Message from Business Insidewear Team…

Dear readers,

As this blog comes to an end, we would like to thank Mary De Gendre, SKEMA Strategic Brand Management lecturer, and Peter Spier, SKEMA Msc International Marketing & Business Development Director, for introducing us to the fascinating world of brand management. Thank you for sharing with us your expertise, experience and precious advices that enabled us to build this blog.

We hope that you would enjoy it and discover under a new light the two brands Victoria Secret and Etam Lingerie that inspired us through all this semester. It was a great pleasure to share with you our findings, interpreting them from a Brand manager point of view, apply concepts, conduct researches and compare these two leading brands in female intimate apparel industry.

We would be very grateful to receive your comments, reactions and share with us your knowledge about the topics we have discussed.


Business Insidewear Team


Customer-based Brand Equity



Victoria Secret Brand, Keller’s Brand Equity Model


Victoria’s Secret is America’s leading lingerie apparel brand, ranking second in the 2013 annual YouGov Brand Index a study of brand perceptions in the retail-clothing sector.

At this first stage, it is necessary to say that Victoria Secret is a lovemark. It unique selling proposition could be described as “a leading brand that inspires women to feel sexy and confident 24h a day, 7 days a week » by offering them a wide choice of intimate apparel, home and sport’s wear, accessories, bags, cosmetics and fragrances.

Our research in France during this semester and numerous consumer studies demonstrate that Victoria Secret is a Top of mind kind of brand in terms of its degree of awareness among consumers and high degree of differentiation comparing to its competitors.

This one also has very positive brand perceptions and associations which are both almost similar for both desirability and deliverability criteria, which shows that the brand is perceived in the way Victoria’s Secret built its brand.

A study in United States has been to conduct to measure Consumer Affinity and Brand Perception by Gender of Victoria Secret. The results have demonstrated that while monitoring conversations on Internet, massive spikes were identified during Victoria Secret shows. Surprisingly, 33 % to 35% of conversations around the shows and the models were lead by male population. Therefore, Victoria has a very strong awareness and engagement even from population it does not target directly. We can suppose that this would not be the case of Etam Grand Show as it still not enough popular even among the target population.

Additionally, what is interesting that consumer awareness is breadth and takes in the multitude of Victoria Secret Product assortment, and for instance, fragrances and accessories were very often recalled according to questionnaire results, showing that Victoria Secret

 As Victoria Secret is a lovemark, we could assume that its salience equity comes from the following brand identity traits:

  • Mystery: taps into dreams, icons and inspiration
  • Sensuality and desirability
  • Sounds, sight, smells, touch, tastes (Sensory marketing)
  • Commitment and passion


Performance: High

Victoria Secrets brand not just meets their customers needs as they have a wide variety of colors, designs, and sizes, yet also a large product line that make customers have a complete experience, yet with good affordable pricing. But it high performance is also very due to strong financial power of Limited Brands parent company that make Victoria Secret a leading brand on the retail fashion market thanks to very heavy investments into development, customer relationship management and communication.

A pick of sales volume right after Victoria Secret Annual Show have been recorded each year.

According to financial statement of Limited Brands (parent company) in 2014:

Basic Store Facts*
Net sales (millions)  $1,363.0
Comparable store sales  3%
Number of stores (U.S.)  1,075
Selling square feet (U.S.)  6,473,000


Basic Facts about VS e-commerce
Net sales (millions)  $382.4
Sales change 0%

As of Aug. 2, 2014 (LBrands Financial report)


The imagery of Victoria Secret is very smartly designed as it is the only intimate apparel brand that makes women and men (!) live in the world of fantasy recreated by the multitude of senses engaged while being in direct or indirect with the brands, especially a very strong brand symbols:

  • Great number of “Angels” as ambassadors: most beautiful fashion icons and professional model. The imagery effect is very strong and memorable.
  • The million bras that reinforces the image of glamour, as well as each VS Annual show designed to be very spectacular
  • A pink color is very recently used, as it is a symbol of femininity, love, sentimentality, and youth.



At this stage, we can say that the brand is judged as having a moderate quality, yet a strong credibility and trustworthiness. This is all thanks to its strong image on the market, however it is not seen as the experts in the lingerie in terms of know-how or quality but more due to its strong sensory marketing.  It is also perceived as having a high brand consideration and clear brand superiority thanks to their extended line and diversified offers and promotions. The personality of Victoria Secret is considered to be very strong  that comes from partnerships with supermodels considered as super stars in the show  and fashion business.


Our consumer awareness research and researches available  demonstrate that the most cited feelings evoked about Victoria Secret is “excitement”, “fantasy”, “passion”. This positive brand equity comes from heavy investments in communications based on buzz though different channels, very strong image management and use of “icons”, as well as sensory marketing.

However, a number of negative opinions circulate of the Internet accusing Victoria Secret promoting an unrealistic female image. But they still don’t have much impact of the brands sales or popularity.


Victoria Secrets relationship with its target population is very strong and has a very high degree of resonance due to:

  • Buzz effect created by the Show and all the communication and PR around this event
  • Very engaging customer relationship strategy/ strong community. Great number of discussions are generated by effective digital strategies (see digital strategies of VS article). Even though, the brand has a moderate to high brand loyalty due their moderate coverage in terms of location, yet they succeeded in creating a big, loyal and active community (both females and males). 
  • Each time a model gains the privileged status of  “VS Angel” she become a star and is followed by millions or billon of fans around the globe. They continue to promote the brand in an indirect manner (product placement, use of VS logo, VS hashtags) by producing fitness and wellbeing videos called “train like angels” and many others one related this lifestyle in general.
  • The use of Victoria Secret products and in-store experience is associated with improvement of self esteem (shopping therapy) and pleasure. The brand itself itself is associated with excitement as a promise of something uniquely positive and meaningful.




