Making the name fit the brand

"Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product."



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product."

Coming from renowned entrepreneur Elon Musk of SpaceX, Tesla and PayPal fame, this interpretation of what constitutes a brand should be based on empirical experience.

His skilful handling of the public relations fallout in the wake of the string of accidents involving Tesla, for instance, was indicative of his wealth of knowledge about brand value. So as investors and bloggers poured cold water over the recent announcement of the change of Coach's corporate name to Tapestry, brand experts are confident that the new name would soon be accepted by shareholders and fans alike.

Due to take effect on Halloween (October 31) when the handbag- maker's company ticker symbol will also change from COH to TPR, the switch is mainly to reflect its expanding portfolio after the acquisition of shoemaker Stuart Weitzman in 2015 and fellow handbag-maker Kate Spade this year, spokeswoman Andrea Shaw Resnick explained.

A tapestry conjures up the image of weaving threads together to create something beautiful, which is an appropriate allegory for the incorporation of more fashion lines. But Resnick hastened to add that nothing would change for consumers, as the three product lines will keep their original brand names.

Coach's latest move is actually in line with a series of noted luxury brand conglomerates, such as the European model established by LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton), Kering (Gucci, Saint Laurent, et al) and Richemont (Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, et al). All these were prompted by strategic manuevers to change the idea of the company from the perspective of enriching the brand value or enhancing the competitive edge. For continuous growth in the fashion world, mono-brand no longer fits the bill.

The popularity of Coach among Americans over the past decade was amazing. When the outlet shopping craze caught on, the company adopted such an aggressive discount strategy it eventually became a victim of its own success.

As tourists stuffed their trunks with Coach handbags as gifts for back home, local customers sensed a loss in prestige when their purchases underwent a gross drop in value before the end of the season.

Queues gradually switched to other rising brands.

When its staunch competitor, Michael Kors, purchased Jimmy Choo for US$1.2 billion (HK$9.36 billion), it was high time for Coach to act.

Retired senior civil servant Juliana Chen is a passionate crystal collector who shares the good things in life.