The Anatomy Of The Luxury Fashion Brand
What is it that makes luxury fashion brands successful? Brand positioning, and the ability to identify a desirable image and promote it effectively through advertising is the secret. But how do you learn to do it? I have prepared a short report based on my analysis of three luxury brands.
Given their position in the industry, it is not surprising that these luxury goods firms allocate a major share of their marketing budget to brand creation. They are constantly seeking new talent to develop new campaigns, but it is also clear that they recognise the importance of positioning as well. As part of their corporate strategy, they seek to position their luxury goods on the consumer’s ‘wearable culture’ and so it makes sense for them to take an innovative and strategic approach to promoting these goods.
The brand positioning strategy of Gucci is perhaps unique among luxury brands. In my view, it is perhaps best described as an accumulation of internal competencies, some of which are obvious, and others of which we should be conscious of but which may not be directly related to our everyday lives. To start with, Gucci prides itself on its ‘unbounded horizons’ and the fact that it creates ‘guerilla chic’ for women and’street style’ for men. All of which sounds exciting and at least shows a desire to push the boundaries and beyond what might otherwise be considered usual.
But, crucially, Gucci’s brand positioning strategy hinges on its ability to create and produce authentic luxury fashion brands. If it cannot deliver on its promise of ‘first-class quality’, then it risks falling into irrelevancy. So its core competency revolves around its production capabilities, its dedication to superior design and craftsmanship, its reputation for innovation and for producing simple yet elegant products. And this is where its failures are often revealed.
For example, when it comes to its signature products such as their iconic Balmain jeans, Gucci has a very simple but elegant approach to product branding. It uses simple fonts, predominantly black with subtle floral or gold embellishments, understated logos and a straightforward advertising and marketing message. So if you look at its logo, you would see only a basic rectangle, a simple border and a larger rectangle with two smaller rectangles and a slightly raised dotted line. This is what you would expect to see on a Balmain denim jeans.
In terms of its other offerings, however, things get a little more interesting. Its collection of handbags, for example, has an entirely different feel. Rather than being understated or minimalist, the handbags on offer from Gucci are designed to be striking, interesting and very individual. The brand creates new variations of each bag on a daily basis, taking into account current fashion trends and customer feedback. So even when you look at a particular bag on display in a Gucci showroom, it will look different – because it was created to suit the latest trend.
And this very process is what accounts for its success as a truly coherent luxury fashion brand. Even when Gucci does produce bags that look very similar to those sold by other brands, its unique design philosophy means that it can take these bags and make them completely different to achieve completely different effects. And thanks to the extensive range of accessories it offers, it is also very easy to mix and match, allowing consumers to add a few key luxury fashion brand features to an existing collection without having to break the bank.
Indeed, when it comes to fashion branding, the most important factors are vision and strategy, not simply raw marketing budget and creative enthusiasm. To ensure that you are taking full advantage of both aspects, you need to engage with your customers, listen to what they say and get them to engage with what you are selling. You need to understand their experiences and their culture in order to really hit the bull’s eye. And when it comes to the anatomy of the luxury fashion brand, there really is no clearer way to do so than through its core elements: design, innovation and quality craftsmanship.