Louis Vuitton is 150 years old! It is also the most fashionable luxury brand in Asia. One way of understanding revitalisation is to consider brands that have not ‘aged’. How have they done it? Typically, the brands that have defied the passage of time have adopted a dual logic, as illustrated by Nivea and Lacoste. To follow their example and stay young, a brand must implement three types of initiatives towards the product. These can also be used as a model for relaunching a brand.
Facelifting, reinventing and innovating
The management of a brand involves maintaining the present (what the brand is now) while at the same time working for the future. It is the present that constitutes the source of income and therefore allows the development of the growth products of the future. As shown in Figure below, in order to stay young, a brand must implement three types of initiatives at the same time:
Sustaining brand equity long term: dual management in practice
Actively seeking out new types of behavior means opening up to the idea of exploring new distribution channels, since new behaviour is often linked to new places and situations.
These innovations also provide an opportunity to launch new and truly groundbreaking publicity campaigns, both in terms of their basic structure and especially their style. In this way, the brand sends out clear signals that it is reinventing itself. At the same time, these campaigns aim to launch the business of these innovations, just as they would for any new product.
Detecting the symptoms of ageing brands
Brands are built by the sum of all their behaviours creating value at contact points with customers. This is why brands should regularly monitor their behaviour. There are many sure symptoms of a brand dropping off, and they can be grouped into seven main types.
Insufficient preparation for the future
Insufficient dual management
Insufficient capacity to capture growth pockets as they emerge
Insufficient vitality at contact
Back to the future
Often a brand’s decline is tied to forgetting the brand’s mission. Little by little small adjustments have been added to the strategy, and cumulatively they have led the brand astray. This is how heavy discounters become less heavy discounters, luxury brands become less luxurious, feminine brands become less feminine and so on.
‘Back to the core’ is a classic revitalising strategy. It does not mean being obsessed with the past, but if the early vision and mission are still valid, trying to come back to it while acknowledging that the product itself may need to be updated.
Many groups act preventively by regularly checking the relevance of their identity and the fact that the operations are actually in line with this strategy. For instance, at Decathlon, as soon as operating margins get higher, the alarm bell rings.
Decathlon’s deep culture focuses on making people happy through sport and physical activities. This is achieved through a remarkable policy of providing own brands with the best performance/price ratio on the market. Higher margins seem to indicate that this ratio is becoming less exceptional than it should be.
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