Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Brand Update : Peter England

Yesterday, the outgoing students of the Public Relations Stream of my institute presented me with a Peter England shirt in appreciation of all the branding funda I taught them. It was long time since I happen to get my favorite brand of shirt. Ever since my marriage, my wife has been experimenting with a whole lot of shirt brands on me ( except Peter England ) . It was good to see my favorite brand again .

I began noticing subtle but serious changes with the brand over the last year. The brand is having a very slow and steady makeover. The makeover is not cosmetic but may result in a complete change in the entire brand DNA.

From the year 2003 itself, Madura Garments has been toying with the idea of taking the brand away from the mass market segment .As we know, Peter England is one of the largest selling readymade brand with a steady focus on the value segment.

Madura Garments - now a part of Aditya Birla Group has been trying to raise the image & premium of this brand but could not let go of the intense equity that Peter England has made in the mass market segment.
In my last post on this brand, I had mentioned that the brand has changed its slogan from " The Honest Shirt ' to " Honestly Impressive " . The idea was to bring in a new set of brand value : creating impressions.

This year , the brand has fully changed its DNA from the Value Brand to an Aspirational Brand. Aspiration not like the expensive Louis Philippe ( aspiration to own ) but the aspiration to impress. The brand has the new slogan " Impressions Everyday " .

The entire communication of the brand has changed. The brand now has Foreign Models, Foreign Locations and a new image. The brand is running a heavy-duty print campaign for its Summer/Spring collection. Needless to say, the ads are honestly impressive.

Peter England is now projected as an ' everyday use ' brand but that which creates impression. So in a sense, the brand has not forgotten its Value proposition.
Along with the change in the communication, Peter England also has made a confident foray into the premium segment with a sub-brand :Elite. Peter England Elite competes with the likes of Louis Philippe and Van Heusen .

I liked Peter England because it is a no-nonsense shirt. I can wear it everyday and can buy it with confidence . An occasional tea spill or ink spill will not make me grimace . I don't need to because I can always buy another one.

Now with the brand moving into a premium segment offers new challenge to its marketers. The brand may leave a large void in the mid-segment of the market. This segment is very price sensitive and even a couple of 100 bucks can tilt the decision. My argument is that for this segment there is a big difference between a shirt retailing for Rs 595 and one that is costing Rs 795 although the difference is only Rs 200. The brand may have the strategy of offering the range at price points between Rs 600 - Rs 1000.

There are lot of brands like John Players are waiting to grab that space if Peter England decides to go premium.