Etam Lingerie, Keller’s Brand Equity Model


Making women ever more beautiful, funny, brilliant – that was the brand’s mantra in 2013.

Etam gained the the award of being selected “the Favorite French brand” in 2014, that could be due to a strong brand heritage and strong wiliness to modernize the brand and follow the buzz and sensory strategy of Victoria Secret. Etam has a very high local awareness degree gained by number of year’s being present on the market of female retail ready-to-wear and its brand very broad and diverse product extension. It has particularly fostered its identify by selecting Natalia Vodianova as the unique brand ambassador for several years already now associated with the brand personality that would be discussed later.However, the brand Etam is mostly associated with being a intimate apparel retailer rather than its ready to ready-to-wear, accessories or cosmetic line.It has also a high awareness as its responds to a broad market (with its intimate apparel) and is one of the leading brands for underwear on the European market.

According to the Etam group, the brand has never stopped innovating to surprise its customers and make each of their instant « sublime »particularly in stores. Its new sales signature « Bra fitting & Necklines by Etam » is a reflection of this, as is the « Box of Knickers » – the brand concept introducing a wide range of socks and tights, and innovation in bras, such as bras that remember your body shape.


 Performance: Increasingly higher

Etam group’s profits have reached 1,215.2 millions of euros of net sales, representing an increase in + 1.4% comparing to the previous year (that was difficult for the group due to failures on the Chinese market)

As a response to sales falls in China, the Group has made some major structural changes in this market to meet new demand from Chinese consumers, building on the strong reputation of the brand.

Etam has also formally adopted a CSR strategy in 2013 that also maybe counted in its brand equity a positive change.

In clothing, Etam has reworked  collections to make them more modern and desirable, thanks to the arrival of a new style team, increased attention to quality and  performed new staging in smaller and more up-market stores.

It has also imporve its profitability due to  innovative services offered. E-commerceand multi-channel retailing has become  a priority as  a driver of footfall in stores. . Etam’s mobile site is now a merchant site. Premium services such as in-store reservation and next-day delivery would be introduced soon.


The brand doesn’t have any distinctive communication signs like special symbols except the logo itself (word ‘Etam »), however most our respondents have recognized the brand only by watching the advertisement with Natalia Vodianova. She is the unique brand ambassador of Etam and she makes it really stand out and differenciate from other brands available on the European market due to her strong and popular personality.

Like Natalia, the brand promote the image of a woman who is seductive woman, generous, dynamic, emancipated taking care of herself and others. 



At this stage, we can say that the brand is judged as having a moderate quality, yet a strong credibility and trustworthiness. But this follows the company strategy to satisfy the largest possible market of women from middle class. The brand clearly states that each woman would be able to please herself with Etam without breaking the bank and always find something for her budget.

This judgement comes from Etam lingerie numerous promotions available through the whole year and large assortment of low price small products like socks and tights. Etam  foster a lot of attention to this products by putting them on light thanks to digital campaigns (“Jolie jambes by Etam”), but also its classical underwear collection (basics) for good shape, the famous Etam bras (Magic up N°1 ? Triangle push n°3 ? Empire up N°6).


Our research and the analysis of the brand’s online reputation does not demonstrate excitement about the brand like in case of Victoria Secret, however, in general, in provokes satisfying emotions like content,  yet annoyment sometimes as well. It is difficult to say if this result from our questionnaire could be extended to the whole population.

Another very interesting research has been conducted in France by L’Express magazine this year asking to assign brands to a political movement (« with which political movement do you associate Etam?). The results has shown that Etam was very often named as being associated with the French socialist movement saying that to their opinion Etam is promoting such values as “solidarity, tolerance, generosity”.

These feeling and associations might come from high involvement of Natalia for her own humanitarian organization “The Naked Heart Foundation”, but also all the communication work realized to demonstrate that with Etam “all women are beatiful” (message of tolerance and equality) and demonstrating on social networks unkown models with a more natural and less sophisticated appeal (regular types of women). 


Etam uses its own customers as brand ambassadors by constantly soliciting  them them by the help of digital marketing strategies. For instance, Etam very often asks its followers to participate in « Jeux concours » to expose their own picture with Etam product on social networks like Instagram with a special hashtag in order to win something from its collection.

By doing so, Etam choses to have such communication strategy that would value, recompense clients, and also be close to them (sense of proximity/ customer friendly brand) by interacting through different means. Another example, during the Etam Grand Show (inspired by Victoria’s Secrets one) the audience has the possibility to interact with the journalist asking their questions to models behind the scene.

Despite re-branding strategies trying to modernize Etam, it has still a moderate resonance that is more seasonally based (summer / winter).

Daria Kalinina

Merieme Laamoud





Victoria’s Secret / Etam: distribution and pricing policy


Victoria’s Secret Distribution Channels :

Victoria’s Secret sells its products through different channels. As, they do not just sell their products through their retail stores; yet also sell it through catalogues and Internet. This method allows the brand to reinforce their sales through reaching the maximum of their customers, allowing them to buy their products no matter where and when they want to shop. Victoria’s Secret through these  diversified channels understood that  the customers have different buying  attitudes and needs which  influence their way of shopping. There are many factors that can influence the choice of customers when buying a product from one channel distribution to another .These factors can go from time of search , availability , visuals, contact with sales people, time constraints, embarrassments, accessibility, and so on .

