When it comes to fashion there is nothing like haute couture. Perhaps the country that serves as the homeland to the most prestigious high end brands is France. Two of these brands are Chanel and Louis Vuitton. For many years both these brands have maintained a rather high status by following most of the eight P’s. These being: performance, pedigree, paucity, personna, public figures, placement, public relations (pr), and pricing. All of these factors are very important and if they are used properly, a brand stays prestigious.
Performance: First of all, it is very important that a brand has a strong performance. “Performance refers to the delivery of superior experience of a luxury brand at two levels – first, at a product level and second, at an experiential level” (Arora, “8 P’s of Luxury Brand Marketing”) This is best defined as a strong representation showcasing prestige, a lifestyle, a hidden meaning, and the product is high quality. To start off with Chanel, the consumer can easily see that they have a high experimental level. This is the specific value or meaning that a brand represents. It is clear that Chanel represents individualism through their advertisements. In the majority of Chanel ads there is only one model present and the background is never vibrant to distract the viewer from that one model. If a vibrant piece is ever present in a Chanel ad, there is only one. Not only does Chanel have a high experimental level, they also have a high product level. Chanel products whether they are clothing or accessories alway have a unique design and are most certainly classified as high quality. Coco Chanel was the first designer to release many new fashion pieces and ideas that became standard in today’s world. Chanel was the first brand to release The Little Black Dress, trousers for women, business suits for women, and of course the classic flap bag. All of Chanel’s pieces were designed to be comfortable, durable for the workplace, and of course chic. Chanel was the first brand ever to release clothing that no longer required a corset and allowed female consumers to be comfortable yet stylish enough to be in the business world. Every garment under the name of Chanel is hand sewn precisely. Any one could notice that the stitching on the quilted flap bags is perfect. Since Chanel’s merchandise has a high experimental and product level, the performance is very strong.
Along with Chanel, Louis Vuitton has a very good performance as well. To start off, Louis Vuitton has a strong experimental level. Louis Vuitton represents travel and adventure and the consumer can see this through their products and advertisements. Louis Vuitton started off by making custom trunks used for travel; primarily for safaris. Nowadays, their luggage is very popular amongst the wealthy. In many Louis Vuitton advertisements, the models appear to be on some sort of adventure. The backgrounds often show some sort of landscape and the model in placed in the foreground and appears to be living an adventure. Louis Vuitton wants to show their consumers that their merchandise is durable for travel and adventure and encourages them to go out and explore the world. Not only does Louis Vuitton have a strong experimental level, the brand has a strong product level as well. Louis Vuitton merchandise is durable, precisely sewn, and most certainly has a unique design. No other brand has designed such a gorgeous coated canvas tote that is flawless from every last stitch to a perfectly aligned seam. Since the bags are coated canvas opposed to leather, they can withstand harsh conditions.
Pedigree: Second of all, a pedigree can have a massive effect on a brand’s reputation. A reputable pedigree will keep a brand’s status high and retain popularity. “Many luxury brands have a rich pedigree and extraordinary history that turn into an inseparable part of the brand’s mystique. This mystique is generally built around the exceptional legendary founder character of the past, making up an integral part of the brand story and brand personality.” (Arora, “8 P’s of Luxury Brand Marketing”). Chanel is probably the brand with the strongest pedigree. Coco Chanel opened her first shop in 1910. This was a time when male designers ruled the fashion industry and all of their designs were elaborate, not functional, and had one major problem in common, this was the corset. Coco Chanel felt that it was time to make a change. She wanted her clothing to be simple, functional, timeless, yet ever so chic. Coco Chanel designed many pieces that evolved and became staples in a typical woman’s wardrobe. The Little Black Dress, the Chanel style suit, and trousers for woman were originally designed by Coco Chanel. As we all know, they are now classics and many other brands have designed affordable variations. After Coco Chanel passed away in the 1970s, Karl Lagerfeld took over the business in 1980 and modernized Chanel, however he kept it simple and elegant at the same time. That is exactly how Coco Chanel would have wanted it to stay. To continue to live Chanel’s legacy and enhance the pedigree, Chanel launched the Coco Mademoiselle Campaigns in 1981 (right after Lagerfeld took over), 2008, 2009, and 2011, to promote new fragrances. Chanel No. 5 is obviously Chanel’s most iconic fragrance created by Coco Chanel herself and was the first perfume to ever have it’s own scent opposed to being floral or fruity. To keep the brand at the top, Chanel launched new unique fragrances including Chance Chanel along with its variations and Coco Mademoiselle. The name Chanel has been admired for about a century. For many years it has been one of the top couture brands and millions of people have dreamed of owning a Chanel handbag for many decades.
