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Futures In Brand

Development
How Are Futures Represented In
Luxury Brand Development?
Masters Thesis Compiled For The Completion Of
The Degree Master Of Arts In Future Studies
Institution: Freie Universitt Berlin

Primary Assessor: Dr. Christian Neuhaus


Institutional Seat: Freie Universitt Berlin
Secondary Assessor: Wolfgang Mller-Pietralla
Institutional Seat: Volkswagen AG

Masters Thesis Compiled By: Maximilian Nicolai Karl Drner


Master Of Arts Degree - Future Studies
Matriculation ID Nr.: 4681000
Word Count: 17.888

Weinbergsweg 2
D - 10119 Berlin

Email: max.doe@icloud.com
Tel: +49 (0) 176 679 28373

Table Of Contents
Introduction

Research Question

Relevance of the investigation

Aims of the investigation

Methodology

Step 1 - Subject Determination

Step 2 - Methodological Framework

Step 3 - Literary Selection & Investigation

Step 4 - Final Literary Selection

Step 5 - Literary Analysis

Step 7 - Research Insights

Step 7 - Comparative Analysis

Step 8 - Reflexive Summary

Structure of the Thesis

10

Section 1 - Background

10

Section 2 - Analytical Framework

10

Section 3 - Literary Research

10

Section 4 - Research Insights

11

Section 5 - Comparative Analysis

11

Section 6 - Reflexive Summary

11

Section 1 - Background

12

The Scientific Context

12

Luxury Brand Development

14

Futures Management

16

Selected Works

17

Section 2 - Analytical Framework

18

Context

18

Semiotic Marker #1 - Planning

20

Semiotic Marker #2 - Time Frame

21

Semiotic Marker # 3 - Aim

21

Semiotic Marker # 4 - Control

22

Methodological Application Of Semiotic Markers

22

Section 3 - Literary Research

23

Futures Representations In Luxury Brand Development

23

The Forms Of Luxury Brand Development Content

23

Luxury Brand Positioning

24

The Luxury Brand Dream

27

Luxury Brand Life Cycles

30

Luxury Brand Growth

35

Luxury Brand Line Extension & Stretching

38

Global Luxury Brand Expansion

41

Luxury Brand Innovation

42

Long-Term Luxury Brand Strategy

43

Section 4 - Research Insights

46

Methodology

46

Diversity

46

Similarity

47

Moving Forward

47

Section 5 - Comparative Analysis

48

Luxury Brand Development & Futures Management

48

Planning

48

Time Frames

49

Aims

49

Perspective

50

Methods

50

Possible Future Synergies

50

Section 7 - Reflexive Summary

52

Glossary Of Tables & Charts


- Figure 1.0 - Examples Of Brand Positioning On The Semiotic Map

25

- Figure 1.1 - Brand Identity Project: Operational Implications

26

- Figure 2.0 - The Brand Dream: Four Typical Situations

28

- Figure 2.1 - Economic Model of Luxury

29

- Figure 3.0 - Luxury Brand Building Process

30

- Figure 3.1 - The Brand Life Cycle

32

- Figure 3.2 - Hermes Sales (In Million Euros)

33

- Figure 3.3 - Ferragamo Sales (In Million Euros)

33

- Figure 3.4 - Kodak Sales (In Million Euros)

34

- Figure 4.0 - Projected NPV

36

- Figure 4.1 - Luxury Market Growth

37

- Figure 5.0 - Different Definitions Of Brand & Line Extension By Author

39

- Figure 5.1 - Two Types Of Luxury Brand Expansion

40

- Figure 6.0 - Luxury Brands In Perspective

44

Introduction
This research thesis has been compiled as part of the syllabus of course work for the
successful completion of the master of arts degree in future studies at the Freie
Universitt Berlin, in Germany. The thesis was submitted on February 27th, 2015 to the
assessors Dr. Christian Neuhaus & Wolfgang Mller-Pietralla for review. The research
in this thesis was conducted by Maximilian Drner, and represents work only conducted
by himself without the assistance of other or any form of collaborative effort.
This thesis is a literary investigation which delves into the thematic of futures and their
prevalence in literature adhering to the specific disciplinary field of luxury brand
management, focusing on brand development literature in this field of study. An
analytical semiotic framework designed for this task of literary analysis is utilised for the
research task at hand.
Luxury brand management is widely seen as a sub-field of brand management and
business management, which in turn are categorical fields usually associated with the
academic and economic practices of business administration. For the purpose of this
thesis, management shall be defined as The intentional steering and shaping of
organisational occurrences. The function of management pertains in this to the
sustenance of the prerequisites for the continuation of organisational communication
and operation within circumstances and environments critical to the organisations
continued operation. (Translated & Paraphrased from Neuhaus, 2009)
While this definition of management does not include a developmental perspective, it
does serve to highlight the task of controlled and formative engagement in any task
relating to theory or practice that deals with the active management administration of
any organisation, particularly a business. And as luxury brand development is inherently
a management task pertaining to luxury business development as a whole, that requires
exactly this form of steering and shaping, coupled to a certain extent to future or
futures-oriented perspectives, this working definition of management serves as a
dynamic point of entry into the subject matter researched here.
The second definition essential to the understanding of the subject under scrutiny in this
thesis is that of a brand. Whilst definitions abound, for the purpose of this study a brand
shall be defined from a semiotics perspective which denotes that brands are systems of
meaning (Chevalier & Mazzanolo 2012)i.
i

