George Christodoulides, Chalhoub Group Professor of Luxury Brand Management, American University of Sharjah, UAE (Email: [email protected])
Klaus-Peter Wiedmann, Chair of Marketing and Management, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany (Email: [email protected])
Call for Papers
Over the last decades, the topic of luxury, luxury goods and luxury brands has garnered considerable attention both in academic and practitioner circles. Indicatively, large consulting companies (e.g., Bain & Co., BCG, Deloitte, and McKinsey) regularly publish reports on the status and development of the luxury industry while at the same time scientific inquiry into the subject has progressed substantially. Luxury research even has its own journal (Luxury Research Journal).
Apart from the fact that luxury may be highly appealing from a consumer perspective, luxury goods are an extremely attractive business model for companies and investors, spanning all sectors of the economy (e.g., cars, clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, watches, real estate, household goods, food and beverages, hotels and restaurants, tourism, yachts, and many more). The special fascination here comes from the very high growth rates that have been reported regularly over the last few decades (e.g., Bain & Co. 2018; Deloitte 2019). The driving force behind this strong growth is, on the one hand, the fact that the number of HNWIs and HENRYs has steadily increased worldwide and that these target groups have had a considerable appetite for luxury. On the other hand, the trend towards the “democratization of luxury” is also a factor behind luxury market’s growth. Because of this trend, in addition to absolute or inaccessible luxury, further levels of luxury goods have emerged that can be reached by broader sections of the population – aspirational or intermediary and affordable or accessible luxury (e.g., de Barnier et al. 2012; Sreejesh et al 2016).
Given the significance of the luxury market to the global economy and the fact that luxury brands often need to turn classical marketing knowledge ‘upside down’ in order to preserve their luxury status and dream value (Kapferer and Bastien 2012), it is important to develop luxury specific theory and frameworks to help guide managers sustain this growth. Despite relatively stable growth rates, it should not be forgotten that this is also a very dynamic sector of the economy. The manifold global changes in market and society in no way allow "business as usual". Special challenges arise, for example, from the following developments:
• Globalization and regional shift: In the course of global economic and social development, a shift in emphasis is taking place from traditional Western markets to new and emerging markets, primarily in Asia and the Middle East. For some years, for example, Chinese consumers mainly stimulate the demand for luxury goods.
• Cultural shift: With the shift of regional emphasis, there is also a shift in the patterns of perception and valuation of luxury, which are essentially due to cultural differences. The relevant characteristics of luxury goods are, however, not only reinterpreted due to cultural differences between countries or regions of the world (Christodoulides et al. 2009; Godey et al. 2013). Rather, a cultural change in the sense of a more or less profound change in social values must also be observed within the individual countries that leads to new expectations and behavioral patterns.
• Customer behavior shifts: In addition to globalization, numerous other megatrends are increasingly affecting customer expectations and behaviors. By way of example only the progressive destruction of the natural environment and especially climate change as well as the increasing digitization, robotization and automation as an expression of a highly dynamic technological change are highlighted. Against this background, not only are new demands placed on luxury goods (e.g., more sustainability, regional or even local reference, technical sophistication), but also on their marketing and communication leveraging digital and social media technologies.
• Competition shifts: The many changes that result in new expectations and requirements are also an opportunity for new competitors to establish themselves in the respective luxury markets. For example, it may be difficult for traditional companies to credibly embrace sustainability or to switch to digital marketing in a highly professional manner. In addition to this, consumers in "new" luxury markets, and above all in China, develop a new patriotic self-confidence that gives domestic companies the opportunity to establish themselves in luxury markets (see for example, Shang Xia). Finally, traditional luxury is challenged by new business models grounded in the sharing economy that grant consumers access to luxury products while challenging the concept of ownership (e.g. AirbnbLuxe).
The briefly outlined developments pose huge challenges and opportunities to luxury marketing and, more specifically, to product and brand management. In the present context, the product must be understood in a broad sense as the benefit or value ultimately offered to the customer as a whole. Such a broad understanding also lends itself to brand management. This is not about merely marking a product with signs and symbols, but also about building a brand identity that is accepted by all stakeholders and supported accordingly.
