Establishing a global brand, requires lots and lots of investment, effort and time. As an example – take the story of the Gucci brand. Guccio Gucci was born in 1881, in Florence, Italy. He began his small leather goods and luggage company in Florence, Italy, in 1921. He had previously worked at the famed Savoy Hotel in London and this experience inspired him to bring the taste of the English nobility into the goods he created.
In the same year, Gucci opened his first shop in Florence, specialising in leather goods and quickly built a reputation for quality by hiring skilled craftsmen to work in his shop. This is how the House of Gucci was founded.
During the 1930s, Gucci became inspired by horse racing, a popular pastime and started designing the hardware for his leather goods to resemble horse bits and stirrups. Guccio and his wife Aida Calvelli had six children in all, but only his sons Aldo, Ugo, Vasco, and Rodolfo, become involved in the business. After Guccio’s death in 1953, Aldo, along with his brothers, took over and expanded the company internationally, as it opened boutiques in London, Paris and New York.
In the early ’90’s, Gucci’s image was tarnished when copies of its wares began popping up everywhere. To restore the company’s luxury image, the company appointed American designer Tom Ford as Artistic Director in 1994, a position he kept until 2005. Ford is largely credited with turning the Gucci brand around.
Today, Gucci is run by Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci, and designs are by Alessandro Michele, the Creative Director. From the history of brands, it becomes evident that there is so much more to an a brand than just the material or design. It is the bloodlines of families, the creative investments of individuals made over many decades. Gucci is only one example; many other brands have similar very interesting stories. To name a few, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and many others.
A sure way to destroy a brand would be to destroy the consumer’s trust. This could easily come about by taking short cuts and undermining the standard and quality consumers have become accustomed to. In todays super connected world, consumers wield a big stick. If the company image or products are bad and is exposed on social media, the brand is basically dead.
Brands continuously have to take the initiative to develop new styles, whilst remaining true to their core values. There are many generic manufacturers, who simply copy the brand name styles, without any obligation to match the quality. Today, their product can look like Guess and next month they copy Tom Ford. However, loyal buyers of brand name products, associate with the quality, status, life style, self esteem, social status and ego, that brand names bring. It would be near impossible to hoodwink a loyal brand name buyer.
Generally, the first impression that someone has of you (your brand!), is focused on the image that you choose to portray. For instance, if you don’t take care of your appearance, others may think that you have poor values generally. Brand name clothing, they say, gives a positive impression to everyone around you and associates the attributes of said brand with you on a subconscious level. I don’t believe that you should judge a book by its cover, but I do know that human nature makes us believe certain things about people, based on our first impression of them. Within moments of meeting you, people may decide all sorts of things about you, from status to intelligence to conscientiousness. Fortunately, you have some control over the way others see you. For example, wearing tailored (branded?) clothing and accessories, as well as looking your conversation partner in the eye will generally create a more positive impression.
It begs the question; “Why am I wearing someone’s logo to advertise for them?” I’ll tell you why – People like to fit in. Brand names are considered strong props to make that happen. Consumers say they feel secure in brand name clothes and accessories. Brand names, it is claimed, display status.
Today, most global brand names have a presence in eyewear. A basic requirement, one would suspect, would be to carry over the core values from clothing to eyewear. When wearing your Gucci frame, there will be no mistaking as to who you are and which social group you belong to. To use the example of shoes, most people have several pairs; some for work, dressing up, driving and sport. It remains a mystery why so many people settle for one pair of glasses, in spite of diverse needs and being able to afford more. Apart from the optical reasons for multiple pairs (and there are several), there is such scope to make a fashion statement or match our mood, or portray a certain image of yourself, much the same as we think about apparel. My suggestion is that you get to know your personal style and then, aim to develop a strong eyewear wardrobe to match every need (More about that next time!).