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Vis-à-vis: pampering the sophisticated and satisfying the simple

Shu-Hsun Ho (Department of Business Administration, Providence University, Taichung, Taiwan)
Heng-Hui Wu (Department of Business Administration, Providence University, Taichung, Taiwan)
Andy Hao (Barney School of Business, University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut, USA)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 16 July 2020


Learning outcomes

Learning objectives of this case is to understand the hairdressing industry and develop the sub-branding strategy. After reading this case and practicing in class, students should be able to understand this business and marketing terminology and apply them in the real world. Students will learn the branding strategies: brand extension, brand architecture and brand portfolio. Students will design (DS) the brand name for the new store.

Case overview/synopsis

Case synopsis Mr. Tai-Hua Teng (aka TR) was a hair artist and opened his first hair salon, vis-à-vis (VS), in 1989 using a high-end positioning strategy. VS focused on offering superb and diverse services to keep ahead of the competition rather than trying to undercut prices. VS hair salon had a solid foundation based mainly on the elite, celebrities and high-salary customers. In 2017, TR owned 16 stores (including one in Canada and two intern salons), 1 academy, 265 employees and 3 brand names. The three brand names were VS, DS and concept (CC). DS and CC were less known to the public, so now these two brands had been carried the parent name and were known as VS DS and VS CC. Quick cut hairdressing businesses were thriving because customers needed quick and cheap hairdressing services. Acknowledging the benefits of entering the highly competitive quick haircut market, TR began to contemplate the new brand name and services to offer. VS had adopted the brand house strategy but TR wondered if it was better to have an individual brand name when entering the quick haircut market. The sub-branding strategy carried the established quality assurance of VS but there was possible brand overlap. An individual new brand name might lack the well-established values from VS but it also showed the potential to reach different segments of customers. TR’s decision to make: a branded house or hybrid? This case showed a high-end hair salon facing the need for simplicity in the market and considered how to expand its business to the lower-end market. Keywords: hairdressing, brand extension and sub-branding strategy.

Complexity academic level

Level of difficulty: easy/middle level to undergraduate courses specific prerequisites: it is not necessary for students to prepare or read any marketing theory or chapters of the textbook. However, it would help a more in-depth discussion if students know the CCs of brand architecture, brand portfolio, brand extension and line extension.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 8: Marketing.



Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognisable information to protect confidentiality.


Ho, S.-H., Wu, H.-H. and Hao, A. (2020), "Vis-à-vis: pampering the sophisticated and satisfying the simple", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 10 No. 2.



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