Gucci. Prada. Versace. These three symbols of “luxury” are high-end fashion companies that are flaunted around the world as brands of desire, wealth, and success. According to Forbes, luxury retail brands can be worth as much as 23 billion dollars. That amount shows the price consumers are willing to pay to feel as glamorous as the models who showcase the clothes, both through Advertisements and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, a buzz worthy week in New York City that features the spring collection of the most luxurious fashion brands in the world.
The hype of Fashion Week and the brands that are luxurious enough to present themselves there share the same quality: they give consumers a sense of desire. Rohit Arora, Strategic Planning Director of Bates Pan Gulf (BPG Group), studied the various reasons consumers’ desire these brands. One of the main reasons is notably the exclusivity to afford such brands, which changes over time as objects become less exclusive and more fiscally available.
Similar to the four P’s we learn about in IMC and marketing, Arora revealed a list of eight shared “P’s”- Pillars in Luxury Brand Marketing:
5.) Public Figures
7.) Public Relations
Each of these “P’s” must be highly considered by the brand’s marketing team in order to brand itself as luxurious while also justifying itself in price. Arora placed emphasis on the importance of both the pricing and placement phase, which can make or break a luxurious item as either desirable or unnecessary. “It is important for luxury brands to price themselves right – as setting the price lower than the consumer expectation and willingness to pay can potentially harm the brand value, whereas the reverse can potentially not give enough justification for consumers to go ahead and buy.” The marketing team of these brands has a lot to wrestle with in justifying their value, whereas less flashy brands are able to triumph off of their practical prices and convenience.
Following Fashion Week this spring, many luxury brands executed campaigns featuring public figures that were popular in both the fashion industry AND social media outlets. Luxury brand “Mulberry” selected 21 year old Cara Delevingne, currently one of the world’s most famous super models, as the new face for their campaign. The fact that Delevingne has nearly 5 million followers on Instagram helps give widespread exposure to Mulberry, which is a part of the “placement” phase of the marketing campaign. It doesn’t hurt that endorsements from popular top 40 tracks are always on the luxurious side of the spectrum. When is the last time you heard Drake talk about his reasonably priced jacket from TJ Maxx?
Luxury brands not only compete with the more cost efficient brands, but they also compete with one another to be the top selection among consumers. In 2010, “Louis Vuitton spent more than $22 million on advertising across all channels between January and June, compared to slightly more than $14 million during the same period last year, a 57 percent increase.” A year later, Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy told the New York Times that Jacobs’ fall 2011 show cost at least $1,000,000 (or $1,750 per second). These painfully expensive prices are paid in order to keep status as a high-end fashion brand when winter fashion blooms into spring clothing. With the price of living going up just a few years beyond 2010 and 2011, one can’t fathom the funds needed to market luxury clothing items in 2014. As the temperature gets higher, the cost of advertising gets higher for these luxurious fashion brands!
I enjoyed reading this post because it is actually something I often think about. Brands are able to become “luxury” and charge such high prices because people allow them to. Consumers are purchasing and endorsing these brands in order to feel they are a part of an exclusive group. Not just any consumer can afford Dior, these brands are marketed to the wealthy and yet still desired by everyone else. I liked when you mentioned that Drake doesn’t talk about buying his clothes at TJ Maxx because I feel that these public figures really do have more of an influence than many realize. What if celebrities did all start shopping at TJ Maxx? Would they begin to raise their prices and typical luxury brands begin to lower theirs? I don’t think this type of scenario will ever occur, but it is an interesting idea. The costs of advertising for these brands seem outrageously high, but I guess they can afford it considering how much they are able to charge for their merchandise.
Several years ago my mom and I were talking about what we would do with the money if we won the lottery, and as that dreamy conversation trailed off I remember thinking about what I would do if I became famous. Since that day the idea of what I would do if I were famous pops into my head from time to time and each time I imagine the same thing. I see myself on the cover of magazines and walking red carpets but always wearing local designers, handmade items from Etsy.com, or vintage label-less items I found somewhere during my travels. Looking back on it now I think this day-dream was inspired by a comment I once heard. Wherever I was, I was involved in a conversation about giving back to other less fortunate and how high profile companies achieve that. I made the suggestion that if I had a famous luxury fashion brand I wouldn’t just donate money to a cause I would give young girls a gorgeous purse that they could feel proud wearing, or give young boys a shiny pair of shoes that inspired them to work towards their highest potential… and in response I was told that luxury designers have high prices because the people who buy and wear their product is part of keeping up their brand reputation. If low income families in low income neighborhoods of small towns started wearing Gucci or Louis Vuitton the brand would start to seem less and less fabulous and more common.
