Cotton Council International (CCI) positioned cotton favorably in the global marketplace throughout 2014 amidst multiple marketing challenges. Among those facing the fiber throughout the supply chain were 1) alternative fibers (polyesters) being marketed as being higher technology/better performing fibers and 2) younger consumers who are not as familiar with cotton.
Fortunately, CCI remained the largest recipient of matching funds from USDA – undergirding the NCC's export promotions arm as it adhered to a successful three-point focus: 1) supply chain development, 2) brand and retailer promotion/support, and 3) industry partnerships development.
CCI’s re-launch of its 25-year old flagship brand, COTTON USA, included the creation of a new logo.
CCI also responded to this past year's competitive business environment by revitalizing and re-launching its 25-year-old flagship brand, COTTON USA and employing a global COTTON USA marketing initiative that draws on the promise of the industry, purity, quality and responsibility. CCI capitalized on COTTON USA, a name which has been carried on more than 50,000 product lines and 3 billion products since 1989 – and which translated into about 100 million bales of cotton.
In addition to a new logo and new promotional and merchandising tools, CCI officially launched its COTTON USA social media platforms to increase the brand's global awareness. COTTON USA now can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well as on CCI's revamped website, www.cottonusa.org. That website is being used to personalize the story of U.S. cotton for three key audiences: 1) fiber growers and buyers ("The Cotton"), 2) mills and manufacturers ("The Makers"), and 3) consumers ("The Stories").
CCI's demand-building events and activities in 2014 included numerous successes.
NCC Chairman Wally Darneille delivered opening remarks at the 2014 COTTON USA Summit in Arizona.
The Sourcing USA Summit in Arizona, organized in cooperation with CCI, Cotton Incorporated and USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, brought together more than 420 leading global sourcing companies to strengthen enduring partnerships. Internationally recognized speakers and premier networking opportunities ensured outcomes dedicated to promoting cotton and COTTON USA and increasing US cotton sales. The Summit featured business forums on topics affecting the global cotton industry, including ways to seize market opportunities to overcome competition from manmade fibers.
A NCC leadership team led by CCI Chairman John Burch, visited China to gather information from Chinese cotton industry officials and update them on key aspects of the U.S. cotton industry. That delegation was the sixth to visit China since the establishment of the U.S.-China Cotton Leadership Exchange Program by the NCC and the China Cotton Association.
Eight U.S. cotton industry representatives went to Guangzhou, China; Seoul, Korea; and Osaka, Japan; as part of the 2014 COTTON USA Executive Delegation to discuss a variety of market and trade issues with U.S. cotton customers. The delegation hosted seminars, visited manufacturing facilities and participated in news media interviews and meetings with COTTON USA licensees.
Celebrities, fashion designers, musicians and consumers united across northeast Asia to celebrate their shared love of CCI's Cotton Days in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. CCI President Jordan Lea met with textile industry representatives in those four key U.S. cotton markets.
During the ASEAN Buyers Tour in Vietnam, COTTON USA staff met with new and existing Korean investors in Vietnamese spinning, knitting and garment manufacturing who are increasing their textile investments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. CCI’s two-day COTTON USA Sourcing Fair in Hanoi resulted in sales between buyers and sellers of U.S. cotton-rich fabrics and garments.
From left, Anthony Tancredi, CCI treasurer; Carlos Garcia, AMCOT; and Lee Cromley, American Cotton Producers; were among eight members of a COTTON USA Executive Delegation that traveled to China, Korea and Japan.
Apparel manufacturers from eight Western Hemisphere countries received an extensive look at U.S. cotton yarn and fabric production as part of CCI’s 2014 COTTON USA Western Hemisphere Uniform Manufacturers Tour. The trip's focus was on the uniform/corporate image wear industry – a key market for U.S. yarn and fabrics.
CCI First Vice President Dahlen Hancock emphasized the U.S. cotton industry's responsible production practices in a presentation at the COTTON USA Retail and Marketing Leadership Summit in Berlin, Germany. That event brought together leaders from top brands, retailers and sourcing companies to examine the latest developments in the highly competitive and volatile apparel industry. In addition, 79 percent of the event's attendees (who came from Europe, Asia and North America) agreed that the event assured them that sourcing cotton and cotton-rich products is a viable long-term business decision.
Key executives from 12 textile companies in Indonesia – the fifth largest importer of U.S. cotton -- toured the Cotton Belt to get a close look at U.S. cotton production, processing and marketing and to meet with U.S. exporters as part of the COTTON USA Special Trade Mission from Indonesia.
