The understanding of culture is important in building a lifestyle brand that can have an emotional connection between a consumer and the brand. Nordstrom brands focus mainly on people's lifestyles. Culture plays an important role in building the lifestyle of a society. Nordstrom major business centers around people's lifestyles. Therefore in entering the Malaysian market, Nordstrom takes cognizant of the culture of the people. The market entering strategy is to ensure that the consumers are emotionally connected with the new brand.
Hence, Malaysia's culture was reviewed using Hofstede Cultural Dimensions with the aim the setting up the brand and strategy for expansion into Malaysia.
Malaysia is a society with a High Power Distance. Hence customers will be expected to be treated as important and be placed at high status. Also, the brand message must reflect a dominant message of being a success. Staff must be trained to maintain a respectful distance from customers.
Moreover, Malaysia is a status-driven society creating exclusive branded products for the high class of society. When customers request to deal with someone at a high level within the business such must be available to attend to their request. Customers must be addressed using their correct designation when providing personalized service.
The ‘ielev8’ team must have great interaction with society and always ensure that each customer has a great feeling after each engagement. There might need to engage customers in the local language in some instances.
Each customer must feel like part of the ‘ielev8’ family. Each relationship must be treated as a long term relationship and the customer experience must create a bond with them that will make them keep coming back to ielev8. The aim is to create a belief in people's hearts that drives every purchase. Customers must love to associate with the brand, feel well taken care of by the brand and enjoy personalized service. They must feel the brand genuinely cares for them.
As part of the brand strategy, the brand must set up and the product must showcase as high status in the society. The choice of location and all the branding materials must communicate success and power. The product and service offerings must be with the latest technology. The branding message must also communicate the brand as one of the best international brands to attract some of the best hands. There must be a good incentive and reward system for that staff must be to boost their motivation to perform.
Malaysian society being a weak uncertainty avoidance will be will to try new products and brands since the propensity to take risks is high within the culture. Also, the brand must also continually innovate and keep up with the latest technology to align with the aspiration of the people. The brand must also depict a picture of a relaxed attitude. However, there must be training for staff to ensure consistency, punctuality, and precision in their activities to maintain the brand standards and ensure quality service delivery.
Indulgence: The brand must create positive positive emotions for customers and must also reinforce such emotions. The design of products/services that must take into account the indulgence culture. The brand team must be able to internalize customers’ expectations and have a deeper understanding of their needs and expectations and provide products that meet their needs.
Based on the cultural analysis of Malaysia's socio-cultural environment, the recommended leader must be able to exhibit an effective leadership style. Since leadership is situational, the recommended leader must be able to lead in different circumstances effectively. Such a leader must have a cross-cultural leadership style because of the multi-ethnic nature of Malaysia. Such a leader must also exhibit a strategic leadership style to be able to lead and execute all the strategies planned for ielev8. Also, such a leader must have a visionary leadership style and ability to lead the ielev8 team in line with the vision.
Earlier the team has done a detailed PESTEL analysis of Malaysia and the section below shows this analysis in relation to the band ielev8.
Political factors: Malaysia is very attractive to investors because it has been very stable politically for many years. It maintains neutrality in its foreign policy and peace with all parties. However, corruption has been a recent issue in the country. This is could affect the cost of business and a factor that the ielev8 team must deal with.
Economic factors: Malaysia's economy is very dominant, highly industrialized and diversified. The country also has a low unemployment rate. It is a progressive economy with a high increase in consumer incomes and therefore increases in demand for consumer goods. This creates a ready target market for the product lines being offered by ielev8.
Social factors: Malaysia is a peaceful country with many ethnic and religious groups. Malaysia has a very rich and diversified cultural life. People enjoy living an affluent lifestyle. The product offerings by ielev8 must take into account the multicultural nature of society.
Technological factors: Malaysia is a high tech society with high internet access. It is also strategically located and provided a home to a growing number of international companies. This international workforce also provides ready customer based for international brand such as ielev8
Legal factors: The common law forms the basis of the countries legal system. Though there is a separate Islamic law system that applies to the Muslim population. Hence, the ielev8 team will find it easy to work within the provision of the Malaysian law since it is based on the common law.