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege. ISBN:
978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 177

Page 1 of 52

While this may seem like a broad perspective, as many different sets of semiotic
signifiers may be seen as systems of meaning, this definition lends itself as a basis for
reiteration. A brand, as a system of meaning, constructed from a multitude of real or
perceived visual, textual, historical and synthetic signifiers, is a system organisationally
created as a commercially viable manner of creating a meaning beyond products or
services themselves. A brand is thus the system of meaning constructed by a particular
commercial actor or organisation around a particular product, product group, service or
service offerings.
Luxury brand development is then the practice focused upon the inception, analysis &
effective strategic management of a life cycle of any given brand. This life cycle refers
to the construction of any brand and its meaningful presence from inception to
consistent prevalence or decline in the minds of individual persons and the economic
market at large. As Chevalier & Mazzanolo denote, A brands history comprises phases
of strong expansion alternating with phases of relative stagnation, and perhaps rapid
decline.ii (Chevalier & Mazzanolo, 2012). This insight does not render much of the
complexity involved in managing, or the actual nature of a brand, it does however
indicate the temporally bound quality of a brand. It indicates that brand management, in
particular the management & development of a luxury brand as a meaningful construct
of signifiers to be read and understood by individual persons is a long-term endeavour.
Thus it will deal, in some form or another, with questions of planning, timeframes, aims
and controls in order flourish and develop.
This proposition is the basis for the tenor this study takes, and its subject of analysis. If
luxury brand development is concerned with a temporally dispersed subject matter &
tasking, which represents future, futures or futures-oriented themes, the research thesis
at hand will try to isolate and analyse these forms of literary discourses and methods. As
no plausible set of analytical tools for identification of the subject matter of futures &
futures-oriented themes could be found amongst future studies methodological
frameworks and available literature, this study also sets out to provision future enquirers
into the subject matter of representations of futures & futures-oriented themes across
any field with the basis for an analytical semiotic framework to employ. The main pretext
of this investigation was, however, a perceived lack of formalised discourse surrounding
futures & futures-oriented discourse in the field of luxury brand development, particularly
in the luxury fashion brand development area, denoted by the author of this study whilst
actively working in aforesaid field over several years.

ii

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege. ISBN:
978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 139

Page 2 of 52

Thus, the semiotic framework employed in this study has been constructed as way of
bridging the methodological gap for such literary analysis as well as discerning the
status quo of futures & futures-oriented themes and discourse in the area of luxury
brand development.

Research Question
The question posed for this thesis is a simple enquiry into particular, futures-oriented
aspects of luxury brand development, focusing upon literary representations of the
subject matter:
How are futures represented in luxury brand development?
As defined, the question deals with the representation or representations of the future or
futures in the particular field of organisational developmental management literature
pertaining to the steering and shaping of a brand as a constructed system of meanings,
bought into being and communicated through signifiers that aim to project said
constructed meanings to potential consumers, and individual persons at large, within
what is defined as the luxury segment in the economic & academic sphere of luxury
brand management, with particular focus upon the subject of luxury brand development.
This question is also the catalyst for the construction of an adequate analytical
framework, based on semiotic analytics, and a consequent in-depth literary inquiry of
literature pertaining to the field of luxury brand management, isolating only information
that relates in some manner to the particular area of luxury brand development. With an
excess of forty-five volumes initially collected, the seven most recent & relevant to luxury
brand management have been selected for use in this thesis as a point of reference for
the following discourse dealing with the literary inquiry based upon the research
question.
These findings are then corroborated and reflected upon to determine the status quo of
futures representation in luxury brand development at large. These are then compared
with the prevalent treatment of futures-oriented themes in the field of futures
management, to gain an understanding of possible advances and short-fallings of
futures in luxury brand development.

