Thai Tuan Textile Company, Vietnam – Marketing Strategies Essay

Thai Tuan Textile and Garment Corporation was founded in early 1993. At the moment, it is one of the leading Vietnamese textile product and fashion services supplying enterprises, that specializes in manufacturing and trading varieties of polyester fashion fabric such as Jacquard fabric, Sateen fabric, Chiffon fabric, Stretch fabric,…mainly for ladies. Its products now are consumed widely in domestic market and export to different states over the world. From the 1990s, when many other domestic enterprises attached special importance to exporting their products to foreign markets, Thai Tuan has decided to choose the essential strategy to develop domestic market and built step by step plan to penetrate into the international market. Through introducing products at “Vietnam’s highest quality products” fair that was organized in different cities, Thai Tuan brings its products over consumers. Thai Tuan has won the prize “Vietnam’s highest quality product” from 1998 until now in succession and the prize “Gold star of Vietnam” in 2007.

From the idea to manufacture fabric for the traditional custom – “Ao dai” at the beginning, Thai Tuan has developed many lines of products such as Thatexco, Lencii, Happiness, Rosshi…that specialize in different kinds of dresses for women: Ao dai, nightgown, dress for schoolgirls, wedding dress, office’s fashion . Thai Tuan now also provides men’s fashion with “Menni’s” trademark.

Thai Tuan has got 3 big plants in Ho Chi Minh city and applying international management systems like ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14000, SA 8000, 5S. Total production capacity is 10 million meters of fabrics per a year. Growing rate is 15% per a year. Income in 2006 was 25 million USD of which 50% came from domestic market.

Thai Tuan established distribution system all over 64 provinces in Vietnam with 3 branches, 7 showrooms, 300 agents and 3,500 distributors. Thai Tuan ‘s products and brand are developing not only in national but also in worldwide markets which are attending in 10 countries in Asian, Middle East area, Australia and the United States.

In the condition of competitiveness nowadays, especially when Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation, Thai Tuan is keeping its foothold in the markets.

With this report, we would like to present the marketing strategy of Thai Tuan to explain how Thai Tuan is situated in today’s market.

2. MARKET SEGMENTATION, TARGETING & POSITIONING

Market Segmentation and Targeting

Today, if you ask Vietnamese ladies “Which fabric product you will buy for your Ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dresses) ? “, the most common responses are “Thai Tuan”. Or, if you ask “which brand of fabric you will offer with premium/ high quality at reasonable price?”, it’s also “Thai Tuan”, etc…

Vietnam united from the two parts to one nation in 1975 and came into the period of re-development under closed economy until 1986. People living standard was rather low so their basic needs like foods, clothes and accommodation are very simple. Obviously, most of people philosophy was “An chac mac ben”, meant that I cared my foods in quantity rather than quality, I bought my clothes if they could be used in long time rather than fashionable.

A decade later, people income was remarkably increased plus a wide integration with the world. Vietnamese had step change in mind of their dress. Especially, youths who were born in the years of “happy baby” after war and emerging medium class in the urban area. They needed higher fabric quality, more fashionable dresses and recognition. Who satisfied these needs at that time? While most of domestic & state-own textile companies focused for export activities, and private sector was limited in capital to invest or few investors were confident in domestic textile and garment market, traders imported high quality fabric from Europe, India, Korea… to capture the needs. However, the problem was imported fabric price was too high that limited consumer affordability. Thai Tuan was founded.

The company imported technology from Japan to produce and supply premium and high quality fabrics with acceptable price. Thai Tuan built a very successful cooperate brand which totally differentiate to others by segmenting to right targeted consumers in the middle class, teenagers and women. It can be explained by key variables:

Firstly, it’s about psychological approach. Thai Tuan is ahead of other competitors in high quality – reasonable price products targeted to medium income up. Thai Tuan does not participate in market at low quality – low price imported from China or so high quality – high price from EU, India… where competition is tough to a young domestic company like Thai Tuan.

