Ralph Lauren stock continues to be downgraded and losing value as stores nationwide close. Instead of focusing on the mistakes they made to get to this point, here are some easy-to- implement brand strategies for improving and increasing the overall value of the Ralph Lauren and Polo Ralph Lauren brand.
1. Focus on heritage and follow the vintage classics movement.
As it is well known, mainstream overexposure damaged the Polo brand cachet to the point that it lost its worth in the minds of consumers. By reevaluating distribution and mass production, the company will leverage the exclusivity to circumvent the effects of saturation.
The Polo brand could stand to take a page out of the playbook of brands like Lacoste and Adidas by pouring new meaning into the Polo logo and reintroduce it as a vintage classic. This is a combination of both storytelling and quality product design, two areas where Polo Ralph Lauren has allowed to fall by the wayside.
The Ralph Lauren brand and Polo brand should separate their identities. This enables each brand to operate at two different price points while maintaining overall brand cachet. In this instance, the Polo brand would have its own small brick and mortar store, that carries both men and women, with the focus on luxurious athletic attire. The Ralph Lauren brand would be sold separately with a different set of experiences attached and serving different identity needs. This will prevent brand dilution which ultimately affects identity value in the eyes of consumers.
It would also really improve the Polo aesthetic if they removed the embroidered numbers, and other distracting patches, that appear on so many Polo pieces.
At a time where many brands are folding multiple brands back into one, Ralph Lauren is in a unique situation in that many consumers already identify Polo and Ralph Lauren as different, unique entities. This will ultimately work to their advantage.
2. Give existing values a new purpose.
By harnessing the power of dreams, metaphor and myth, Ralph Lauren is a master at an abbreviated form of classic storytelling. He had an eye for vintage Americana themes, used props to sell stories, and was an interpretive filter of culture. It worked well because consumers in this category make purchasing decisions based on transcendent symbolic properties. Ralph Lauren needs to find a new way to tell an old story. Their Instagram account feels too much like a product catalog thus disrupting the natural flow and appearing as an advertisement. By the looks of it, it would appear that the brand is working on fixing this. Robert Redford’s Sundance Catalog is one to check out for inspiration.
3. Venture into the unknown.
Ralph Lauren, like many brands, made a critical error in deciding to neglect Generation X and went straight to Millennials. This move has contributed to the brand demise. Generation X is a loyal consumer with a lot of purchasing power right now.
Generation Z also looks promising for Ralph Lauren. Generation Z is proving to be a more discriminating consumer than Millennials. Trust, quality, and individuality are important to Generation Z. These values mirror the foundation upon which Ralph Lauren was founded. Generation Z is also anticipated to be financially conservative and prefer shopping at brick and mortar stores where an experience can be felt. They look for investment pieces where quality and longevity reign over fast fashion.
Lastly, Ralph Lauren must do a better job courting the female consumer.