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Building a Brand

Cotton Council International (CCI) the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) export promotions arm, is
vigorously promoting U.S. cotton worldwide among yarn spinners, fabric/garment manufacturers, brands/retailers and consumers.

How is CCI executing its strategy?
Working from 20 offices covering more than 50 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Central and South America, CCI is striving to make U.S. cotton the preferred fiber for mills/manufacturers, brands/retailers and consumers. Using a highly effective supply-push/demand pull strategy in that mission, CCI drives U.S. product superiority by focusing on growth markets in Asia, sustaining the successful track record with mills and manufacturers, and strengthening partnerships with brands. CCI’s efforts were boosted at the International Bremen Cotton Conference where CCI Chairman Dahlen Hancock heralded the environmental responsibility – including sustainability efforts – of U.S. cotton farmers and other industry members. To further communicate U.S. cotton’s many desirable benefits and elevate the fiber’s position globally, CCI recently appointed Cramer-Krasselt as its new lead global marketing and communications agency.

Fashion shows were a key part of COTTON USA’s Cotton Days.

Fashion shows were a key part of COTTON USA’s Cotton Days.

Regarding partnerships with brands and retailers, CCI revised the global licensing program to increase global and local brands’ participation. COTTON USA-licensed cotton user firms throughout the supply chain are using the COTTON USA Mark logo to distinguish products at retail that contain a majority of U.S. cotton.

Among CCI’s many promotions this year were the annual Cotton Days, where CCI President Keith Lucas helped draw attention to U.S. cotton’s high quality in the key markets of Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. At the first-ever Cotton Day in Bangladesh, a Lucas-led special delegation met with textile and apparel industry leaders in that rapidly growing market. The first ever COTTON USA Pop-Up store opened in Bangkok, Thailand, at the world’s sixth largest shopping complex. Womenswear and menswear collections from two COTTON USA licensees were spotlighted. Another first was a successful Chinese apartment complex promotion where visitors were inspired to decorate with U.S. cotton-rich home textiles. CCI will conduct another Chinese apartment promotion this month.

What about the trade services arena?
Among CCI’s key trade servicing activities was a U.S. executive delegation to Southeast Asia where U.S. cotton’s quality, timely delivery and other advantages were discussed with textile and garment leaders in Vietnam and Indonesia – the first and fifth largest U.S. cotton export markets. Likewise, CCI coordinated an industry delegation led by NCC Chairman Shane Stephens to China where Chinese cotton/textile industry leaders were reminded of U.S. cotton’s benefits. During a special trade mission in our Cotton Belt, executives from nine Korean textile companies learned about U.S. cotton production, processing and marketing, and met with U.S. exporters.

Through their participation this year in CCI’s COTTON USA Sourcing Program – a key trade servicing function – 16 U.S. textile mills developed and enhanced business relationships with key customers worldwide. In November, CCI, Cotton Incorporated and the U.S. cotton industry will host the biennial Sourcing USA Summit in California where hundreds of U.S. and other global sourcing companies will share information ranging from managing cotton market risk to improving textile processing. More importantly, these firms’ networking should result in significant sales of U.S. cotton.

Bruce Atherley

Bruce Atherley

Bruce Atherley is executive director of Cotton Council International, the NCC’s export promotion arm. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.