Not only Thai Tuan maintains its position in middle class market but also the increasing income trend gradually switches consumer in the traditional market of low quality – low price imported from China to Thai Tuan segmentation. Besides, a part of high class accepted Thai Tuan quality as they had to pay more if buying products with same quality imported from EU, Indian… Thai Tuan is more attractive as it’s said as “A High Quality Product of Vietnam” promoted by government campaign to encourage domestic brand in integrated period.

Secondly, it’s about demographic approach. The textile and garment market is so huge, Thai Tuan mostly targeted to pupils from 15 to 18 and women from 22 to 45 years old. Why? It’s simple that Vietnamese is promoting Ao Dai as symbol of Vietnamese lady to the world. It’s obviously that every woman from 22 to 45 years old wears Ao Dai in a lot of occasions (company uniforms, at wedding party, at any festival, conference…) and that each of women usually owns 2 to 3 Ao Dai .

A hundred percent of schoolgirl from 15 to 18 years old wears Ao Dai at school as official uniform. Thai Tuan develops the commercial collection for this segment which is so called Lencii. Together, Menni’s is a school boy uniform collection.

And because there have been not many domestic brands in textile and garment industry, while foreign brands’ clothes are very expensive, Thai Tuan brand provides a wide range of clothes for woman from wedding clothes, evening dress, working clothes to indoor clothes.

A picture taken from Lencii collection.

Minh Hang, a famous teenager singer wearing Ao Dai to promote Thai Tuan dress.

Thirdly, it’s about geography approach. Unlike other domestic companies in 1990s which were in “export race “, Thai Tuan found and successfully seized the market potentiality in Vietnam. After building a strong brand in Vietnam, Thai Tuan gradually starts to export to abroad.

Product Positioning

Thai Tuan sticks its brand image with Aodai- the traditional custom of Vietnamese women- a symbol of Vietnam’s culture. The basic element of Aodai, and also of Thai Tuan products is creating elegance for ladies.

More over, with slogan “Weaving your dream”, Thai Tuan is realising step by step a dream of most of Vietnamese enterprises: affirm Vietnam’s brands in world trade market.

3. BRAND STRATEGY

Indeed, for the domestic garment industry, Thai Tuan is neither the “strong” player nor “beautiful” one in term of brand. However, considering the effort leads to its recent achievements, Thai Tuan is undoubtedly one of remarkable brands in term of brand strategy in Vietnam.

Firstly, let us consider the market out look at the time Thai Tuan joined in the market in 1993. At the moment, the decision to develop a domestic garment brand is really a brave and risky one when imported product was deeply flooding the market, especially ones from China. That main reason explains why the majority of garment companies rushed to produce for export only. And as a natural reflection from the customers, they somehow recognized that the national garment industry, and domestic industries in general, were facing survival problem losing their competitiveness and they themselves had to protect domestic products for the love for their country and for their own shake. As a result, there was a new wave raised in Vietnam: “Vietnamese people use Vietnamese products”. Thai Tuan did get the point from soon and was one of the pioneers leading the activities in that wave to achieve their first “Vietnam’s Highest Quality Product” title (voted by mass consumers).

The decision of printing its brand name on the edge of the fabric made Thai Tuan one of few companies which started to be aware of the importance of brand development. That fact contributes a lot to emphasize the brand in customers’ mind. It was not only matter of competitiveness but also being that Thai Tuan aimed to provide products with reasonable quality at reasonable prices, especially produced in Vietnam, so that the customers would choose among the messed up market at the time. Trustworthy Vietnamese products were what Thai Tuan started to build in their potential customers’ mind.

