Luxury Brand Is Discontinuing Logo Use
Louis Vuitton. Just the name elicits an image of "LV" and the Damier checkers on wallets, bags and other leather goods. The recognizable design is a sign of wealth or fine taste, but now you will see them no more, except maybe on Canal Street. The luxury brand has decided to nix the logo and print from its future designs (though some are still available on the brand's website). The change reflects consumer interests in China, where luxury brand buyers are looking for more inconspicuous logos.
The Business of Fashion pointed out that China is not alone in shifting views on luxury brand logos. Consumers in Japan, Europe and the United States have moved toward understated logos in the last decade. As Bruno Lannes, a Bain partner in Greater China, put it, contemporary consumers want to be "in the know" not "in the show."
International brands have taken notice of the change and adapted as needed. Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of PPR, which owns brands like Gucci and YSL, mentioned a move toward "more discreet luxury" to adapt to "this new perception of luxury." The change in focus came with a new name and logo for the luxury brand conglomerate. As of June 18, the company will be known as Kering.
The growing interest in "in the know" fashion has allowed brands with lesser-known or less-obvious logos to emerge. The Business of Fashion calls brands with subtle logos the rise of "stealth luxury," but I think it is more aptly titled "the Apple logo effect"--the ability of a product to be both ubiquitous and exclusive at the same time. Apple products are "in the know" (Who wants to be more in-the-know than Apple fanatics?), understated (Apple's logo is basic) and exclusive (Even though Apple products are everywhere, owners still feel like they are in a members-only club). The Apple logo effect is not an insult. It is merely a new way of branding your business.
So how does all of this impact you, the promotional products distributor? It will likely affect your business gift and awards markets the most, but might trickle into some of your apparel programs, or even the designs of your clients' logos. Look out for sleek, simple designs in leather goods, watches and awards. Remember: Even if a company wants to cut back on all-over logos on luxury goods and awards, they will still be interested in personalization--a good thing to know for your bottom line.
(Full Apple-related disclosure: I am a long-time Blackberry user who switched to an iPhone over a year ago. I now have a MacBook Air, which I love, but I don't think I will ever stand in line to get the newest Apple product. Mostly because I don't care for lines and I'd rather spend my personal days running, napping and eating.)