In the current business environment it is vital for luxury brands to connect with Gen Z, the younger generation which is perceived to be the most pragmatic and independent type of consumer (WGSN, 2016). Social media becomes the best way to communicate with this group of consumers, as the tech-innate generation is looking for being part of the conversation with brands. The one luxury brand that really impresses me in terms of their approach to connecting with Gen Z is Chanel. I came across an article on Business of Fashion about Chanel’s Gen Z strategy while doing the research for my assignment. With over 25 million Instagram following and loyal fans all over the world, Chanel is the most successful luxury fashion brand on social media. What I found interesting is their approach to celebrity endorsement. To establish better connection with Gen Z, Chanel are shifting their approach to selection for their campaigns towards younger generation of celebrities and digital influencers. This allows them to remain relevant for the younger generation.
At the same time, while having strong online presence, Chanel chooses limited distribution approach, only making beauty and eyewear available to purchase online. Although it is meant to maintain the brand’s exclusivity, I strongly disagree with this strategy. Apart from limiting profit opportunities, it diminishes omni-channel experience, which is essential for younger consumers like myself. As millennials and Gen Z consumers are drawn towards online shopping, being unable to make a purchase can be off-putting for younger clientele. In my opinion, Chanel should find an approach to e-commerce, in order to stay ahead of the game in the luxury fashion market.
Sherman, L. (2017). Decoding Chanel’s Gen-Z Strategy. The Business of Fashion. Available at: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/professional/decoding-chanels-gen-z-strategy [Accessed 12/11/ 2017].
WGSN (2016) Marketing to Generation Z. Available at: WGSN.com [Accessed: 12/11/2017]
Learning about the concept of brand identity made me evaluate the luxury German brand I am working with, Dorothee Schumacher. As part of my job, I communicate closely with marketing managers of the company, thus forming an opinion on Dorothee Schumacher’s brand identity helped my understanding of my role and increased my performance when selling Schumacher’s collection to department store buyers.
Brand identity is an essential concept of branding. It increases the strengths of the bond between the brand and consumer, giving it emotional depth and enforcing attachment. It doesn’t excuse weakness of the product itself, but tends to make the brand less replaceable, thus a strong brand should be unique, superior and special (Zyman, 1999). Identity plays a key role in building the brand-customer relationship and establishing the position of the brand in consumers’ mind.
Dorothee Schumacher has recently gone through the re-positioning process. Maintaining consistency of the brand identity helped the company anticipate challenges and remain relevant to its target audience. Kapferer and Bastein (2012) suggested a framework for evaluation of brand identity traits. Figure 1 showcases the framework applied to Dorothee Schumacher based on my experience from working with the brand.
Figure 15: Kapferer brand identity prism for Dorothee Schumacher Source: adapted from Kapferer and Bastein, 2012
It is always important to understand the core of the brand in order to communicate it to b2b clients and end consumer. I believe that having a thorough knowledge of brand building concepts with brand identity being the crucial one will help me in my future career when establishing my own business in fashion.
Kapferer, J.-N. & Bastien, V. (2012) The luxury strategy : break the rules of marketing to build luxury brands. Kogan Page.
Zyman, S. (1999). The end of marketing as we know it. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins.
Flagship stores aim to achieve more than being just a store. It has to be many things to be successful: a hub for the brand, a destination, it should be an immersive experience. “The physical features of a shop which is translated into emotional ones” (Nobbs et al. 2012). I decided to reflect on the Louis Vuitton store in New Bond street, which I have visited on multiple occasions. As a flagship store I think for the most part it succeeds in all elements. The location is ideal: it is located in a highly populated high end shopping area, which draws in the cliental that they are aiming for. From outside, looking in the store, window displays are ostentatious, almost cluttered with branding; this portrays LV’s bold brand identity. Visual merchandising throughout the store tells the story of the brand, with leather goods and mannequins being displayed on iconic LV trunks. In my opinion, this concept pays homage of where they started from, which also shows the evolution of their brand. Moreover, the whole atmosphere of the store communicates authenticity, which gives the consumer quality assurance. The store provides a true luxury experience from the viewpoint of visual merchandising and layout, at the same time attracting fashion tourists and maintaining exclusivity through extensive product ranges.
Creation of brand identity and atmosphere through experiential touchpoints is essential for a luxury brand. Louis Vuitton London flagship is a good example of successful implementation of luxury flagship concepts.
Nobbs, K, Moore, C, M and Sheridan (2012) ‘The Flagship Format within the Luxury Fashion Sector’ International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management
Lecture on consumer behavior and psychology changed my perspective on consumption overall. Being active consumers ourselves, we tend to believe that everyone around us would share the same values, aspire to similar brands and items.
Sense of belonging and being part of the ‘tribe’ is dominating in today’s consumer behavior. However, as a fashion manager, it is important to understand that my own views cannot be applied to the population. For example, while me and my classmates believe that Chanel N5 is the most aspirational perfume, in reality, people are more influenced by Britney Spears than a fashion icon like Chanel when it comes to choosing fragrance. While I’m looking up to Angela Ahrendts and Mira Duma, 103 million Instagram followes are being inspired by Kim Kardashian.
An ability to be open to see the differences of consumer’s desires and patterns in their aspirations without filtering it through the glasses of personal likes and experiences becomes crucial when starting a business. Also learning about consumer culture impacted my work as I am now able to better understand consumer values and attitudes, thus being able to increase the performance of the brand I am working for. I believe that further learning and research on consumer psychology will help me in my future career as I aspire to start a fashion tech company after graduation. Knowledge of the needs of the audience is essential to any business, especially in a start-up environment.