Moreover, VS through their stores offer an exceptional experience to their customers through their special designed stores that evoke to the customers a special feeling of magic, fantasy, and softness. The design along with the completely soft and feminine environment of the stores are completed with a very expertized selling force that assist the customers and help them in their shopping experience .

For people who can not access the stores due to time , distance constraints , or feeling of embarrassments they can get their VS products through catalogues or website. Customers can get the catalogues easily and for free  through assigning to the newsletters. Actually VS spend each year about $220 million on catalogues that are sent to the customer’s homes which shows the importance of this tool for driving sales to the brand. These catalogues also have the same items diffused in the stores and the website to not confuse the customers and enable them to have the max of choice .

The website which is the last tool is also another choice for customers who prefer shopping online, who don’t have the time ,cannot access stores, don’t feel conformable buying in the stores as for men ,or use it as a tool for information search. This has also a large choice of products for the products offered by VS and which is friendly used .

Furthermore , as Limited Brand vice president Mister Bill Lepler affirmed “The customers buying Victoria’s Secret products through multiple channels spend three to five times more than customers who buy only through one channel.” Thus , this strategy of multiple channel is not just to suit the different needs of customers , yet also a good tool to drive sales.

green hill malls

Victoria’s Secret Pricing:

Victoria’s Secret is targeting the middle class which is also reflected on the prices. However, they still have  different pricing strategies  depending on the collections as Victoria’s Secret prices tend to have higher prices than Pink collection as this later is dedicated to teen and college students.

There prices ranges are the following:

 Pink: (Victoria Secret endorsed brand)

  • Pink Panties: average 11 dollars
  • Pink Bras: average 28 dollars .
  • Sleep: average 26 dollars

Victoria Secret :

  •  VS Bras: range from 28 till 250 dollars
  • Vs panties: from 14 till 150 dollars
  • VS sleep: from 29 till 80 dollars


Victoria's Secret website
Victoria’s Secret website

Etam Distribution Channels:

Nowadays, you can buy Etam products through different channels.

We can consider that the brand have their own shop, some franchise or affiliate shops, some corners and it is also possible to buy via their website

The main advantage of all these channels is that it allows Etam to control the distribution, even though affiliation or franchise network.

This network is currently closed. Indeed, the brand decided to stop the extension of these shops since few years now. The brand considered there was a saturation and it also matched with the choice to decrease the number of shops in order to have more “flagships” and increase the brand experience at the cost of shops reduction.

Etam is trying to be more and more present in shopping malls. In this specific area, the brand aims to reinforce its positions but also to purchase new spaces.

Last year the brand especially closed some corners (shop-in-shop). Indeed, this channel is particulary efficient to increase the point of sale, but Etam seems selfless from now about this strategy, preferring to be focus on the experience and last but not least, the profitability.

Nowadays there are 475 Etam shops in France, 378 abroad (including 178 franchised)

Furthermore, the internet website (launched long time ago before some of the main challengers in French market) is now an integral part of the distribution channel.

It is really convenient for people, because they can access the website from wherever in the world, there is not opening times and the range can be updated instantaneously.

It allows cross channel, it means that people can check model designs on internet and go to buy in shop. It is a possible time saving. Indeed, most of girls, even if they do prefer try before to buy can at least know the range of the brand or have a look on the new collection. However, Etam is also trying to attract consumers from shop to their website. In order to do this, there are some special offers available only online.

Moreover, Internet has a strategic position in a consumer experience. It allows the brand to look “trendy” (what the brand wants) but also consumers to watch the Etam show for example.

And, as said in a previous article, shops are now connected through an Ipad to the Etam website in case of out-of-stock.

Last year, the website sales increased quite a lot (+187%) and the brand also increase its profitability. It is therefore a strategic point for the brand to continue to develop this tool as a possible leverage.

etam shop

Etam pricing:

As we analyzed before, Etam is now targeting the 25-35 years old. But because it is difficult to re-brand or re-target, a lot of clients are still younger than this and are a part of the “old” target, the 15-25 years old girls. According to this target but also because the “best priceis a part of the DNA of Etam, the brand is still offering entry and mid-range at a really good value for money.

However, it is quite difficult to give a correct products’ valuation.

Collections average price:

  • Glam by Etam: 30.90€ (bras); 13.90€ (knickers)
  • Pure fit by Etam: 25.90€ (bras); 10.90€ (knickers)
  • Sublizimer by Etam: from 19.90€ to 39.90€
  • Natalia collection: 35.90€ (bras)
  • Oui by Etam: 28.90€ (bras); 12.90€ (knickers)


  • Nightdresses: 34.90€
  • Tights: from 6.90€ to 18.90€
  • Leggings: from 12.90€ to 25.90€
  • Knickers (general): from 7.90€ to 34.90€
  • Bras (general): from 18.90€ to 39.90€


  • Dresses: from 24.95€ to 59.95€
  • Skirts: from 9.95€ to 59.95€
  • Jeans: from 29.95€ to 49.95€
  • Pants: from 9.95€ to 59.95€
  • Suits: from 24.95€ to 69.95€
  • Coats and jackets: from 39.95€ to 149.00€
  • Bags: from 19.90€ to 44.95€
  • Shoes: from 14.95€ to 59.95€


Etam website
Etam website

Meryem Laamoud & Florian Nicol


Etam 2014 report–3

Victoria’s Secret vs Etam: PR and Fashion Show

In general, public relations involve a planned promotion of goods, services and images of organizations intended to create goodwill for a person, place or event (Curtis, 2011).

