Luxury Fashion Branding: Trends, Tactics, Techniques


Luxury Fashion Branding: Trends, Tactics, Techniques
by Uché Okonkwo 

Luxury Fashion Branding- Trends, Tactics, Techniques


List of tables and figures x
Foreword by James Ogilvy xv
Author’s note xvii
Acknowledgements xix
Introduction: who said fashion is not serious business? 1

1. A question of luxury 7

2. What’s in a name? The history of luxury fashion branding 13

Branding evolution 13
Origins of luxury fashion 14
Early civilization fashion (3200 BC to 80 BC) 15
From Egypt to Crete and Greece (700 BC to 1150 BC) 16
The Etruscan and Roman fashion influence (800 BC to AD 476) 17
From Rome to the Byzantine Empire and the Middle-Ages (AD ~450 to ~1500) 18
The Renaissance, Italy and fashion (15th and 16th centuries) 20
Seventeenth-century baroque fashion 21
The eighteenth century, France and luxury fashion 23
The nineteenth century and modern luxury fashion 25
The rise of the yankees 26
The twentieth-century fashion explosion 28
The sixties 30
The seventies 31
The eighties 32
The nineties 34
The noughties 35
2007 and beyond 37
The dolce vita style blast 38
America, fashion and commerce 41
The luxury brand index 44
Charles Frederick Worth: Le Père de la haute couture 47
Modern business principles 56
Great moments in the history of fashion 57

3. A passion for fashion: the luxury fashion consumer 59
The consumer is king 59
The consumer purchase-decision process 62
Who is the luxury fashion consumer? 65
The twenty-first century fashion consumption environment 68
Luxury consumer market indicators 70
The future luxury fashion consumer 76
Strategic implications for luxury brands 77

4. Luxury retail design and atmosphere 78
Luxury retail location 78
Store concept 81
Retail extension 88
Product merchandising design 91
New selling techniques 95
The case of designer outlet shopping villages 97

5. The art of creating and managing luxury fashion brands 102
What is branding, really? 102
Branding benefits 103
Luxury fashion branding strategy development 105
The brand concept 107
The brand identity 110
Brand awareness 113
Brand positioning 116
Brand loyalty 118
Brand equity 120
Brand value 123
The luxury fashion marketing strategy 128
The product 129
Pricing 140
The place of distribution 142
Promotion 144
The celebrity connection 156
People 164
Positioning 167
The confusion and clarification of fashion co-branding 168
The menace of fake luxury goods 172
The luxury branding death-wish list 176

6. Digital luxury 178
The case for e-retail 178
E-retail indicators 180
E-retail attributes 182
The internet as a retail location 182
Online luxury fashion consumer behaviour 186
Luxury fashion e-retail strategy 191
Are luxury fashion products suitable for e-retailing? 192
E-retail strategy options 194
Luxury fashion e-marketing and e-branding strategy 202
E-marketing strategy 203
The 10 Cs of luxury fashion e-marketing 203
E-branding strategy 209
Website and e-store design 212
E-merchandizing 221
Final notes 223
The luxury e-retail death wish list 224

7. Le new luxe 225
A different fashion landscape 225
The effects of the changing environment 226
The rise of the masses 227
From fast fashion to throwaway fashion 231
Trend watching, trend tracking and luxury services 233
The new luxury brands 236
Accessible luxury 237
Intangible luxury 238
A borderline identity 240
So who are the true luxury brands? 242
How the future looks 243

8. Customize me! 246
What is customization? 249
Who wants to be customized? 250
What are the benefits of customization? 252
How can luxury brands customize goods and services? 253
Customizing standardized products 255
Point of delivery customization 257
Customizing the retail shopping experience 259
Producing bespoke goods 260
Customizing the online experience 262
Allowing the consumer to customize the process 264
What are the challenges of customization? 265

9. The luxury fashion business strategy model 267
What is a business strategy model? 268
The business strategy modelling process 269
End notes 277

10. Case illustrations 278

The Armani brand extension success story 278
The boom and bust of 285
The effect of licensing on Pierre Cardin’s brand equity 296
Is André Ross the first twenty-first century luxury brand? 303
What does ‘Britishness’ mean in luxury fashion? 309
References 315
Index 321

The luxury industry is relatively small in terms of the number of companies. The boundaries are hard to define, but consensus would probably indicate an ‘industry’ populated by no more than several hundred brands. However these businesses punch far above their weight, both in terms of sales – current estimates put the sale of luxury goods running at more than $100bn per annum – and perhaps more importantly, in terms of influence. This is the industry where you’ll find the best design, the best materials, the best merchandizing and the best packaging, and hence luxury brands frequently lead the way for the rest of the world. In the process they drive both aspiration for the genuine article and the numerous mass-market imitators.

Whilst of course ‘luxury’ has changed little in an abstract sense, the word is now (mis) applied to all manner of products. The term ‘masstige’ has been coined to describe a place where ‘mass’ and ‘prestige’ meet and this democratization of luxury is probably the greatest change in the last decade. Almost all luxury brands now have products that start at low price points, whether it is a pair of socks from Polo Ralph Lauren, a Tiffany keyring, or even a 1- series BMW. This is both to secure aspirational sales and to lead customers into the high-ticket items.

The biggest challenge facing a luxury brand today is devising a strategy that can cope with the extremes of the modern luxury marketplace, with a product range that may extend from $20 socks to $20,000 couture pieces and which may be selling both to Shanghai secretaries and Park Avenue Princesses. This is where Uche Okonkwo’s book comes in: a practical and essential resource for anyone involved in the business of selling luxury fashion. It will of course be useful well beyond the confines of the fashion industry: as we have learned over the years from our own subscriber base, there is an extraordinarily wide variety of individuals who watch the luxury fashion industry including those from all the other luxury sectors as well as advertising, design, public relations, management, finance, property, the academics and the wider business community. Every one of them will find something of value in this book.

I started Luxury Briefing just over a decade ago and it has been an exciting period for the industry. But during that time the ‘landscape’, especially in the world of luxury fashion, has become ever more complex. I have lost count of the number of times that we have been asked for guidance on all manner of aspects connected with luxury fashion so I am delighted that – at last – I have a resource to which I can refer people.

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