The brand Louis Vuitton has a strong pedigree as well. At the age of sixteen, a young Louis Vuitton decided to become a trunk maker. In 1837, he traveled to Paris by foot and worked for a box maker named Monsieur Marechal. During this time there was no easy mode of transportation. Most travelling was either done by horseback, a horse and carriage, train, boat, or by foot. Therefore all luggage had to be very strong, made well, and durable due to the rough handling and conditions. Louis Vuitton used his skills properly and after just working a short amount of time he became a valued craftsman. His specialty became custom designed boxes and trunks that his clients would use for travel. Many of his first trunks were wooden but then he started to use his signature brown check print. After 17 years, Louis Vuitton opened his own shop in Paris. In 1859 his business started out small with just 20 employees but by the year 1900 there were approximately 100 employees and 225 by 1914. Throughout many decades, Louis Vuitton’s original shop continued to expand. The Vuittons’ residence was added on and has been made into a private museum today. His original shop called Asnières is still where Louis Vuitton’s custom merchandise in manufactured. One major problem that travelers with trunks had to deal with was theft. Burglars could easily break into their trunks and Louis Vuitton and his son George put that to a stop. In 1886 the pair developed a single lock system with two spring buckles. After several years passed, George Vuitton patented the design and it became revolutionary and is still used to this day. George Vuitton even challenged magician Harry Houdini to escape a Vuitton trunk and he even turned down the challenge knowing it was impossible. As time passed, the Louis Vuitton brand branched out from just designing trunks to designing handbags, clothing, accessories, and they are about to release their first fragrance. To celebrate 100th anniversary of the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram canvas, a special collection was released in 1996 consisting of a handbag, a tote, a hobo bag, and of course two small luggage bags.
Paucity: Paucity is best defined as the rarity of materials or techniques used on a product. The three kinds of paucity include natural, technology driven, and tactical. Natural paucity is the rarity or value of the materials that the product is made from. On the majority of Chanel handbags, lambskin and calfskin are used. These materials aren’t necessarily rare but they are expensive. The majority of Chanel clothing is made from expensive materials as well. Wools such as cashmere and tweed are often used on Chanel suits and the footwear is primarily made of leather. On the other hand, Louis Vuitton primary uses coated canvas for the majority of their goods which is neither rare or expensive. However, the quality is very good and coated canvas is very durable. Technology driven paucity involves the technology that had to be developed to make a specific product and the time needed to manufacture. Though there was no new technology developed for Chanel, each product is made very carefully and precisely. Every stitch is always flawless. This means that each product takes ages to make. On the other hand, Louis Vuitton developed a way to create the coated canvas used on a large portion of their merchandise. Just like Chanel, Louis Vuitton takes all the time that is needed to carefully and precisely sew each good. Therefore both brands do have technology driven paucity. Finally, there is tactical paucity. “Tactical- driven paucity are more promotional in nature such as the limited editions or the special series to generate artificial desire and demand.” (Arora, “8 P’s of Luxury Brand Marketing”). To achieve tactical paucity, many brands release special collections, customized goods, or limited edition products. Chanel often releases limited edition handbags that differ from their typical handbags. These limited edition bags tend to have properties such as rhinestones or other blingy embellishments. Chanel also releases limited edition cosmetics primarily around the holiday season. This way the products sell more rapidly because consumers tend to do most of their bulk buying around the holiday season. Also if the consumer knows the product will only be available for a short time, they are more eager to buy it. Just like Chanel, Louis Vuitton has released multiple limited edition handbags in the past. Also just like Chanel’s limited edition bags, Louis Vuitton limited edition bags highly differ from their standard bags. When it comes to limited edition, Louis Vuitton has a wide range from a floral design incorporated into their traditional style, to bags with gaudy colors and fonts. Considering these products are limited edition, the demand is a lot higher therefore a huge profit is made. In addition to limited edition products, both Chanel and Louis Vuitton offer product customization. In the stores you can have products monogrammed and special order a handbag however you want it. Both these brands also offer custom design haute couture to those who are able to afford it. Clearly both Chanel and Louis Vuitton have high paucity.