« The three general kinds of PR work are publicity, event management and publication design » (Curtis, 2011). The integration of these tools allow companies « to influence public opinion and are designed to promote and protect an individual or organization’s image and products » (Curtis, 2011).

In the frames of this analysis I would like to investigate the differences and similarities between Victoria’s Secret and Etam PR activities and overall impression that could be get from the available publications in the last 4 years.

Victoria’S Secret Сore PR Фctivities

In terms of overall publicity activities, Victoria’s Secret launched a special site designed for PR, where it shares the most recent company information about its activities and products. It allows company to have the overall control on information that is shared by various publicities and have a reliable source of information that can be used for PR objectives.

The site has a very good navigation and allows to retrieve all company hot news and information in the easiest way. Thus, for example, the site has 3 big banners on the front page that are related mainly with the coming Fashion Show. On top of that, via navigation bards can be found information about the latest collections, prices and all related videos.



Moreover, from the special Victoria’s Secret PR website it can be identified that the core of all company’s PR activities are related with its Fashion Show that takes place every year starting from 1999 when it was webcasted for the first time (Wikipedia, 2014). It usually takes place near the Christmas time, that usually a very favorable time- from one side, it’s the season of the overall the hottest sales period due to coming Christmas holidays with huge spendings on gifts, from the over side, it’s the most suitable time to Angels who present Victoria’s Secret products to appear that also helps to enhance overall brand image.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Speaking about Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show specifically I should mention very strong organization of the event from PR point of view.

First of all, the show is broadcasted on the top American channel with the global reach –CBS in the prime time (Wikipedia, 2014). It makes the show not a special event for a people who are engaged in fashion, rather a mass entertainment show.

Secondly, the show is also a true international event, as it takes place not only in the USA, but outside North America, in such places as France (Cannes) and London (Earls Court) this year (Victoria’s Secret, 2014).

Thirdly, being an entertainment event it also includes such important attribute as life music from high ranked artists. For instance, this year the following artists were presented during the Show: Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and Hozier (Victoria’s Secret, 2014).

Victoria’s Secret Angels

Considering Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show more precisely, it can easy to found out that its focus is models, who are called Angels.

Overall, Victoria’s Secret Angels can be called one of the brand assets, who also take very strong PR attention in terms of number and diversity of the associated publications and videos available in the Internet and key beauty and fashion magazines (e.g. Glamour).

Victoria’s Secret sets up very high selection standards for its Angels (selection process can be seen in the video below), that makes the work with the brand very prestigious for top models. It can be compared with the work of programmer in Google, after which the career can boost (Verbi, 2014).

Importantly, in 2007 that was the year of Victoria’s Secret’s 25th anniversary Angels honored to mark on Hollywood Boulevard. Among them were: Heidi KlumAdriana LimaAlessandra AmbrosioKarolina KurkovaSelita EbanksIzabel GoulartMarisa Miller, and Miranda Kerr (Wikipedia, 2014).

This very tough selection of models for Fashion Show allows company to present on the podium only « angel » looking models with long legs, chubby lips, high cheek-bone, long hairs and sportive outlook. However, « angel » looking is also very different that enables Victoria’s Secret to reach different consumers targets, hence, models may be: blond, brunette, with Asian type of face, with black skin, very well-set-up and a big bigger. To enhance « angel » outlook, the company also uses different « angel attributes », such as: big wings, tails, transparent clothes and big jewelry (Verbi, 2014).

Eventually, around 6 models are get selected and become Angels and will be also very engaged in the company’s PR activities. Thus, for example, in 2004 instead of the annual fashion show, the Angels (Tyra BanksHeidi KlumGisele BündchenAdriana Lima, and Alessandra Ambrosio) did an « Angels Across America Tour » visiting four major cities: New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles (Wikipedia, 2014).

On top of PR activities, Angels also present Victoria’s Secret collections (e.g. latest collection in the video below).


Wings, which Angels wear during Fashion Show are also one of the brand assets that are used for different PR communication purposes. During the show Angels wear very different type of wings (such as butterfly, peacock, or devil) that also show individuality of each Angel and respectively each Victoria’s Secret customer.




Fantasy Bra

Another important element of Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is a presentation of Fantasy Bra, that is specifically created for the Show. Usually the most deserved, professional and popular model is honored to wear this bra.

The first Fantasy Bra was presented in 1996 by Claudia Schiffer in the Christmas catalogue. The bra featured over 100 carats of diamonds and a variety of other semi-precious gemstones (Lankston, 2014).



Since 2001 Fantasy Bra has been worn in the Fashion Shows. Prior to each Fashion Show, Victoria’s Secret contracts a renowned jewelry designer to craft the bra to be used as a focal point for PR and overall promotion of the Fashion Show and as a centerpiece within it. Additionally, the company reached a world record with $15 million price tag for the 2000 bra worn by Gisele Bündchen and earned a place in the Guinness World Records as the most expensive item of lingerie ever created (Lankston, 2014). This is, for sure, was also a big company’s PR victory as this event was associated with very strong publications support.

In terms of models, who honored to present Fantasy Bra, Heidi Klum and Adriana Lima have worn the Fantasy Bra in three different years. Gisele BündchenTyra BanksKarolina Kurkova, and Alessandra Ambrosio have each worn two Fantasy Bras (Wikipedia, 2014).

In 2014 company created even 2 Fantasy Bras each costs $2 million which were presented by Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. It was created by Mouawad Jewelly and took 1380 hours of work (Lankston, 2014). The video below shows the presentation of these incredible bras.

Etam Core PR Activities

Analysis of Internet publications and videos shows that in general Etam has much lower PR activities and support both in terms of number and diversity of publications.

