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Strategically growing a multi-tiered, premium brand

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

Troy Pike, CEO of Parker School Uniforms, shares how they assess the companies they acquire based on shared purpose and like strategies for providing value. Growing brands with multi-tiered brand relationships, on Brandonomics.

Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, Vice President of Strategy at Savage Brands. And my guest today is Troy Pike, CEO of Parker School Uniforms. Troy, welcome to Brandonomics.

Troy: Hi Robin, how are you?

Robin: I’m doing great. I’m so glad that you’re with us today. I wanted to talk to you about branding. But, first let’s do a little bit of background. So you’ve been with Parker for five years now. And it has grown significantly since then. And part of that has really been due to some of the acquisitions, which of course brings about the brand strategy portion of it. So how do you look at acquiring brands and how that fits into the Parker brand strategy in total?

Troy: It’s a really critical decision for us because we’re very targeted. The Parker brand, the foundation of the brand, is very much steeped in the private school, premium school uniform market. And it’s really important that we find like companies who provide like service because our value proposition is not just the product. It’s very much about the availability of the service that we provide and the entire experience for the end customer as well. So we have to find people who are like-minded, and there are a lot of regional companies in the school uniform business. They run the spectrum from people who will sell the local auto mechanic a uniform – if he’ll buy it – to people who are very much purists. And so we look for companies who have a premium brand stature in their local market and have really good relationships with the schools because the school uniform business is somewhat unique in that way: you have a customer which is an institution, but they’re not actually buying from you. The consumer is buying from you. So you have a multi-tiered sort of brand relationship with that customer.

Robin: So when you’re acquiring, what do you do to make sure that it’s good for both the acquiring brand and for those regional customers that they’re serving?

Troy: Well the first thing that we do is we try to understand – you know, we have a pretty good understanding of the market but we try to understand the people who are behind the company. We have interviewed schools that they deal with. We look at the profile of the products that they carry and the mix of products that they sell. And that’s a pretty good indicator for us, what types of schools they serve and what they’re selling to those schools.

Robin: And how they’re providing value to their customers.

Troy: And ultimately how they provide value to the customers because our value proposition is very much a premium brand value proposition. And we are the full-service brand in our marketplace. And so we have to bring everything to the table: quality, durability, consistency and service. And we have to be more available. We have to fit every single child. There’s no option there. So we need to find companies who are like-minded in that way.

Robin: That’s very good advice. Thank you so much for sharing that. This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.


Since 1931, Parker School Uniforms has delivered the best quality private school uniforms and customer service, giving it an impressive 98.4 percent retention rate among the more than 800 schools and thousands of families it serves. The company’s strong values mean customers recognize something special – not only in the uniforms, but also in the way Parker does business.

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If you’re interested in knowing more about how purposeful companies attract the best employees, build loyal relationships with customers, and differentiate themselves from the competition, then let’s start a conversation.