However, such efforts were not enough to protect such a young brand. There were still others obstacles that were beyond the leader’s expectation and control. One of those was in 2005. When quotas for garment ended after 1/1/2005 among WTO members, Vietnamese garment industry coped up with a huge problem in competitiveness, especially with China. The Agreement on Textile and Clothing made Asian countries lose most of their market share in WTO member states, and Vietnam was no exception. The condition got worse when Vietnam was even not yet WTO member, which meant quotas were still applied. And 70% raw material and semi-products are imported. Not many Vietnamese garment companies could survive and Thai Tuan was lucky enough to be one of the cases. One fact can explain that is Thai Tuan had chosen a safe and reasonable strategy. Thanks to good SWOT analysis. A young brand has to survive in order to develop. Thai Tuan chose to set step in new and small market like the Middle East, which helped them compensate for the damage in home country. Their success proved it a good decision. In the same way with the domestic market, Thai Tuan gained from the potential market that they chose.

Besides, Thai Tuan also has such good communication methodology with sponsor strategy. And here are some remarkable activities:

* Being exclusive sponsor with ‘ao dai’ for female athletes in Vietnam 22nd Sea Game

* Participating in Vietnamese-Japanese culture festival (35th anniversary) as main sponsor with “Marvellous Vietnam” show, introduce “Dong Son Legend”- Vietnamese ‘Ao Dai’ collection.

* “Light up the dreams” program started from 2003 until now.

By that, Thai Tuan Brand has successfully sticked its image with Vietnamese culture.

After all, there is no doubt that Thai Tuan came first to the consumer’s mind, if they try to figure out a brand, when they want to choose fabric for their Vietnamese traditional ‘ao dai’. In other words, Thai Tuan has been being strongly recognized by the customers nationwide. Among the factors that is thanks to, we have to mention the scattering distribution methodology which made Thai Tuan appear everywhere in the country from the North to the South.

Business Achievements:

* Certificate of Merit by Government of Vietnam

* Third-class Labour Medal

* 3 Certificates of Merit by the Vietnamese Prime Minister

* 2 Certificates of Merit by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance

* A Certificate of Merit by the Vietnamese Ministry of Trade

* 4 Certificates of Merit by the HCMC People’s Committee

* 5 Certificates of Merit by General Director of the HCMC Industry Department

* Many Certificates of Merit by the People’s Committee of Dist 12, HCMC Labour Federation, Social Insurance Department, etc.

* 2006 Business Excellence Awards for Export by 53 Vietnam Overseas Commercial Affairs Agencies and the Vietnamese National Committee for International Economic Cooperation in conjunction with Trade and E-Trade Newspapers

Recognized titles:

* Vietnam Gold Star Award by the Vietnamese Young Entrepreneur Committee

* “Vietnam’s Highest Quality Product” title for nine consecutive years (1999 – 2007), one of the leading enterprises in the textile-garment industry.

* 6 Gold medals for the company’s brocade quality.

* “Enterprise whose products are of high quality,” voted by readers of the Dai Doan Ket (Great Union) newspaper.

* “Enterprise whose products are most popular,” voted by readers of the Muc Tim (Violet Ink) newspaper for 3 consecutive years, 1998- 1999- 2000

* Recognition of “Flagship product of Ho Chi Minh City” by the HCMC People’s Committee in 2004 -2005

* Golden cup and certificate of acknowledgment for the title “for community development”

* Acknowledgement of “Textile-garment enterprise with strong brand name in 2006” and “Textile-garment enterprise to best capture market share in 2006” within the program, “Reference textile-garment enterprise in 2006,” organized by the Saigon Economic times.

Thai Tuan Chairman at award ceremony.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chevez and Thai Tuan Chairman exchange neckties.

4. PRODUCT

The products of Thai Tuan are divided into 2 specific lines, the first is fabric and the second is colletions of dresses.

Fabric

Thai Tuan is preparing to bring forward 2 kinds of new fabric to market : stretch p/d fabric and linen look fabric.

Thai Tuan Corporation manufactures many kinds of fabric but focus on fabric for “Aodai”- the traditional custom of Vietnamese women. Thai Tuan is the only brand that provides Aodai fabric peculiarly for schoolgirls. (In Vietnam, Aodai is uniform of high schoolgirls when going to class)

Collections of dresses

Rosshi:

Rosshi was introduced by Thai Tuan since lately 2007 with office’s dresses collection for young ladies. This collection is designed for youthful and active ladies with tender material.

