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Abercrombie and Fitch Case Solution
Abercrombie & Fitch is an American clothing brand based in Ohio. The company was founded in the year 1892 by David Thomas Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012). The business markets clothing products that are targeted towards teenagers and young adults. The brand has an international presence. Abercrombie & Fitch owns more than a thousand stores in twelve countries around the globe. The company owns three distinct brands; namely, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister Co. and Gilly Hicks (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012). The case study narrates the evolution of the strategy of the business during the last twenty years. The paper carries out an analysis of the case study on the positioning of the brand and the marketing strategy of the business.
Following questions are answered in this case study solution
Business Strategy and Hiring Practices
Key Strategic Positioning Today
Conclusion and Recommendation
Case Analysis for Abercrombie and Fitch
2. Brand Positioning
Abercrombie & Fitch has adopted a unique positioning statement since its inception. The brand has positioned itself as a ‘cool’ and trendy wear for the teens and youth. The positioning statement of the brand is reinforced through the marketing communication and the staff hired by the organization in its stores (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012). The product offering of the company mainly comprises t-shirts and polo shirts, as well as, different styles of vintage jeans. The hipster look is integrated into the product through the designs. For instance, the jeans marketed by the company are artificially aged. The logo of Abercrombie & Fitch brand is a little momentum which represents a tribe of attractive people.
The hipster positioning of the brand is also translated into the layout of the stores. The stores of the brand have a distinct appearance. The brands of the stores are plunged into darkness. The music is very loud, and there are numerous torso mannequins which makes it possible for the shoppers to take photographs (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012). The clothes are perfumed when a purchase is made. All this contributes to a special atmosphere which is the characteristic of the brand.
3. Brand Strategy
The brand strategy of Abercrombie & Fitch is based on the creation of strong differentiation from other clothing brands. The strategy is to target a narrow segment of the clothing market and to become the preferred brand for a small segment rather than appealing to the mass market. The niche marketing strategy of the brand is executed through the formation of distinct brands for each segment being served by the company (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012). For instance, Hollister is a brand launched by Abercrombie & Fitch that creates clothes inspired by casual Californian surfer-style. The company has created this line of casual clothing for North America and the European market. It offers cheaper items in comparison to the parent brand Abercrombie & Fitch and targets adolescents as its market (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012).
Similarly, the business does not sell clothing for teens under its regular brand. Rather, the brand strategy of the company is to create a separate brand termed as Abercrombie kids. The brand is described as "Classic Cool" by the group. This version of Abercrombie & Fitch designed for children in the age group seven to fourteen years old.
The brand strategy is also strengthened by the visible elements of the retail outlets. The exterior of the stores is generally characterized by a facade with moldings and windows hidden by shutters. The interior is bathed in semi-darkness (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012). The items offered for sale are lit with ceiling lights and spotlights. To create a young and dynamic atmosphere, music is played in the stores at levels up to 90 decibels.
4. Business Strategy and Hiring Practices
The foundations of the business strategy of Abercrombie & Fitch are its recruitment practices. The entire business model of the company is based on appealing to the innate desire of the buyer of clothing products to look good. To meet this objective, the business only hires those people in its store that conform closely to the contemporary beauty styles. The store staff at Abercrombie & Fitch fits a particular profile of beautiful models. This pursuit of this business objective had turned the recruitment practices of Abercrombie & Fitch highly contentious and discriminatory (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012).
It is against the US Civil Law to discriminate among applicants at the time of recruitment based on their race, color, gender, disability, etc. The recruitment practices of Abercrombie & Fitch were directly against the law. For instance, the company fired a female Muslim employee in the year 2005. The reason for the termination of the employee was she insisted on wearing a scarf around her head during her job since it conformed to her religious views. The store manager considered this appearance of the employee against the projected image of the brand and chose to lay her off. The employee sued the company and won the case (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012). The court considered the conduct of Abercrombie & Fitch against the Civil Rights Act 1964 and the company was held accountable to pay $8,000 to the employee as compensation. In another instance, Abercrombie & Fitch was sued by a disabled employee who used to wear a prosthetic arm for being discriminated against by the company. The employee won the case and the company had to pay a sizeable amount of damages (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012).
The business strategy of Abercrombie & Fitch took a sharp turn following these incidents. The strategy was replaced by the pursuit of diversity within the organization. The company initiated a marketing campaign in which it projected itself as an organization that encourages people of all races and ethnic backgrounds to join the organization. The business strategy met the objectives that were set out by the company. By the year 2012, more than half of the employees of the company were non-white (Mahi, Boelsems, & Garrison, 2012).
5. Key Strategic Positioning Today
The key strategic positioning of the brand has evolved to be ‘lifestyle’ brand from its traditional positioning of a fashion brand. Today Abercrombie & Fitch presents itself aggressively as a lifestyle brand that tries to capture the values of its target market based on popular culture. Also, brand positioning is no longer restricted to the attribute of being ‘attractive’ (Lutz, 2015).
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