Persona: It is essential for every brand to have persona whether it is a luxury brand or not. “The persona of a luxury brand is largely a result of – first, its distinctive projection plus coherence of its applications across consumer touch-points and second, the brand communication through its advertising.” (Arora, “8 P’s of Luxury Brand Marketing”). The most common aspect of persona is the visual brand identity. This refers to the brands personality and visual appearance. For example, Chanel has a very simple logo. This logo consists of two crossed C’s and they help represent Chanel’s minimalistic yet elegant image. On the majority of Chanel products this logo is present. It is usually made of either silver, gold, or rose gold metal. In some of Chanel’s more embellished products like sunglasses or jewelry, the C’s are often made on rhinestones and in some cases diamonds. As I previously stated, Chanel’s advertisements also represent individualism because in most ads, only one model is present or there is focus on only one product. Unfortunately, Chanel’s Instagram does not represent a strong persona considering there is no proper aesthetic however, through their online advertisements, there persona is very strong. In one of Chanel’s most recent ads, they once again represent the concept of individualism with just one model present and the focal point being on just one piece, a colorful skirt. Along with Chanel, Louis Vuitton has a strong persona. Their LV logo is iconic along with their brown check print. These patterns are commonly found on their handbags, wallets, and luggage. As I previously stated, the Louis Vuitton brand represents travel and adventure. The majority of their ad campaigns showcase a trip of some sort. Their most recent ad campaign is The 2017 Cruise Campaign. This features elegant clean fashions suitable for a luxurious cruise. The ads also showcase a scenic background bringing in the concept of travel. On social media, Louis Vuitton does show a few travel images but for the most part they just show their products. Therefore their online persona is not the strongest. Other than that Louis Vuitton does have a very strong persona along with Chanel. This definitely helps them stay at the top of the fashion world.
Public Figures: Public figures are a great way to either enhance or devalue a brand’s reputation. If Duchess Kate Middleton promoted a brand, then that brand would gain a very high reputation. On the other hand, if someone like Lindsay Lohan represented a brand, that brand’s reputation would be very poor. In the 1960’s Jackie Kennedy was a huge promoter for Chanel. Being the first lady many people looked up to her and since she often wore Chanel suits, people saw Chanel as rather desirable and as a sign of superiority. As time passed Keira Knightley became a Chanel public figure along with Nicole Kidman. Keira Knightley serves as a great public figure for Chanel because she is a highly respected actress who participates in charity work. Nicole Kidman also serves as a great public figure because she is also a highly respected actress and producer. Consumers who look up to these public figures either start to or continue to think highly of Chanel.
Moving on, Louis Vuitton uses Angelina Jolie as a public figure. As we all know she is a highly respected actress, producer and his known for her charity work. Angelina Jolie also travels a lot to help children in need. Her story on her trip to Cambodia is also featured on the Louis Vuitton website. This definitely fits Louis Vuitton’s image. As stated before, public figures are the ones who set the brands reputation, not the designers themselves. Both Chanel and Louis Vuitton did a great job of selecting their public figures.