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Relevance of the investigation


The relevance of the investigation undertaken by the author adheres to the question and
desire in business administration & management studies and practices to actively
grapple with the seeming variability and indeterminable nature of the future or futures,
depending upon the relevant observers perspective, in relation to brand development.
The study is also driven by the desire for a more adequate framework of analysis
through which the representation of futures-oriented themes in a variety of disciplinary
fields can be analysed, catalogued and classified.
Whilst this study does not propose to solve the dilemma purported by those that have to
deal with the seemingly variable and indeterminable circumstances of futures throughout
their career or academic treatment of luxury brand management & development
practices, it does endeavour to be of relevance regarding the analytical determination of
the current status quo of futures representations, in this particular field or any other to
which this

or an adapted analytical semiotic framework for literary analysis may be

applied.
Through this investigative determination of the status quo, and a critical analysis of the
subject matter of the representation of futures in luxury brand management, and the
consequent comparative analysis of these findings with current insights rendered by the
academic and practiced field of futures management, this investigation hopes to be
relevant by shedding some light on possible areas of methodological competence,
deficit and oversight. Beyond this, this study will also explore relevant avenues of
possible methodological adaptation or synergy from futures management to the field of
luxury brand development. This understanding could serve future enquirers as a basis
for further research into the possible development of futures or futures-oriented theories
& tools for the field of luxury brand development, based upon existent knowledge
harboured by the discipline of futures management, and future studies at large.

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Aims of the investigation


The initial aim of this thesis is to render a relevant framework for the analysis,
exploration and categorisation of futures-oriented practices in any given field, through
semiotic categorical lenses of analysis. These categorical lenses aim to identify semiotic
signifiers pertaining to futures & futures-oriented themes, and to be so universal in
theory as to then be adapted and applied to a variety of fields to discern subject matter
relating to futures, even outside luxury brand development. The goal is to lay the
groundwork for the consequent construction of a universally adaptable and applicable
set of semiotic tools for analysis, which may be applied across a variety of contexts.
The main aim of this thesis is the consequent testing of these semiotic tools in the
context of luxury brand development literature. This is done in order to determine,
classify and analyse the current futures-oriented themes, methodologies & practices
proposed in and applied by scholars and professionals in luxury brand development
literature and practice. The insights thus gained may serve as a basis for more in-depth
studies concerning possible avenues of development of the field itself.
The final aim of this study is to render explorative insights through comparative analysis
of futures-oriented practices in luxury brand management when contrasted with some of
those practices employed by the field of futures management, highlighting possible entry
points for adaptation or synergy of methodology, perspective and goals. These insights
will in turn allow for a better contextualisation of the status quo of luxury brand
developments treatment of future, futures & futures-oriented themes in relation to a field
specifically focused upon such themes. This tasks aim is to shed some light upon
possible avenues of future development in a field that is also intrinsically linked to
temporally dispersed parameters, events and influxes.

Page 5 of 52

Methodology
Step 1 - Subject Determination
The primary step to approaching this investigation was the determination of the research
matter, outlining of the relevant research question How are futures represented in luxury
brand development? and the setting out of the approach, namely a literary investigation
into the subject matter selected.

Step 2 - Methodological Framework


The methodology of this study selected as a structured literary investigation into futures
& futures-oriented themes, tools and practices, which, due to the lack of methodological
research methods that could be found to date for such an investigation, began with the
construction of a semiotic analytical framework as the tool kit for said literary analysis.

Step 3 - Literary Selection & Investigation


Once this analytical semiotic concept had been researched, structured and formalised,
and before the actual analytical task of applying these newly constructed analytical tools
to relevant literature could be started, a broad range of literature of possible relevance to
the field of luxury brand development was undertaken.

Step 4 - Final Literary Selection


Throughout this task, it became apparent that a plethora of the literature available to
date was only peripherally concerned with the subject matter of luxury brand
management, let alone the specific subject of luxury brand development, rendering a too
broad subject matter to be treated in a study of this scope. Thus the most relevant
literary findings were reduced down to seven seminal volumes treating subject matter in
the field. These literary volumes are:
- Luxury Brand Management - A World Of Privilege (second edition) by Chevalier &
Mazzalovo (John Wiley & Sons, 2012)iii

iii

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege. ISBN:
978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Page 6 of 52

- Luxury World - The Past, Present And Future Of Luxury Brands by Tungate (Kogan
Page, 2009)iv
- Luxury Strategy In Action by Hoffman, Coste-Maniere et. al (Palgrave Macmillan,
2012)v
- The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To Build Luxury Brands (second
edition) by Kapferer & Bastien (Kogan Page, 2012)vi