I watched this happen about 7-8 years ago with Chanel. Growing up Chanel was out of my reach, but in 7th and 8th grade when all my friends started carrying the Chanel quilted purses I no longer considered Chanel as high on the fashion food chain as I had before. I still recognize Chanel as a luxury high price brand, but when I think fame and fortune when it comes to fashion I think Versace, Louis Vuitton, Prada… brands that are less attainable on an average budget.
I have always found the competition between luxury and convenience brands to be extremely interesting. While I understand that luxurious brands need to keep their “high status reputation” up, it is just ridiculous to pay hundreds of dollars for a scarf you could easily find in a department store. I like how you mentioned the use of celebrities to endorse these luxurious brands. When people hear their favorite celebrity mention such a product, it causes them to be more likely to purchase or talk about that product in order to try and be like that celebrity. Personally, I have never understood why someone would pay an obscene amount of money just for a brand name.
I know that brand personality is a major factor in IMC, but the way that a brand can reflect a person’s personality is significant as well. I really like how you pointed out the fact that these name brand products are valued by consumers who also value their status and ability to buy such expensive items. These consumers contribute to the brands “luxurious” personality and its ability to keep up with the status quo by spending such elaborate amounts of money on advertisement.
This post caught my interest because I love fashion. I have always thought about these couture brands and how they stay in business. I think part of it is people with a lot of money buy these brands to show they are superior. It’s all about being exclusive. These brands are rare. If everyone can afford them then suddenly they lose their value. Just like diamonds, everyone had tons of diamonds, we wouldn’t place so much value into them because they wouldn’t be as important.
I will admit that I do look at many of the luxury brands discussed and imagine what it would be like to wear them. I noticed that when ever daydreaming about the Gucci shades, Versace dress, and Louie red bottom shoes I would wear, the setting that I am in also depicts a fancy life style. The luxury brands do such a good job at not selling just their items but the lifestyle that you will some how automatically will assume once the item is purchased. They sell and depend on thoughts like this because they know how profitable it is. That lifestyle is so inviting and interesting because of its exclusiveness. Famous singers and rapper Nicki Minaj had the line,, “pull up in the ‘you-can’t-afford-this” in one of her songs which highlighted how fun it is to be in this life of luxury. Like the song depicts, the value of the item(s)is high because of how exclusive their availability is due to its price. I can rest a bit easier knowing that this is why the prices of some items is so high; it keeps the product value up rather than it truly costing so much because luxury item brands have greedy wallets who want to charge outlandish prices. It is a lifestyle they are trying to keep intact in which high prices are necessary to keep the divide. Theprice of a luxury item is about more than just profit. It is a statement that says “an item this great must be exclusive because not everyone can be or have amazing.” If everything was attainable, luxury items would loose that exclusive and larger than life value and share holders sitting on $680 million in Versace stock wouldn’t want that..
This was a very interesting read and I enjoyed your comment as to how you don’t hear Drake rapping about how he is wearing clothes from T.J. Maxx. I understand why and how advertising works, what I don’t understand is that some of the brands that spend millions on advertising are companies that have been around for years. Doesn’t there name already have a voice or is recognized by consumers? Consumers that can and can not afford the products. For example, I really love the brand Burberry. I know there history, have an idea of what they sell and more importantly what items of there’s that I like. Although, their prices may not be in my college budget or even post college for that matter, I can acknowledge that some of their items I wish to have are obtainable. It is also true that these brands are highly sought after because they are,”notably the exclusivity to afford such brands”. If you are able to purchase an item from some of these brands then people will associate you with the idea of wealth as well as one of the 8 P’s- pedigree. In the end these brands spend so much to continue to stay on top of luxury lists because that’s the consumer they are trying to sell to and the image that they are selling as well.
After reading this post, the most interesting concept that stuck with me is the parallel of achieving the status of “exclusivity” among both consumers and the brands themselves. With these luxury brands, the people that can attend these fashion events and afford these prestigious items hold this degree of being set apart from the common folk. Just as citizens pursue this exclusivity, brands that promote this exclusivity still must chase after the concept for themselves. As Mulberry selected the wildly popular super model Cara Delevingne as their flagship model for their new line of advertisements, they too achieved a sense of “status” or exclusivity by obtaining Ms. Delevingne as the mulberry model. People are always competing to stand apart from the crowd, and this is often through money, cars, or high fashion. Just as these people compete to be exclusive, the brands in which they invest their money compete amongst other brands for the same exclusivity they attempt to provide.