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Brand Strategy for International Boutique Designer Brands in the Vietnam Market – Learn from Local Brands

For a long time, young Vietnamese have immersed themselves in clothes imported from the Chinese market. In the past, the fashion market did not have too many choices – customers had to choose either clothes imported from China or expensive items from global brands. Now young people have had Local Brands. Young and dynamic Vietnamese designers have been constantly evolving to launch unique products and affirm their own brands with excellent marketing strategies.

International designer brands or boutique brands, usually famous for their uniqueness and high quality, will meet fierce competition from local brands in Vietnam since these brands pose similar differentiation. Not just a unique name, a brand logo like no other, Vietnam’s Local Brands can do much more with their very outstanding branding strategies. Learning from them will help small boutique brands from abroad have some ideas in terms of launching and marketing in Vietnam.

1. DEFINE YOUR TARGET CUSTOMERS

Target customers are the customer groups that your brands aim to provide services to. The customer groups are people who have a need to use clothing products, shoes, accessories, backpacks, bags, … and have the ability to pay for products to meet their needs.

In front of the store of a local brand

To be able to answer the question of how to choose target customers, most Local Brands base on the 5W model:

Who: Who buys your products? How old are they, what gender, what is the average income?

What: What do customers expect from the products you offer?

Why: Why do they care and have a need to use your products? What do they buy for?

Where: Where are they? What are their hobbies? Their needs? Their consuming behavior?

When: When will they need to buy your products?

For example, local brands are local fashion brands designed by young designers, so most of their target customers are young people in Vietnam – aged between 16 and 28 years old. average affordability from 300,000 VND to 2,000,000 VND/product. Most customers when coming to Local Brand are looking for “quality” and “cool” Street Style products with a great brand story behind. The weekends will be the right time to release their new collections. For famous brands like Bobui, 5TheWay, CND, … within a few hours of releasing new collections, thousands of products are sold out. Customers can buy to gift, wear or resell.

International designer brands especially new and small ones would have to find out their group of customers. Who will buy you instead of expensive globally famous brands; affordable but cool, quality and unique local brands or cheap stylish unbranded Chinese clothing?

2. COMPETITIVE POSITIONING BY DETERMINING COMPETITORS

In addition to spending time researching your target audience, it’s equally important to research competing brands. Finding out the strengths and weaknesses of many competitors, your Brand firm will surely have the most creative and unique strategies. It is the difference in your products that you can convince customers to choose you over your competitors. Local Brands have always applied the following 4 questions to determine their competitive position:

What is the quality of your competitors’ products?

What is the message they have communicated to customers?

What is special and different in their products?

Customer feedback when using competitors’ products?

A product of BOBUI – a famous local brand in Vietnam

Long gone the time when Vietnamese consumers were excited about anything foreign. Since there are many foreign fashion brands available in the market, plus consumers nowadays are more educated and thus care about the meaning and values of their every purchase, they become pickier. For international designer brands, what make Vietnamese customers choose you instead of other globally famous brands? If it is because of the uniqueness, rarity, hand-made quality…, then why shouldn’t they choose similar local brands at much lower prices? These are some of many questions to answer clearly before thinking of launching your brands in Vietnam.

 3. IDENTIFY TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN FASHION MARKET

Young people often like things that are “limited”. The fewer people use it, the more young people want to own it. Capturing this special mentality, for example,many Local Brands have conducted Limited sales sessions. Young people like technology, like to express themselves on social media- Local Brands are not afraid to invest heavily in images and videos promoting their products. Young people are afraid to go out and buy directly – Local Brands build online sales channels. Young people are interested in people who have a voice in the underground world, Streetstyle fashion brands are willing to sponsor clothing for Pop or Rap idols or gift products to famous Youtubers… These are marketing opportunities discovered by Local Brands themselves. Catching up on trends and opportunities in the market can be the turning point for you to be more successful in your branding strategy.

4. CORE VALUES DEFINED CLEARLY

Core values are a system of essential and long-lasting factors for Brands to exist in the market. Determining what are the core beliefs and values of the business, from there having specific guidelines on how to guide the marketing and communication activities will be the factor that brings success to your fashion brand.

If Bobui’s core value is to focus on the hip hop, rock, street and youth cultures in general; LengTheFabulous’s core value is to bring customers a brand with products that people “want to have”. The difference they have is not only quality or limited quantity, but a very unique combination of colors. Grimm DC is a local brand with the core value of bringing new and useful values to the community, not merely creating new products. Quality products… Thanks to clearly defining the core values of the brand, today’s successful Local Brands in Vietnam have built their branding strategies very well.

Do your brand’s core values apply for Vietnamese consumers? Do you need to adapt them to suit the local culture?

5. BRAND RECOGNITION PRESENTED TO THE MAXIMUM

Behind successful Local Brands is always a strong Marketing team that helps them build personalities through logos, brand names, symbols, slogans, music, communication messages,… In general, these designs are meaningful, easy to remember, easy to protect and adapt to the ever-changing fashion market.

Local Brands now often integrate their brands on all accessible aspects. Their brand is always expressed and reflected in whatever customers see such as staff uniforms, products, working environment, mirrors, how employees communicate with customers,… Especially the brands always look unified from beginning to end, with high recognition for target customers.

A good example of a very successful brand identity building is Bobui. Bobui is a “young” Local brand, but the Founder has really invested in building brand identity. Their products, after being made, are imprinted with the brand logo. From the tags outside the products, or using the logo to print on clothes, hats, the staff at Bobui are also equipped with specially designed shirts. The mirrors at the stores are also invested with more brand images and become the ideal check-in place for customers.

6. THOROUGH BRAND IMAGE MANAGEMENT

Brand management is an indispensable step in the branding process. It helps Local Brands maintain their position and image in the market. Even when you have achieved a certain position and identity in the minds of customers, if this is not maintained, your brand will surely fade and gradually disappear. Especially in today’s developed and competitive market, brand management is something that Local Brands must definitely do.

Most of today’s big Local Brands like 5TheWay, Bobui, CND, etc. have established social groups on Facebook to help manage their brands better and communicate with customers better. Posts on these groups are strictly censored, most of which are comments from customers after using the product or surveys about customers’ wishes or needs.

Perhaps with the very professional and creative branding strategy that Local Brands do, they deserve the current success. Brand awareness in the minds of young people about a local fashion brand is a long process of building by the founders and smart Marketing teams.

In the upcoming articles, we would discover the marketing tactics that they apply to build their brands from zero.

Understanding local brands in Vietnam is not only about knowing the market and competitors, but also a great way to learn valuable marketing lessons for your boutique or small designer brands before launching in Vietnam.

Need help to build your fashion brand in the Vietnam market? Contact us now!

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