Luxury and fashion brand marketing: no longer just image-building, its about adding value to humanity

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The fashion and luxury categories have a very unique marketing reality: Quality and design brilliance is price-of-entry, and they have to lean exclusively into image-building to brand-build. As a consequence, fashion and luxury brands have historically been very systematic and not very innovative in the marketing communications strategies. However, over the past decade as the relationships with their customers has transformed due to technology, and the target focus has shifted to the Middle East and Asia, their storytelling approaches have equally changed.

Clearly fashion and luxury have embraced technology like never before. We likely all remember that brilliant case study for Thierry Mugler’s Womanity (see video here) where the Brand used technology to allow the target to define the Brand. More recently Burberry developed a beautiful social campaign called “Burberry Kisses” where it allowed its fans to send kisses to loved ones across the globe as part of email exchanges making those exchanges more personal and heartfelt (see video here). These kinds of initiatives that really empower consumers would have been unheard of before the technology revolution kicked in.

However, the big change in fashion and luxury marketing has come in select brand’s efforts to¬†further the values that they believe in, to really add value to the world at large by championing something that allows people to really “buy-into” the Brand – a lot like what Coca-Cola has done with happiness. There are two examples that I will share to illustrate this point: Louis Vuitton and Ray Ban.

Louis Vuitton defines luxury and fundamentally believes in the joy and beauty that luxury brings to the world at large. To further this belief it is paramount to always show what joy and beauty look like, to be the expert to whom people look to be inspired. Their products do most of the talking. However, to really be the guru, they need to do more. A recent initiative is a step in that direction. Louis Vuitton recently released its “City Guides”: a travel guide to the great inspiring cities and how to discover them through luxury: more than just shopping inspirations, but also cultural and historical ones. This is a wonderful idea because it really allows people to see and discover the world through Louis Vuitton, and it allows the Brand to show how connected and culturally aware it really is.

Ray Ban has almost defined what sun-glasses should look like. Their eye-wear have achieved pop-culture status like no other, and subsequently have a strong role in leading eye-wear fashion. To them, the power of the right perspective, see the right thing is what makes life beautiful. They have created a production company called “Never Hide Films” to champion this. A recent film illustrates the focus of their efforts. It shows the power of optical illusions, how your eyes can create wonderful stories when nothing is really there. Have a look.

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