In comparison with Victoria’s Secret, Etam doesn’t have special website for PR, but it has a Fashion Show specially designed site.

Fashion Show

Etam followed Victoria’s Secret trend of Fashion Show as a core corporate PR event and launched its own show in 2007. However, the scope of the show is significantly lower than Victoria’s Secret one. For example, the show takes place only in France and is integrated in the Paris Fashion Week and get translated on-line and on TV.

Analysis of related articles in beauty and fashion magazines as well as overall impressions in the Internet allows to identify the key elements of the communication about the event. They are: description of the presented collection, top models presenting the collection (but mainly it’s related with the name of Natalia Vodyanova), famous artists and celebrities presented in the event (Etam, 2014).

For example, in 2014 the Show was visited by Catherine Deneuve, Peaches Geldof, Jamie Hince, Antoine Arnault. In terms of life music artists in the Show were presented: Breakbot, Kavinsky, Azealia Banks, Massive Attack, Eve, Cassius (Sontag, 2014).

Comparing the content of the event, the overall models outlook shows also very strong difference in comparison with Victoria’s Secret. Thus, outlook of some models isn’t clear in terms of communication. For example, why some models wear bridal veil (first photo) or have unclear overall outlook (second photo).





Overall, models present different textures in their costumes that included feathers, sequins, lace, embroidering and transparent fabric (Ukrday, 2014) that also leaves a space to consistency and clear communication.


Natalia Vodyanova

Etam utilizes strong Natalia Vodyanova image as a top model and philantrope in order to enhance its PR communication and publicity presence.

Thus, results of the analysis show that the company creates a strong communication behind the new collection that was developed together with Natalia Vodyanova (see video below).

Moreover, communication related with 2014 Etam Fashion Show paid significant attention to Natalia Vodyanova’s presence.




To sum up the comparison of PR and Fashion Shows of Victoria’s Secret and Etam, I should highlight the following conclusions and recommendations:

  1. Victoria’s Secret has much stronger approach to PR, introducing special site for PR purposes and strong consistency and diversity of publications.
  2. Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is very successful PR event, that can be called international and reaches the company target audience. Moreover, the Show constantly inlcudes and communicates Victoria’s Secret key brand assets: angels, wings and Fantasy Bras.
  3. Etam should enhance its overall PR strategy, improving its communication, creating a special PR site and driving communicatoin throught the year.
  4. Etam fashion show has a positive publicities perception, however, it should be still strongly improved both interms of its PR: wider set of publications, more diverse related topics and clearer messages; and incorporation of its key brand assets.


  1. Curtis, A. (2011). « What is Public Relations? ».  Retrieved from:
  2. Etam Fashion Show. (2014). Retrieved from:
  3. Etam Spring-Summer 2014: Sex, Chic and Rock-n-Roll (in Russian). (2014). Retrieved from:
  4. Etam’s Lingerie Runway Extravaganza in France’s Answer to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (2013). Fashionista. Retrieved from:
  5. Lankston, C. (2014).  » As Victoria’s Secret unveils two Fantasy Bras, FEMAIL takes a look back at the history of the world’s most expensive lingerie ». MailOnline. Retrieved from:
  6. Verbi, J. (2014). « Winged and Rich » (in Russian). Retrieved from:
  7. Live Show 2014- Etam’s Show on the Fashion Week in Paris (In Russian). (2014). Retrieved from:
  8. Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (2014). Retrieved from:

Nadezhda Morozova

Environment analysis

Political/ Legal environment:

The lingerie industry belongs to the textile one. It is a highly regulated market by international and national laws.

We could notice a trend to deregulation since the 2000’s.

Actually, since 2005, the market is opened to China, India, and Pakistan (three giants of the textile industry).  This had for consequence a tighter competition in the “bottom-of-the-range products”.

We could also highlight others rules that affect the lingerie market such as labor law and especially the laws concerning the children. Many factories relocate all or part of their production in Asian or African countries (Morocco, Tunisia, China, Bangladesh, India…). This consideration applies in particular to low range brands, but unfortunately more and more top range brands outsource too…

 Economic environment:

The lingerie market is characterized by:

  • Value: over 11 billion dollars
  • Mature market
  • Constantly renewing products (especially for women underwear’s)
  • A lot of competition
  • No real leader in this market
  • Very high barriers to enter the market (very important material/immaterial investments, R&D investment, high distributors’ power…)
  • Increase of outsourcing in order to reduce labor costs
  • Trend to move towards the upmarket segment concentrating in higher value products


 Social environment:

  • The ageing of the population generates several consequences:
  • Trend to slowdown the renewing of the wardrobes
  • Increase of the higher value products demand (luxury products)
  • Stagnation of the core target (15-25 years old)
  • The evolution of mentalities: women don’t buy anymore lingerie by necessity. Actually nowadays it is all about comfort, pleasure and seduction
  • Consumers’ requirements are higher regarding the products’ quality

pub_sans_complexe_0031Technological environment:

  • Productivity is the Leitmotiv for most of the firms. That is why they always try to improve their manufacturing process
  • Innovations regarding the textile materials (lycra, antibacterial products…)
  • Products innovation especially for bras: push up, invisible bra straps

Ecological environment:

  • Mandatory eco contribution for lingerie retailers in France (since December 2006)
  • More and more firms rely on the ecologic argument (the bio label in this sector is more and more frequent)

Lingerie bio

Hicham El Yacoubi


POP and POP Analysis

Through the results of our customer research we could conclude and see that there many criteria that are shared between both brands , yet some others that are unique to  one and not to the other .Through , this article we will present to you dear readers the points of parity and also points of difference associations for  Victoria Secret , Etam ,and their competitors .