The purpose of the planned special issue is to illuminate relevant challenges and opportunities for the “luxury marketing of tomorrow” and to highlight possible approaches for a promising product and brand management along the widest possible range of luxury goods and services. Possible topics for this special issue may include, but are not limited to, the following:
• In what way(s) have the expectations for luxury goods and their marketing changed in individual sectors and markets and what are the requirements/implications for luxury marketing, especially Product and Brand Management?
• Which new competition patterns have emerged and which companies are currently particularly successful? What is their product and brand management approach? How can this be explained and what developments can be expected in the future?
• Which innovation strategies are available and which prerequisites must be created for their effective implementation?
• In which customer segments is a particularly strong change emerging and how can luxury brand providers adapt? Particular attention should be paid to younger shoppers (generation Y and Z), as well as to the established HNWIs and HENRYs.
• How can luxury companies plan and implement highly promising positioning and communication strategies related to specific trends (such as sustainability, digitization, and globalization)?
• How can a product or brand earn and sustain luxury status (‘luxification strategy’)?
• What is the meaning of luxury and has this changed in the light of recent cultural, environmental, social and competitive shifts?
• Which corporate philosophy, especially marketing and brand orientation, is a suitable prerequisite for meeting the relevant challenges in the respective luxury market and for realizing a successful luxury brand concept?
• How can companies counter the negative affective states associated with the consumption of luxury brands such as guilt or regret?
• What are appropriate metrics to track the performance of luxury brands and how stable are these for different sectors and diverse national cultures?
Some more possible aspects to be mentioned:
• Which international strategy (global, local or glocal) is best suited against the background of relevant challenges?
• What is the best approach for developing sustainable luxury goods? What are the challenges for value design and brand building?
• How helpful is the SDL approach (service dominant logic) to increasing the perceived luxury value of a product?
• What kind of value design makes consumers dream?
• How can luxury brands achieve the ‘right’ balance between conspicuousness and inconspicuousness? Is this balance different for luxury brands in different sectors and different types of markets?
• Which signs and symbols communicate a high luxury value for different target groups?
• To what extent is ‘artification’ a promising approach to luxury marketing? In which circumstances is it most effective?
• What are the differences between a premium and a luxury strategy?
• Which brand portfolio strategies are available to successfully adapt to different luxury consumer segments?
• To what extent is the perceived quality of a luxury item influenced by the nature of the distribution policy?
• To what extent is the perceived quality of a luxury item influenced by the price policy?
All papers need to be submitted online to the Special Issue. See author guidelines on the Journal's page.
For informal enquiries you can contact the guest editors.
Deadline for submissions: 30 September 2020
The system will open: 1 August 2020
Bain and Co. (2018), Luxury Goods Worldwide Study Market Study.
Christodoulides, G., Michaelidou, N. and Li, C.H., (2009), “Measuring perceived brand luxury: An evaluation of the BLI scale“, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 395-405.
de Barnier, V., Falcy, S. and Valette-Florence, P., (2012), “Do consumers perceive three levels of luxury?: A comparison of accessible, intermediate and inaccessible luxury brands.“ Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 19 No. 7, pp.623-636.
Deloitte (2019), Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2019: Bridging the Gap between the Old and the New. Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Consumer-Business/gx-consumer-business-gplg2019-report.pdf [Accessed: 28/08/2019]
Godey, B., Pederzoli, D., Aiello, G., Donvito, R., Wiedmann, K-P., and Hennigs, N., (2013), “A cross-cultural exploratory content analysis of the perception of luxury from six countries” Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 229-237.
Kapferer, J.N. and Bastien, V., (2012), The Luxury Strategy: Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands, Kogan Page, London.
Sreejesh, S., Abhigyan, S., and Subhadip R., (2016),"Validating a scale to measure consumer’s luxury brand aspiration”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 465-478.