How Competitive Intelligence Helped Transform a British Icon

This article explains how Competitive Intelligence helped transform a British icon. It is in our series of real-life case studies performed by Octopus Intelligence.

You know-how

You know how some industry sectors have household name brands? And seem to have changed very little over a hundred years? A competitor starts doing something a little different? Or takes advantage of the “Made in Great Britain” tag in far-flung parts of the world? But it is your brand that is the original and the best. You even have a Royal Coat of Arms above your door. 

What was happening

Our client is a world-renowned British fashion icon. They had been making and selling the same sort of thing since well before Queen Victoria was on the throne. They make top quality sector-specific fashion items. For years they had been the go-to place for all generations. 

They had many competitors from around the world. Some way more expensive than what they were offering but most cheaper and of more inferior quality. However, one traditional competitor had the advantage of having its own retail network. At the same time, our client sold their product in high-end department stores and independent shops. They admitted they did not know their customer base anymore. And realised they are missing out on new market share.

Our client was also starting to feel the pinch of UK supermarket chains. And cheap (and not so cheap) imports biting away their market share. Nothing drastic or terminal. But they understood if they were going to survive into the next generations that they had to change.

Our mission

Our mission was to identify, isolate and analyse their stakeholders’ activities by answering. 

  • What was their traditional customer demographic doing?
  • Who were the competitors now, and what were they doing?
  • What’s happening overseas? How could they take advantage?

This is what we did

We contacted former and current employees of the business. Took the time to speak with shoppers in the store where they were buying and informally asked them a set of questions. We discussed the market and the future with major retail fashion buyers. In a more of a conversation style than a robotic questionnaire format.

Then we conducted a secondary analysis, including contributing to online forums where buyers congregate. We spoke to industry and export experts to get a picture of what was happening. Then analysed the information, looked for patterns and isolated trends.

We did some in-depth Competitive Analysis of their four key competitors. We offered our thoughts on how their retail partners treated their competitors. And then determined the best strategies open to the company.

And this is what our client got

  • A realisation that their main competitor’s UK business was seriously in trouble (pre-covid). And it was only their international business that was keeping them from disaster.
  • An understanding that their competitors were suffering from harsh high street conditions. They supplemented poor high street performance with online sales growth and international business with a range not traditionally associated with them.
  • An understanding that their customer ‘She’ isn’t just a she; but a ‘them’.
  • A realisation that 21-31-year olds will be their leading customer group for the next ten years. This completely differed from previous demographics.
  • Reviews and recommendations have become a crucial part of the purchasing process. To give the customer confidence in the product. Incentivising online reviews and recommendations could reinforce the perception of their brand.
  • The realisation that their customers will pay a premium to ensure comfort, good fit and quality a trusted brand gives them. An understanding that the specific target customer sector was homeless. None of their competitors were servicing them. In the context of a fashion shopping experience, it represented a huge opportunity.
  • A clear understanding of the need for targeted advertising. Using emotive messages. Regarding their past and future could be compelling.
  • The ability to see how widening their scope could drive sales from other channels.A great idea of developing of concierge centres. Small, dedicated retail spaces, with sample products for style and fit. It could drive an unprecedented standard in retail care and sales.
  • An understanding of these centres could also support a recycling project. Receive old items for environmentally friendly recycling. And enable them to comply with new government recycling standards. The thought of a subscription option. To ensure their customers are not disadvantaged by cashflow challenges. So would not need to seek cheaper alternatives.
  • The scalability of these ideas offered an opportunity to establish joint ventures and partnerships. They understood to grow globally; they had to capitalise on a robust and scalable model. Supported by ‘Brand Britain’ enhanced market presence.
  • A realisation many of their customers already prescribe to and appreciate British values. Their customers have a historical appreciation of them. These values and historical appreciation goes down very well in the Middle East, China, the US and the Far East.
  • A better understanding of the global market open to them and how to do it. By following successful competitors. And not make the same mistakes as those who failed. Differentiate themselves from the competition by the popularity of brand Britain. And the new ways of servicing their needs.
  • A road map for future growth and expansion of their business.

And we can do the same for you. 

How Competitive Intelligence helped transform a British icon

This article explains How Competitive Intelligence helped transform a British icon. It is in our series of real-life case studies performed by Octopus Intelligence.

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About Octopus

Octopus is a Competitive Intelligence and Strategy consulting firm focused on creating certainty, insight, competitive advantage and significant growth for clients operating in disruptive and traditional sectors.

When you need to win more business, have greater certainty & when you just need to beat your competitors, we answer the questions when you just need to know.

We offer a boutique feel with a big business capability and real global reach. Trusted by brands, middle-market players, investors and startup innovators.

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