Lencii:

Lencii is the special collection with Aodai designs for schoolgirls. Lencii- “Fashion and Passion” was innovated from a source of inspiration of the brightness and spark of Aodai dress in school ground.

Happiness:

The wedding collection is a celebration for lovers in wedding seasons.

Thatexco:

This evening gown collection sets off the elegant body of women.

Menni’s:

This is a trying step of Thai Tuan to encroach men’s fashion market. Menni’s affirms a elegant style for school boys.

5. PRICING STRATEGY

a) Pricing objective: “High quality product with reasonable price”

Pricing is one of the most important elements in finance as well in marketing. Some customers often consider price as an indicator of quality when they do not have full experience about product. Therefore, if the price is set too low, customer will evaluate its product low quality and revenue will decrease. Vice versus if the price is set too high, the demand will decease. Recognizing the importance of pricing, at the first time of business, Thai Tuan set up an objective to satisfy its customers with excellent services and products together with reasonable price.

Looking at 1993 when Vietnam began to enter the market economy, the majorities of Vietnamese products had low quality with low price. In the textile and garment market, many famous domestic manufacturers proved their business, but their products still did not satisfy high-class customers. At that time, imported products had the best quality though very high price. The appearance of Thai Tuan on the market in 3 years later, 1995 overcame the disadvantages of both domestic and foreigner manufacturers. Thai Tuan helped customers owning a product with high quality as of the imported ones, but with the much lower price.

During 16 year operation, Thai Tuan constantly improves itself to maintain the title ” Vietnam’s Highest Quality Product” and at the same time to maintain and develop the THAI TUAN brand in both national and worldwide markets.

b) Price sensitivity

In spite of orientating to middle up class, Thai Tuan does not set their price too high because:

* Low income of Vietnamese customers: Although the Vietnamese economic has developed rapidly, average income is levered obviously recently, majority of Vietnamese people are still leaving in poor condition. If Thai Tuan focuses too much on high class level, they will loss a large market share into their competitors.

* Customers have experience on the product. Cloth is product that they can touch, feel and easily compare the quality of substitutes.

* Destructive competition in the textile market. Besides many domestic manufacturers, Thai Tuan has to face with strong foreign competitors coming from China, India, Korea, and England… These competitors with various styles and various prices always threat the development of Thai Tuan. If Thai Tuan does not maintain a reasonable price, it will be attacked by its competitors.

c) Main competitors:

* Chinese manufacturers:

Chinese products often acquire 30-40% market share of textile market because of its low price and nice styles. Chinese products have an advantage over domestic product that can defeat most competitors, is low cost. Because of the low cost, the selling price of Chinese products is always at a half price of domestic ones. Together with cheaper price, Chinese product acquires customer’s attention thanks on its variety of colour, style, price, design; material…In compensation for low price, the quality of Chinese product is rather low. Therefore Chinese products mainly orientate to low income people. Thai Tuan focus on middle up class, but sometimes it loss their market share into Chinese products when customer do not care about the product quality and they want to change their clothes more regularly.

* Other foreign manufacturers:

The main competitors of Thai Tuan come from England, Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan, and ASEAN…Their price is rather high and their products are luxurious. This is dangerous rival because their customer is high class people, which compete directly with Thai Tuan. Most Vietnamese people still believe in the imported products. They think that foreign products have premium quality, so they ready to pay high price in exchange good products. In reality, their quality is maybe as high as domestic product, but due to the foreign mark, they are more easily accepted by customers.

d) Discounts, allowances and promotion:

Along with promotion programs held in particulars events, Thai Tuan has regularly offered customers an indirect discount in order to increase the buying purchase of Thai Tuan. To carry out the discount, Thai Tuan has joined with some tailor shops in assisting customers in making clothes. Whenever customers buy a Thai Tuan textile product, they will have a chance to get a cheaper price of making clothes at the associated shops. The discount rate is often about 20-30% (25,000 – 35,000 VND/set). This kind of discount benefits all 3 stakeholders: Thai Tuan increases revenues, tailor shops have more customer and customers gain a discount. The tailor shops that Thai Tuan chooses to associate are famous shop and have many experiences in making clothes. This makes a great contribution to increase Thai Tuan image in customer mind. Some competitors tried to copy this method but they are not as successful as Thai Tuan because Thai Tuan is a strong brand and is very professional in this area.

6. DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS

Thai Tuan Co. currently distributed their fabrics in Vietnam and export a certain range of its products to foreign countries. The total sales of the company in 2008 are about 43 million USD in which, export covers 50%.

For exporting, the company’s major export markets are: some countries in North America, USA, Middle East and Asian. Among these areas, Middle East is considered to be high potential. For instance, some colourful “G�m” fabrics are salable in Saudi Arabia because woman in this country like to wear fabric with strong colour and soft material under the black overcoat. In 2007, a showroom was opened in Middle East to promote fabrics and complements like shoes, hand bags, hats…. Beside the range of products that sold locally, the company also makes some products with quality and design suitable to some certain markets for the purpose of exporting only.

Even export contributed well in total turnover, the company hasn’t got a good budget to build a good distribution system in foreign countries. Most of the products are distributed by importers in foreign countries and sometimes the distribution in other countries is out of control of the manufacturer. For this reason, this report will more focus on the company’s distribution system in local market.

For local distribution, the company has built up a distribution system as described in following graph:

In the field of local distribution, channels are set up in accordance with the context of retail market and fabric market in Vietnam.

A.T .Kearney- a US based consultancy- ranked Vietnam as the most attractive emerging market destination for retail investments in 2008. Even the total number of supermarkets in Vietnam is just 394 (2008), Nielson reported (at the end of October, 2008) that: sales from modern trade channel (supermarkets) in Vietnam has grown rapidly with the rate of 47% in 2007 and the number of supermarkets at the time of report was increased by 22% in compared to 2007. However, Nielson also noted that traditional trade (small retail shops and traditional community market or “cho”) still play an important role in Vietnamese daily life. For example, traditional sales cover about 68% -70% of the total sales of food products. That is the reason why a major percentage of Vietnamese go to community traditional market (“cho”) everyday and go to supermarket just once or twice a week. In a report of Vietnamese Trade Department in 2004, Vietnam at that time had around 8,300 traditional markets (“cho’).That means there was almost a “cho” per ward or commune. So traditional “cho” is a very important distribution channel for consumer goods in Vietnam.

Fabrics are various in term of descriptions (design, size and materials, quality) and most of amateur buyers need to be advised from sellers before purchasing. Consequently, supermarkets almost don’t sell fabric. Fabric was locally distributed by traditional trade channel (cho, retail shops,Tailors).

Currently, 60% sales of the company was come from Vietnamese biggest fabric trading center, a “cho” (traditional market) named “Soai Kinh Lam” in district 5, Hochiminh city. From this “cho” (with more than 500 shops that selling all kinds of fabrics), fabrics were flow quickly to traditional channel (all other “cho” and shops nation wide).

It is clear that traditional market (cho) plays a key role in local distribution of fabric. However, the company has being spent more and more money and efforts to build up its own channel with: 3 branches, 7 showrooms, 300 agents, 3500 distributors nationwide. This costly strategy was considered to be a solution to survive the company for 4 reasons:

Firstly, price has become a key trouble for local manufacturers. As Vietnam has the same border with China, there is a huge quantity of illegal free tax fabrics from China imported through the border of Vietnam and China to Vietnam everyday. In the same way, cheap price fabric was exported from India to Cambodia then illegal imported to Vietnam. The origin of most of these imported fabrics was: (i) stock of foreign manufacturers which design is not salable or fashion anymore; (ii) extra stock of exporting garment company (the remaining materials after garment shipment have done) and these products was transported to Vietnam. In addition, the design of those fabrics is various in term of colour, design and price level because they were produced from many different manufacturers. Especially, those fabrics don’t pay tax so they can be sold at a very cheap price. For this reason, it is reported by “Hanoinet” (www.ktdt.com.vn) on April 2008 that: At the time of report, beside the segment of fabric with high price and high quality, cheap fabrics from China was covered 50% of the share of cheap and medium price segment. This result came from the fact that the price of these products was just a half (1/2) of the price of a “look like” local product.

