Final Project Parameters

The idea is to choose a luxury brand’s recent ad/marketing or digital campaign and critique it using one of the consumer marketing theorists we have studied in class. (Or possibly additional theorists from the list below) The idea is to link the essence of the luxury brand (perhaps watch some interviews of the lead designer and how they feel about the brand). How do these two distinct areas link or relate to each other? Specifically, in the way the company is using brand strategy, especially in the campaign you have chosen with the theorist you think closely aligns with the brand. An example, Ralph Lauren is the creator of lifestyle branding. He sells an aspirational word of luxurious glamor. His campaigns are all exuding a kind of unattainable world of fantasy. He uses vivid colors and beautiful imagery. One of David Ogilvy’s theories on branding was to create the “bid idea”. If I were to relate the two, I would posit that Ralph Lauren’s big idea was to sell an American aristocracy to a moderately wealthy consumer. I could also add the American consumers desire to want more or an element of “conspicuous consumption”. Juliet Schor discusses the unsatisfied American consumer who constantly spends to be happy and it’s all about how people perceive your status or standing in society versus buying something that just makes you happy. Please have fun with this!!!!!! Be creative and please have someone edit the paper before you turn it in!!!!!!

 The parameters of the paper are below:

Paper needs to be six pages using citations and double spacing.

The format should cover the questions below:

  1. What is company
  2. Rationale for company (Ethos from the designer’s lips if possible-this will take some digging)
  3. Where is line distributed
  4. Line of products with very brief description
  5. Example of a recent campaign that you feel strongly about
  6. How does that campaign relate to a theorist we have studied
  7. Is there a suggestion(s) they could have used to alter the campaign message in some way to better target their audience? Discuss timing, placement, target audience, goals like 5% recognition in certain markets as an example
  8. The lists below don’t coordinate, I merely gave you some options but you don’t have to use my suggestions………see list on second page

Theorists:                                             Luxury Brands:

Doug Holt                                            Ralph Lauren

Jonah Berger                                       Versace

Gerard Zaltman                                  Gucci

Sasha Strauss                                      Prada

Juliet Schor                                         

Benjamin Libet

Edelman from McKinsey

David Olgivy

Nigel Hollis

David Lewis

Jung

Paco Underhill

Patrick Renovoise

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Fashion Branding: Digital Campaign

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Fashion Branding: Digital Campaign

Bill Cunningham says fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. Generally, initiating and running a business is tough, and the fashion industry is callous. According to Morhart & Malär (2020), the clothing business has typically been a big business globally, estimated to grow by 6.5% between 2018 and 2020. Presently, the apparel market’s value stands at $1.5 trillion and is projected to grow to about $2.25 trillion by 2025. Consequently, this indicates that the demand for clothing and shoes are high on demand, with an anticipated rise across the globe.

However, when appropriately applied, the concept of branding becomes a dominant competitive strategy for upcoming and existing clothing business companies to succeed. Without branding, the much-incurred growth and the anticipated expansion of the fashion industry could otherwise be an in-vain vision (Muniz & Guzmán, 2021). It helps to create a link between the character of an object and its branded image. For instance, the Gucci Fashion House has been around for a while, and due to its unique branding techniques, the company has grown to become one of the leading clothing brands in the world. This paper intends to use Gerard Zaltman’s consumer marketing theory to critique Gucci’s recent digital campaign courtesy.

Company

Gucci is an Italian fashion house founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, a businessman and fashion designer. At first, the company began its operations in Florence, Tuscany, growing into the global market under the direction of Aldo Gucci, son to Guccio Gucci. Presently, the company is one of the oldest Italian fashion brands within its region and world. Interestingly, like many other historic fashion brands, the company started as a luggage manufacturer specializing in luxury travel goods. Most of its customers then were wealthy upper-class individuals, according to Sepe & Anzivino (2020). From the 1950s, the brand experienced outstanding success as a label of choice among wealthy travellers such as Hollywood stars and other well-heeled shoppers.

Unfortunately, in 1953, the founder, Guccio Gucci, died, and the company continued running under the collaborative leadership of his three sons. When one of the sons, Rodolfo Gucci, passed away, and the company was handed over to his son Maurizio, he struggled to maintain success (Sepe & Anzivino, 2020). Ultimately, this incurred numerous troubles for the company. In 1990, Tom Ford was hired and later promoted to Creative Director. His leadership is accredited to helping restore Gucci’s reputation. However, following consistent family feuds, the Gucci family lost their entire capital shares in 1993. Since then, the company went through different leadership; until recently, Alessandro Michelle was hired to take over as the Creative Director. For 12 years, Michele worked for the brand in various roles.

