Brand Building for Emerging Designers

Entrepreneurial designer fashion enterprises (DFEs) are new entrants in the fashion industry which are usually in the earliest stages of development and have been in operation for less than ten years; they are positioned in the upper market segment, between contemporary price points and designer luxury. Such entrepreneurial Micro DFEs become centres of innovation.

Business strategy development in micro enterprises is entrepreneurial. The owner plays a dominant role in the firm’s management, makes key decisions, and single-handedly defines the branding construct. The designer-founder’s personal point of view and identity single-handedly define the aesthetic of the brand and its point of differentiation. Hence their experience, level of knowledge, capabilities, and personal qualities determine the probability of the firm’s success or failure. Therefore if the owner is not aware of what brand strategy entails and how it is relevant, they may not invest in it.

Micro enterprise owner-managers instead seem to think that branding is out of their reach. They face resource challenges like lack of money, time, information, and expertise. Hence, they often give short-term profit preference over brand. They have a strong product focused orientation and a survival mentality; they stress daily operations and short-term sales over brands simply to keep the business running. This single-minded focus on economic growth discourages them from participating in brand strategy development.

Although it is suggested that Micro enterprises should have brand orientation during business strategy development, there is no comprehensive answer around how such a strategy can be implemented. Therefore, if the process of branding can lead with creating awareness by giving sufficient knowledge around the idea, aligning it with increased profitability for the firm, and recommending a conclusive framework that can enable owners to efficiently implement brand orientation, it might come into popular practice.

Brand orientation is a significant contributor to business performance for a business-to- consumer (B2C) company and has a strong impact on brand positioning for service firms. Hence it is imperative that the brand is included in a firm’s business strategy planning at the onset, also known as brand orientation. In the case of small businesses, firm brand orientation affects business performance indirectly through brand identity. This is because consumers use brands to express themselves, and to establish a strong connection between the two, value congruence is vital.

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