Innovation, interaction, and inclusion : heritage luxury brands in collusion with the consumer

McMahon, Kay & Morley, Jane (2011) Innovation, interaction, and inclusion : heritage luxury brands in collusion with the consumer. In Fashion & Luxury : Between Heritage & Innovation. Institut Francais de la Mode, Paris, France, pp. 69-78.

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Many luxury heritage brands operate on the misconception that heritage is interchangeable with history rather than representative of the emotional response they originally developed in their customer. This idea of heritage as static history inhibits innovation, prevents dynamic renewal and impedes their ability to redefine, strengthen and position their brand in current and emerging marketplaces.

This paper examines a number of heritage luxury brands that have successfully identified the original emotional responses they developed in their customers and, through innovative approaches in design, marketing, branding and distribution evoke these responses in contemporary consumers. Using heritage and innovation hand-in-hand, these brands have continued to grow and develop a vision of heritage that incorporates both historical and contemporary ideas to meet emerging customer needs.

While what constitutes a ‘luxury’ item is constantly challenged in this era of accessible luxury products, up scaling and aspirational spending, this paper sees consumers’ emotional needs as the key element in defining the concept of luxury. These emotional qualities consistently remain relevant due to their ability to enhance a positive sense of identity for the brand user. Luxury is about the ‘experience’ not just the product providing the consumer with a sense of enhanced status or identity through invoked feelings of exclusivity, authenticity, quality, uniqueness and culture. This paper will analyse luxury heritage brands that have successfully combined these emotional values with those of their ‘heritage’ to create an aura of authenticity and nostalgia that appeals to contemporary consumers.

Like luxury, the line where clothing becomes fashion is blurred in the contemporary fashion industry; however, consumer emotion again plays an important role. For example, clothing becomes ‘fashion’ for consumers when it affects their self perception rather than fulfilling basic functions of shelter and protection. Successful luxury heritage brands can enhance consumers’ sense of self by involving them in the ‘experience’ and ‘personality’ of the brand so they see it as a reflection of their own exclusiveness, authentic uniqueness, belonging and cultural value.

Innovation is a valuable tool for heritage luxury brands to successfully generate these desired emotional responses and meet the evolving needs of contemporary consumers. While traditionally fashion has been a monologue from brand to consumer, new technology has given consumers a voice to engage brands in a conversation to express their evolving needs, ideas and feedback. As a result, in this consumer-empowered era of information sharing, this paper defines innovation as the ability of heritage luxury brands to develop new design and branding strategies in response to this consumer feedback while retaining the emotional core values of their heritage.

This paper analyses how luxury heritage brands can effectively position themselves in the contemporary marketplace by separating heritage from history to incorporate innovative strategies that will appeal to consumer needs of today and tomorrow.

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ID Code: 43718
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: luxury fashion, heritage, branding, consumers, digital technology, innovation, online
ISBN: 9782914863230
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > VISUAL ARTS AND CRAFTS (190500)
Divisions: Past > Disciplines > Fashion
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Institut Francais de la Mode
Deposited On: 28 Jul 2011 23:02
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2015 07:03

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