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Luxury Brand Management: A World of Privilege, 2nd Edition by Gerald Mazzalovo, Michel Chevalier

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CHAPTER 4

The Power of the Luxury Brand

So far in this book, we have spoken more readily of brands than of businesses. In fact, the luxury business is, above all, a business of brands. When customers have a preference for a brand, they are ready to spend a little more on it. Sometimes a brand goes through periods when perhaps the creativity is a bit weak, and new products are not as good as they should be, yet it manages to keep its loyal customers. There is always a strong value attached to a strong brand for reasons that are historical and social, as well as emotional.

For luxury goods, brand identity is a very important element of the business. In certain ways, it can also be a constraint: It is not possible to launch a product that is outside of its sphere of legitimacy.

How do we measure the strength of a brand? The first question to ask is: How well known is it? This can be ascertained by asking 500 target consumers: “What are the brands of luxury watches that you know?” Immediate answers—Rolex or Cartier, say—will provide what is called spontaneous awareness. But, from the same answer, researchers will be able to provide other information. They will record the number of times any one brand is mentioned first, which provides the top-of-mind answer, an indication of great strength of a given brand for a product category. For example, if we ask a group of consumers to name all the brands of scarves that they know, they are more than likely to mention Hermès first. However, ...

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