CONSUMERS

Logo Driven Luxury Brands Look to Reduce Visibility

by

James Lawson

|

This is the featured image caption
Credit: This is the featured image credit

James Lawson, director at Ledbury Research, explains the move to reduce logos and work towards more subtle distinctions in luxury brand hierarchy

Over the last decade, collaborations between luxury brands and contemporary artists have gone beyond mere artistic partnerships towards a new kind of luxury branding.

PARIS – Art and fashion have always developed side by side, for fashion, like art, often gives visual expression to the cultural zeitgeist. During the 1920s, Salvador Dalí created dresses for Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiapparelli. In the 1930s, Ferragamo’s shoes commissioned designs for advertisements from Futurist painter Lucio Venna, while Gianni Versace commissioned works from artists such as Alighiero Boetti and Roy Lichtenstein for the launch of his collections. Yves Saint Laurent’s vast art collection, recently auctioned at Christie’s in Paris, testified to his great love of art and revealed the influence of a variety of artists on his own designs.

In the 1980s, relationships between luxury brands and artists were advanced when Alain Dominique Perrin created the Fondation Cartier. In the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, a book marking the foundation’s 20th anniversary, Perrin says he makes “a connection between all the different sorts of arts, and luxury goods are a kind of art. Luxury goods are handicrafts of art, applied art.”

The Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemparain building in Paris

James Lawson, director at Ledbury Research, explains the move to reduce logos and work towards more subtle distinctions in luxury brand hierarchy

Burberry SS12 advertising campaign

Louis Vuitton plans to reduce the visibility of its monogrammed products going forward. This is also the strategy that PPR/Kering has gradually been adopting for Gucci over the past few years. Once popular in their use as visual representations of luxury status, logofication boosted Louis Vuitton’s brand value from $6m in 2004 to $23m in 2012 (Interbrand).

Demand from emerging markets made the monogram so ubiquitous however, that it is now a symbol of accessible luxury rather than exclusivity. Indeed, a study found that the smaller the logo is on a luxury item, the higher the price it can command. This study carried out by the University of Chicago included over 400 products from Louis Vuitton and Gucci combined, and was also found to be true for Mercedes cars.

“ A study found that the smaller the logo is on a luxury item, the higher the price it can command ”

To prevent further dilution of its brand status, Louis Vuitton will therefore move away from its logo-ed handbags, which currently represent two-thirds of its product offering. They will shift emphasis towards a higher-end offering, with exotic skins and leather goods.

This is most certainly the right direction to take, but the question is whether Louis Vuitton already scaled itself to the point that it is synonymous with mass luxury. Will it be able to reclaim its position as an authentic luxury brand, alongside Hermès and Goyard?

There is no doubt that either way Louis Vuitton will remain one of the world’s premium brands. And, if executed well, we believe this strategy will put it in good stead to improve its perceived authenticity in the longer term. If the brand can create a clear separation between its lower-end canvas models and its higher-end products, truly
mature luxury consumers may begin to see that the brand is just as exclusive as other niche luxury brands.

“ The question is whether Louis Vuitton has already scaled itself to the point that it is synonymous with mass luxury ”

Burberry can be used as a case study. It transformed itself from a much lower base and put itself back on the luxury map in less than 5 years. The brand is still more accessible than Louis Vuitton would want to be, but it managed to shake off its mass/ fashion association and counterfeit issues by reducing the visibility of the distinctive check from 2006.

Simultaneously, it raised its average price point by developing the top end of its product pyramid with Burberry London, a smart wear-to-work collection, and Burberry Prorsum, a runway collection. The latter created a halo effect on all of the brand’s other products, and with the predominant material for its bags now leather instead of PVC, Burberry may have some lessons for its larger competitor.

