1 Brands as Core Assets: Trends and Challenges of Branding in Fashion Business 1
Byoungho Jin and Elena Cedrola
2 Harmont & Blaine: A Successful Dachshund to Build the Values and Brand Identity 41
Maria Colurcio and Monia Melia
3 Salvatore Ferragamo: Brand Heritage as Main Vector of Brand Extension and Internationalization 73
Maria Carmela Ostillio and Sarah Ghaddar
4 Tod’s: A Global Multi-Brand Company with a Taste of Tradition 101
Maria Carmela Ostillio and Sarah Ghaddar
5 The Prada Trend: Brand Building at the Intersection
of Design, Art, Technology, and Retail Experience 125
Stefania Masè and Ksenia Silchenko
6 Louis Vuitton’s Art-Based Strategy to Communicate Exclusivity and Prestige 155
Stefania Masè and Elena Cedrola
Every firm dreams of creating a well-established brand. Especially for fashion companies, brand name is a paramount concern, often serving as a deciding factor for consumer purchase decisions. Consumers do not necessarily seek functionality in fashion. Instead, they purchase styles, dreams, and symbolic images—aspects of their identity that brands can help them project. Therefore, in the fashion industry, brand is a critical asset many firms strive to establish, maintain, and grow. The study of branding is complex because no single factor plays a decisive role in its development. To elucidate this intricate subject, we chose to structure this book around case studies, building on previous works on branding. In particular, we focus on European luxury and premium brands because of its massive influence on branding and communication. Luxury strategies have their roots in Europe, primarily pioneered by French and Italian companies. This book specifically focuses on four Italian companies (Harmont & Blaine, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod’s, and Prada) and one French company (Louis Vuitton). Each case was written by author(s) who have either come from the region, provided marketing consultation for the brands, or conducted in-depth studies of the brands. Their connections provided us with invaluable access to interviews with executives and reviews of archives would have been otherwise limited. These experiences have allowed us to write this text, compiled from information not easily obtainable elsewhere.
This book begins with an overview chapter, creating a backdrop to help facilitate a holistic understanding of the five cases. The chapter introduces major brands and communication-related concepts with a particular focus on prominent fashion brands in Europe and America. The objective of the first chapter is not to summarize the concepts of branding and communication. On the contrary, the chapter has two specific aims. First, it addresses aspects of branding and communication that have often been overlooked in previous studies. In particular, we highlight fashion industries in Western continents, discussing specific examples and practices from companies in this region. Second, this chapter describes major challenges and changes in the industry. This will create a foundation for readers to understand the five subsequent chapters, as these challenges and trends will reappear throughout the cases in this text.
The five cases in this book are diverse in their brand portfolio management and their focus on brand communication. Though they were not chosen for their similarities, they nonetheless strikingly resemble each other. First, all five cases hold a tight control over the quality of their products through various measures and continuous innovation within the company. Ferragamo’s patent on shoes is an example of this. To control their quality, Harmont & Blaine and Ferragamo manufacture mainly in Italy, employing small workshops and in-house facilities. In fact, a majority of these companies started in workshops in small towns. These experiences have cultivated in the companies a spirit of craftsmanship that will remain for generations to come. Second, all five cases were forerunners in the fashion industry in their decision to expand internationally and extend their brands.Only a littlemore than two decades after its establishment, Harmont & Blaine (Chapter 2) currently exports to 50 countries with approximately 20% of their sales revenue coming from exports. Ferragamo (Chapter 3) and Tod’s (Chapter 4) earn 80% and 70% of their sales revenue, respectively, from exports. In the case of Prada (Chapter 5) and of Louis Vuitton (Chapter 6), about 90% and 86% of their sales revenue, respectively, stem from exports. Ferragamo has expanded to 99 countries, and Tod’s has extended to 37. Third, all five brands have their roots in a family, and their descendants still operate the brands, passing down the company from generation to generation. This form of ownership has been instrumental in keeping family philosophy and brand heritage alive. Fourth, these companies value longtermpartnerships with subcontractors, leadership in corporate social responsibilities, and dedication to the community. Collectively, these morals have helped shape their corporate image and commitment to product quality. Fifth, these companies have developed innovative de-commodization strategies though each brand’s strategy is unique—Ferragamo through corporate museums and exhibitions (Chapter 3), Tod’s storytelling via Princess Diana and Jacqueline Kennedy (Chapter 4), Prada’s cutting-edge Epicenters through a collaboration with renowned architect (Chapter 5), and Louis Vuitton’s artification strategies via collaborations with leading Japanese artists (Chapter 6).
These cases demonstrate how a family workshop from a small town can grow into a global luxury or premium brand within a relatively short amount of time. Their ability to do so was not a consequence of marketing and branding effort alone. Rather, the combination of their brand strategies and their enthusiasm for their products pushed these companies to this level of success. These firms demonstrate that branding is most effective when it is first rooted in a commitment to quality. Many small firms emerge and disappear every day. Branding and communication are key for companies to continue to grow. As such, we hope that the strategies in this book provide inspiration and practical insight for firms striving to reach their potential.
In that sense, this book is a useful read not only to undergraduate and graduate students but also practitioners in the industries of fashion, retailing, branding, and international business. Scholars who conduct research branding and communication in the fashion industry will also benefit fromthis text as we review literature and explore examples across Europe and America. This book would not be possible without the support ofmany people. We extend our deepest gratitude to executives and marketing communication directors of the five companies in this text who took time from their busy schedules to share their stories with us and to review earlier drafts. Their insight and vision will inspire many more business executives to come. We express special thanks to authors of each chapter who conducted multiple interviews with key informants, traveled to headquarters, museums, and associations to collect visual images and archives, and consolidated the insightful information with great dedication. Their contribution was even more meaningful as the information was in multiple languages: French, Italian, and English. We were fortunate to have the support of former and current research assistants. A particular thanks to Naeun (Lauren) Kim for finding information for the book and checking formats and references across the cases. We also thank Anna Chiappelli for obtaining information and assisting with the bibliometric analysis.