Secondly, quality of fabrics in market is almost out of control and always confusing consumers. As there is still a trust from a considerable number of local consumers that fabrics from developed countries ( like Italia, England, France, Japan, Korea) have higher quality, many products with China, India, Thailand, Vietnam origin were marked “made of Italia” for example to sell at higher price with quality is not as high as expectation. In addition, it is very difficult for consumers to identify the quality of fabric by touching, seeing or even feeling the materials before using if the are not expert. For this reason, purchasing decision of consumer in this case is greatly influenced by the comments of the sellers.

Thirdly, counterfeit and imitated products are everywhere. It should be an old story if the ill protect of intellectual property rights in mentioned in case of the countries like Vietnam and China. Everybody knew that fabric is a kind of fashion product with high expect in terms of design. For more details, a certain part of fabric consumers are buying materials to make their clothes because they want to have something different from the clothes that being sold in market with the same style for many units. However, Most local manufacturers have been claiming that their design always be copied of imitated just after few weeks of launching. And the similar products was sold much cheaper with no R;D and design cost.

Lastly, it is very difficult for manufacturers to control the traditional trading channel in terms of price and consumer service. Bargain is normal and there is almost no shop label a fix price on products. Shops are selling a mix of products with many origins. Accordingly, for the purpose of maximize profit, some sellers offer a high price (in some case, price offered is double or even triple the real value) and the sum that consumers pay will be depend on how well they do on bargaining. Furthermore, shop owners are taking care of products from many competitors at the same time, they may mislead consumers to buy the products of manufacturers with more incentive to sellers. This way of purchasing environment has been affected badly to consumer’s feelings. Many people don’t want to go shopping on these kind of channel because they don’t want to be cheated of treated as innocent.

In its own channel, prices are fixed and consulting supports about clothes and fashion at showroom is given with free of charge. This is the best way for the company control quality as well as bringing the best service to consumers.

The company supposed that building a good band with high quality is the key factor to be survived in future. Vietnam has now joined many free trade areas (WTO, Sean, China- Asian, Korea – Asian) and import tax is declining rapidly day after day. As a result of this, imported fabric with lower and lower price will have more change to enter Vietnam market.

And Thai Tuan has been successful. The company was listed by Vietnamese government as the only fabric company (textile company that mainly sell fabric as final products) in the group of top 10 typical success textile and garment companies in Vietnam in 2008.

7. MARKETING COMMUNICATION

Thai Tuan has been fully adapting and using Integrated Marketing Communication program in order to promote brand and its product to the market. The program conducts all tools which are advertising, sales promotion, personal selling (point-of-sale), Public relation and Sponsorship.

ADVERTISING:

The used method is a combination of media (magazines and television) and internet advertising. In 2008, Thai Tuan has advertised it range of products mainly on magazines. Due to the downturn of the economy, the budgets of advertising on television have been cut off. On the launching stage of new collection, Thai Tuan selects to show them on fashion magazines such as Modern World, Young Fashion. After that, these collections begin to be shown on other magazines mainly for lady and young people such as Woman World, Muc tim (Violet Ink), etc…

(Source: Modern World 01/2008)

The use of advertising mainly is to introduce new collection using Thai Tuan fabric and to remind customer about the brand and products of Thai Tuan. They target mainly ladies and appear occasionally.

SALES PROMOTION

Along with announcing the launching of new collection, Thai Tuan usually come up with promotion program in which customer buying their new product will get a nice gift such as accessories, jewelry, etc.

