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The authenticity of a luxury brand: the useful levers to achieve it (Part.2)

Research by Felicitas Morhart and Lucia Malär has shown that consumers form their judgements of authenticity through factual evidence, beliefs and personal awareness. Authenticity is indeed essential to the future success of luxury brands, and it is crucial for them to understand how to deal with it in the context of the challenges they will face.

Felicitas Morhart

By Felicitas Morhart14 octobre 2021

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For a luxury brand, the challenge lies between innovation and heritage, giving the brand its charismatic legitimacy (Estelle Hanania, Dior)

Luxury brands face unique challenges when it comes to brand authenticity management, as they are confronted with many different perspectives of authenticity judgements by consumers.  After having conceptualised brand authenticity along four dimensions, namely continuity, credibility, integrity and symbolism, the challenge lies in the confrontation of these with the imminent characteristics of luxury brands.

Indexical Authenticity Levers

Because oftentimes consumers refer to objective facts to judge a brand’s authenticity, it is crucial to focus on the indexical cues which are key to luxury brands. The creative leader of a brand plays a major role in impacting authenticity by giving the brand its aesthetic brand ideology. The individual provides the brand with “charismatic legitimacy” and his/her artistic heritage and story are heeded by the brand. The problem here is when the main figure is gone. It is crucial to ensure a successful transition from an authentic personal brand to an authentic corporate/product brand. Additionally, finding a successor to continue the heritage while leaving space for new and unique creativity is a huge challenge.

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A brand's creative leader can have a huge impact on the perception of its authenticity (Shutterstock)

Furthermore, the brand portfolio as well as the management’s decisions about brand extensions are also crucial. Extending the brand portfolio through the inclusion of accessories enables the targeting of a larger public and makes the brand more accessible. However, it is also a delicate challenge because it might jeopardize a luxury brand’s central characteristic of rarity and exclusivity.

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