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Strategy of Dr.Martens

By:   •  January 12, 2015  •  Essay  •  1,894 Words (8 Pages)  •  8,595 Views

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Working for Dr. Martens since 1998, there was no doubt that this brand should be the topic of this strategy paper. First we will start with some company background and an introduction to the brand. Subsequently we discuss the mission statement of the company as well as the current strategy. We will look at the strategy aims and give proposals how to reach these targets. We will also make a SWOT analysis and analyse the environmental factors that have an impact to come to a conclusion with some strategic questions.


Privately-held, family-owned R. Griggs group Limited is the maker of the world-famous Dr. Martens brand of footwear, clothing and accessories. The firm was set up in 1911 in Wollaston, in Northamptonshire and became well known for the quality of its work-wear footwear with a bias towards comfort.

This in turn led to the firm being approached in 1959 by two German doctors, Dr. Klaus Maertens and Dr. Herbert Funck, who developed the world´s first heat-sealed air cushion sole. This resulted in an alliance and Griggs began to make footwear with the Dr. Martens sole. The Group´s success in selling the shoes soon led the partners to license Griggs to make the sole for the rest of the world.

The most famous boot Griggs manufactures is the 1460, 8 eyelet boot, so called because the first ever Dr. Martens boot came off the production line on 1st April 1960.

Today, Dr. Martens is one of the world´s best-known brands with subsidiaries in UK, USA and Asia and is sold to distributors in over 70 countries worldwide.

Over the past 3 years Dr. Martens has opened 50 retail stores across UK, USA, Asia and Europe.


The British youth culture of the 60's and 70's rocked the establishment of the time, and with music and fashion as the natural means of communication, Dr. Martens quickly found itself recognised as a uniform of subculture.

This association, which also included Mods in the 60´s, Punks in the 70´s, Indie Kids in the 80´s, Grunge in the 90´s and every youth culture to date, has led to Dr. Martens being recognised as one of the world´s top 100 brands.

From Dr. Martens humble beginnings to the present day, the range of boots, shoes and sandals has increased considerably and is made in a huge variety of colours, leathers and fabrics. Due to the success of the classic 1460, Griggs now produce nine full footwear ranges comprising over 1000 style variations.

The original Dr. Martens footwear style, the 1460, has become a design and fashion statement in its own right, appealing to kids and adults alike. Following the outstanding success of this initial style it has never disappeared from the fashion limelight. Due to this Dr. Martens has become a household name.

The classic Dr. Martens footwear has a unique product configuration, which is recognised by consumers around the world. With its distinctive two-toned grooved sole edge, yellow welt stitching and unique under sole patterns, Dr. Martens is one of the most recognised and protected brands in existence.


The mission statement of Dr. Martens reads as follows:

"Our mission is to be the world´s number one brown shoe organisation. We will achieve this by taking into account our heritage, developing our product categories, giving authority and resources to our employees, harnessing the skills of our employees, releasing, developing and rewarding the capabilities of each employee."

This mission statement is clear and easily understood. It is very ambitious, specific, short and sharply focused with regard to the purpose of the company and its reason for existing.

Strategically Dr. Martens has set the goal to become the world´s number one brown shoe brand. That is clearly what Dr. Martens wants to be remembered for.

Culturally this mission focuses on the employees to create a common identity, to inspire employee commitment, to motivate and to develop better management skills.

However, this mission statement does not tell who the customers are or what customer needs the company is trying to satisfy. It also does not say how the company will serve its customers. This statement is rather being focused on the product than being focused on satisfying customer needs.

As a result this mission statement is not really fitting within the current market environment and is not realistic either. In fact this statement could use an update and should become more contemporary as well as customer-oriented.


The current strategy plan of Dr. Martens comes down to the following:

„Our strategy is to extend the reach of the brand. Our consumers are already men and women, young and old across the globe, drawn to the brand and the product through our perceived values of its comfort and durability and/or attracted to its heritage of British, rebellious self expression.

We need to engage and re-engage new and existing consumers through brand communication around rebellious self expression; to provide product that goes beyond the boot – to shoes for all occasions and ages but still with the DNA of Dr. Martens and to clothing and accessories; to offer a Dr. Martens retail experience that is not only first class but which also reflects the brand ethos.

Our financial objectives are to reach £300 million sales and £50 million of EBITDA in three years. This equates to the sale of 8 million pairs of boots and shoes."

Despite the contents and the direction of their mission statement, Dr. Martens currently defines its business strategy by the type of customer it wishes to serve, the particular needs of these customer groups it wishes to satisfy and the means by which the organisation will satisfy these customer needs.

Main aim of Dr. Martens is to extend the reach of the brand with clear financial objectives as medium-term targets. Opening more retail stores and selling to more independent distributors could reach this.

However, looking at Dr. Martens as a brand, long-term goals are even more critical as continuity in the business needs to be guaranteed and a brand is very sensible to external factors. It is crucial for Dr. Martens to target the right customer with the right product. Strategically Dr. Martens needs to concentrate on the following:

1. Brand Positioning

Only Dr. Martens can play on the rebellious angle and will continue to appeal to consumers who want to stand out from the crowd. This gives the brand its unique positioning and will demonstrate how strong and relevant the brand is and truly like no other brand on earth.

2. Putting the Consumer at the Heart of Everything

Understanding the consumers, their behaviour and their opinions of the brand and shape it to deliver relevant and engaging product.

3. Campaign Planning & Activity

Develop campaigns that are uniquely Dr. Martens in its look and feel and attitude to reach the consumer of today.

4. Retail Marketing

Develop retail marketing strategies that drive a consistent look and feel for the brand at retail. Goal is to connect the consumer to the brand positioning to create long-term relationships with the consumer, trading them through the product


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