Environmental factors: Malaysia is a haven for holiday seekers. The tourist will provide a good customer base for various ielev8 products. However, there are issues of environmental degradation and the ielev8 team must handle the sustainability issue carefully.
As part of the Nordstrom strategy for international expansion, the CEO has approved a new brand for business operations in Malaysia. After careful considerations and review the name ‘ielev8’ has been chosen for the new brand. ‘ielev8’ is from two English words’ I elevate’. The name for the new brand ‘ielev8’ was chosen after careful consideration of Malaysian socio-cultural norms which places values on power, success, and enjoyment. This also aligns with Nordstrom's global objective of ensuring that every customer is happy. In addition, to drive home the brand strategy, a new Mission statement has been designed for the new brand. The CEO will drive the communication for the mission statement to ensure that the mission statement is understood and all employees aligned. Below is the mission statement.
ielev8 Mission Statement
“ielev8 will deliver the best in class products and services to all our customers across the globe. With our adherence to high standards and focus on sustainability, we aim to improve the economy of the environments where we operate. We will develop products that make people feel great and happy. We carry out our operations to ensure a safe and rewarding environment for our employees and partners. We continually focus on our people and will continue to innovate and raise the bar for ourselves.”
Under the new brand name, the under listed product lines will be available for the customers. Each line will have both luxury and classic products so as to cater to every stratum of the society.
Accessories for men and women such as wristwatches, bangles, neck chains, beauty products such as cologne classic shoes.
Analysis of Malaysia shows a growing economy, with youthful demography and robust multi-cultural society. Two major ingredients of the ielev8 mission statement are to adapt products to consumer taste and desire. Hence, the planned market entry strategy is high integration and high responsiveness strategy. High integration is necessary to afford ielev8 the economies of scale of being part of Nordstrom. High responsiveness will also give the ielev8 brand the needed autonomy to respond to the local needs as that may be required. A central hierarchy organizational structure fits into the culture and it is proposed. In addition, the ielev8 brand will have the liberty to structure its marketing and sales efforts in line with society. Furthermore, ielev8 will be an integrated part of the global business for it to leverage the available knowledge within the network. Being part of the global network will also give the ielev8 brand the opportunity to add the local insight gained to the global business knowledge body. The financial and corporate governance will be in line with the global standard of Nordstrom. This will be monitored and controlled to ensure that a high standard of corporate culture within the local setting. ielev8 service standard will, in addition, be aligned with the global service standard to ensure that a high level of service delivery is maintained. Nordstrom will continue to maintain its ownership over ielev8 and enure corporate governance.
The new branch ielev8 has a powerful purpose behind it. The purpose is to elevate and make an average Malaysian discover themselves and be happy through self-expression. This purpose permeates our entire ecosystem and is what we love to do. The purpose was carefully crafted after the team has analyzed the political, social and economic environments of the nations. This is to ensure proper alignment between the brand and the aspirations of the people.
Furthermore, brand ielev8 has a strong and powerful mission statement. This mission statement has been clearly communicated and shows the essence of the brand. The team will ensure that through faithful adherence to the mission statement, the target demographies understands the value ielev8 provides. Every aspect of the branding strategies such as logo, messages will be done to communicate and reinforce the mission statement. The plan is to commence the engagement with few and targeted customers to build brand loyalty and expand across the demographies.
The strategy also includes an accountability system that allows each employee to track themselves each actionable goal they are accountable for. With this, each employee has an overview of how their work contributes to the attainment of the business overall goals. As part of the strategy, ielev8 will create a process to collect data, analyze, report, and monitor progress. There will be consistency in the review and will be carried out across the business key areas weekly and monthly to track performance. Corrective actions and identified business opportunities out the review will be implemented immediately and tracked to monitor their success. All these factors above will work together as a strategy. In addition, consistency in their execution will ensure that the new brand ielev8 is successful in Malaysia.