When launching the new Ao dai collection for schoolgirls which is called Lencii collection in June 2008, Thai Tuan introduced its promotion program call “Shinning with Lencii”. Customers who purchase the collection would receive a gift of stone-made jewelry. This program was last from 1st July to 20th August 2008. With this program, Thai Tuan has sent a message that they are taking care of schoolgirls and when schoolgirls are wearing that, they can be proud of being beautiful and confident.

(Source: Young Fashion Magazine 07/2008)

During the year 2008, Thai Tuan has implemented two major promotion programs. “Shinning with Lencii” is one of them. Another program is “Con mai loi tri an”. The program is to say thanks to customers who are supporting and purchasing Thai Tuan’s collections as well as to appreciate and congratulate the Teacher’ Day 20/11. With this program, Thai Tuan was saying that they are taking care of not only customers but also the education and community. The program was held from 8th November 2008 to 20th November 2008.

(Source: www.thaituanfashon.com)

PERSONAL SELLING AND POINT-OF-SALE

Apart from supplies fabric and collection to wholesalers and retailers, Thai Tuan has its own showrooms located in Ho Chi Minh City. In the showroom, all the collections are well displayed as well as fabrics. Thai Tuan has provided sufficient services with the advice from staff to customers who come to the showroom on how they should dress or how they should buy the fabrics. Although customers walk out of the showroom without purchasing, they are still satisfied and think that they should come back again. This is the main concept of services that Thai Tuan provides to its customers. With five showrooms in Ho Chi Minh City at the moment, Thai Tuan is slowly setting up its own point-of-sales channel for customers’ convenience.

PUBLIC RELATION AND SPONSORSHIP

As a part of Integrated Marketing Communication Program, Public relation and sponsorship has been taking a major role of Thai Tuan’s marketing strategy.

Sponsorship:

In the year 2008, Thai Tuan has been sponsor for several event held in Vietnam with the purpose of being a part of society’s activities. In March 2008, Thai Tuan was the main sponsor for “Dong Son Legend” program. In this event, Thai Tuan also introduced the special collection which would bring the Vietnam culture to the world.

As the sponsorship, Thai Tuan signed the sponsorship contract in which Thai Tuan sponsored the event “Miss Vietnam 2008” in March 2008. Thai Tuan has sent the message “Environment Friendly” as a promise with the society that its product s are no harm to the environment as nature. Thai Tuan’s fabrics were used in this event as Ao Dai competition round as well as Lencil collection was used for Party Costume competition round.

Public Events:

There are two events which is conducted by Thai Tuan every year. They are “Thap sang uoc mo xanh” and “Tri an nguoi khai sang” events. With these two events, Thai Tuan has contributed a part to the society through taking care of the education. In the event “Thap sang uoc mo xanh 2008”, Thai Tuan gave 2000 present (1400 sets of Ao dai fabric, and 600 sets of schoolboy fabric) to 2000 students in Vietnam. Through the event, Thai Tuan is hoping that it will bring happiness to those students and help them to have passion and success in study and future.

In November 2008, Thai Tuan held the event “Tri an nguoi khai sang” with the purpose to say a grateful thank to teachers who are bringing the knowledge to the youth and taking a major role of education. This event was held 6 times from 2002. With the small gift to good teachers, Thai Tuan helped to bring into play the nation’s tradition from students.

In international relationship, Thai Tuan also represents the image of Vietnamese culture. “Vietnam-Japan Culture Exchange” event was an example. Thai Tuan brought Ao dai Vietnam which was using Thai Tuan’s fabric to this event in August 2008 as “Dong Son legend” collection. The collection not only brings modern and liveliness image but also represent Vietnam culture in the exchange event. (Source: Congthuong Online: baocongthuong.com.vn)

8. EVALUATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

* Although there is a big amount of tough work to do, this is a very remarkable start of Thai Tuan brand. The brand is considered a strong one by Vietnamese. Most of people position the brand to be correct choice of fabrics for Vietnamese traditional dresses “Ao Dai”.