- Luxury Talent Management - Leading And Managing A Luxury Brand by Gutsatz &
Gilles (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)vii

viiiGlobal

Luxury Trends - Innovative Strategies For Emerging Markets by Hoffman &

Coste-Maniere et. al (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

- The Luxury Alchemist by Pucci - Sisti Maisonrouge (Assouline, 2013)ix


As can be discerned from this list, all of the selected volumes are of recent publication,
and are all published by professionals and academics active in the field of luxury brand
management to this day.
Whilst this selection does reduce insights into relevant representation down to only the
most current and specific volumes dealing with the subject matter of futures & futuresoriented literary discourse which touches upon luxury brand development in particular, it
is this nominally current status quo that is the subject of inquiry for this study. A broader
approach seems irreverent of the depth and complexity of the research question posed,

iv

Tungate (2009), Luxury World: The past, present and future of luxury brands. ISBN:
978 0 7494 5263 6, Kogan Page Limited 2009.
v

Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2012), Luxury Strategy In Action. ISBN: 978 0 2303
5454 8, Palgrave Macmillan 2012.
vi

Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To
Build Luxury Brands (2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan Page Limited 2012.
vii

Gutsatz & Gilles (2013), Luxury Talent Management - Leading And Managing A Luxury
Brand. ISBN: 978 1 1372 7055 5, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
viii

Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2013), Global Luxury Trends - Innovative Strategies
For Emerging Markets. ISBN: 978 1 1372 8738 0, Palgrave Macmillan 2013.
ix

Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge (2013), The Luxury Alchemist. ISBN: 978 1 6142 8150 4
Assouline 2013.

Page 7 of 52

and qualitatively relevant results are sought over the reference to quantitative scope in
order to test the analytic semiotic framework employed.

Step 5 - Literary Analysis


Through the application of the formalised analytical semiotic framework constructed
throughout the primary steps of this study, insights as to the nature of the representation
of futures & futures-oriented themes prevalent throughout the selected literature were
denoted, catalogued and classified. These findings have then been presented in a
categorical summary referring to each area of relevance and prevalence identified.

Step 7 - Research Insights


This corroborative step of the research study serves to bring together the gleaned
insights that have been brought to light through the prior literary analysis and
consequent comparisons of the information collected from aforesaid works pertaining to
the subject of luxury brand development. In order to summarise the findings discerned
for luxury brand development for the consequent comparative analysis to futures
management, this step portrays a qualitative renditions of the information collected, and
the general tenor of the results of the research.

Step 7 - Comparative Analysis


Once these research insights had been discerned, they were then subjected to a
comparative analysis. This analysis contrasted findings from the literary works subjected
to scrutiny with insights concerning futures & futures-oriented practices from the field
futures management. It must be stressed here that the comparative analysis of insights
contrasted with insights from the field of futures management are qualitative, narrative
and in no way exhaustive, and solely touch upon insights which have been formalised
for methodological and operational use in the field of futures management to date as
referents. This is due to the pragmatic and practical orientation of the field of luxury
brand development, any more complex comparison of theoretical insights concerning
futures which may or may not allow for the instrumentalization of such insights for the
purposes of forging further tools for the engagement with futures & futures-oriented
practices is here deemed an undertaking too broad and complex for a study of the
scope of a thesis such as this, but perhaps this research may serve as a base for future
investigation.

Page 8 of 52

Step 8 - Reflexive Summary


This final step in the research is a formalised review of the efficacy of the application
and achieved results that were able to be attained through the use of the conceptualised
semiotic analytical framework of literary analysis of the texts studied to determine the
prevalence of futures & futures-oriented themes in this field. The summary also serves
to reflexively reiterate the insights, results and research findings that were attained
through the research undertaken.

Page 9 of 52

Structure of the Thesis


This research thesis is structured along the lines of the above investigative
methodology.

It is divided into seven consecutive sections, each building upon the

insights of the prior.


This format aims to enable the reader to easily follow each research step employed.

Section 1 - Background
To allow for a better understanding of the subject matter at hand, a short contextual
outline has been provided. This outlines the contextual, not historical, relevance of both
the subject of luxury brand development and the field of futures management to this
study. The section also provides background information on the selection of literary
works analysed from the field of luxury brand management, focused on luxury brand
development.

Section 2 - Analytical Framework


The second section of the research thesis outlines the analytical semiotic approach
taken to the matter of the literary investigation which is part of the research of this paper.
The section outlines the basis for the selection of the particular analytical approach
selected and adapted for the task of discerning instances of futures & futures-oriented
themes in luxury brand development represented in literature. This structural
explanation describes the format of inquiry, as well as the specific referents that were
used as analytical tools for the study.