Points-of-Difference for Victoria Secret :

Desirability Criteria:

These criteria were selected and concluded from the customer’s research we conducted which showed the attributes and benefits VS customers positively associate with the brand taking into consideration the following criteria :relevance , distinctiveness, and believability .

  • Sexy
  • Fashionable
  • Glamorous
  • Fashion Show
  • Very extended brand

   Deliverability Criteria:

These criteria were selected based on the real attributes not just communicated by the firm but also taking into consideration the continuous sustainability and also feasibility of the brand for these attributes and associations.

  • Sexy
  • Glamorous
  • Sophisticated
  • Unique experience
  • Personalized
  • Innovative

We could notice from the research that the customers almost always associate the brand with very positive attributes which shows that the brand has a very good brand equity .Moreover ,this shows that the brand is doing well in term of communication and brand management as the desirability criteria and deliverability criteria are quite close to each other .Yet , we can see that they need to work more on some other attributes and associations so that they can also be clear to customers which can help the brand increase its brand equity and also differentiate more from the competitors as there is more and more fierce competition in this market .

Points-of-Difference for Etam :

Desirability Criteria:

  • Practical
  • Confortable
  • Classical
  • Quality
  • Local (French)

Deliverability Criteria:

  • Feminine
  • Engaged
  • Quality
  • Socially responsible

As we can see from the research unlike Victoria’s Secret ,Etam got a bit less positive attributes and associations which is not due brand awareness as this later has almost the same percentage when coming to brand awareness .Thus we can conclude that this low positive brand and attribute associations are due the fact that Etam doesn’t have strong Points of difference which the brand should work on to improve its brands equity .We can also notice an issue of not having some good points of difference in both deliverability and desirability which should be taken into consideration from the brand in their future marketing strategies to improve their brand equity .


These attributes are the ones that are not necessarily unique to both  brands yet they are in fact shared among not just VS and Etam but also the competitors .By analyzing the different needs of customers we came up with the following points of parity that are very important to the customers as when lacking to a certain brand this later may be dropped from the choices of the customer .

  • Comfort
  • Perfect Fit
  • Range of sizes
  • Colors
  • Design
  • Variety of styles

Meriem Laamoud

6th December,2014

Brand Architectures


A number of brand architectures have been developed during recent years; among which it is possible to distinguish 3 different types: “branded house”, “house of brand”, and endorsed brands that represent distinct architecture approaches with a different strategy purpose. While comparing branding strategies of Victoria Secret and Etam, it would be interesting to understand the brand architecture of the groups they belong to. To do so, it was necessary to get an insight into Limited Brands (Victoria Secret) and Etam Development (Etam) brand portfolios. By learning more about them and visiting their official websites, it is clear that Etam group is a “house of brand”; however, Limited Brands might be both having endorsed type of architecture and “house of brand” one. The followings graphs are designed to illustrate those retail groups’ portfolios and “locate” schematically the brands they own on the marketplace. Let’s discuss in details each of them:



Etam Group possess in its brand portfolios 3 brands: Etam, 1 2 3, and Undiz. This kind of architecture is designed to possess brands that entirely stand on their own in the marketplace (see the diagram above). This kind of strategy allows the retail group to develop a portfolio with brands having a unique brand positioning tailored specifically to a particular segment.

Undiz: “La lingerie so shake & pas chere” (“Underwear so shake & so low cost” in French)img-ourbrands-92img-ourbrands-102

Undiz brand responds to the demand in low price trendy underwear for young people (15 – 25 y.o men and women). It clear state it positioning as intimate apparel “so shake & low price” propose teens to get read of their complexes and get a “fun” shopping experience in colorful and sometimes industrial ambiance.

1 2 3: « La reference de l’elegance Parisienne » (« The reference in parisian elegance » in French)



1 2 3 is a ready to women wear brand offering a small line of shoes and accessories to create fashion style full of Parisian elegance and sophistications. Comparing to Undiz and Etam, the clothing collection is sold to a premium price and target a more mature market of women (30 – 55 y.o.) with a higher spending power and high quality expectations.

Etam: « Decolletes by ETAM, toutes les femmes sont belles »(“Neckline by Etam, all women are beautiful”)



It is possible to assume that Etam brands positioning is located in the middle between both Undiz and 1 2 3. Fist of all, it’s offer is broad commercializing intimate apparel in specialized shops and also a ready to wear collection. Additionally, it is a response to a large female population and middle class target by trying to satisfy both teenage girls since 15 y.o. (Etam ready-to-wear, Etam special underwear product line) with very affordable prices and very modernized communication strategies, as well as on other hand it clearly target a more mature market (20 – 35 y.o. females) with more sophisticated product lines for Etam lingerie.


It is possible to assume that Etam group are clearly freestanding brands that do no overlap at all in terms of their positioning, product offer, target market or communication style. By doing so, Etam diversifies its assets to reach the greater number of different market and therefore guarantees the financial health of all its units. This is a smart investment strategy oriented towards risk diminishing. Indeed, hedging diverse assets, contrarily to profit maximization strategy that groups same nature assets, would allow the entire group to survive in case of crisis or market failure. By doing so, it would be able to be proactive, relocate money, support best brand and invest in new product development or expensive ambassador partnerships.



Limited Brands group owns such brands like Victoria Secret, Pink, La Senza, Henri Bedel and Bath & Body Works. Contrarily to Etam group, it has a mixed architecture type: Pink brand is endorsed by Victoria Secret, but the other ones are so-called « freestanding ».

