Shanghai Tang the First Global Chinese Luxury Brand

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Marketing 440
Summer 2012
Tom Fashho
Shanghai Tang: The First Global Chinese Luxury Brand

Table of Content
Pg3: What is a luxury brand? How is it different from a regular, mass-market brand? How does one build a luxury brand? Pg4 & 5: How would you characterize Shanghai Tang’s brand image and sources of brand equity? Pg5 & 6: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the brand’s existing Personality and image?

Pg7: What might have accounted for Shanghai Tang’s unsatisfactory results in building a global luxury Chinese brand? What could they or should they have done differently? Pg8 & 9: How has Shanghai Tang positioned itself relative to other luxury brands? How might the positioning be improved?

Pg10: Reference page

What is a luxury brand? How is it different from a regular, mass-market brand? How does one build a luxury brand?

“David Tang’s vision was to create a lifestyle brand that reintroduced Chinese aesthetics to a consumer audience”.1 He wanted to take old and modern Chinese culture and put in a fashion line that made sense to a new audience. Shanghai Tang was geared from the beginning to be China’s first global luxury brand, but getting to that point was easier said then done. By creating a stepping-stone to go worldwide, Tang’s vision would be the start of putting China in the spotlight for future global investments.

A luxury brand is a product that is usually not essential, but is wanted because of the image that they portray. Being a luxury brand is usually associated with affluence, and carries a prestige along with its name. Luxury brands are usually produced with a higher quality of care and attention to detail. Unlike mass-market brands, luxury brands are fairly exclusive and have large price tags. Mass-market brands are usually taken lightly and are not as lavish like the difference between a Kia and a Mercedes-Benz.

When building a luxury brand from the ground up proper data needs to be gathered to insure no costly mistakes are made. By calling it a luxury brand it assumes a certain segment of the market including age, education, and income levels. This is much harder when trying to become a global brand because you’re trying to understand local tastes in other parts of the world and you’re competing with other local products and services that are used and trusted already. Luxury brands have to be marketed properly in order to have a sustainable future, When Tang entered The New York market his fashions and other Chinese kitsch were met with confusion. The old and modern takes were lost on the wealthy American audience and it ultimately cost Tang their location.

How would you characterize Shanghai Tang’s brand image and sources of brand equity?

When Tang set out to build a lifestyle brand from the ground up I think he got in deeper then he could handle. Although his brand did have some powerful backing from celebrities and a large European conglomerate it still wasn’t enough to glide into the hearts and minds of consumers around the world. Tang’s flamboyant take on old and modern didn’t hit big with American audiences and his sales in areas other then the Hong Kong flagship didn’t meet expectations. The brand value that tang was trying to build would be later realized with Raphael le Masne De Chermont altered vision of Tang’s original idea.

The truth behind Shanghai Tang’s brand equity is it took a long time to mature into what it is today. In terms of the overall value of the brand in Hong Kong it was strong, but it was sluggish in America, Japan, and Europe. Tang’s source of inspiration for his brand came from Chinese fashion from the 1920s and 30s. This is something that most people other then China wouldn’t really understand. It was very hard for him to convince others of his vision of Chinese culture and fashion to...
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