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Integrated Marketing Communications Plan for the MEXX Campaign ME+XX

Introduction This paper presents an idea of the integrated marketing and communications (IMC) plan for the MEXX campaign ME+XX which introduces metropolitan casual style of the brand in the Netherlands. According to the MEXX brand analysis (Zagorui 2012) MEXX: needs to strengthen organisational culture; lacks understanding of its stakeholders;

Current IMC plan will take this conclusion into account. I. CREATIVE STRATEGY OF THE CAMPAIGN ME+XX

1. Brand architecture The Metropolitan casual style of the MEXX brand consists of two parts difficult to blend as admitted by the present CEO of MEXX, Thomas Grote (): metropolitan (smart and city) which is aimed on people living in urban areas of the Netherlands and having jobs; casual (sport and casual) which is aimed at people living in different locations within the Netherlands where they enjoy their lives with friends and family. 2. Message There will be two messages because of the dichotomy of the brand style: Message for metropolitan part of the brand - MEXX is a Metropolitan Casual Brand, for professionals who are practical, goal oriented and value style in their professional life. Message for casual part of brand - MEXX is a Metropolitan Casual Brand, for those who know how to have fun after working day, like and look for new experiences. 3. Brand positioning During the campaign ME+XX MEXX will position itself as both: a meeting place, through dinners, meetings with a metropolitan casual role model (explanation see below) from business, culture, fashion which aims at values of

professional lifestyle. Example of the event is in the second assignment Experience marketing plan (Zagorui 2012) and/or a dinner in the living room of Carice van Houten (http://vimeo.com/24416409 ): Pic. 1. Environment of the living room of Carice van Houten a fun place, fun events (music, dance concerts, sports event) - aims at values of private lifestyle. Example of fun events: Concert of Caro Emerald: Beach Volleyball:

For more details about the events see APPENDIX 3. a. Role model http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z0NokCUmOk Dutch actress, Carice van Houten, the MEXX face, answered the questions from the MEXX Facebook page among which was Who is your role model?. Carice answered it is Meryl Streep because (a) she managed to have great career and (b) at the same time she has a private life with four children. The key phrase is role model: one person can combine successfully both professional and private life, thus according to the psychographic segmentation and brand style professional life in the campaign ME+XX stands for both metropolitan; private life in the campaign ME+XX stands for both casual. Hence, MEXX in its campaign ME+XX will help to combine but not mixx professional and private lives of its target audience through two types of experiential events. 4. The unique selling proposition USP will blend two parts of the brand style: MEXX is a metropolitan casual brand, that unlike its competitors understands the complexity of a modern life of a person living in the metropolitan area in the Netherlands by providing a well blended combination of both professional and fun experiences. Benefits for the target audience: combination of values of both professional and casual lives (basically 100% of their time) in one brand style.

5. Market Geographic: metropolitan area of the Netherlands, i.e. densely populated urban core and its surroundings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_area) Demographic: Age: between 20-50 (as mentioned by the CEO of MEXX, Thomas Grote); Gender: both female and male; Marital status: both single and married with/without children; Employed: by national and international small, medium and big enterprises of different sphere of expertise, like SHELL, Akzo Nobel, T-mobile, KLM, Rabobank, Amsterdam Concertgebouw etc. as well as self employed. Behavior both aware and not aware of MEXX; like to find in one store clothes and accessories for different life situations, i.e. for work, going out and sport activities, brand loyalty: not stable due to big choice of brands in the Dutch market (Zagorui 2012). who make research of the brand products before and after the purchase. metropolitan stands for strivers, those who value professional and material goals, i.e. professional lifestyle; casual stands for fun seekers, those who focus on personal enjoyment and pleasurable experience, i.e. private lifestyle.. 6. Mission The ME+XX campaign mission can be explained by its three key elements: Key Market: both men and women between 25 and 50 years old living in urban areas; Contribution: clothes style personalised to all the aspects of customers lifestyle; Distinction: combination of both metropolitan (professional) and casual (private life) styles in one brand. Hence the Mission could be described as follows: MEXX provides clothing to the metropolitan population personalizing it to their lifestyle, both professional and private. 7. Objectives Psychographic (according to VALS, Value and Lifestyle system ()):

Marketing objectives: Increase the presence of MEXX in the towns of the metropolitan area of the Netherlands where MEXX has stores; Increase sales in both MEXX E-Shop and stores in the towns of the metropolitan area of the Netherlands where MEXX has stores by 15%; Increase re-purchase of the MEXX product by 30%.

Communication objectives: Understand the values, interests and goals of the MEXX target audience; Explain the dichotomy of the MEXX brand; Reach consumers who are active in social media. In order to achieve both marketing and communication objectives of the campaign it is necessary to redefine organizational relationships and roles of MEXX. For more details of the marketing, communication and organizational objectives see Appendix 3.

II. TACTICS OF THE CAMPAIGN ME+XX - HOW 1. Communication vehicles To ensure that the objective of the campaign will be achieved, it is recommended to use following communication mix: 1. Personal communication: Personal selling; to increase sales and repurchase of the MEXX products; to increase awareness of the customers about both MEXX products and campaign. 2. Non-Personal communication: a. Offline channels: articles, interviews, advertisement in national/international fashion Journals: to inform the target audience about new collection, campaign, promotions; to refer the customers to the accounts of MEXX in the online channels.. to improve the sales, to increase re-purchase of the MEXX products; to help consumers to experience the combination of both professional and casual lifestyles. Loyalty programme: to increase sales and repurchase of the MEXX products. Sales promotions: Experiential events:

b. Online channels MEXX Facebook and Twitter: to organise both polls among the visitors and Q&A sessions with the role models of the experiential events; to post photos, links to Youtube videos from the experiential events or of MEXX promotional videos; to collect feedback about MEXX product, events, campaign; to stimulate buzz about the campaign;

MEXX Youtube:

to post videos from both the events of the MEXX campaign and promotional videos in order to have the audience living the event.

MEXX Linkedin: to reach those professionals who dont use Facebook to inform about the dinners with the metropolitan casual role models from business;

Advertisement (banners): to attract attention to both the new MEXX the campaign and new collection; to refer the visitors to the social media accounts of MEXX..

It is important that all MEXX accounts in social media are aligned and interconnected in order to deliver the message of the MEXX campaign consistently. Examples of online communication vehicles: Youtube: video with Carice van Houten mentioned above combines both Youtube and Facebook: at first consumers asked question in Facebook, then Carice answered the questions on Youtube, the link to video can be posted in Facebook and re-posted in Twitter: to stimulate buzz, advocacy of the MEXX brand; link of the video of a loyal MEXX customer where she shares her experience about MEXX products and visit to the opening of a new MEXX store can be posted in MEXX Facebook account and re-posted in Twitter: to stimulate buzz, advocacy of MEXX, its campaign:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqm5-qMlLoU&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN6SchXz1dk&feature=relmfu Promotional video made by MEXX with interviews of CEO and marketing director of MEXX, editor of a fashion journal, principle dancers of National Ballet (role models): to inform customers about new collection; to provide opinion of the role models (principal dancers of National Ballet) about MEXX collection: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGQSM3mk0IU&feature=related

2. Money McKinsey and Company recommends that a company spends 5% of its gross revenues on marketing. The risk is that MEXX might cut back in other areas to be sure to have enough marketing money. (http://smallbusiness.chron.com/recommended-budget-marketing-based-gross-revenue26332.html)

3. Measurement Marketing objectives can be measured by: monthly focus groups and surveys of both the MEXX customers and the participants of the experiential events; results of sales in MEXX both E-Shop and stores in the towns of the metropolitan area of the Netherlands where MEXX is present; Communication objectives can be measured by: monthly focus groups of MEXX customers; monthly surveys/polls of the members of MEXX accounts in social media; increased number of views of MEXX accounts in social media by 30% by the end of the campaign; buzz tracking about experiential events, collection, campaign; increased number of Facebook (e.g. from current 72 687 to 100 000), Twitter (from current 4 285 to 6 000), Youtube (from current 58 to 500), Linkedin (from current 2 235 to 3 000) by the end of the campaign; increased number of both click throughs and time of stay in the MEXX E-shop by 40% by the end of the campaign. III. CONCLUSION After the campaign ME+XX the customers would be able to identify what is a metropolitan casual style and in which life situations they can use MEXX clothes and accessories, i.e. for professional and private life. Ideally after the campaign customers would be able to state that MEXX inspires them to combine both professional and private lives in a well blended way. The results of the campaign will be reached thanks to understanding: What are the elements of the brand style;

Who is the target audience and their values; Where the target audience is located; What is the right communication mix which: at first attracts attention of the customers, then explains what the campaign is about, and lastly helps to make the choice in the MEXX stores.

APPENDIX 1. History of the MEXX campaigns One of the first MEXX messages was "Real clothes for real people - to express that we should stand out from the crowd by emphasizing our personality; During the second half of 1980s and in the beginning of 1990s, the main motive of Mexx's advertising campaign was a kissing couple that subscribes to the philosophy that "Everything should be XX," a slogan that expresses the positive aspects of life. In 1998, a new advertising campaign was created based on the concept "Role Models rather than Fashion Models" characterized by the slogan "Inspiring individuals." The campaign depicts less known and unknown people as role models who lead lives in their own way. The campaign stems from Mexx's basic philosophy of making "Real Clothing for Real People." The latest trend was inspired by metropolitan casual, the dressing codes of urban style. This collection provides clothes, that are able to show our real personality, give a comfortable feeling and present a world without cliches.

APPENDIX 2. Corporate communication objectives Corporate objective: redefine organizational relationships and roles for the campaign: why: because of the recent acquisition of MEXX by The Gores Group, introduction of a new business model one-hand responsibility (introduced by current CEO of MEXX Thomas Grote), re-positioning of the brand; how: to organise monthly meetings of the employees with MEXX, The Gores Group CEO and senior managers in order to answer questions about acquisition, brand repositioning and new business model - it should help to retain the employees, build new corporate culture and identity, and understand the weak points of MEXX organisational structure; why: because of the re-positioning of the brand into Metropolitan casual brand; how: to organise meetings of the employees of MEXX Netherlands with other employees of MEXX countries (e.g., Canada, Germany, France etc.) to exchange the experience and learn from each other on the brand re-positioning; why: because of the introduction new model of Consumer Decision Journey; how: to train employees to create and manage the content for different channels (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin etc.) and to monitor and to participate in them (Spotlight on social media and the new rules of branding) in order to personalise the brand, to get feedback from the customers of MEXX and react on questions, ideas of the customers of MEXX;

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APPENDIX 3: Experiential events of the campaign ME+XX 1. Dinners with the metropolitan casual role models: a. Targeted at the values of strivers; b. Focus groups will help to identify the role models for the dinners, e.g., the director of Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Editor in chief of Vogue magazine in the Netherlands, CEO of Philips; c. MEXX will be mainly a sponsor unless the event will take place in the MEXX stores; d. MEXX will cooperate with nonprofit professional organisations such as European Professional Women's Network, Career Fairs in Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Groningen; recruiting agencies such as Randstad, Undutchables and others; national and multinational corporations like SHELL, Philips, Heineken, Rabobank, Vodafone, Vogue magazine etc. - it will allow to reach professionals of the target audience directly. e. The aim: to connect professional values of the target audience with the cosmopolitan part of the brand of MEXX f. Supporting events: g. Communication mix: advertisement in the Dutch/national journals, social media, direct marketing, personal selling 2. Fun events: a. Targeted at values of fun seekers; b. Focus groups with target audience will help to identify with who MEXX the customers would like to have fun, i.e. Dutch, international singers, dancers, which culture to explore, etc.; c. MEXX will be sponsor and/or co-sponsor of fun events, d. MEXX will cooperate closely with local communities in order to tailor make the events for each town of the MEXX presence and deliver the brand message consistently; e. The aim: to connect personal enjoyment and pleasurable experience of the target audience with the casual part of the brand of MEXX; f. Supporting events: sales promotions in the MEXX stores in the Netherlands during the fun events.

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