Victoria Secret: « New. Simple. Sexy »

01_06_14 L Brands Website_VS

Victoria’s Secret describes itself as « the leading specialty retailer of women’s intimate apparel and other apparel with fashion-inspired collections, prestige fragrances and cosmetics, celebrated supermodels and a world-famous runway show. » It promotes « a sexy and sophisticated intimate lifestyle 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ».

Pink (Victoria Secret sub-brand): “Live Comfy. Live Chic. Live Pink.”

01_06_14 L Brands Website_PINK

Pink is and endorsed brand by Victoria Secret specially designed for teens and positioning itself as “the dominant aspirational lifestyle brand celebrating college women and campus life”. Its assortment is the same as VS underwear product line but it fosters such values as humor, optimism, and self-confidence for pink color lovers. The collection is sometimes sold in Victoria Secret stores and in freestanding PINK stores, where as its financial results are included in Victoria Secret balance sheet.

La Senza: “The Fun & Flirty Lingerista Destination”


La Senza is the positioned as « the destination for the hottest trends in bras, panties and playfully sexy lingerie at guilt-free prices ». It has a very similar product assortment to Victoria Secret’s one, same target market and communication codes. Even advertising campaigns for La Senza might create confusion because they have very low differenciation comparing to VS and PINK.

Henri Bendel: “Boutique Chic.”

01_06_14 L Brands Website_Bendel

Henri Bendel brand commercialize accessory collection of handbags, small accessories to promote a youthful, sophisticated cosmopolitan style. The concept reflects the Henri Bendel brand’s heritage  –  « a combination of uptown sophisticated and sexy, playful downtown style« .

Bath & Body Works: “Personal Care. Redefined.”

01_06_14 L Brands Website_BBW

Bath & Body Works is specialty retailers of skin care products and home fragrance including such as shower gels, lotions, body fragrance, candles and accessories. With a focus on creating and offering the best products for affordable price and  put an emphasis on fragrances.

To conclude, PINK is a truly endorsed brand by Victoria Secret as it uses common visual signs, brand ambassadors, and ever retail space sometimes that it might be confused with Victoria Secret product line. However, its most important distinction is as its target a very narrow target market of college girls that love pink. The fact that it is endorsed By VS guarantees some sort of success as it takes advantage of VS brand notoriety.

On the other hand, La Senza is freestanding brand in LBrands portfolio and uses same codes of communication targets absolutely the same market, possess a similar positioning, product assortment and might be seen as a direct concurrent brand to Victoria Secret. This brand has a low differentiation and perceptual distance from consumer’s point of view. What concerns Bath&Body Works and Henri Bendel are specialized brands in a particular product category despite the fact that they all target the young, cosmopolitan female population.

By adoting this brand architecture, LBrands eliminates Victoria’s Secret direct concurrent like La Senza and obtain a sort of monopoly for the same target market. It also allows other brands to very access the narrow markets (PINK) to take advantage of Victoria Secret financial health and strong brand awareness.

Daria Kalinina

Analysis of the lingerie market

Overview of the lingerie market:

The lingerie is a very variable sector in which the competition is extremely tough.

We can distinguish 2 main actors in this market: the designer brands (Faire Frou Frou, Bordelle…) and own brands (Etam, Calvin Klein…).

The designer brands tend to have some difficulties to survive in this market . Actually, usually they design original products and sale them at a very high price.

Women’s underwear is a very big market in which sales are estimated over 11 billion dollars.

Within this market, we can identify several segments:

  • Bras
  • Panties
  • Sleepwear
  • Daywear
  • Shape wear

The leading segment in terms of volume is the bras’ one with a rate reaching about 50%.bras


Focus on the French market:

The origin of the word “lingerie” is coming from French language which means “washable”.

France plays an important role in the lingerie market. Actually, new trends emerge from Europe and particularly from France and Italy.

France exports a very high volume of lingerie each year and worldwide. For instance, Chantelle, one of the major French lingerie brands sells its products to more than 50 countries.

In 2013, the French market represented about 3.1 billion dollars. It is further expected to increase by 0.8% consecutively for the next five years.

It is the most important in Europe, above the German and the Italian ones.

French women spend around 99.5 euros in lingerie per year and per person! These purchases represent approximately 20% of their clothing expenses.

It is the youngest who spend the most for their underwear with an average of 138 euros/ year (2013 data).


Hicham El Yacoubi.




Etam / Victoria’s Secret Lovemarks??

Etam lovemark
Etam lovemark

No lovemark status…

37 points ==> Despite their desire to become the French Victoria’s Secret, it looks that Etam is still perceived as a brand by customers.

However, the new strategy is quite recent and the brand will need few years before to really appear as more glamorous.

The problem is not about passion. As a family business, the current CEO, Laurent Melchior grew up with the brand. Neither its implication, nor the love for the business he is running can be considered in bad terms. Consumers can feel the love and the new strategy is going on the good way concerning it anyway.

Customers’ involvement is still not total and the result is a lack of engagement. However as I just said, the new strategy is trying to erase these “mistakes” and the brand already made its own commitment to change, which is a good start. Now Etam needs to be creative.

One of the main problem is about storytelling. Etam does not sell dreams. There is no great story in a background. But, again, the brans is in a change process. It started few years ago and thanks to Natalia partnership, it allows the brand to create a more glamorous identity and to tell stories to the consumers. But, still not enough… For a lovemark at least…


Victoria's Secret lovemark
Victoria’s Secret lovemark

48 points (including 25 in respect) ==> lovemark

As a lovemarks brand, Victoria Secret reach the consumers’ mind as weel as their heart. Through the strategy they had develop until now, they succeeded to create an intimate and emotional connection by disruptiong some established conventions.

