According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders”. When a company wants to elaborate its international marketing plan, it is necessary to take into account the traditional 4 P: product (or service), price, place and promotion.
To understand how these concepts work, we are going to study the marketing strategy of H&M, one of the world’s leading clothing and accessories’ retailer. H&M carries out elaborate advertising campaigns and marketing actions that combine global and local elements. This fact will allow us to better analyze the marketing mix own strategies and to have a broad picture of how marketing works at a business level.
First, H&M is one of the most relevant fashion companies in the world, with sales reaching up to 210 billion SEK in 2015. H&M Group has six fashion brands – H&M, COS, Monki, & Other Stories, Weekday and Cheap Monday -, with more than 4,100 stores in 63 markets and presence in the electronic market in 32 countries. In addition, it employed approximately 123,178 people in 2017. Based on this, we will analyze its marketing strategy:
Strategic marketing proposal at a global level
Global marketing involves the implementation of a standardization strategy that consists in considering that the market of a product is global. Meaning that, despite the differences between nations, companies offer the same product in all markets. Thus, companies offer an international consistent image: the company can project a single universal image among all the citizens of the world. The use of a global campaign aligns with the fact that the company belongs to the fashion world, where there is a homogenization of tastes and consumer demand is greater than in other sectors.
All of this means that H&M, to a greater extent, implements marketing campaigns at a global level. This is can been seen in the fact that H&M offers the same collection in all the countries where it has a presence. In fact, it carries out advertising campaigns with models and celebrities with international trajectories such as David Beckham, for men’s collections, or Gisele Bündchen or Vanessa Paradis, for women’s collections. Also, within this global strategy we can find the so-called “capsule collections” of famous designers, which are presented in selected stores around the world.
Thus, if we access H&M’s website in different countries, we see exactly how the same clothing collection is offered and with the same images, we can see this fact in the image that is shown after the autumn 2016 campaign.
Another element to keep in mind is the price that does not present great divergences in the countries where H&M offers its products.
Strategic marketing proposal at the local level
H&M Group also carries out a strategy of adapting its clothing lines to the cultural parameters and values of the country in which it will stablish its market. Therefore, we observe elements of what is known as local marketing, that is, it carries out localization strategies. This implies a greater approach to the consumer since they adapt to the tastes, preferences and local values.
Although it is true the statement made in the previous activity where we defended the homogenization of the world of fashion, it is no less true that clothing is directly affected by the values and customs of society. That is why the companies in the world of fashion are no strangers to it and a representative example of this strategy is that H&M adapts not only its product but also the publicity it carries out in countries with Islamic religion and culture.
Next, we can observe the advertising campaign of the company carried out in 2011 by Gisele Bündchen where it was adapted to the tenor of the country receiving it. In the image on the left we find the photograph as it was seen in the western market and in the right the aspect it presented in the markets of the East to adapt to the “sensitivities” of culture and spatially to the demands of the market of the GCC – are the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council that are: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE.
Source: elaborated by Dos Aguas Consulting. H&M’s images
The Swedish company is committed to promoting multiculturalism and adapting to countries with deep-rooted social traditions, as far as clothing is concerned. In addition, we cannot ignore the fact that this helps them in their ability to compete with local businesses. Thus, in 2015 it carried out an advertising campaign “Close the Loop” in which it approached different cultures through clothing.
Source: H&M’s images
However, not all the changes or adaptations made by H&M are due to demands derived from religious values or demands but rather to adapt to the demands of society. Thus, you could cite by way of example that the fashion chain had to change its range of products in the United States, adapting to the circumstance that male customers in the United States were less fashion conscious than Europeans.
But not everything in marketing focuses on advertising, so when H&M entered the US market it realized that by locating in the suburbs he faced too much price competition. And so, adapted its global strategy and located stores in more exclusive places and in the city center where it continued to offer low prices.
In conclusion, the marketing mix is the adapted combination of the different market variables on which each company acts in order to achieve the sales target established in its target market.
What can Dos Aguas Consulting do for you?
Marketing management involves taking a series of key decisions, such as: what to sell, to whom, how to reach the customer, at what price, how much to sell, how to make known, and how to organize the company. Dos Aguas Consulting can help you to answer these questions with our knowledge of the Spanish market and the profile of the Spanish consumer. In our work as a company specialized in advising and supporting international companies that want to invest in Spain, we can help you find clients and make a profitable business in the country. We can design your marketing strategy or adapt it to this market particularities. Local? Global? You decide! Get in touch with us, our trade and marketing advisors will help you!