Natori: An Appealing Apparel Story

By , May 10, 2014 9:18 am

On Monday, May 5, Ken Natori guest spoke at my Licensing class (CEO 035).  He generously spent an hour and a half talking about his company, founded by his mother, Josie Natori, and answering questions on all aspects of licensing posed by the class.

Natori2
First – what is the Natori brand:

Natori uses its brand equity to build East-meets-West lifestyle brands including ready-to-wear, accessories, bedding, towels, fragrance, home fragrance, swim, eyewear, and more

Their three-pronged brand strategy includes:
•       Josie Natori / Natori http://www.natori.com/  (luxury, heritage)
•       Josie http://www.natori.com/JosieByNatori  (contemporary)
•       N Natori http://www.natori.com/NByNatori  (accessible to all women)

photo3
Natori is one of the few companies that has retained its ownership in a world of mergers, buyouts, etc. This has allowed them, among other things, to maintain their own vision and control over their products and licensing procedures.

There were two things Ken brought up that really left a strong impression on me and the class.  The first was related to his business ethics. When asked about who his licensees are and how he selects them, Ken brought up a simple, but powerful, equation: Partner over Product. This means the people he does business with are the most important element of licensing. By choosing the right partner, Natori is establishing a long term relationship with each licensee. This philosophy is similar to putting together a management team:  licensing is like a marriage.  You are in it for the long-term. Licensing is an ongoing dynamic relationship that, if done well, and Natori does it well, goes on for years. Translation: a win-win relationship that grows business (for both the licensee and licensor) while maintaining the brand.

Because of Natori’s relationship with their licensees (win-win and long term), the licensees have an in-depth understanding of both the company and the brand. This fosters on-target contributions for new product ideas as well as new vertical opportunities.

The other thing Ken brought up that left an equally strong impression was also related to business ethics.  Natori built and owns its own manufacturing plant overseas. Not only does this make business sense and allow the company to keep control over the quality of the manufacture of many of their products, but equally, and some would say more importantly, Natori controls the circumstances and pay of their overseas employees. This methodology completely sidesteps the human rights issues (aka sweatshops) commonly found in overseas garment manufacturing. As a result, Natori’s stance makes them a green company by virtue of their humane treatment of their employees.

My next post will cover more elements that distinguish Natori from its competitors.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

CONTENT… MY USE OR MY SYSTEM?

By , April 24, 2014 12:11 pm

Brandpsych logo

What is my apperception of this?

How is brand content, which now dominates marketing communications, managing to match its most engaging media?  And how does a key audience specifically use the content that the brand is communicating?  There is a prevailing truth now that making a brand relevant is as uncertain as our ever-changing technology.

An answer to these questions is not yet very clear.  Instead, brands are challenged to respond to the reality that it is hard to determine whether a consumer is engaged in utilizing technology or in self-systematizing content.

What then can brand management do to create more relevant engagements?   Are there effective ways to go beyond the quick-click, speed-reading, distracted- listening or watching of new content?  Who is in control of the content?  Do the social networks and media technology receive content, edit it, and make it personal, aka editorial, communicating it in their own likeness to others?  Or are they using content as a direct feed, pickup, and duplication of provided content, aka advertorial, from a myriad of sources?  Can the consumer tell the difference and does it matter?

We might also ask: Can a system be created that will identify the consumer who wants to and then does pass content on to others?  This is a big data-mining question for the brand.

The brand marketer now has to create content that will build engagement with consumers who can and will become the brand’s customers and content sharers.

An interesting term now being used in marketing is “apperception.”  This is a process whereby perceived values of a brand are related to the consumer’s past and present experience with or knowledge of that brand.  The new perception is added to the old perception, which forms a whole new apperception.  This new apperception can be the catalyst for new sharing of content between and among social networking and brand aficionados.

The goal is to develop a brand content driven system that aligns with the consumer’s system to receive and process new content.  This is our ongoing need to connect and establish relationships with our audience.  It is certainly giving us a lot to think about and process, as we ask:

Will engagement be enough?