People don’t simply buy Victoria’s Secret, they embrace the all concept.

The “normal” rational decision of buying is transformed into a passionate and irrational decision to be loyal to Victoria.

It leads to a major difference with a brand, the fact that you can’t find replacement. Crying and protesting will be the only option if the brand will take away.

It also allow the brand (already famous) to make some mistakes (which could ruin a brand) and to be forgiven

With Victoria’s Secret, undergarment became Fashion.

The brand is an addiction, fabulous, sexy, THE solution according to some clients.

At this point, they have customers who will buy anything the brand is on, not only underwear or clothes for example.

It sums up quite well what is a lovemarks.

Nowadays, people can’t live without Victoria’s Secret anymore…

Loyalty beyond reason, that is what lovemark is.

love / respect


Florian Nicol



Victoria’s Secret vs Etam Brand Equity: Consumers Research

In order to make a deep dive into Victoria’s Secret and Etam brands we decided to conduct a quantitative research of lingerie products consumers.

In our research we studied 50 females aged 20-30 years who live in Paris and have medium+ income. Results of our analysis allow us to make a comparison of Victoria’s Secret and Etam brand equity and provide several brand related recommendations.

First of all, we investigated consumers awareness of the two brands. Thus, we have found out that Victoria’s Secret is a strong market leader in terms of the Top of Mind (TOM) brand awareness- 42% of respondents mentioned Victoria’s Secret as the first brand that comes to their mind when they think about lingerie products. In comparison, Etam has only 16% of TOM awareness that is significantly lower vs Victoria’s Secret. Moreover, Victoria’s Secret also lead in terms of Aided brand awareness: 94% mentioned Victoria’s Secret as a brand which they know on lingerie market, while Etam has significantly lower Aided Brand Awareness- 81%.

However, despite occupying a strong position in consumers mind, Victoria’s Secret continues to face strong competition vs Etam, being also at the same overall consideration level as Etam, so Victoria’s Secret unaided brand awareness is 31% vs 28% for Etam.

Therefore, our first recommendation for Victoria’s Secret would be to enhance its communication in order to become more common for its consumers. It could be reached for example via increasing a number of communication channels in order to reach more touch points with consumers or higher investments in already established communication channels to increase the number of the company’s impressions.

At the same time, for Etam we would recommend to build a stronger brand equity with strong Points of Differences (PODs) vs Victoria’s Secret in order to reach the stronger position in the consumers mind and drive penetration of its communication reaching consumers who aren’t aware about the brand.

The second set of questions that we investigated in our study was related with brand associations. Analysis of Victoria’s Secret and Etam brand associations with the use of tool allowed us to identify the strongest associations with each brand. Hence, we received the following pictures for each brand.


Hence, our analysis shows that Victoria’s Secret has a set of very strong associations that aren’t directly related with its products and can be called as more overall equity attributes associations. So, the biggest associations with Victoria’s Secret brand is sexy, models and angels from the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and other brand communications. Importantly also, Victoria’s Secret Pink sub line is also one of the strongest associations with the brand.

Considering Etam brand associations, we see that they are mainly related with the products from the brand portfolio– underwear, pyjamas and clothes. The key non product related Etam’s brand attribute is its key model- Natalia Vodyanova, who is represented across all company’s communication. Quality is one more strong product related brand association.

In order to better understand the strength of Natalia Vodyanova’s image in terms of its association with Etam brand we tested the model photo from one of the recent communications, asking respondents to name the brand with which the model is associated. However, less than 50% of respondents named Etam brand that shows opportunity for the improvement for Etam.


Picture 1: Natalia Vodyanova’s image used in the recent Etam communication.


We also asked respondents to name a brand that is associated with Victoria’s Secret logo that was tested with the help of the picture below. Results were much higher than the image of Natalia Vodyanova for Etam- 71% of respondents associated the logo with Victoria’s Secret brand.


Picture 2: Victoria’s Secret logo used in the band communications.


As the result of our analysis of Victoria’s Secret and Etam brand associations we can provide the following recommendations. Victoria’s Secret should continue to drive consistency in its communication utilizing its key brand associations and further drive its fashion show as one of the key brand building tool. However, Victoria’s Secret should enhance recognition of its logo.

For Etam we would like to recommend to enhance its brand image via adding non product related associations, enhancing its position in consumers mind and create strong PODs. Additionally, Natalia Vodyanova has very strong association with the brand and should be further leveraged for the brand communication.

The third part of our research was devoted to understanding how effectively Victoria’s Secret and Etam brand utilize its brand equity for brand stretching on other product categories. To better understand it we asked respondents about their awareness (both unaided and aided) of the categories on top of underwear products that they know from each brand.


Our analysis shows that Victoria’s Secret and Etam have opportunity to diversify the areas of their brand extensions. Thus, we see that Victoria’s Secret have very strong awareness of its Perfume and Cosmetics products, followed by swimwear and bags with related accessories. At the same time, Etam has strong consumers awareness of clothes and home wear extensions.

Our recommendation for Victoria’s Secret and Etam based on the above analysis is to continue to focus on its strong brand extensions and utilize its high potential extensions (based on already build unaided awareness) that is Sportswear and Home wear for Victoria’s Secret and Swimwear and Perfume&Cosmetics for Etam. In order to achieve it, both companies should enhance their communication, utilizing for example their Fashion Shows.

Nadezhda Morozova and Daria Kalinina