Is Your Logo Too Big For Luxury?
An interesting trend is going on in the fashion world, logos have become decidedly not fashionable. Perhaps no brand has suffered as greatly as Abercrombie and Fitch which has a stock chart resembling the downslope of Mt. Everest the past year. This trend isn’t new and has been developing over the past couple years as converging trends including the rise of frugal and selective shoppers from the economic downturn combined with the democratization of luxury and rejection of “grow up” brands by millennials and gen z. A&F has been keenly aware but unable to migrate its walking billboards to new styles for its brand.
“It looks a little trashy” — Luxury shopper quoted in a recent Washington post article.
For luxury brands, this trend is becoming even more acute. Luxury shopper certainly haven’t shopping, however many are seeking more subtle pieces and not something with logos and bling splashed all over them, similar to the A&F consumer. Products with great story underpinnings and detailed craftsmanship are replacing overly branded callouts. Many luxury consumers are abandoning venerable fashion houses like Louis Vuitton and Prada as they feel the brands have become “too common”.
In a digital marketplace, brands may be suffering from a case of too much exposure that has a strong effect on the overall perception of exclusivity. Social media creates broad awareness of brand access with little control by the brands themselves. As more and more people share their access to a brand, consumers seeking exclusivity move on to less accessible, more personalized brands. Exacerbating this process is the move to have less expensive items available to brand aspirational shoppers far below the price points of typical items. Many luxury brands have long struggled with the balance between keeping brands exclusive yet accessible to enough consumers to drive significant volume. Digital channels make this job harder and also create large secondary markets for used goods through sites like Tradesy, that enable consumers to sell and buy luxury items, even the retail shopping bags.
Overall, digital has some promising aspects for luxury marketers. Search is rapidly turning the entire web into a retail outlet. from google to Pinterest and Instagram, digital platforms are becoming simple shopping hubs connecting potential shoppers to retailers and to manufacturers themselves. Luxury brands will use this technology to better segment various shoppers and deliver target products to specific groups. Additionally, new and niche brands will be able to enter the category more easily by cultivating target influencers in desired markets and channels.
It’s likely that economic conditions overall are affecting the luxury category in new and somewhat unexpected ways. As many emerging markets explode with disposible income, luxury brands have stepped in to meet the growing demand. China is now the number 3 overall luxury market and expected to overtake Japan in the near future. The concentration of wealth in econominc centers no doubt has an effect as luxury consumers seek to differentiate themsleves from each other and mass market consumers in developed markets. As brand access increases, luxury brands will both benefit and be challenged by the ever changing dynamic of a digitally integrated marketplace.