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Yves Saint Laurent

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YSL’s main competitors are internationally renowned companies such as Versace and Louis Vuitton (LV), as well as emerging competitors. This section will analyze the major competitors along such areas as product diversity, financial stability, consumer focus, marketing, personnel, facilities, and marketing strategies. In order to fully cover the analysis, a brief summary of major competitors is done below.

Louis Vuitton

A company with French origin, LV is one of the world’s leading companies in fashion design. It specializes in products such as handbags, shoes, perfumes, watches, accessories, jewelry, books among other items. It has presence in most major cities world-wide, with an asset worth of 25.9 billion US dollars (Roberts 2012). It uses its brand success, versatility and worldwide presence to remain competitive.

Versace

Versace originated in Italy in 1978 and is a major fashion company globally. Apart from cloth design, Versace has recently diverged into interior design and architectural styling. Couture, Versace’s front line design line, is a prestigious brand name for high end designer outfits internationally famed and displayed in leading shows such as the Milan fashion show. Versace also has runs the Versace collection and jeans lines with more than 2000 points of sale universally. Its major customer is the elite and Versace makes its niche in this way (Roberts 2012).

Others

Other close competitors include Giorgio Armani (Italy), Pierre Cardin (France), Italian Guccio Gucci among others. To properly profile each competitor, the key determinants of success in the fashion world must be identified and the competitor’s rankings in each marker determined. The identified factors are product innovation, consumer focus, diversification, brand building, e-presence and distribution. The table below is an analysis of the weighting associated with each factor, as well as each player’s rank.

Success factor

Relative weighting

Versace

Louis Vuitton

Giorgio Armani

Pierre Cardin

Gucci

YSL

Consumer focus

0.2

0.20

0.14

0.14

0.15

0.1

0.18

Innovation

0.25

0.10

0.15

0.10

0.16

0.15

0.10

Brand building

0.3

0.28

0.28

0.24

0.14

0.21

0.20

e-presence

0.1

0.03

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.05

0.05

Distribution

0.05

0.05

0.04

0.04

0.05

0.05

0.04

Diversification

0.1

0.10

0.1

0.05

0.05

0.03

0.08

Total

1.0

0.76

0.66

0.61

0.57

0.50

0.65

 (Roberts 2012)

Unlike in general marketing, fashion industry is not driven by demand and supply in the ordinary concept. Customers purchase fashion items to look and feel unique, and price only begins to become important when two designers with same quality of items come into consideration (“References for Business” n.d). In this analysis, brand building, innovation and consumer focus are the three leading success factors and therefore have the highest rating. Other emerging factors include strong internet presence, diversification into other consumer products as well as distribution network. Distribution has received weakest weight because most consumers requiring high end fashion apparel usually travel overseas, and are unlikely to decide against an item due to unavailability in their local markets. It can be noted that upcoming competitors are focusing on distribution as a success factor, because their brand names have not yet received a great rating. This is in order to create awareness (Bloombergs Businessweek n.d).

company

YSL

Versace

LV

GA

PC

Gucci

Strengths summary

-profitability

- diversity

- excellent e-presence

-prestigious

-good customer support

-highly profitable

- wide distribution

-profitable, online presence, good social policy

Excellent diversification, partnerships, prestigious products

Very profitable

-local support

Weakness summary

- declining social rating

-just recovering from bad management

- lack of vigor in marketing

- narrow clientele

-low diversity

-lack of diversity

-no vigorous advertisement, distribution networks, adaptability to changing trends

-low adaptability to current trends

-lax advertisement

-declining diversity

-brand prestige decline

 

Overall

Improve social image and client confidence

Can defeat competitor

 

Close competitor, must watch

Not a major threat

Not a major treat

From the analysis above, it emerges that YSL stands a chance to bridge the gap with its competitors Versace and LV. The later is only marginally more preferable than YSL. Versace, however, is considerably higher placed than both YSL and LV, particularly owing to its prestigious outlook and image creation. A major drawback for Versace, it seems, is its overconfidence with fewer, high end clients. This poses a potential risk seeing that more and more high end clients are being generated daily who may not know of its existence as a fashion house. YSL is properly advertised within different market segments. Versace’s lack of diversification may deal it a blow during a stiff financial crisis when its few clients are unable to sustain business.

