The 9 Luxury Brand Signatures…


…ACCORDING TO KAPFERER AND BASTIEN  IN THE LUXURY STRATEGY WRITTEN IN 2009. 

When I first started working with luxury brands back in the late 90s, we used to talk about the Luxury Brand Signature as being the signature of the founder of the company, which often became the identity of the brand. But now, when working with luxury brands, there are many more things to consider than just brand identity. A luxury brand’s appeal comes from these 9 key signatures, devised by Kapferer and Bastien.

1. The figure of the brand creator

2. A typographical logo – graphic identity

3. A visual symbol that accompanies the typographical signature – graphic identity

4. Repeated visual motifs – graphic identity

5. A brand colour – graphic identity

6. A favourite material

7. The cult of detail – can be iconic elements, locks, buckles…

8. Relation back to Craftsmanship.

9. Way of doing things typical to the brand – culture

Now, if we apply this to a luxury brand like Hermès, for example, we can see the following 9 signatures.

(Top left hand corner), the Craftsperson/artisan and the aspect of Craftsmanship. (Top right hand corner), the iconic Hermès identity using it’s unique orange, and showing its roots in the manufacture of harnesses for the noblemen of France. Next to the logo, sits the brand’s famous Birkin Bag, introduced in 1981 after a chance meeting with Jane Birkin, its iconic product. Below, we see the iconic H on the Hermès belt. and below the belt, the brand’s preferred material, fine leather, in an array of colours and finishes.

In the centre is the founder, Thierry Hermès, born in Krefeld, Germany to a French immigrant father, and next to him sits the “fermature Hermès”, Hermès was famous for introducing this zipper under exclusive rights, in Paris.

Finally, in the bottom left-hand corner we have its famous packaging, again using the Hermès signature orange. There are over 180 types of packaging used by Hermès to fit perfectly with every type of product it sells.

Screenshot 2019-09-12 at 22.27.21

Just as an aside. The featured Birkin bag in yellow background  is courtesy of the Irish Times. It sold at Auction for 184,000. A second-hand one also sold for nearly 2 million dollars.

If you are interested in knowing more about the history of Hermès, you can find the full historical timeline here.

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