Getting inspiration from the story of fashion and luxury regarding the evolution of the Brands, it’s interesting to highlight some key principles for the long term healthy growth.
- Define the Brand DNA. It serves as the Brand GPS when the turbulences hit hard, during fast growth, when the competition is harsh and when the path seems to be confused. The Brand DNA is the long term memory and perception of what makes the Brand so unique and different and so much appreciated by loyal customers. It’s the magic alchemy that keeps alive the Brand. It is timeless, it can adapt to the changing times and it is wise not to disrupt it. Best practices in this sense are Hermès, Chanel, Bvlgari, Cartier.
- Don’t let your DNA trap you. Keep an open space for evolution and for surfing the times. The best practice here I think it is Louis Vuitton: French, luggage maker and source of inspiration for travel, they developed effectively a strategy based on art collaborations with Stephen Sprouse, Murakami among the others. The “Iconoclasts” project was a masterpiece of re-interpretation of the Monogram logo.
- Be proud of what you stand for as a Brand. Pride at what you do means that the Brand will keep all the authentic promises made to the loyal customers. This will generate a good word of mouth that will lead to a strong reputation. Great examples of this attitude are Rolex, John Lobb, Officina di Santa Maria Novella. Great contents, products and a sense of belonging to a secret group of connoisseurs. Always original, never shy.
- Don’t be too serious. And don’t take your Brand too seriously. Customers look for happiness, lightness and a sense of joy when they buy a fashion or a luxury product and the customer experience from the product to the communication of the Brand to the store or e-commerce should be like a dance in the park. I like the Rihanna x Manolo collections for this sense of perfect imperfection, weird collaboration, passion and irreverence that Manolo himself put in this project that kept the Brand in the Olympus of the shoes specialists and gave to it tons of glamour.
- Don’t turn upside down your brand, develop it’s key features in a modern way instead. I was fascinated by the “Margiela: The Hermès Years” catalogue because it tells the beautiful story of how a fashion disruptor such as Martin Marginal developed impeccable Hermès collections, in the spirit of the Brand and with a fresh touch. He’s still missed so much. No Gvasalia can be compared to him.
Managing a fashion or a luxury Brand can be very smooth if the management has the right tools set up properly or it can turn up into a nightmare if the creativity in the management goes wild.
At the very end not all the Brands need to be trendy if their DNA exude classic design codes and timeless iconic features and vice versa.
Disrupting the Brand DNA is, maybe, a short term gain but also a big a long term risk.
It’s not a must to be trendy. It is wiser to compete in the arena where you are (or have been) strong keeping the Brand fresh and its state-of-the-art always at the top in terms of creativity, communication and customer relationships.
That’s the very simple secret for success.
by Susanna Nicoletti - a fashion and luxury marketing, communication and digital senior professional in the industry with boutique consultancy www. thefashiondispatch.com