* Besides a wide range in sizes, material, patterns of fabrics labeling “Thai Tuan fabric”, there are 6 trademarks : Rosshi, Menni’s,Lencii, Happiness, Thatexco, Silki 2009 which are collections of nearly all women’s clothes.

Thai Tuan sets to be leading company in textile and garment industry in Vietnam in 2010. This is good for the company and also for Vietnam. Because textile and garment market are new and growing fast. This explains why Thai Tuan’s list of products gets richer and larger after every year.

Thai Tuan’s target market is good. Because women from 22 to 45 are people who earn money and have high demand in clothes. While the number of Vietnamese high school pupils is big and Ao Dai is mandatory uniform.

Thai Tuan is facing big problem from dumping of Chinese fabrics. Despite being bad quality, Chinese fabrics are richer in pattern and size than Thai Tuan’s ones. To improve this, Thai Tuan needs to invest much money in technology, machinery; constructing new plants or having plant expansions. Initial investment in the industry is big while time to begin to gain profit is long.

Therefore, Thai Tuan should revise product policy. The Thatexco, Menni’s and Rosshi seem not to success as expected. People consider them to be boring, old-fashioned and unexciting. The material used in those collections are not durable. Thai Tuan has to decide either just to maintain and develop some potential trademarks so that company resources can be used for the new technology investment or to have a lot of inefficient trademarks covering all types of clothes of women.

* The fabric labeled “Thai Tuan fabric” is customers’ first choice for “Ao Dai” because of high quality and reasonable price. However, Thai Tuan needs to have much improvement on fabrics’ labeling and packaging. Making them more attractive and professional would eliminate customers’ prejudice in favor of foreign fabrics.

Moreover, “Thai Tuan fabric” is special fabric in one thing. When you buy it and go to recommended tailors, you will have a remarkable discount.

Thai Tuan should promote more in advertising, caring customers before and after sales; have programs to assist customer in purchasing goods like selling on credit.

One of important channels to distribute “Thai Tuan fabric” is through traditional community market”cho” where sellers do not have deep understanding about “Thai Tuan fabric” to consult customers and not always expedite discount programs. Thai Tuan should have separate department focusing on these sellers, distributors. Function of the department is to quickly identify distributors’ needs, to compile and execute promotion sales. The department, together with distributors, sellers set commercial targets, level of storing products, training demand; decorate shops; plan advertising activities and sales promotion; and so on…

* Thai Tuan should take quick actions to develop distribution channels in foreign markets. The income from these markets is increasing while solidity of distribution has not gained. There are plans to penetrate new Venezuelan markets. In the past, Middle East markets played key role to help company survive in tough time. Therefore, Thai Tuan needs to upgrade from normal sales operation to marketing management in foreign markets. This includes updating company strategy, market analysis, choosing target market, positioning products, setting up and implementing marketing-mix systems, and finally setting up monitor and measurement system for marketing operation.

* Thai Tuan has very good marketing communication. In those communications, Vietnamese traditional dresses are set off. And this is one of reasons to explain Thai Tuan’s success that is when buying Ao Dai, customers choose Thai Tuan. However, the Thai Tuan brand core value is not only Ao Dai. The slogan “Weaving your dreams” aims to other clothes.

There have not been strong links between Thai Tuan and office clothes, evening gowns, indoor clothes, wedding clothes. Thai Tuan does have collections of these clothes though. Hence, Thai Tuan needs to implement more marketing communication activities for these collections at least as Thai Tuan does with Ao Dai.

* People who buy Ao Dai at traditional community market “cho” are not target consumers of Thai Tuan’s collections, that is Rosshi, Thatexco, Happiness. The target customers are rich people, middle class ones. And Thai Tuan needs to develop more special channels to distribute these collections to them. Currently, the number of showrooms is very limited. Thai Tuan needs to have more showrooms while selling clothes of collections in shopping centres, supermarkets.

* Thai Tuan needs to have separate marketing-mix programs for collections. Selling prices of clothes of collections cannot be “reasonable”. Rich women do not by clothes but luxury.

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