To further investigate brand positioning on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

The New Luxury is Luxury For All, Suggests Jean-Noël Kapferer
Big Bang Rebrand: The PPR Transformation
What Gucci’s New Tiered Model Could Mean For China’s Luxury Market

James Lawson

Director

Bio Not Found

CONSUMERS

Logo Driven Luxury Brands Look to Reduce Visibility

by

James Lawson

|

This is the featured image caption
Credit : This is the featured image credit

James Lawson, director at Ledbury Research, explains the move to reduce logos and work towards more subtle distinctions in luxury brand hierarchy

Over the last decade, collaborations between luxury brands and contemporary artists have gone beyond mere artistic partnerships towards a new kind of luxury branding.

PARIS – Art and fashion have always developed side by side, for fashion, like art, often gives visual expression to the cultural zeitgeist. During the 1920s, Salvador Dalí created dresses for Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiapparelli. In the 1930s, Ferragamo’s shoes commissioned designs for advertisements from Futurist painter Lucio Venna, while Gianni Versace commissioned works from artists such as Alighiero Boetti and Roy Lichtenstein for the launch of his collections. Yves Saint Laurent’s vast art collection, recently auctioned at Christie’s in Paris, testified to his great love of art and revealed the influence of a variety of artists on his own designs.

In the 1980s, relationships between luxury brands and artists were advanced when Alain Dominique Perrin created the Fondation Cartier. In the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, a book marking the foundation’s 20th anniversary, Perrin says he makes “a connection between all the different sorts of arts, and luxury goods are a kind of art. Luxury goods are handicrafts of art, applied art.”

The Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemparain building in Paris

James Lawson, director at Ledbury Research, explains the move to reduce logos and work towards more subtle distinctions in luxury brand hierarchy

Burberry SS12 advertising campaign

Louis Vuitton plans to reduce the visibility of its monogrammed products going forward. This is also the strategy that PPR/Kering has gradually been adopting for Gucci over the past few years. Once popular in their use as visual representations of luxury status, logofication boosted Louis Vuitton’s brand value from $6m in 2004 to $23m in 2012 (Interbrand).

Demand from emerging markets made the monogram so ubiquitous however, that it is now a symbol of accessible luxury rather than exclusivity. Indeed, a study found that the smaller the logo is on a luxury item, the higher the price it can command. This study carried out by the University of Chicago included over 400 products from Louis Vuitton and Gucci combined, and was also found to be true for Mercedes cars.

“ A study found that the smaller the logo is on a luxury item, the higher the price it can command ”

To prevent further dilution of its brand status, Louis Vuitton will therefore move away from its logo-ed handbags, which currently represent two-thirds of its product offering. They will shift emphasis towards a higher-end offering, with exotic skins and leather goods.

This is most certainly the right direction to take, but the question is whether Louis Vuitton already scaled itself to the point that it is synonymous with mass luxury. Will it be able to reclaim its position as an authentic luxury brand, alongside Hermès and Goyard?

There is no doubt that either way Louis Vuitton will remain one of the world’s premium brands. And, if executed well, we believe this strategy will put it in good stead to improve its perceived authenticity in the longer term. If the brand can create a clear separation between its lower-end canvas models and its higher-end products, truly
mature luxury consumers may begin to see that the brand is just as exclusive as other niche luxury brands.

“ The question is whether Louis Vuitton has already scaled itself to the point that it is synonymous with mass luxury ”

Burberry can be used as a case study. It transformed itself from a much lower base and put itself back on the luxury map in less than 5 years. The brand is still more accessible than Louis Vuitton would want to be, but it managed to shake off its mass/ fashion association and counterfeit issues by reducing the visibility of the distinctive check from 2006.

Simultaneously, it raised its average price point by developing the top end of its product pyramid with Burberry London, a smart wear-to-work collection, and Burberry Prorsum, a runway collection. The latter created a halo effect on all of the brand’s other products, and with the predominant material for its bags now leather instead of PVC, Burberry may have some lessons for its larger competitor.

To further investigate brand positioning on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

The New Luxury is Luxury For All, Suggests Jean-Noël Kapferer
Big Bang Rebrand: The PPR Transformation
What Gucci’s New Tiered Model Could Mean For China’s Luxury Market

James Lawson

Director

Bio Not Found

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