J. Crew Company Analysis

Table of contents

J. Crew at Stonestown mall is having difficulty targeting San Francisco State students to shop at their store, even when J. Crew offers a 15% off discount to college students. J. Crew is a very successful brand that reaches out to young business professionals; however J. Crew, specifically at Stonestown mall, is having difficulty reaching out to the college students at San Francisco State University. J. Crew believes the students at SFSU are a smart target to reach, considering the University is located right next to the Stonestown mall. Although J. Crew believes the college students are smart target to reach, many students are unaware of the student discount they offer. Looking over J. Crew’s past marketing campaigns, they have used older looking models. When doing our research, we noticed that J. Crew’s top competitors: GAP (Banana Republic), and BCBG use younger, college age range, type of models. With this is mind, we feel that the best advertising campaign is to follow their competitors and choose younger looking models, in order to reach out to the college market. J. Crew’s competitors use fun advertising methods to reach out to a younger market.

We noticed in all of GAP holiday commercials, the young models are jumping around having a good time. We get a sense of fun and playful energy from the commercial, which could draw in college students. Gap also gives off a feel of comfort, casual and trendy style in clothing for the everyday college wear. We feel that if J. Crew starts advertising with younger looking models emphasizing on basic wear of a typical college student, J. Crew may have better success at reaching out to the SFSU students.

Advertising Objective

Our main advertising objective is to gain attention of the college students. The goal of our advertising campaign is to create interest for the brand and thus to encourage college students (the target audience) to make an initial purchase of a J. Crew products. Advertisement should seek to tell the market about J. Crew’s products, emphasize the quality and fashion of the products, and last but not least build awareness of the company. We can typically employ creative advertising strategies in order to cut through other competing advertisements.

Situational Analysis

J. Crew first debuted in 1983 as a catalog only shopping experience by Arthur Cinader. Six years later he opened its first flagship store in South Street Seaport New York. J. Crew is American clothing and accessories for men and women. They recently added several line extensions such as “Crewcuts” for children ages 2-12, “J. Crew weddings and Parties”, and “J. Crew Collection” for limited edition pieces. The retailer is known for its young and preppy fashions including jeans, khaki’s, and other basics that are quite pricy and targeted to young professionals. They have 300 stores worldwide including the website and catalog. In 2003 Millard Drexler the former CEO of Gap Inc. ecame the new CEO for J. Crew by pushing service, quality and innovation to the next level. This caused so much controversy with the two companies, being that they are major competitors. J. Crew partners with the best fabric mills and craftsmen such as Jack Purcell, Timex, Thomas Mason, and Red Wing to get the best quality goods. J. Crew is continuing to expand their retail series with specialty boutiques such as Men’s only shops that specializes in Suiting and Madewell a modernized interpretation of an American denim label founded in 1937 which targets women ages 18-40.

Although we think J. Crew does good overall, the Stonestown mall wants to gain attention of the college students because they offer a student/teacher discount. The problem is many of the college students don’t shop at J. Crew because they don’t know much about it.

Swot Analysis

J. Crew for the college audience


  • Over 300 stores in the United States
  • E-commerce website (convenience)
  • Discount sales ongoing
  • Multiple lines for different age categories


  • Too Pricey for the normal college student
  • Targeted more for the young “Business” professionals
  • No commercials aired/ Advertisements are few


  • Target advertisements to that particular age group
  • Possible commercial advertisement for future
  • Expand to new segments of the young market


  • Increased competition of Gap Inc.
  • During the recession students do not have the luxury to spend on pricey clothing
  • Increased celebrity advertisement of competitors
  • More discounted sales at competitors

Target Audience Demographics

For our advertising plan we will target young college students living in the city. These students will be mainly females, as college female students are more willing to pay good money for their clothing than male students.

Because our target audience consists mostly of young college students, most will be seen as single. The typical consumer will only make about $12,000 annually or less, most with part time jobs and attending school full time. Psychographics: The psychographics of our target audience will be students living in dorms and on the campus. We will also target young adults living in apartments near college campus life. Most young students don’t mind a little shopping to help them cope with a bad grade or too much studying.

These students will be found around the mall regularly and will be shopping at competing stores like GAP. These consumers will be living the college life, learning to be professional in school as well as out. They should enjoy social gatherings and night events where they can show off their style. We will target students that are often in search for discounts at high end stores, looking for long lasting quality in basic casual as well as professional clothing. They need to be able to finance their money well and buy good quality products with long durability.

