Consumer sensitivity towards luxury brands and fashion, in general, is undergoing a constant revolution. Based on inclusivity and identification, the most recent guidelines require brands to seek a balance continually. The aim is to develop their business without affecting their positioning and defending their brand equity as best as possible. How? In these four ways, for example…
In collaboration with Altavia
The revolution in the relationship between fashion brands and people is a fact. There is now a widespread awareness that the idea of exclusivity and the desire to emulate no longer play the role they traditionally did. The new generations are choosing to emphasise each individual’s differences and specific uniqueness with their purchasing choices. And – above all – they seek identification in brands that must be perceived as inclusive. However, how brands in the luxury segment must coexist with the need to maintain a high positioning in this new widespread sensibility is a question that remains partially unresolved.
The search for balance is continuous in order to develop their business without affecting their positioning and defending their brand equity as best as possible. Moreover, the increase in the possibilities of contact between brands and people is developing in an increasingly fast-paced and demanding context, where more and more channels need to be covered and a careful and constant strategic reflection is required.
The extreme case of Hermes, which has limited its production by leveraging the principle of scarcity to increase desirability, prompts the question of whether more experiential channels could even replace the product. All of this while recovering a dimension of expectation that digital commerce has completely disabused us. So here are the four ways in which brands can dialogue with the market while maintaining their fundamental characteristics of reputation and prestige. We have identified five.
The four ways to dialogue with the market
1 > Heritage first
One’s history is perhaps the only genuinely inalienable and distinctive element. In a world less and less interested in the product itself, inimitable intangible elements play a critical competitive role. Fashion is a cultural phenomenon before being an aesthetic one, and, in the new world in search of sustainability and inclusion, it has discovered the importance of an ethical dimension. Brands must be a set of values and models in which the individual can participate even before asking the utilitarian question of purchasing.
Telling the story of one’s origins, the reasons for starting a business, and how it has evolved over the years, not forgetting the highs and lows, engages the public emotionally and gives the brand authority. Today there are numerous phygital touchpoints that can be used in this sense. For example, by activating operations to recover historical material and enhance the value of business archives. Building multiple interactive experiences that would see the identity roots of the brands as the most interesting differentiating element.
2 > Being where it matters
It is in dialogue that the brand realises the meaning of its existence on the market. The protagonists can only be the people with their individual desires and needs. Even the product becomes an element of storytelling that is part of this exchange. The ability to communicate and support people in their customer journey in the best channel to satisfy their needs becomes the critical element of the relationship. The communication of luxury brands must discover the “optichannel” dimension, as much as possible, personalized with a data-driven approach that favours dialogue and exchange of opinions with the reference public. Being present in every channel with the continuous publication of new content risks creating real inflation of meaning. But also to make the brand lose that aura of exceptionality that characterises luxury.
A brand communicates only through its choices.
3 > Exploring new models of competition
In order to expand one’s market beyond traditional customers without distorting the perceived value of the brand, one way is to seek comparisons with other industries and other brands. More and more often, we see innovative commercial proposals born from the joint work of different realities. Collaborations can be between different fashion brands, with the release of capsule collections, such as those signed by Supreme together with Comme des Garçons and Louis Vuitton.
Or between clothing and other worlds. For example, as in the case of the co-branding operations proposed by Fiat and Gucci or by Algida and Dolce & Gabbana. The coopetition dimension is the most interesting in a world that will be less and less able to value and support direct and ‘muscular’ confrontations. Competing only for the value generated, cooperating to build new opportunities is an innovative approach. As well as being better suited to maximising the beneficial effects for the community of the contemporary market.
4 > Walking the path of being, not the “having” one
This is the basic assumption. If the purchase is identity, the idea of possession is becoming increasingly liquid, emptying itself of meaning and transferring its values (concrete and figurative) to the dimension of experience. We are part of a cultural revolution that sees the ability to transmit emotions and inspire and share its nerve centres. The measurement is that of the needs of human beings for human beings. Brands must play a leading role in this change by building meeting points where people can enjoy unforgettable experiences full of meaning. The places for this action can be digital, such as the recent exploit of the Metaverse. Or they can be more concrete, such as the commitment to enhance their retail networks as a point of relationship with the customer. All, however, must be designed and implemented with the explicit intention of preferring the dimension of being to that of having.