For this reason, he adopted a unique style of blending Gucci’s classic penchant for extravagance and luxury with theatrical. The somewhat kitschy pageantry has proven an enormous success by attracting especially young and aspirational customers and fashion insiders (Bilro, Loureiro & dos Santos, 2019). Gucci is a subsidiary (S.p. A) kind of company under the fashion industry. Markedly, under Michele’s leadership, the company has incurred an 11% bolster in profits for the parent company, Kering. The outstanding performance continues to this day and is expected to rise in the future. Currently, Gucci has a brand value of $22.6B, $10.8B sales, and 2,400 employees headquartered in Florence, Italy. 

Company Rationale

In 2015, after Michel’s reign, Marco Bizzarri, an Italian business executive, assumed the President and CEO roles at Gucci. On average, Gucci fashion house embraces brand richness and intelligent business strategy. Conferring to Truong (2019), when applying the Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique to understand place image, it explains why Gucci Company combines unique design elements and clever marketing strategies to create consumer desire, high demand and exceptional consumer satisfaction. Subsequently, manufacturing, design, and marketing factors make Gucci a unique, somewhat costlier brand in the world. As a top-class designer, says Sepe & Anzivino (2020), Gucci obtains high-quality raw materials alongside high production methods. Not to mention, it employs top fashion designers in the world. Notably, these designers have a commonality in understanding the consumer’s thoughts and feelings regarding imagery representation.

Based on Gerald Zaltman, the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique is essentially a marketing tool, providing insight into the Mind of the Market by investigating the consumer’s subconscious mind. According to Truong (2019), it is here that most purchasing decisions are made, a concept that projects in Gucci’s branding and marketing strategies. Statements from Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri and cofounder and CEO Positive Luxury, Verde Nieto, indicates that the culture of purpose is the sustainability hub for luxury brands to thrive in the industry. As more and more consumers call for brand transparency, Gucci CEO believes that creating a platform that facilitates corporate social responsibility is a viable business rationale (Truong, 2019). Marco stated that consumer power enables the company to drive conversations to make it relevant even today.

Although not affiliated with Gucci, Ms. Verde Nieto agree too Marco’s statement as an industry expert. In an interview with Luxury Daily, Marco argues that due to millennia’s shifting values, luxury brands realize the significance of adopting CSR to achieve the culture of purpose. The company aims to give its consumers easy access to the brand’s corporate sustainability and responsibility by enhancing, amplifying, and challenging individual values (Muniz & Guzmán, 2021). More significantly, the culture of purpose and the adoption of new strategies underpin the brand’s impressive turnaround. For instance, forecasting into the company’s future incentives, Gucci plans to foster sustainable ideas for the recently opened ArtLab leather center of excellence as a more sustainable process (Muniz & Guzmán, 2021). Equally, owing to the company’s years of experience in the fashion industry, Gucci has realized the significance of matching their values with their customers. Consequently, this necessitates creating an equilibrium that could serve as a solid platform for building an enabling environment and fostering social change.

Line Distribution

Distribution, in general, focuses on getting a product or service to the correct recipients and at the right time. While concentrating on the line of distribution, businesses should consider the need for profit and efficiency. Based on findings by Bilro, Loureiro & dos Santos (2019), a customer may prefer to buy a product directly from the manufacturer or through a wholesaler or retailer. Whichever purchasing means are favorable to the customer, distribution channels have a substantial role in propping business success. Among the marketing mix concepts, distribution is vital to consider due to its inevitable part. Distribution channels are fundamentally divided into four primary types, namely, producer-consumer, producer-retailer-customer, producer-wholesaler-retailer-customer, and producer-agent-wholesaler-retailer-customer. Markedly, products and services can be distributed by road, sea, air, or rail.

Be that as it may, different sectors utilize different distribution systems. For instance, the food industry follows a different distribution than the clothing sector. Frequently, most businesses and companies within the food sector tend to use producer-wholesaler-retailer-customer distribution channel. Due to time restraints encircling food retailers, product delivery largely depends on time to maintain quality and freshness. Conversely, Morhart & Malär (2020) explain that businesses in the fashion and clothing industry tend to use the producer-retailer-consumer distribution system.