 Consumers’ Perceptions

Our consumers’ perception of the brand, J. Crew, usually entails the style they advertise in commercials and television. J. Crew can be seen as a style with practical women in finely cut business suits and overcoats. When most people visualize the company they visualize classy and professional clothing.

The problem is they are not seen as the standard, like Gap, for instance, they lack the basic necessities to attract young college students. J. Crew just wants to maintain its professional status, but attract a younger crowd who are establishing their position in the real world applying and interview for jobs. When walking into the store, consumers see bright lights and a variety of fabrics and styles. The dresses range from simple around the house to dressy date-night dresses. The one-thing consumers’ can expect to see when entering J. Crew is the variety of clothing.

Consumers’ can perceive clothing brands based on what they see on television, advertisements, and magazines. For instance, there was a point during the election, when Michelle Obama was wearing all J. Crew clothing. After seeing this, consumers’ then compare their own lives to the First Lady and the President. It gives off the intention that people wearing J. Crew are wealthy and extremely successful individuals. This perception is false because not everyone needs to be wealthy to afford this clothing. Many people are looking for a good way to be fashionable and professional at the same time.

J. Crew provides high quality clothing for a good price. This store may seem more expensive, but price goes hand and hand with quality. College students can choose to buy cheaper clothes, but they can’t be guaranteed to last as long as higher quality fabrics. While, if they were to buy clothing from J. Crew, a high-end clothing company, their clothes would last longer and there would be no need for repurchasing products. According to youlookfab. com one of the customer’s comment on how the preppy and fashionable products were expensive, but the quality and drape were impeccable.

Other opinions on J. Crew revolve around the age range of the clothing. Most people look at J. Crew as clothing for older more mature audiences. They believe it should be for women in their 40’s or older. This is a common misconception as the style is mostly for a professional look, but for a young professional style. Models often used in the J. Crew magazine, most recently, are younger looking professionals with a modern feel to them. The store has become more mainstream recently, but still continues to maintain innovative colors and ensemble combinations. J.

Crew keeps their nice basics and people can often leave the house wearing their attire from head to toe. Consumers’ often perceive J. Crew as currently declining in quality and have problems with sizes and overall fit. As sizes and fit compare depending on the consumer, the fit would be made specifically for younger professionals. As for quality, our prices may have been declining, but our quality can be just as durable as before. As all retail stores were hit hard in the economy, many stores have decreased in overall price. Quality can often be an issue to those who have over worn a piece of clothing.

Many customers will find J. Crew products at a rack store or a second hand store and buy them there. Even though they are usually a few years older, they still remain in good condition as if they had never been worn. This contributes to the proof of quality as well as durability in J. Crew clothing. Consumers will always find a way to agree or disagree, but the best we can do to keep those customers content is to create good quality clothing at a sufficient price, producing long lasting and stylish clothing for both professional and casual occasions.

The Competition Swot Analysis

Due to the recession consumers are looking for fashionable goods at a low price at stores such as: H&M, ZARA, and MANGO. Being mass distributed to chains such as Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales where they can offer sales promotions, which will deter consumers to go to actually BCBG stores.

The Creative Strategy

The Single Most Compelling Benefit Our Brand Can Offer to Our Target Consumers For J. Crew, we are using a differentiation strategy using their special student discount, which makes it unique and puts it up against regular retailers whom do not offer such discounts. J. Crew offers a special student and teacher discount of fifteen percent off of all regular priced items, sale items are not included in the discount.

This offer is valid for any in-store purchase until the student graduates, and all that is needed is a student identification card. In our current economic situation today, people are more conscious with their spending and hold on to tighter budgets. Luxury clothes are not as affordable as they used to be. Most consumers’ perceptions of J. Crew are that it is an expensive clothing brand. They think that they get better deals from retailers who have the same clothes for cheaper prices. As we promote J. Crew’s student discount and basic clothing items, we have a particular target market in mind.

We are looking at this offer as an option or alternative for example, against the retail competition. It is an offer whose benefits are best maximized around college campuses and young professional environments. The discount solves the problem for students who want a back to school shopping spree that is easier on the budget. When we look at dollar value with regards to J. Crew, it is not just the discount itself that we are looking at but also the long-term utilization of the back to school basic items that have multi-purpose uses.

