The Ludhiana knitwear industry is one of the biggest clusters of knitwear units in Asia. But it is lacking in consistent high quality image building for both domestic and international markets. An individual company’s brand was just an incidental choice without any loyalty attached to it. The conventional insight is that the traditional branding is wounded and dying at the feet of innovative modern branding concepts because of competitive advantages and consistently changing customer needs. The basic branding strategy has revolved around researching consumer attitudes, requests and identifying un-met needs. They are able to come up with modifications to existing products that appeal to different segments or market niches. Finally, they have come through the progression of a new product development, packaging, logo , design, positioning and promoting their product with the help of brand architecture strategy. The present study is an attempt to visualize the various brand architecture strategies followed by knitwear manufacturers of the Ludhiana cluster.
The knitwear industry all over the world is at the threshold of far-reaching institutional changes. Over the past three to four decades, trade dynamics, especially price and quantitative restrictions have come to play a major role in the patterns of the sector’s development. The removal of quantitative restrictions has brought major challenges. It has thrown open both the opportunities and threats, especially for the lowincome economies seeking to industrialize through promotion of the garment sector. Approximately 95 per cent of the woollen needs of the country are met by the Ludhiana cluster. The sector contributes about 14 per cent to industrial production, 4 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP), and 11 per cent to the country’s total export earnings of which 45 per cent comes through the share of knitted garments.
There is a common feeling in the cluster that a shared vision is missing within the cluster. The existing infrastructure available in the cluster is being mainly used for non-industrial purposes to earn revenue and sustain it. A large number of units produce quality knitwear but they have not yet branded their products. Many of these companies undertake fabrication for other brands. A year-on-year growth rate of the branded knitwear market projected a growth rate of 25 per cent in the next five years.
Robert Pringle established Pringle of Scotland in 1815 in the Scottish border. It is the first known brand in the history of knitwear. Competition is very fierce with import causing knitwear prices to fall and forcing the knitwear manufacturer to look at new ways to differentiate their products. Thus the focus is shifted to promote brands, pioneer designs and new manufacturing techniques. The essence of garment branding is to develop a plan of action that will make a product the only solution to its targeted customers. The brand should amplify the image of Ludhiana as suppliers of quality, eco-green and a reasonable deal of knitwear products. This strategy will enable the knitwear units to come out of the shackles of contractual producers and provide them with an opportunity to promote their own business. It will help to project this industry in a positive sense.