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Amitava Chattopadhyay


Amitava Chattopadhyay
Emerging Market Multinationals - Amitava Chattopadhyay


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Social Issue Based Brand Transformation: Strategies of the Luxury Beauty Brand SK-II

SK-II, a leading luxury beauty brand in Japan, was experiencing a decline. Its customers were aggressively courted by rivals, and changes in society made it difficult for the brand to stay compelling to its customers. SK-II must formulate a new strategy to fundamentally transform itself, bolster relevance and transcend the competition. The case describes the market landscape, economic, societal and technological changes, as well as SK-II’s prior strategies and their implementation. In developing the new strategy, the brand needs to decide:

  1. whether and how it should speak to social issues such as gender equality and incorporate those issues into its brand purpose;
  2. how digital technologies should be effectively integrated into every aspect of the brand experience;
  3. how it should synergistically leverage social media, metaverse and other media platforms; and
  4. how it should work with established celebrities as well as emerging influencers to create a prestigious and yet engaging brand image.

The brand needs to thoroughly assess the pros and cons associated with the potential options, craft its strategy and develop a detailed implementation plan.

When building a brand it’s the experience that matters

Experience matters. We live in an experience age and brands can no longer build strong positions by providing clear functional benefits. In research I undertook  with a former colleague, Professor Peter Darke at York University, and then student and now professor at Queens University, Laurence Ashworth, we showed that exposing consumers to irrelevant experiential cues, e.g., asking consumers to listen to music genres they liked versus disliked on a given portable CD player influenced their choice of portable CD players. Consumers chose CD players that were objectively inferior on functional benefits like battery life and weight, two important characteristics of portable CD players, when they listened to disliked music genres on them, even though the music experience was irrelevant to choice. Consumers would, after all, never listen to a disliked genre of music on the CD player once they took it home!

Fabindia: Branding India’s Artisanal Craft for Mass Retail

As India’s most iconic garments and home furnishings company, Fabindia had come a long way from its humble beginnings as an export shop in 1960, selling handloom fabrics to overseas customers. In 1976, Fabindia started domestic operations in India, and in the next 38 years it had become synonymous with quality handmade products procured from artisans all over India, with a social conscience. The business combined the twin objectives of making a profit and providing a sustainable livelihood for rural artisans. A whole generation of loyal shoppers had grown up with the brand and the view that “If you were a Fabindia person, you were alright.” However, the winds of change were blowing. The next generation of consumers, who were part of a different economic environment and world order, were less tied to the Fabindia ethos and had wider consumption choices. Given the changes, was it time to evolve? Should Fabindia broaden its positioning? If it remained niche, could it continue the phenomenal growth it had experienced? If Fabindia chose to broaden its positioning, what should that broader positioning be?


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