COACH: Communication Strategies

Friday, December 11, 2020

 Fashion is in itself a form of communication" (Brownlees, T), therefore in the fashion industry, brands must use both tangible and intangible forms of communication. Brands, including Coach, all aim to communicate the 'dream factor' associated with fashion, as realistically the symbolic nature of a brand has a far greater influence than its functionality. Coach is a classic example of this as they have come to be associated with luxury and exclusivity. Coach is a luxury American brand with a speciality in handbags, luggage and, other leather goods, but at a more accessible price point than others in the luxury market. The Coach company was founded in 1941 as a family-run workshop in Manhattan, a site that remains their headquarters. Today, Coach has around 500 stores in North America, with a further 400 in Asia and 20 in Europe ( Coach is now part of the Tapestry group, along with Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, however, they are responsible for 70% of the group's profits. Working within their signature styles and prints, COACH is the embodiment of the classic, American style.

This is reflected in Coach's classic horse-and-carriage logo, seen as a symbol of luxury, social status, elegance and almost regal dignity. Coach use the logo on all their products, usually through gold hardware. However, as well as their logo, Coach also has signature prints incorporating the 'C' into an iconic, recognisable pattern.

"Building upon our strong brand and business equities, we are in the process of transforming from an international accessories business to a global lifestyle brand, anchored in accessories, presenting a clear and compelling expression of the Coach woman and man across all product categories, store environments and brand imagery." -COACH

For such a traditional brand, Coach's marketing strategy adopts predominantly modern, internet reliant methods of communication, mostly through social media and targeted emailing (Soni, P. 2020). They also use many celebrity endorsements (e.g. Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Megan Thee Stallion) as well as frequent flash sales to generate brand excitement and reach a wider audience.

Coach sells through their own stores, their website, department stores, and also outlets. The coach stores are usually small and have a boutique feel. As a consumer, this allows for a more personal, luxury experience. However, since Coach decided to change 
their strategy in 2014 they have pulled out of 250 department stores, and started to close all their own stores that are not as profitable. It is clear that they are trying to gradually move their retail environment to predominantly online (Bells, S. 2017).

The packaging that Coach uses is in line with what is expected from a luxury retailer. A handbag, for example, will be packaged in a dust bag, inside a box, then depending on whether it is purchased in-store will be placed inside a large, structured bag. Coach is a brand that exudes luxury, timelessness and craftsmanship and this is reflected in their packaging design. The use of the brown shade mirrors their roots as a maker of leather goods, with the touches of gold to allude to prestige.

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