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Multi-Generational Strategy Marketing

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Comptoir des Cotonniers is one the biggest French brand of clothing medium-high range. This company has essentially succeed thanks to their multi-generational strategy marketing. The company was created in 1995 in the south of the France by Tony Elicha, a self-made-man who created his first clothing company in 1972 (aka Créations Nelson). The brand began to thrive with his first commercial campaign based on the meeting of two kind of generations : the mothers and daughters. In my opinion, Comptoir des Cotonniers is a good example of multi-generational marketing strategy because the brand evolves at the same time that the generations follow.

Two years after its creation, the company launched in 1997 its first commercial campaign around the concept mother-daughter : the brand provides clothing for both mothers and daughters with the same quality and the same models of clothes. The age cohorts targeted at this period were the Boomers (for the mothers) and the Gen X or Gen Y (for the daughters). The advertising strategy was to propose a range of clothes able to please both mothers and daughters and induce the coming in the same time of both of them in the shop. The purpose of this marketing campaign was to sell in the same time modern clothes for two generations of consumers and create a sharing time between mothers and daughters. The concept was a huge success and the brand became fast the place to be for shopping with your mum.

The mothers has liked the quality of the products : the main raw material is the cotton (Cotonniers means cotton plant in French). This is a relevant characteristic for the Boomers because the Grey market Generation was customers of this tissue and known its proper quality. For instance, my grand-mother who was born in 1924, had the habit to make the clothes for her children by using only cotton. This material is cheap, solid and manageable to sew. For her, this was the cheaper on the market and the more solid to make clothes. Comptoir des Cotonniers uses the memories of this natural product and the fact it crossed ages. Nowadays, this material is always cheap, solid and manageable to sew. However the company sell expensive clothes.

The pricing strategy is based on product quality and it recognition as it is for the Mothers customers. For the Boomers, spend money for quality clothes is not an issue than it was for the previous one. For the teenagers or young adults, the brand strategy is more oriented on the modernity of clothes : fitted, elegant, with no intense colors. The company has tried to target the daughters in order for them to look like a grown-up, like their mothers. Otherwise, the distribution strategy has a role in the success of the brand. The company chose to sell only in little shop in town center. The target is high-end customers who not patronize malls and prefer to shop by feet. This choice of channels reinforces yet the link between the brand and its customers. It permits also a huge profitability by square meter.

In order to highlight this connection between mother and daughter, the second campaign of the brand in 2001 reached the concept of same-Ty. At this period, the company started to organize castings all over the country in order to find normal consumers for their advertising : one mother and her daughter in the pictures with their first name written on it (such as “Sophie & Marie”). The purpose of the promotion was to confuse daughter and mothers on the advertising. The Young Generation was glad to be consider older (always a key point during teenage period) and the Boomers ladies have obviously enjoyed the fact to look younger. Finally, this strategy reflect more their perceived age.

The following campaigns have searched to dig the relationship mother-daughter with a regard on the society and the behaviour evolution of those generations. In 2003, the campaign was more oriented on the complicity. In 2004, the brand decided to become wider and targeted the next generation, the younger daughter of the family (Net Gen). In 2009, the company begin to oriented the advertising with the realization of independence of teenagers. The new generation is more interested in the individualization and its own particularity than the similarity used for the first campaign for Gen Y. The company achieves its new advertising path in 2010 with the campaign “Being the same but being different”. From now on, the commercials show separated pictures of mothers and daughters with comments about their own tastes : I hate…, I love… Different tastes, different behaviors but same clothes.

The efficiency of its multi-generational strategy permits the company to be an French exception in the ready-to-wear market. The brand has even inspired others brand in this strategic path of generations such as “The Kooples”.

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