Recently, I’ve started my Executive MBA at NYU Stern and been thinking a lot about branding (something I am passionate about) and in particular wondering what current luxury brand has what it takes in terms of heritage, strategy and visionary executives to be the next mega luxury brand along the likes of Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci & Prada.
I believe Goyard (www.goyard.com), a French trunk/bag brand dating back to the 1853 is one of those brands…that if managed correctly could have the potential to be a future mega luxury brand. Goyard has a compelling story with immense heritage and a strong signature chevron pattern that has a similar story/prestige to that of Louis Vuitton, but has yet to leverage it’s true cult status.
Coming out of nowhere, in the past 6 years, Goyard has been popping up on trend-setters and celebrities around the world.
In the morning, I regularly see men and women on the E train platform (14th street subway- NYC) carrying the latest Goyard tote bags in greens/blues and reds.
Moreover, it’s not unusual to see the iconic pattern being carried by clans of fashionable people on the streets of 5th Avenue-NYC, Central-Hong Kong or Knightsbridge-London.
Stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York carry a wide assortment of the Goyard collection that includes special customizable services such as hand painted monograms (family initials/colors, crests and even a skull) and custom designs made to order.
I realize we are in a recession and ostentatious consumption is not cool right now, but it is times like these that luxury brands should be laying the foundation for their future growth.
Case in point, while living in Hong Kong in the late 90’s, I witnessed the boom times (lines at Gucci & Prada) to bust with the onset of the Asian financial crisis (retails sales down 40%). Thankfully the crisis eventually passed and Hong Kong markets/real estate surpassed it’s pre 1997 peaks…the same will happen in America!
Thus be prepared, luxury brands with recognizable status patterns/logos will surely prosper once again.
So as I sit in my Marketing Strategy class at Stern, I ponder why some luxury brands evolve and while others slow down and/or lose their ability to grow. Goyard seems to have slowed down its pace of growth so I wonder what are their next steps?
Below are some of my initial thoughts on what Goyard should consider doing in order to become a mega luxury brand player for the upcoming decade:
- Leverage more of its heritage and brand essence; rework their value proposition statement and marketing strategy with a goal towards brand expansion.
- Relook at pricing strategy (higher than Louis Vuitton), quality and repair service (sending me to a shoe repair store to fix my Goyard tote isn’t the right sort experience!).
- Develop a more compelling experiential web site with a select e-commerce assortment; connect to its customer on and offline.
- Expand their core bag collection offering new “must have” innovative bags; move beyond the traditional totes that have been so prevalent for the past 3 years.
- Rework signature chevron pattern by offering it in new limited edition scales/ interpretations.
- Collaborate with architects/furniture designers and artist to develop new “Future” collections.
- Emphasis beyond traditional accessory categories i.e. Scarves, belts, fine-jewelry and key chains.
- Develop a strategy for a ready to wear collection.
- Ensure items never go on sale – similar to Louis Vuitton – this way the customer will know they are always getting a fair price while maintaining the brands exclusivity.
- Ensure Goyard management team is 150 percent supportive of new brand expansion initiatives. It all starts from the top down!
All in all, no doubt Goyard has an amazing team, but they should not rest on what they have achieved to date, but begin to lay the foundation for the next mega Luxury brand without compromising what has already been established.
Who doesn’t want to be part of this exclusive club!
Aaron Duncan, Senior Vice President, Creative Director for Playboy’s Enterprises Global Licensing division where he spearheads the global creative/design for all consumer products. His expertise influences the five major categories of fashion, accessories, lifestyle, retail design and in-store creative, and entertainment, which includes games, music, clubs, and land-based entertainment destinations.
Duncan leverages his international experience from Hong Kong’s G2000 Apparel, Ltd., where he served as Design Manager for U2 Menswear, revamping the U2 brand in 180 stores throughout Asia with more fashionable product packaging and branding. He also formerly worked as a designer for J. Crew and interned for Donna Karan. Duncan’s retail background includes an Assistant Buyer role for Saks Fifth Avenue and a Home Furnishings Merchandise Manager at JC Penney.
While earning his associate’s degree at New York’s distinguished Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in 1994, Duncan received the prestigious Chairman’s Award for outstanding menswear design and the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries’ “Best of Show