The most important part of any brand is its core values, how did LVMH apply this to its different brands and how did it impact them?
Household luxury brand Louis Vuitton is now regarded as one of LVMH’s most profitable companies that are managed by the conglomerate. But it wasn’t the case before Marc Jacobs was appointed back in 1997. The Parisian brand solely focused on making trunks, but LVMH wanted to elevate the brand so that it was held in high regard within the global fashion industry. Jacobs was assigned with presenting the men and women’s ready-to-wear collections, along with a new line of handbags.
The American designer hit it off on a high note, not only succeeding with both ready-to-wear collections, but also giving Chanel a run for their money with the handbags he presented: the classic bucket bag, the pouchettes, and the satchels, which were all covered in the famous Louis Vuitton LV logo. Jacobs was successful where others failed. He managed to create an identity for a brand that excelled in craftsmanship but lacked the precise tools to brand itself properly.
Branding in the fashion industry is a very important component to establishing one’s label, since it mostly takes a long time to get recognized by editors or PR firms while other labels get immense publicity, depending on the all-round concept or identity of the brand. The fact that branding proves to be an important key for companies and designers typically means that designers have to tap into the core values of the brand; what it represents and what differentiates it from its competitors.
In an interview with Fashionista, Raina Penchansky, Chief Strategy Officer at Digital Brand Architects, which represents brands and top bloggers, she said: “Developing a brand is important in that it goes hand in hand with developing your overall personal voice and point of view. Your brand is what gives you the ability to determine what you want your growth strategy to be and where you ultimately want to take your vision.” It is likely that the more distinctive and individual the brand can be, the more exposure it will receive.
An example of a legendary house that was rebranded and presented its new niche in a manner that exceeded all expectations was Kenzo, which is now helmed by Opening Ceremony designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. The duo were “charged with injecting new energy into the then-staid brand”, as the team behind Business of Fashion put it. The season after their first show took place, the pieces from the collection were worn by streetstyle-mavens like Elena Perminova and Susie Lau.
The rebranding of Kenzo was a success, and the tiger-motif became an instant hit, which led to several key pieces getting sold out in stores and online. LVMH saw a sustained growth in revenue since then, leading to an international expansion strategy. In the following year Kenzo opened several flagship stores around many cities, including Dubai, Melbourne, and Istanbul, to name a few.
Several promotional tools were put in place by the brand, such as organizing the store’s launch event with the presence of several bloggers and editors, not to mention the Kenzo Fashion Bus, which also made a stop in Dubai earlier this year. This strategy created immense hype not only within the international and local industry but also with the audience that the brand was targeting: young adults. Products that were mostly successful among the youth were the products that were clad in the tiger motif: sweaters, t-shirts, and iPhone covers as well.
It’s vital for brands nowadays to differentiate themselves from their competitors, may it be with their logo, concept, style, or the designer at the forefront of it all. Usually the designers that convey their own artistic values and talent are the ones that prosper; the success of the brand itself depends on it. As American designer Tom Ford says: “If your brand is to have a strong identity, it must come from you and not from a committee.”
Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)
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