Luxury is a perception and building brand value is the element to sustainability. The luxury brand report card is out and Louis Vuitton’s number one position could be a luxury learning lesson for all. Millward Brown presents the BrandZ top 100 and our focus is of course on the Top 10 Luxury Brands.

1 Louis Vuitton 24,312 5 7 23%
2 Hermès 11,917 5 8 41%
3 Gucci 7,449 5 4 -2%
4 Chanel 6,823 5 9 23%
5 Cartier 5,327 5 6 34%
6 Rolex 5,269 5 5 11%
7 Hennessy 4,997 5 8 -7%
8 Moët & Chandon 4,570 5 8 7%
9 Fendi 3,422 5 5 7%
10 Burberry 3,379 4 7 N/A

Source: Millward Brown Optimor
(including data from BrandZ and Bloomberg)

Luxury Is Back

BrandZ reminds us again that luxury is back! Expressing that the new ethos frowned on flaunting and encouraged awareness of how one’s purchases, whether diamonds from African mines or apparel stitched in Asian factories, impacted the environment and people all along the supply chain.

Luxury Craftsmanship Matters

Connected to the concern with a product’s origins was a deepened appreciation for the craftsmanship that went into its creation. In a world of mass-produced consumer goods, bespoke attention to individuality became the ultimate luxury. And it provided a rational reason – if needed – for justifying an emotional, expensive purchase.

Trend To Raise Luxury Prices

Many brands raised prices. Those that genuinely could claim a history of design leadership and customization capitalized on their brand heritage in advertising and in online and in-store presentations. Gucci turned areas of some of its stores into small workshops where customers could view leatherworkers crafting handbags.

How Louis Vuitton Ranks Above The Class

To attract a new generation of shoppers, Louis Vuitton launched a program to encourage young artists with publicity and financial support, while continuing to evoke its heritage in travel to preserve relationships with the brand’s traditional following.

Louis Vuitton remained the highest-valued luxury brand and increased in value by 23 percent. Louis Vuitton broadcast its London fashion show on YouTube, an indication of the industry effort to be more contemporary in both product and communication.

LVMH purchased a stake in Hermès, one of the few ultra-luxury brands with long and respected heritage still held privately. The action raised speculation that LVMH eventually would bid for the entire company. Such a deal would further consolidate the luxury category and add efficiencies and prestige to the LVMH portfolio. The potential impact on the Hermès brand isn’t as clear. The family owners of Hermès made clear their desire to retain control.

Burberry Rejuvenates 155 Year Old British Heritage

Burberry sent personalized messages to the mobile phones of customers, inviting them to view the brand’s London fashion show streamed live to a Burberry store. Any item from the catwalk could be purchased for delivery within weeks. Burberry continued to successfully rejuvenate the 155-year-old British heritage brand and enjoyed year-on-year double-digit increases in all markets.

Chanel Launches E-Commerce

Chanel entered e-commerce for the first time, although more for the sale of accessories than couture, because extending luxury credentials to the mass market risked diluting the exclusivity of the brand.

Hermès Launches Chinese Brand

The Hermès brand value grew 41 percent. Hermès launched a Chinese brand that may herald the inception of luxury brands developed in fast-growing markets.

Luxury Brands Exclusivity

Brands that protected their exclusivity – such as Chanel, Hermès, or Cartier – were better insulated from the recession than more accessible luxury brands.

Luxury Marketing Targets

Meanwhile, China and other BRIC countries remained important markets because badge status gratified a growing middle class and a band of affluent individuals who had wealth for the first time and were ready to spend it.

Luxury Brand Biggest Winners

Ultra-luxury returned, prices increased and aspirational brands did well. Because their customers were online, luxury brands discovered ways to be there as well.

Luxury Media Credibility

Fashion magazines competed with bloggers for influence.

Luxury Targeting Millennials – Generation Y

Penny Logier, Managing Director, MediaCom reports extending the reach of luxury….“ We found that the consumer is more and more able to buy into the assets of the couture brands by simply purchasing things like a lipstick, or a handbag or even sunglasses.”

Luxury Brand Tips

Grow brand value… Brand value translates into sales, customer loyalty and – as shown by the performance of the BrandZ Top 100 – resilience even during the toughest economic times.

Protect brand value … Every communication or interaction with a customer needs to fulfill the brand promise.

Be consistent but flexible… Deliver the same coherent global message across cultures, but express it for local comprehension.

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