By Stefania Saviolo 1
BRAND AND IDENTITY MANAGEMENT IN FASHION COMPANIES
This paper aims at analysing what are the peculiar aspect of brand management for
fashion ready to wear firms. We define the brand identity as a system of attributes. For
fashion companies particular importance is assumed by three kind of brand attributes:
corporate and brand history and core competencies, stylistic identity and visual
identity. The article illustrates this issue with the supporting evidence of one case
history: fashion designer Giorgio Armani.
KEY Words: brand management, identity, positioning, communication.
JEL Codes: L67, M1.
STEFANIA SAVIOLO, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in Strategic Management and Co-Director on the Master
in Fashion Management (MFM) at SDA Bocconi - Bocconi University School of Management, Via
Bocconi 8-20136 Milano-Italy. Tel.++390258366304 Fax ++390258366892 . She has published several
books and articles on fashion and brand management. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. What is branding?
Brand building and brand management have become a critical issue for firms competing
within heterogeneous industries. Over the last decades, the brand evolved from a simple
product attribute to the role of value creator for the entire firm. Today brand
management represents a very sophisticated business process whose aim is to assembly
and maintain over the time the unique mix of physical attributes and intangible values
that distinguish one brand identity from other’s. A better understanding of the brand
role starts from the right definition of brand and branding. The most quoted definition is
that proposed by Kotler (1988) from an older definition proposed in 1960 from the
American Association Committee on Definitions according to which the brand is " a
name, terms or logo or design or a combination among them aiming at identifying a
product or a service from one vendor or manufacturer and differentiate it from
Branding for many years has been seen as logos and advertisements. But is it nowadays
evident that a brand is much more than a name or a logo. A brand is no longer just
image projection. It's also truly about the company as a whole. Brand strategist
that brands recall clear associations in consumer mind: they talk about brand
personality, a long term relationship with the consumer centered on emotional feelings
more than on economic transactions.
Branding is becoming more a function of the
relationship and the experience the consumer has with the brand. Above all in industries
producing symbol intensive goods there is a stronger connections of brands with
people's personalities and beliefs.
In order to get a full understanding of the market potential associated to a brand it is
necessary to use a broader definition of brand as an "aggregation, around specific signs
of a complex of values, association, expectations to which clients assign a value that
goes over the technical and functional attributes of the products identified by the brand
itself" (Zara, 1997).
Aaker, 1991, Kapferer 1992,
On experiencial branding Pine B. J., Gilmore J. H. The Experience Economy, Harvard Business School
Press, 1999;, Schmitt B, Simonson A. Marketing Aestethics. The Strategic Management of Brands,
Identity and Image, Free Press, 1997.3
The brand aims at building over the time a relation with its clients ensuring to the firm a
premium price with respect to unbranded products. Over the last two decades the
concept and application of branding tools evolved from its origins in the Anglo-Saxon
mass consumer industry
to a wide range of industries, even very far from...