The management as well as product mismanagement of 2002 dealt YSL a huge drawback, but the subsequent change in top management was a turnaround point upon which a new strategy should be built. Versace beats YSL in terms of brand building, consumer focus and diversification. Since YSL does not specialize only in customized cloths and the elite clientele, it needs to add its range of products to accommodate a wider range of clients in terms of economic abilities.

Louis Vuitton is better than YSL in terms of brand building and innovativeness, earning it a higher relative score in the analysis than YSL. It has more innovative designs than YSL. On the other hand, LV is not doing as vigorous a campaign to create awareness of itself as YSL is doing, this gives YSL a competitive advantage in the future. To bridge the innovation  gap, YSL may diversify into new products in accordance with changing global fashion trends and also build on consumer feedback in order to build a strong brand. A major competitive edge for YSL is its early adoption of internet based business. The online presence, started in 2007, has had a major impact on client creation, leading to a highly profitable business as at 2011. This strategy still has potential for more growth, especially with the increasingly globalized internet market for different markets (Roberts 2012).

A significant weakness for YSL is its declining target for a high- end clientele for its products. This maybe in part due to the nature of fashion industry but also due to slackened advertisement for its products. To recapture this market segment which is a major source of income in the fashion industry, YSL should incorporate advertisement programs that focus on renown personalities such as artists, as well as get involved with leading humanitarian activates such as human aid sponsorship campaigns.

YSL PESTEL Analysis

Yves Saint Laurent has numerous strengths as well as cropping challenges. This section will conduct a Political, Economic, Social,Technological, Environmental and Legal analysis.

Political Analysis

Yves Saint Laurent, like most other fashion companies, is rarely challenged politically. This is due, in part, to the specific nature of fashion products of touching only a small population in any market, but targeting a global presence. Further, YSL enjoys political freedom both within and outside France, having successful retail stores in all major cities of the world.

Economic Analysis

Started in 1961, the company has grown tremendously in capital size and diversity. Currently the company is worth billions of dollars, with revenue of $1.21B in 2011. In addition, the company’s half year results for 2012 showed an increase in profit from the previous year. YSL was, like any other company in various sectors, affected by the 2008/09 financial crisis. However the company has responded positively in the period 2008 to 2012 (Bloombergs Businessweek n.d)

Social Analysis

This is, perhaps, the biggest challenge for YSL at the moment. The company has recently come under attack from within and outside due to increasing claims of poor management and brand neglect, culminating in major board changes this year (Amed, 2012). In addition, YSL fans have reacted negatively to publicized proposals on changes in the company logo. It is clear that, the company has received a backlash from fans and the general market for its poor public relations and communications policy (Amed, 2012). YSL’s public relations team is working to renew company trust and steer growth.

Technological Analysis

YSL is perhaps one of the most technology savvy fashion companies today. A definite competitive edge, YSL was the first company to launch a major internet presence as well a vigorous online marketing and sales platform in 2007 (Amed 2012). It also takes advantage of technology to support an online client blog where fans and interested parties may discuss YSL’s products and experiences.

Environmental Analysis

Beauty products such as the perfumes, lotions and similar products are usually in the limelight as far as environmental concerns go. YSL has had no major challenges with regard to health and environment implications of its products. Environmental challenges therefore are not a major concern for the company (Amed 2012).

Legal Analysis

YSL, like all major fashion houses, has experienced legal challenges from time to time. On September 5, 2012, Christian Louboutin won an appeal case against YSL for alleged copyright infringement by YSL regarding his distinctive red-sole design for certain designer shoes. The initial suit was reported in the Business Week on May,1,2012. The case was a downturn for YSL’s image as well as brand name (Amed 2012).

Overall Rating

YSL is, in overall rating, performing well and has numerous growth opportunities. It however must take control of changing consumer perception about its seriousness in product quality retention and brand superiority for it to succeed. The legal cases are normal to any competitor but YSL must fight to keep them at a bare minimum (Amed 2012).

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