So when you think of J. Crew clothing you might want to consider it as an investment, not as an expensive luxury. After all, same with any product you consider buying, you would rather put your money on quality and reliability over a cheaper product that will not last you nearly as long. What is even better about J. Crew is that it is a long term savings on your clothing budget and it will not be as affected by rising clothing prices due to its special student discount. You get more quality per dollar with J. Crew than any other clothing store.

With more quality per dollar, consumers can wear their clothes for longer and consume less clothing, which means a lot of savings on their clothing budget. Consumers will feel comfortable wearing J. Crew because they know they are wearing a luxurious brand and saving money at the same time. Now consumers do not need to shop at the cheaper retailers as often as they used to and keep their money in their wallets for much longer. B. Support: Why Should College Students Shop Here? J. Crew is prominently known for being a luxurious clothing brand with higher prices.

The brand features collections of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, and shoes, in “classic styles” with a J. Crew “twist”. Many of the products feature luxury materials such as Italian cashmere and leather, Czech glass buttons, and British wool. J. Crew is the perfect brand to wear every day because it does the savings for you. When buying the back to school basics, you are not only using these items for a professional setting, but also in your everyday school and recreational outfits. The average college student would not normally be interested in shopping at J.

Crew, but if they are informed of the college student discount and the basic clothing items that they offer, it will be more enticing to shop there. The biggest push is raising awareness of the student discount because most students are unaware of it. Since J. Crew is not advertised often, it would be most efficient to raise awareness to college students on college campuses with flyers or online through Facebook. When they become aware, it will make them interested to see what the store sells and perhaps tempt the student to visit a local store or shop online.

During a visit in store or online, the consumer will notice the advertised “Back to School Basics” and special student discount emphasizing the basic clothing items. These basic clothing items will be more appealing to students who now know that they can get regular discounts on clothes that they can wear everyday for any occasion. Basic clothing items and professional items will be a great investment for the average J. Crew shopper and many others. The average J. Crew shoppers are females ranging from ages 18-49.

Most of these consumers are young professionals or part of families with incomes of $60,000 and greater. The shoppers who are in the age range of 18-49 and do not necessarily have the money to regularly shop at J. Crew, should have a chance to purchase basic clothing items and young professional attire. The important idea of buying J. Crew clothing is that it can not only be worn on teachers and students at school or in everyday recreation, but also when you graduate and get a job in the real world you can still wear the clothes for casual or business attire.

Tone of Advertising

When it comes to J. Crew, consumer’s original thoughts are: expensive, elegant, and older professional. We would like to use a tone to raise awareness to college students and young professionals that would slightly alter a consumer’s thoughts. The tone that we would like to use would be young, playful, trendy, and basic. The tone would push the young professional look and “Back to Basics” slogan around back to school shopping time. J. Crew does not have commercials so implementing commercials with a young, playful, and happy tone would be most effective.

These commercials would include young, professional looking adults jumping and dancing around with popular music in the background. The actors in the commercial would be wearing a mixture of basic items and professional items that are in all different colors to make the commercial appealing to the eye and promote the basics that people may not have noticed before. The idea in this would be to make J. Crew’s advertising more like GAP’s and have it start appealing to more of the college kids and young professionals. GAP’s 2009 Holiday Commercial is the perfect example of the tone J.

Crew should promote. Most importantly, these advertisements and commercials need to promote money savings (such as the student/teacher discount) and “Back to School Basics”. The most important things to a college student is saving money, and looking good while doing so. If J. Crew follows this newly thought out plan, they will accomplish just that!

The Creative Brief J. Crew, specifically at Stonestown mall, is having difficulty reaching out to the college students at San Francisco State University. J. Crew is mainly categorized as expensive and for an older professional.

By changing their advertisement strategies to have a younger feel, we hope to gain awareness of college students at SFSU. Our advertising plan will focus on college students and young professionals. These students will be mainly females and most will be seen as single. They will make about $12,000 annually or less, most with part time jobs and attending school full time. College students usually enjoy social gatherings and night events where they can show off their style. They are looking for long lasting quality in basic casual and trendy clothes. Most college students visualize J. Crew as classy and old professional clothing.

The brand is seen as expensive but college students regard J. Crew products as being high quality. The single most compelling idea we need to communicate to our target market is that fact J. Crew allows college students to wear high quality and fashionable clothes, while saving money at the same time. J. Crew is prominently known for being a luxurious clothing brand with higher prices. But the brand has also basic clothing items for the typical college student on which they can get regular discounts. Our desired brand personality/tone of J. Crew should be a young, playful, and trendy

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