For instance, Gucci relies exclusively on distribution networks to get products to their customer while maintaining control over the service level. In such scenarios, sellers only carry producer products. The company markets its products through online and Directly Operated Stores (DOS), which account for 70% company’s revenue (Muniz & Guzmán, 2021). Gucci adopted the producer-retailer-customer distribution channel after the company realized that it was losing control of its activities, which resulted in reduced productivity and performance. The company renovated their DOS and confined products to these stores alone to strengthen their network and marketing strategy. Consequently, this attracted young customers and enabled the company to catch up with the modern era. Necessary to note, by Gucci controlling their entire distribution channel, they hold the company’s image as perceived by customers.

Line of Products

A product line refers to a collection of related products marketed under a single brand name and sold by the same company. For the enhanced consumer, usability companies are often inclined to sell multiple product lines under various brand names. For this reason, Gucci has ventured into a line of products, enabling it to gain access to a large market base. Leather goods such as backpacks, handbags, blazers, Bottega Veneta, jackets, sweaters, and wallets. According to Truong (2019), most Gucci products are made from vintage leather. Subsequently, Gucci has devoted itself to producing high-quality shoes, mainly targeting the younger generation, the majority. Markedly, leather products account for more than half of the company’s overall revenue.

Gucci prides itself in using authentic leather, which leaves the shoes smelling and genuine. Often printed cloth is used as an iridescent fabric quality. Sneakers, loafers, sports shoes, boots, and floaters are some types of shoes produced by Gucci. Ready-to-wear products like Doraemon, slick dresses, and straitjackets accounting for 14% of the revenue, are also products in Gucci fashion house. Watches and jewelry, among other products, account for 13% of the total income or products owned and distributed by Gucci.

Recent Campaign Example

Gucci’s most recent advertising campaign was titled the Ritual, intended to run from fall to winter 2020-2021. The digital campaign follows the reversal of perspective characterized by Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s vision. Ideally, the audience, in this case, target customers, were invited to witness behind the scenes events during advertising video shoots. Surprisingly, in the quest to explore the new idea from a different perspective, new possibilities were opened. Models and other renowned individuals were allowed to inhabit the looks in their daily lives from the comfort of their space. The campaign mirrored the characters as photographers, producers, scenographers, and storytellers. By ceding control to the advertisers, a kind of creativity was unleashed.

Campaign Relation to Gerard Zaltman Theory

The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) is a market research tool that explores conscious and unconscious thoughts and feeling as metaphor expressions. Developed by Gerald Zaltman at the Harvard Business School, the early 1990s, the ZMET tool effectively allows consumers to uncover hidden tactic knowledge and understand what they did not know. Exploring the meaning of metaphors identified through Zaltman’s technique results in recognizing essential ideas. By Gucci allowing the models to author the campaign, it unveiled these individuals’ hidden skills and abilities. As previously mentioned, some were pictured as storytellers, scenographers, and photographers, relating to Zaltman’s theory. Arguably, the conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings of models were revealed, which affected the company’s overall reputation. Suggestions to alter the campaign could not include much, only that the characters should be allowed to occupy more grandeur spaces and include more friends.

Conclusion

Conclusively, the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique is occasionally used to critique digital campaigns associated with company performance. The marketing consumer theory explores the conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings to uncover a tactical knowledge possessed by consumers, which they are unaware. In this case, the paper examined the Gucci fashion house by criticizing one of its recent digital campaigns: the ritual. Since its inception in 1921, the company has grown immensely to dominate the fashion industry. As described by CEO Gucci, Marco Bizzarri, the culture of purpose defines its rationale and underpins the overall success. Owing to Gucci’s confined line of distribution and various goods, consumer usability is significantly enhanced to bolster the overall revenue. The Zaltman technique, when appropriately employed, is a beneficial tool for businesses and customers.

References

Bilro, R. G., Loureiro, S. M. C., & dos Santos, J. F. (2019). The impact of Massclusivity campaigns on perceptions and brand love of Gucci online brand communities’ members. In 48th annual European Marketing Academy annual conference-EMAC.

Morhart, F., & Malär, L. (2020). Authenticity in luxury branding. In Research handbook on luxury branding. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Muniz, F., & Guzmán, F. (2021). Overcoming the conflicting values of luxury branding and CSR by leveraging celebrity endorsements to build brand equity. Journal of Brand Management, 1-12.

Sepe, G., & Anzivino, A. (2020). Guccification: Redefining Luxury through Art—the Gucci Revolution. In The Artification of Luxury Fashion Brands (pp. 89-112). Palgrave Pivot, Cham.

Truong, V. A. T. (2019). Applying the Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique on understanding place image. Journal of Asian Business and Economic Studies.