Drawing by Art Winters

Drawing by Art Winters

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Wags 4 Hope

By , April 23, 2014 12:26 pm

Written By:
Annie Blumenfeld, the Founder and President of Wags 4 Hope

April is National Heartworm Disease Awareness, month and I would love to share about how I got started with my non-profit organization called Wags 4 hope. My family began searching for three years through countless pet stores, rescue shelters, Newspapers, and private dog breeders, for a loving and loyal friend. A year and a half ago, our search happily ended when I was searching the Internet and found a two-year-old shaggy dog that had been rescued at a high kill shelter in Houston, Texas.

At his Veterinarian check up it soon was discovered that Teddy tested positive for heartworm disease through an antigen test. This blood test detects specific proteins, called antigens, which are released by adult female heartworms into the dog’s bloodstream. Teddy had to be given two injections of arsenic and remain in a crate. He had to be inactive and carefully monitored for a couple of months. The treatment for heartworm disease is very expensive and difficult for dogs to recover from. It can also be potentially toxic to the dog’s body and can cause serious complications, such as life-threatening blood clots to the lungs. Treatment is very expensive because it requires multiple visits to the Veterinarian, with the process of blood work, and X-rays. It broke my heart to learn that my dog had endured great pain.

Having learned devastating effects of heartworm disease from my loving companion, I seek to educate pet owners across the country about heartworm disease. I founded Wags 4 Hope in an effort to raise awareness and help support shelter animals’ medical needs. I combine my love of painting with my passion for animals. All of the proceeds raised through my paintings are given animal shelters and rescues.

For more information please visit wags4hope.org

Annie WAGS 4 HOPE pictured with Barbara Naugle, the Director of the Connecticut Humane Society

Annie pictured with Barbara Naugle, the Director of the Connecticut Humane Society

 

Bidding for Services Online

By , April 5, 2014 9:23 am

Well, I finally have a teensy bit of confirmation (one case history) about my theory that all those cheap websites offering marketing solutions aren’t always worth it.  An entrepreneur I know went to a bidding site for logos.  He went three times.  The first two times he got back garbage – or results that were unusable and totally unsalvageable.  The third time was a charm – he was happy with the logo he received and is going to register it as his trademark.  The whole process cost him some time (close to three months in total) and some money (he didn’t share how much with me).  With no guarantees that each time he threw the line back in the water (or the credit card back on the website), that what he would reel in would be of any value to him.

And this is a savvy entrepreneur.  He had some background in marketing and was capable of judging the quality of the work he bought.

So, should you bid for marketing services online?  Well, ultimately that’s a decision up to you.


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Men’s Image and Styling

By , March 31, 2014 12:32 pm

Meet our new Instructor, Joseph DeAcetis!

He will be teaching SXF 335  Fit, Balance and Proportion Fundamentals for Men’s Image and Styling, starting April 2, 2014!

Joseph De Acetis


Hi Joseph! So, tell us a little about yourself…

Creative Style Director
Specialties: Forbes is a vigorous global media company celebrating the inconceivable changes within the realm of both luxury style and living smart. Forbes.com is a new world edition of fine art, style, nightlife and travel-featuring luxurious and exclusive content. Menswear’s diplomatic inspiration to business and recreational high-profile lifestyle. Accomplished Fashion Director, (content provider, stylist, writer, editor) Fashion Film Director – image creator and marketing liaison in the luxury category for magazines and web sites. Creative Style Director, with a keen sense for editing and developing luxury apparel collections. Spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, participant in Executive Fashion Panel for various Fashion Brands, Associations as well as Luxury Retailers. Proficient in identifying and capitalizing on new market opportunities within the luxury apparel, footwear and lifestyle products categories.
Fashion forecaster for luxury apparel industry, producing trend pages for Forbes, Forbes Life and The Style Capitalist found on Forbes.com. Directed Fashion Films and style coverage for Kiton, Blue Pony Brand and Jack of Spades. Celebrity Stylist for Forbes Editorial Covers including Justin Bieber, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Kevin Systrom. Specialties: Menswear Apparel, Luxury Market and Dressing to achieve Corporate Ascension.


