Hottest brands are usually those which sell the best in a given period of time. Successful ones are those which maintain this prosperity for longer.
Analysts compare brands and use many parameters to do that. “Hottest” is hard to define in quantitative terms. At the end what we want to know is: How successful is the brand? Is it profitable? Is it popular? A brand is a business strategy brought to life. If the strategy is successful a brand can reach its goals and it will grow.
Nowadays people and technology drive brands and set the pace for future growth. Fashion luxury brands are no exception. For many years fashion houses were unwilling to change and to fit the consumer requirements. The rigidity and the unwillingness to change failed many. The ones who faced the challenge and took over new strategies, set new goals and new targets managed to climb up and prove the market that there is a place for innovation in the luxury fashion.
During 2017 Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hèrmes were named the best fashion brands in the world (Source:Interbrand) . Here you will say “Of course!”. Those are brands present on the market for quite a long time. They have already established images, targets and reputation among the global luxury consumers. With a small exception which comes from the Gucci house. We saw an array of radical new changes starting from the Creative Director – Alessandro Michele. When he took over in January 2015, Gucci was plateauing. It seemed to have no clear vision for the future. CEO and President Marco Bizzarri gave Michele full freedom to express his uniqueness. That made the fashion house one of the most successful brands of our time.
We are not interested in best brands though. It might get too complicated to understand why one is named best and anoter – not. Many criteria come into play and I don’t want to dig deep into this.
What caught my eye was a recent research done by fashion search platform Lyst in collaboration with Business of Fashion. What they did was an index for the hottest brands and top-selling products. The classification is done quarterly. In the 3rd quarter of 2017 there are some surprising news. Balenciaga has taken the chair from Gucci and it became the hottest brand in fashion.
Apparently, the brand founded by the Spanish Cristobal Balenciaga in 1917 worked hard for its growth and its impressive achievements. The vision of the artistic director Demna Gvasalia, brought up new techniques of expressing fashion. He started using innovative fabrics for its masterpieces, that often sell out online and in store. One of those is the famous Balenciaga speed trainer. The Knife booties are another hot product by the brand. Those retail for 1015 US dollars. These are two contrasting products. The speed trainer is a streetwear piece heavily associated with influence from social media and Rap culture. Interesting is the fact that it melted the border between womenswear and menswear, by making it equally desirable by both genders. Maybe that was one of the main reasons why it became such a success. The second is a typical womenswear product.
Kering domination continues with the second position in the hottest brands ranking. Gucci moved down one place with respect to the previous quarter. The brand occupies two of the positions for hottest products. Second being the famous Dionysus leather bag and fifth – the GG supreme sandal.
Moving down the ranking there is a huge jump made by Virgil Abloh’s Milan-based brand Off-White. Thanks to his influential friends – people like Jay Z and Kanye West, the brand reached amazing success and positioned itself as a high-end men’s- and women’s wear label.
Stable on the fifth and sixth position are Givenchy and Valentino respectively. Seventh is Saint Laurent which made a huge jump and moved from position 24 to 7.
As Contactlab we follow closely the evolution of brands on their digital road. In our latest research regarding the Purchase Process Experience, carried out in Paris, Balenciaga scored in our top five performers. That was a slight step back after it’s brilliant performance in New York where it ranked first.
As a runner-up we compare Balenciaga with its competitors Fendi, Dolce&Gabbana, Tod’s and Moncler. If we consider the Digital Touch points, Balenciaga reaches the absolute maximum. There are 50 parameters on which we evaluated it. What I can say is – competitors can learn from it. Please take a pen and paper! Important points at which Balenciaga performs as no one other are the communications regarding the abandoned cart and the ordering process. On the Physical side of the story Balenciaga is lagging. The other Kering giant – Gucci is stepping out as one of the leaders.