looked forward to the outcome in a few days. Needless to say that when I received my newly fitted suit, it was every bit as wonderful as the experience and made my graduation day even more special.
Looking back on that experience, it reminds me of another shopping experience – a visit to Barclays Bank. Okay, okay. It wasn’t essentially shopping, as technically, you don’t “shop” in a bank. But the experience was the same. I’m not a Barclays’ customer and I had never stepped into Barclays before. So it was such a dramatic shock to me. The branch was classy, spacious… just wow. In short, like a Calvin Klein of Banks.
But what makes them so special? So debonair? Certainly, all stores don’t feel this way. That’s because these two companies directly exhibit marketing theory in action.
These experiences were direct examples of how companies go about targeting a certain audience or consumer in every aspect of their offering. It wasn’t just in the products, like a classy suit, but the store design, layout and entire experience from the time a consumer walks in. Of course, this goes straight back to marketing theory.
The company understood the consumer buying criteria. This always seems to pop up – it’s been in a number of articles so far from Starbucks, to Supermarket Derby. Knowing how your customers go about purchasing products, whether based on economic, technical, social, personal criteria, is key (Jobber, 2010). Calvin Klein realised target customers purchased their products due to the status, prestige and quality. This is in effect why their store design and experience is beyond run-of-the-mill.
Compare Calvin Klein to say Primark, which sells low cost clothing items and apparel. The image is different, the feeling is different. That’s essential because the target audience is different. Calvin Klein aims for (that’s right, you guessed it!) the richer consumer, one with more disposal income whereas, Primark aims at the everyday price-sensitive consumer, where purchases are based on low costs and savings on everyday clothing needs.
This store experience not only works to attract or appeal to a certain kind of customer, but also differentiates the company as a premium brand. The company is known for its designer labels in clothing and more (Calvin Klein, n.d). Therefore, the store experience must support this “designer” reputation. This is linked to brand theory. According to David Jobber (2010), this is brand reflection, in which customers relate the person they are or want to become, to the brand itself. Thinking back about walking into Calvin Klein, that feeling of sophistication, class, and elegance, made me feel like I could be those very things in my new suit. Customers don’t just buy products or a name but a brand. This is called the augmented product.
That’s how incredibly linked the entire experience is, from “store to door”. Calvin Klein clearly thought this entire thing through. Afterall, it’s been around for 47 years. It definitely has marketing theory to thank in part.
But what about Barclays? Does a bank really attract customers with its store design or “shopping experience”? Yes it does. The company operates in a complex business environment on an international scale. Therefore, there is a need for the company to exhibit strength and confidence. Barclays ensured it took this to heart, even in the construction of its head office (Barclays, 2015). There is a need to assure customers of its ability to handle more than money, but lives, funding for the future, for the person they want to become. Furthermore, as the company has to handle expensive, international accounts, its brand name must also convey that sophisticated, business etiquette. It’s exactly the same as Calvin Klein. It just goes to show the severe importance of theory in thriving companies today. Understanding simple concepts can clearly lead to market dominance on a worldwide scale, even if to us, it’s just one shopping experience.
Any experiences to match? Or maybe the complete opposite? Let me know, post your comments, likes and thoughts below. Thanks for listening to me, and including me in your week. Have a good one.
Bye for now xoxo.
Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education
Calvin Klein. n.d. About Calvin Klein. [online]. Available at: < http://uk.calvinklein.com/store/en/customerservice-about> [Accessed 19 August 2015].
Barclays. 2015. Barclays Head Office. [online]. Available at: < http://www.home.barclays/about-barclays/history/barclays-head-office.html> [Accessed 26 August 2015].
Disclaimer: All images used are sourced from Google and are in no part mine.