For those of us unfamiliar with this market, please inform us…

THERE ARE SEVERAL EXCITING PLATFORMS WITHIN MY POSITION.  THE THRILL OF CREATING THE IMAGE FROM CONCEPTION TO POST PRODUCTION, MEETING AND WORKING WITH A HANDFUL OF THE MOST POWERFUL INDIVIDUALS IN FILM, SPORTS, BUSINESS AND THE ARTS.   AT FORBES, MANY OF THE SUBJECTS HAVE CHANGED THE ENTIRE GLOBAL PLATFORMS IN BUSINESS, SCIENCE, FOOD AND TECH INDUSTRIES. I ESPECIALLY ENJOY WRITING AND THE SOCIAL MEDIA AS WELL AS TRAVELING TO EUROPE TO REVIEW THE MEN’S AND WOMEN’S FASHION SHOWS AND PRESENTATIONS


Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career…

I HAVE RECENTLY DIRECTED A FILM FOR KITON TITLED ” A NEAPOLITAN DREAM” WHERE DIRECTED AND STYLED.  I HAVE LIVED AND WORKED IN PARIS, FRANCE FOR MANY YEARS, AND HAVE ART DIRECTED AND STYLED NUMEROUS MAGAZINE COVERS AND SPREADS SUCH AS ESQUIRE,  PEOPLE MAGAZINE, ROBB REPORT, FORBES AS WELL AS MANY AD CAMPAIGNS.


What will the students learn from your class?

STUDENTS WILL LEARN PROPORTION- FIT AND STYLE FROM A LEADING  MENSWEAR AUTHORITY WHO IS CURRENTLY WORKING WITH THE GREATEST BRANDS IN THE INDUSTRY.  STUDENTS WILL LEARN, STYLING TIPS WITH RESPECT TO ALL MENSWEAR APPAREL CATEGORIES,  HOW TO FIT EACH RESPECTIVE FORM AND CREATE SILHOUETTE ON AN BODY,  COLOR COORDINATION,  MENSWEAR LINE REVIEW AND AN INSIDERS TAKE AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER GROWTH MARKET WITHIN THE FASHION INDUSTRY.  STUDENTS WILL ALSO HAVE A KEEN UNDERSTANDING OF THE MARKET.


Thank you and we look forward to your new class!

To register for this new class, please visit http://www.fitnyc.edu/noncreditregister.

Are you a successful business?

By , March 22, 2014 9:15 am

Three of the most important things startups need to focus on / demonstrate if they are raising money, want to grow or just plain want to be successful:
 
1.       Gaining customers (or if no proof of concept then a list of qualified customers)

2.       Showing they know how to grow their business

3.       Demonstrating profitability and ROI

These points may sound easy to achieve and you may be saying to yourself, ho hum, I don’t need to read further.
 
Point number 3 – Demonstrating profitability and ROI. A lot of startups get lost here.  They don’t realize that you have to invest/spend money in order to make money – Lie #4 – I have to show a profit before I can market.  Investors (and actually the company owners should feel this way too) are looking to see if you’re profitable or when you are predicting profitability (break even and beyond).  And tossing some money out willy-nilly at marketing efforts will never bring ROI into your company…you have to be strategic in how you market.

Here’s some definitions and formulas for calculating ROI and profitability:
http://www.dbmarketing.com/articles/Art129.htm


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Are you a successful business?

By , March 15, 2014 8:33 am

Three of the most important things startups need to focus on / demonstrate if they are raising money, want to grow or just plain want to be successful:

1. Gaining customers (or if no proof of concept then a list of qualified customers)

2. Showing they know how to grow their business

3. Demonstrating profitability and ROI

These points may sound easy to achieve and you may be saying to yourself, ho hum, I don’t need to read further.

Point number 2 – showing you know how to grow your business is key to not only getting funding but to keeping your business healthy. This is something that many startups and small businesses don’t focus on. They say cash is king and “they” are right. Sometimes companies become very successful very quickly and can’t handle it. Prepared for growth. By managing your cash flow you can set goals to grow your business, manage cash on a monthly basis and get a clear picture of what’s going on in your business. Make sure you understand all the financing options available to you – traditional as well as alternative and invoice factoring.

