How luxury brands deal with heritage and past?

26 août 15

Luxury brands use the past, from the organizational level of the company to all links with customers.At an organizational level, luxury houses have different types of management or organizations and departments that help preserving the heritage but also maintaining or reinforcing their attachment to the past. In terms of products, name and packaging, they are most of the time a reference to the founder her/himself or to symbols of the house.


Actually we have observed that their using the past within the products themselves is supported by both their communication and retail strategies. Indeed, the main issue about convening the past is to make sure that consumers get impregnated with the house history and vision so that all the elements from the past used create something credible. They have here a goal of bringing about an emotional impact. That is why communication and retail strategy play a significant role in getting the consumers or prescribers involved in the brand.

That is why we studied the consumer’s perception of luxury brands as a culture. But in all the cultures, there are the beginners and the insiders. The cases we studied during the year shown different types of consumers. We realized how important it is for a luxury house to train and inform its customer to turn them into amateurs at least and into experts if possible, and further turn them into loyal customers. Calling for the past indirectly impacts the final customer at the beginning, and then directly as with time he/she gets more informed.

To make references to the past is the best way to create prestige and distance. Nevertheless it does not mean that brands should stay fixed in the past. Each brand can play between distance and proximity especially with the Internet which permit to add some dynamism or humour. Chanel can promote Artisanat and metiers d’art and at the same time develop tattoos. Burberry that can be an expert in using social networks especially Facebook and promote their trench coat and “so british” look. Digital tools allow the brands to promote their DNA and educate the consumers to their values. So the past is not only a basic way to communicate for the brands but it is a basis for brands to build their identity, adapting all their strategy to the actual generation.


Grégoire Traineau