MILAN — On the heels of the 2013 Meaningful Brands Index released by Havas Media Group, Isabelle Harvie-Watt Clavarino, chief executive officer and country manager of the marketing group in Italy and also director of the global luxury division launched last year called LuxHub, revealed that “the majority of people worldwide wouldn’t care if 73 percent of brands disappeared tomorrow,” and discussed potential ways to build brand loyalty. Top ranking brands in 2013 include: Google in first place, followed by Samsung, Microsoft, Nestlé and Sony, Ikea, Dove, Nike, Wal-Mart, Danone, Philips and Procter & Gamble.
WWD: What are the main challenges for luxury brands in the future? Isabelle Harvie-Watt Clavarino: “Two, I narrowed it down to contents and container, which essentially means how you transmit a message. Contents obviously because before it was enough to transmit your brand heritage, the art of doing quality, exclusivity, your endorsement to celebrities, events, everything to do with your brand equity. But now what we have discovered from this research on meaningful brands is that the majority of people worldwide wouldn’t care if 73 percent of brands disappeared tomorrow.
That goes down to 60 percent in new and emerging markets where it is still enough to just have a brand but it goes up to 90 percent in more evolved markets like the U.S., Italy, the U.K. And really very few brands were actually seen to be meaningful, with a positive impact on people’s life.”
WWD: How was the research carried out? I.HW.C.: “We’ve been doing this research for five years, and this last one covered 22 markets. We interviewed about 150,000 consumers online, not just the affluent target, and we analyzed 700 brands, and obviously we analyzed some of the luxury brands as well, and in particular in the U.S. What comes out it is that, whereas before it was all about the product in the beginning and then you had to become aspirational, now you really need to make a difference in people’s lives, because there is no brand loyalty anymore essentially. You have to create a series of values around your brand to really impact people’s lives. The Meaningful Brand Index, it measures the impact a brand will have on somebody’s personal outcomes or on the collective outcomes. People expect brands to positively impact their lives or the life of their community today and that’s just a basic fact.”
WWD: Could you please define this impact? I.HW.C.: “It’s a brand that makes me feel better, let’s say Nike, or it’s something that helps me feel smarter, like my iPhone, it’s something which helps me to organize my life better, live better, like Ikea. Ikea actually is the top-performing brand in all of the markets across the world because they have done exactly that. They help you with your credit. They do a series of things that makes it much easier for you. So it depends: people expect different things from different brands and obviously it started with the green, but green is just one of the ways that a brand can become more meaningful in somebody’s life.
But it has to make sense, we went through this phase known then as the green washing, it was like the latest trend. What people are looking for is authenticity, in fashion you may not be able to be credible in terms of being green but there are all the other ways to become more meaningful and doing good. And basically what we’ve proved also with the Meaningful Brand Index over the years is that meaningful brands are doing good business, you can see just by the trend, in how they perform in the stock market, for example.
There is a very definite sort of correlation between businesses that are doing good and businesses that are doing well. Those kind of businesses that know how to create social value are performing well. For example, if we look at some of the brands in the U.S., we judged them in term of contributions as meaningful brands and thus the level of attachment is directly related. So therefore if you are perceived to be a meaningful brand you are going to have the much higher level of attachment.”
WWD: This year, half of the top 10 brands are in technology. I.HW.C.: “Unfortunately, there aren’t many fashion brands on the list, it might be interesting to do it just on the fashion business, but it is a small world. It’s been a few years now that brands started to realize that what they’ve been communicating until now is not enough. Burberry for example has been incredibly innovative in the way they communicate. In order to engage your consumer and to build a strong relation with your consumer, you have to go beyond; it’s not enough to build a story on your event, it’s not enough.
Because of the Internet [customers] know so much more and they compare, they discuss. Not only you have to tell a story that’s going to be relevant and great on some kind of personal level and collective well-being but also you need to tell a story that people feel personally connected to, tailored to your taste and what you like. You have to know your customer very well, you need to follow that customer and you need to make them feel like what you are doing is really pleasant to them and that’s the big difference. People are used to having what they want, when they want it and that’s what leads us to the problem of the challenge that today you have to become omnichannel, there is no doubt.” WWD: Did any specific shopping pattern emerge from the research? I.HW.C.: “Typically there’s a gap of about 28 days between when you first start thinking about a purchase and when you actually make it. It’s 28 days. The last thing people do before they buy is typically go to the Web sites and compare the prices. You have this sort of back and forth between what we used to call online and offline, and the further you get towards the purchase, the more the digital affects people because they will discuss and share with their friends, compare the prices. And interesting enough, what came out of this other research we did as well is that so many luxury brands are scared of not being able to transfer that brand experience online, or losing the exclusivity, which is very low in terms of people’s priorities, they don’t see it as a problem, they want to be able to get what they want wherever they want, whenever they want. If you look at the amount of money that people invest online, it is still very small….In general, in [the] luxury [arena] people fear they’re going to lose control.”
WWD: Do you think that the country of origin is relevant to customers? I.HW.C.: “I don’t think it is that relevant anymore. I think you need to be clear about the country of origin, I think you need to be honest about where it comes from but I don’t think it matters that much. I mean, made in Italy is always going to be important for l’artigianato [artisan craftsmanship], for very good and high-quality handmade products, and I guess in a way it could be a sort of a guarantee, but mainly I think people don’t want to be tricked.”
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews