Gucci leads luxury trailblazers

Gucci is the jewel in the crown of the Italian Top 30. It is the country’s most valuable brand for the second consecutive year, and in the past 12 months has extended its lead over the brands that follow, with a 50 percent increase in brand value, to almost $25 billion.

The brand leads other top Italian brands by a never-before-seen margin in the history of BrandZ. It is more than 2.5 times the size of second-placed brand TIM, establishing the biggest gap between first and second place of any BrandZ market.

Gucci is a brand approaching its 100th birthday; it remains true to its core purpose, but stands out, even among other leading Italian luxury brands, for being brave enough to innovate with creativity, and disrupt not just the sector but also consumers’ expectations.

The brand is one of seven luxury brands to make the 2019 Top 30, which together account for 38 percent of the ranking’s total value. Italian luxury brands account for the second-largest proportion of any ranking globally, behind only France’s luxury sector, which comprises 49 percent of the French Top 30’s value.

Luxury is not just a growing category (up by 28 percent overall, driven by Fendi, Armani, Bulgari and of course Gucci), it’s also a distinctly Italian one.

When the most valuable eight Italian luxury brands (including Versace, which does not make the 2019 Top 30) is compared against the top eight luxury names from outside Italy, the clear personality of Italian luxury becomes evident.

Their desirability comes from sexy playfulness and a sense of fun. This image resonates well with international audiences and chimes well with the characteristics that consumers tend to associate with Italy itself.

This all makes Italian luxury fantastically exportable. Among the seven luxury brands in the Italian Top 30, an average of 91 percent of revenues were generated overseas.

Diary of a winner

The phenomenal rise of Gucci is not simply a case of a strong heritage brand living off a reputation built decades ago.

In fact, what sets Gucci apart is its willingness to depart from what it has done before – and to strike out as a leader in its category – most recently under the direction of Creative Director Alessandro Michele.

His vision for Gucci is to take a “wholly modern approach to fashion”. This has led to strong double-digit sales growth around the world, with standout success in Asia-Pacific and North America.

The brand has taken a fresh approach to retail, with investments in key locations such as London’s Heathrow and Sydney airports, as well as the Gucci Garden in Florence, which features one-of-a-kind items in an exhibition-style environment.

Gucci’s success in the Far East comes from its appreciation of local habits and preferences; it has, for instance, targeted so-called Moonlight Clans – young Asian consumers who spend all their disposable income on luxury items. Last year, Gucci also released a special collection of totes, sweaters and jackets inspired by the Year of the Dog on the Chinese zodiac.

Moving with the times

Gucci has bolstered its sense of purpose and innovation in the past two years, and this is reflected in the way consumers perceive the brand.

Its Innovation score on BrandZ has gone up from 104 to 112. Within this, creativity went up from 110 to 123, leadership rose from 103 to 107, and disruption from 98 to 105.

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