Image is everything in the fashion business, and China is taking that bit of wisdom to heart. Following a string of bad press for product recalls, four of the country’s industry groups, including the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles, are trying to improve public perception by launching a “Made in China” campaign. Beijing-based agency DDB Guoan, part of the DDB China Group, was tapped to create a television commercial called “Made in China, Made with the World,” which has started airing on CNN Asia and is said to be rolling out to other international news networks. Tim Robinson, managing director of consulting agency CoreBrand, said the campaign is definitely needed. “Whether it’s true or not, there is an existing image that the Chinese manufacturer is trying to get things over on the people they are producing for and they need to change that,” he said. However, he added that to truly alter public perception, China needs to follow up on the campaign by actually changing its business practices to become more transparent and adhere to international safety standards. “These kinds of reputation changes are built over time.” But it can be done. Just look at “Made in Japan” — considered a joke in the 1960s, the country is now one of the world’s most respected manufacturing hubs.
K-Swiss Inc. is refocusing on its performance heritage. “As our growth happened in lifestyle, people forgot that we started as a tennis brand,” said Erik Vervloet, director of sports marketing at K-Swiss. The Westlake Village, Calif.-based brand recently signed doubles phenoms Bob and Mike Bryan to its roster of sponsored athletes. “They’re fantastic ambassadors of sport and the brand,” said Vervloet. The Bryans, currently ranked No. 1 on the ATP World Tour, will join fellow K-Swissers Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey (above with the Bryans), and will appear across all channels in the spring marketing to lend authenticity to the performance product, which Vervloet said is especially important to tennis fans, who are less trend-reliant. The Bryans also will show up in ads for the K-Swiss Classic line (taking over for “Gossip Girl” star Ed Westwick) and will consult on product development.
How many fans do you have? Digital marketing firm Stylophane, which tracks online brand popularity on its Fashion Index, has launched the Facebook Index, which ranks more than 500 fashion labels according to the size of their fan base. Athletic footwear brands snagged the top five spots, as of mid-November, with Adidas boasting more than 2.1 million fans. Nike had 1.7 million, Converse had 1.6 million, Puma had 1.3 million and Lacoste finished out the top five with 1.1 million. Stylophane also pointed out that out of 1,260 fashion brands, only 40 percent had Facebook pages.