At the COTTON USA Western Hemisphere Sourcing Fair in Mexico, some 670 individual meetings took place between brands, retailers and garment makers. The meetings facilitated the development of business relations to increase U.S. cotton yarn and fabric exports to that hemisphere.
At the COTTON USA “Shaping Cotton’s Future” conference in Turkey, nearly 100 participants received valuable information from industry experts on cotton buying. Networking also was a key conference benefit for attendees, which included 30 U.S. exporter representatives and more than 40 Turkish textile mill representatives.
CCI also had a clear presence at a number of important trade shows throughout 2014.
Responsibly-produced U.S. cotton was promoted to an international trade audience at Heimtextil, the world's leading trade show for home textiles. The Frankfurt, Germany event united approximately 2,720 exhibitors and 67,000 visitors from 133 countries around the globe.
At the Colombiatex trade show in Medellin, Colombia, the COTTON USA Sourcing Program focused on 13 U.S. cotton textile mills which met with knitters, manufacturers and fabric distributors to develop new business for U.S. cotton. An industry event for 70 participants from U.S. mills and Andean Region textile companies was coordinated to strengthen relationships and create additional business opportunities.
At the Colombiatex trade show, CCI’s COTTON USA Sourcing Program focused on 13 U.S. cotton textile mills whose representatives met with knitters, manufacturers and fabric distributors to develop new business for U.S. cotton.
CCI delivered U.S. cotton sourcing assistance to major apparel industry players at the Texworld and Première Vision trade shows in Paris. The shows – representing the largest combined exhibition of the world's apparel fabric – provided a venue for CCI to promote U.S. cotton and its global marketing and licensing program.
CCI promoted U.S. cotton denim at the Kingpins Quality Denim show in Hong Kong, garnering requests from buyers on sourcing COTTON USA products.
Through CCI’s COTTON USA Sourcing Program, U.S. cotton yarns and fabrics were promoted at the Peruvian fashion industry's main event, the PeruMODA trade show in Lima. The event enabled Peruvian export companies to interact directly with international buyers from five continents, and it attracted approximately 10,000 attendees.
COTTON USA debuted its new brand campaign at Intertextile Home Shanghai with a joint exhibit featuring two licensee partners, Imagine and Ibena. That show was the largest in its 20-year history. CCI and Cotton Incorporated joined forces to promote cotton at the Shanghai Intertextile Apparel Show, with a focus on responsible cotton production and sourcing through participation in the Cotton LEADS™ program.
Thirteen U.S. textile mills were showcased as part of the COTTON USA Sourcing Program pavilion at the Apparel Sourcing Show in Guatemala City.
Brooks Brothers sales executives received in-store training in Istanbul, Rome, Milan, Madrid and London on why U.S. cotton makes a difference in their products. That COTTON USA sales training effort emphasized the benefits of COTTON USA, Supima® and Cotton LEADS™.
CCI’s week-long COTTON USA “Come Home to U.S. COTTON” promotion in China enabled consumers to experience the comfort and quality of U.S. cotton through interactive displays featuring COTTON USA fashions. CCI also launched the “Living with Cotton” Promotion in Japan, a four-month retail promotion with nine COTTON USA licensees. The effort in 4,000 Japanese retail stores generated approximately $15 million in sales of U.S. cotton-rich apparel, with the COTTON USA Mark helping consumers identify quality products made of U.S. cotton fiber.
COTTON USA celebrated its licensee John Henry’s 40th anniversary with an “I Am John Henry” rebrand concept present through a fashion show and a pop-up store in CentralWorld, a large shopping complex in Bangkok, Thailand.
CCI kicked off consumer sales promotions in Taiwan with 114 retail brands through a sponsorship of a high profile event – Grammy Award-winning singer Bruno Mars’ “The Moonshine Jungle Tour” concert in Taipei.
COTTON USA and Supima® launched the FREECULTR shirt collection in India. More than 50 delegates representing India's cotton textile value chain attended an invitation-only COTTON USA seminar in Bengaluru to explore how cotton could further propel growth in the Indian textile industry. Prominent mills, apparel manufacturers, brands and retailers also participated.
CCI entered 2015 with optimism thanks to stable support from: the National Cotton Council; Cotton Incorporated; the American Cotton Shippers Association; the American Cotton Marketing Cooperatives; California Cotton Alliance; the Committee for Cotton Research; the National Cottonseed Products Association; ICE Futures U.S.; Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.; San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association; Southern Cotton Growers, Inc.; Supima; the USDA; U.S. cotton yarn and textile manufacturers; and COTTON USA Mark licensees around the world.