Don’t put your entire business at risk because of something that’s easy to plan for and track.

Here’s some interesting related points:

http://www.alleywatch.com/2014/02/5-red-flags-of-startups/?utm_source=AlleyWatch+Daily+Pulse&utm_campaign=c1ae92d926-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e01c347085-c1ae92d926-62886025


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Are you a successful business?

By , March 8, 2014 9:26 am

Three of the most important things startups need to focus on / demonstrate if they are raising money, want to grow or just plain want to be successful:

1.       Gaining customers (or if no proof of concept then a list of qualified customers)

2.       Showing they know how to grow their business

3.       Demonstrating profitability and ROI

These points may sound easy to achieve and you may be saying to yourself, ho hum, I don’t need to read further.

Point number 1 – gaining customers is something that many startups and small businesses don’t focus on. They fall into my Lie #1 – If I build it, they will come.  Investors (and actually the company owners should feel this way too) are looking to see where your market is – are you marketing?  And startups, even marketing startups, often get lost in this space.  Ask yourself:  Would I invest in a company that can’t show me their market?  The customers lined up to buy the product as soon as it’s available?  A list of beta-testers?  ANY INTEREST AT ALL?

More and more I’m seeing startups and small businesses flounder in this area.  Forget for the moment Michael Moore’s crossing the chasm…these businesses aren’t even getting the early adopters.  Take heed and show the market interest.

Here’s some interesting related points:

http://www.alleywatch.com/2014/02/5-red-flags-of-startups/?utm_source=AlleyWatch+Daily+Pulse&utm_campaign=c1ae92d926-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e01c347085-c1ae92d926-62886025


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Learn How To Style Web Pages With CSS Starting 3/2

By , February 25, 2014 8:00 am

CSS

What is CSS, you ask?

It’s Cascading Style Sheets and it is what designers use to style web pages. With CSS we add art direction – typography, layout, color and background images to our pages.

My next CSS class on FIT campus  starts Sunday, March 2 and ends the following Sunday. We go from 10 AM – 5Pm and if you’re nice to me  I will even let you take me to lunch.

Here are the topics we do with hands on exercises and demonstrations:

1. Smart ways to set font size.
2. Working with color and background properties.
3. Tried and true layout techniques.
4. Rollover navigation without javascript.

Plus we will get a good look at what Responsive Design is all about.

Yes, CSS3 is built into what I teach.

Since most web sites today are built upon a pre-existing framework I will introduce you to that idea as well. And if you have ever seen me create a customized WordPress theme and want to do it yourself this class is a must!!

This class is good for anyone but web design and developer wannabes wool love it the most. You will need to know some HTML before you take this class.

Now Go And Register Before It’s Too Late!!

 

Bud Kraus teaches CTD 600 Web Design: HTML , CTD 605 Web Design: Cascading Style Sheets, and CTD 613: WordPress.

A logo / design and tag line do not make a brand – especially a fashion brand

By , February 22, 2014 9:46 am

Yes. They are definitely contributors but there’s a 360-universe that comprises a brand and those elements are only a part of it. A key part of your brand is the brand promise:  what are you going to deliver?  It’s great if you can promise to deliver something no one else is talking about.  My company offers 60%-1,000% return-on-investment.  We back it up with numbers from actual clients.  A promise like this may not have clients knocking down the doors, but they ARE going to remember a promise that breaks through the clutter.

In what used to be called image marketing (such as fashion, liquor, and in the old days cigarettes),  you are often selling a story as the brand promise.  A story that the buyer believes will become their experience if they purchase and use the product.  Ralph Lauren is a master at creating stories that invite you to participate by wearing his clothing.

Below are some links that offer advice on branding for any kind of business (even Tom Fords’ advice works beyond the fashion world).

http://www.manta.com/TOTD/marketing/20140220/tm0h1bq

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/12/define-brand.html

http://www.vogue.com.au/fashion/news/tom+fords+14+tips+on+building+a+fashion+brand,28189


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.

She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

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