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Polo Ralph Lauren Brand Image for Channels

I will take the position that channel images must be consistent with the brand image, at least with brands that want to be perceived as high quality or exclusive. In our text, there is the example of Nike pulling their products from Sears stores when Sears bought K-Mart, because Nike did not want to be sold through K-Mart (page 425). There is no doubt that Nike could sell a lot of shoes at K-Mart, but they choose to be viewed as a higher end brand. In a previous discussion ("form vs. function"), Neville Daley compared items sold in the Dollar Store to items sold at Target. Using that same comparison, from some shopper's point of view, items sold in the dollar-discount stores seem to be things that are out of style, things that are of lower quality and/or things that do not or did not sell in mainstream outlets. That may or may not be true, but would you find an iPod at a dollar store? If you did, would you buy it with any degree of trust that it is authentic and that it would work? Not to say that dollar-discount stores do not have a place or do not succeed in their own business model, but they are not the place that Nike or Apple or Clinique or DeWalt would chose to display their current wares.

Brands that want the protection of their image often use select or exclusive distribution channels, so that they can control not only who is selling their products, but how they are displayed. Some brands will only sell directly, with no intermediaries, for the ultimate control of their image.

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This position is correct, Polo Ralph Lauren is a brand that is synonymous with quality around the world, therefore, it only sells it's products in shopping malls stores such as Dillard's, Macy's, or ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses brand image and discount models.