- How would you classify Mi Ola’s consumer products? Explain your answer.
- In which stage of the product life-cycle would you place Mi Ola’s products? In this stage, would you expect Helena Fogarty to put more emphasis on developing new products, deleting existing products, or modifying existing products? Why?
- What is Helena Fogarty doing to build brand equity for Mi Ola?
Please provide a one to two-page paper on the topic. This work should include an opening paragraph clearly restating the questions (DO Not simply copy the questions). Then apply at least one complete paragraph on each of the topics, followed by a closing or summary paragraph. Cites and structure should comply with APA v6 style.
Mi Ola Strives for a Marketing Splash
Helena Fogarty got the idea for her startup bikini manufacturing firm, Mi Ola (“My Wave”), when she learned to surf while on vacation from her fast-paced New York City fashion career. As much as she enjoyed the fun of riding a wave, she was frustrated with the fit and durability of her swimwear. Based on her experience, Fogarty identified a profitable opportunity to make a business splash with colorful bikini tops and bottoms designed to look good and to stay in place, in and out of the surf.
The target market is the segment of women who are active in water sports and seek the benefits of stylish swimwear that fits properly, wears well wash after wash, and protects the skin. Fogarty manufactures her bikinis domestically so she can be closer to her U.S. customers, monitor product quality, and have easy access to the newest fabrics. For added appeal and differentiation, she markets her products as “Made in America.”
Being the head designer, not just the founder, Fogarty puts her own personal taste into every product she creates. She plans for new products by researching what female surfers want and need, analyzing their comments and complaints about competing products, and coming up with ideas for solving customer problems. Once she develops new designs, she asks female surfers to test the tops and bottoms and then provide in-depth feedback about how the bikini pieces look, how they fit, how they feel, and how they can be improved. If a new item receives mixed reactions, she probes for more information. But if she hears mostly negative comments, she’ll take that product back to the drawing board for a redesign. Because she’s in the fashion business, Fogarty moves quickly to catch the newest trends while building in innovative features for functionality valued by women surfers.
Mi Ola is a new and unknown brand, so Fogarty is using a combination of social media and public relations to build awareness and attract the attention of retailers and customers alike. She appreciates the ability to post product photos on Facebook and, within a short time, read comments and count “likes” to gauge customer reaction. In addition, she posts product updates on Twitter and harnesses the visual qualities of Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube to convey her brand’s unique image of fashion and function.
Fogarty’s background includes working with top style brands such as Chanel, which means she understands that the fashion world revolves around the introduction of seasonal clothing collections. To be competitive, she must have her products ready during the periods when store buyers typically review new collections and place orders. As Mi Ola grows, she has had to make difficult decisions about how many pieces of each design, each color, and each size she will pay to manufacture. Here, the objective is to invest in sufficient inventory to meet projected demand without having an ocean of unsold bikinis left at the end of the season.
The entrepreneur is realistic about the need to make marketing decisions without complete information and within the framework of a young company’s limited resources. She believes in careful analysis, and she consults her expert advisory board for advice—but she is also determined to proceed aggressively toward higher market share month after month.