Placement: The placement, primarily the stores location is probably one of the most important P’s because the location determines the brands status. “The retail branded environment in luxury branding is all about heightening the consumer’s brand experience and amplifying the brand aura. Hence, the branded environment, the movement of truth, is where it must “live” the brand by orchestrating immaculate detailing that engages all senses of the discerning audience.” (Arora, “8 P’s of Luxury Brand Marketing”). In other words, the consumer wants to have a luxurious experience to go along with the high price. The House of Chanel in Paris has a very prestigious location of 31 Rue Cambon. Chanel’s other location in Paris is at the iconic Hotel Ritz. Both these locations show how prestigious Chanel is and makes the brand desirable amongst consumers. Chanel has a few locations in New York and these include spots between Fifth and Madison Avenue on 57th and Madison Avenue and 64th Street. The 57th Street store is neighbors Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry, Prada, and more. The Madison Avenue location neighbors smaller high end boutiques. Chanel also has a line of sports equipment; primarily for expensive sports. These include tennis rackets, surf boards, golf clubs, skis, snowboards, and equestrian gear. Chanel also makes multiple appearances in the most iconic fashion movie, The Devil Wears Prada. Throughout the film the main character Andrea is spotted wearing Chanel necklaces, and boots.
Moving on, Louis Vuitton also has three prestigious locations in Paris; one of these location being their original shop. In New York, Louis Vuitton is located on Fifth Avenue one block away from Tiffany’s and down the street from Bergdorf Goodman and the Plaza Hotel. Both the Paris and the New York locations are rather prestigious and attract a lot of tourists and consumers. Therefore Louis Vuitton is seen as superior and desirable. Louis Vuitton shops are also located on the first floor of many high end department stores including Saks, Harrods, Selfridges, and Bergdorf Goodman. The Louis Vuitton brand is never sold within the department stores so it does not interfere with sales. Plus it makes the brand seem more exclusive. There is a Louis Vuitton sighting in the movie Grown Ups. When the wealthy family leaves to take a trip to Italy, we see them packing multiple Louis Vuitton suitcases into their car. However, this was a poor choice. Grown Ups is a gross out comedy film and it could have lowered Louis Vuitton’s reputation.
Public Relations: Both Chanel and Louis Vuitton have very strong public relations. Consumers think very highly of these brands primarily due to their pedigree and paucity. Both of these brands have a fascinating history which I have previously summed up and their products are made flawlessly. Chanel and Louis Vuitton are both featured in Paris Fashion Week. Both of these shows are attended by top magazine editors and celebrities. There are not to many bloggers to post the clothing on the internet. Throughout many decades, both Chanel and Louis Vuitton remained top brands due to the positive opinions from the public.
Pricing: Pricing is most definitely the most significant factor when it comes to sales and status. Chanel has every right to charge high prices for their goods due to their pedigree and paucity. If they did not have a strong history and well made products, no consumer would purchase any of their products for a high price. The same rules apply for Louis Vuitton. However, Louis Vuitton almost had a massive problem with their pricing. In Japan their handbags were selling for a lot less money due to counterfeits and bargaining. Thankfully, there was an even price set throughout the world so Louis Vuitton would not suffer. Neither Chanel or Louis Vuitton have sales because it will ruin their reputation and the value will decrease. Also the higher the price, the more desirable the brand seems. This is why you will never find a Chanel or Louis Vuitton product in stores such as TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack. Other high end brands have made that same mistake such as Calvin Klein and Michael Kors and their reputations went down hill. Due to their high prices, Chanel and Louis Vuitton will stay at the top. As i stated before, Louis Vuitton made the smart decision of having separate boutiques within high end department stores. This way the brand could easily set an even price on their products worldwide and the department stores sales or policies would not interfere. If Chanel followed the same route, they would be even more successful.
As we know, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are two of the most prestigious brands in the world due to the eight P’s. Both of these brands would not be successful without performance, pedigree, paucity, persona, public figures, placement, public relations, and pricing. If Chanel and Louis Vuitton continue to follow the eight P’s, they will continue to thrive throughout future decades and possibly centuries.
Shine On~ Dana