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Freeman Cebu Business

Differentiation in fashion

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel O. Abalos - The Freeman

It seemed that lockdown had become the country’s norm. In crisis management, we call this a stop gap measure. A temporary solution. Therefore, not a cure. Agreeably, so appropriate if we have a permanent solution in mind and is working on it.

Supposedly, the vaccine can help. While there are apprehensions from a few, most Filipinos who are supposed to be inoculated, are with it. Therefore, herd immunity is certainly possible. Then, supposedly, with it, we can redeem back our lives. 

Yet, even with this incontestable truth, this government is telling us that those who refuse to take the jabs will be imprisoned. As if we are inundated with vaccines and no one is willing to take it. So inconsistent with the fact that vaccination centers are driving away walk-ins and made appointments mandatory because of the lack of it.

Obviously, they are just taking advantage of the Filipinos’ gullibility and let them believe that we are awash with vaccines. In a way, trying to justify the budget for vaccines in billions of pesos. Stressful and frustrating thesedevelopments maybe, we’d rather set them aside for the time being. Let’s take a look at something different, differentiation.

Whether we call it differentiation strategy or product differentiation, it really doesn’t matter. What matters most is how we understand it in this time when disruptions, good and bad, are prevalent. 

So what is differentiation strategy? This is a methodology or an approach that a business takes to develop a distinctive product or service that customers will find superior or better than or in another way unique from products or services that are currently offered by existing suppliers.  The ultimate objective is for a business to distinguish itself from the competition.

Supposedly, if the product or service is really better, not only that it shall get a share of the market, it will also have the opportunity to peg a price that’s higher than usual. The key attribute should be that the product or service addresses the benefits of those that are currently patronized by the customers and at the same time offer something new. 

However, we must keep in mind that most startups or innovators, in their efforts to develop unique and distinctive products, spend time and enormous amounts on research and development. Therefore, the product’s perceived value and the price will come into play. Simply put, if we wish to be different, we must make sure that the innovative features shall attract customers. Good enough that they shall shift even at a higher price.

Well, we’ve covered alot about differentiationalready. This time, however, we shall talk about differentiation in fashion. We all know that fashion does not only talk about garments but also on tattoos. While in the past, it was only exclusively worn by the society’s outcasts, the jailbirds, in recent years, tattoos have become fashion statements too. The drawback, however, had always been that tattoos are permanent. So, whenever a break-up in relationship happens, a wife’s or girlfriend’s name on one’s biceps becomes an irritant to his newfound love. 

Then came, Ephemeral Tattoo.  As its name suggests, it will only lastfor a very short time. Not that short though as it will last for 9-15 months. Such is the differentiation made by Ephemeral’s proprietary ink. As its tagline says, this is “a real tattoo without the lifetime commitment.” So, when it is unavoidable that you should get rid of it, you regret nothing.

Due to such differentiation, this Los Angeles-based company, which estimated that 60 million Americans have considered a tattoo but want a temporary one, was able to raise US$20 million from venture capitalists. Again, just for a fading tattoo ink. 

While Ephemeral Tattoo cashed in on its fading tattoo ink, a North Carolina-based company banked on mosquito-resistant clothing. Still stylish but with the thought that millions all over the world die every year from mosquito bites (like Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria), Vector Textiles is commercializing mosquito-resistant clothing. The breakthrough though came from the researchers at N.C. State University when they were able to create insecticide free mosquito-resistant clothing that is 100% bite proof. It is said to be a durable outerwear and a comfortable innerwear with the same superior protection. 

This kind of differentiation might entail additional cost. But isn’t it that getting sick is more costly and untimely deaths tragic? Therefore, customers will pay the price, higher it maybe than usual. Again, the key is being different. Differently better.

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