Section 3 - Literary Research


The third section of the research thesis then applies the aforesaid semiotic framework to
the outlined texts subjected to study for this research thesis, utilising the constructed
conceptual frame. This section is structured into subject areas that were discerned as a
unifying presence throughout the works studied.
The section, due to the information gathered, is divided into the subject areas of luxury
brand positioning, the luxury brand dream, luxury brand growth, life cycles, global
expansion, line & brand expansion, innovation and long-term strategy.

Page 10 of 52

Section 4 - Research Insights


The fourth section of the research thesis is dedicated to the narrative corroboration of
the results found, and the general tenor of the insights that could be grasped from the
analysis undertaken. It also touches upon the use of the semiotic analytical framework,
and the insights garnered in relation to this use.

Section 5 - Comparative Analysis


The fifth section of the research thesis delves into the comparative analysis of the
research insights with futures management perspectives on futures & futures-oriented
themes. Concerned with comparative insights from the volumes in relation to futures
management material, the section is short, and largely narrative, serving as an
explorative analysis differentiates between the two fields, and opens the doors to
contemplating possible avenues of synergy and methodological adaptation to possibly
be explored between the two disciplines.
The focus in this section is on points of differentiation and points of intersection, both
inside the subject matter, and across the two disciplines. The section has been
formalised into areas of comparison regarding planning, time frames, aims, controls and
perspectives. This allows for a narrative differentiation of luxury brand development from
futures management.

Section 6 - Reflexive Summary


The seventh, and final, section of this research thesis is a reflexive summary of the
research undertaken, as well as the most relevant insights gathered through the
engagement in this research. The section is an overview of the use of the analytical
framework, as well as the results attained through the frameworks employment in
relation to the subject of the representation of futures in luxury brand development
undertaken in this study, and the comparative analysis consequently undertaken in
relation to futures management, exploring future avenues of discourse and
methodological adaptation between the two disciplines

Page 11 of 52

Section 1 - Background
The Scientific Context
As far as research by academics and professional in the field of future studies or futures
management into the subject matter of futures in other segments is concerned, there is
a wide range of research that has been conducted.
Whilst, in most cases, this research has taken a narrative, explorative or even normative
approach to discerning particular aspects of futures and futures-oriented themes that
prevail in the particular fields of study, such as the future of the economy, of
education, of mobility (Popp et. al, 2012)x, such complex endeavours are constantly
scientifically unfounded, as Popp denotes. Scientific inquiry requires the prerequisite of
imitability and results that may be synthesised identically in order to prove their validity.
He rightly raises the concern that ..serious future studies proponents should solely
reserve their efforts for that which may be know about futures, and should focus their
efforts as proponents of future-oriented researchers of the present (paraphrased
from Popp et. al, 2012)xi. For the most part, future studies engagement with other fields
of study has been concerned with the studied fields perceived possible, probable,
plausible and desirable futures, perspective formalised in future studies. These are not
exclusive, and sometimes include surprising futures or other perceived options.xii
These engagements, and their relevant insights gained are the basis of the perspective
this study takes, which is also concerned with an aforesaid form of futures-oriented
research of the present, not in a classical future studies sense, but in the sense that the
subject matter pertains to future, futures or futures-orientation. The present being
explored is the status quo of futures in seminal literature of recent years pertaining to the
field of luxury brand development, itself not a scientific field, but one that may be studied
by reproducible and imitable standards, with methods that are coherent and may lend
the same results by whomever initiated researcher they may be applied by.

Translated from R. Popp (Hrsg.) (2012), Zukunft und Wissenschaft. ISBN: 978 3 642
28954 5, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012. Pg. 20.
xi

Translated from R. Popp (Hrsg.) (2012), Zukunft und Wissenschaft, ISBN: 978 3 642
28954 5, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012. Pg. 21.
xii

Translated from Micic (2013) Die 5 Zukunftsbrillen: So werden sie zum Vordenker (3.
Ed.). ISBN: 978 3 8693 6555 8. GABAL Verlag GmbH 2013. Pg 42 - 46

Page 12 of 52

This study is not, however, primarily concerned with the probable, possible, plausible or
desirable future or futures of the field of luxury brand development itself. The study at
hand focuses more specifically on the status quo of the subject of futures & futuresoriented practice in said field, thus looking at another disciplines representations of the
subject matter of futures within its own literature. Thus, this study, while laying no claim
to scientific absolutes, may lay reasonable claim to scientific foundations in terms of
reproducible methods and results, comprehensibility and a subject matter that may be
fully explored at any time of study.xiii
In order to gain any specific insights regarding the representations of futures in luxury
brand development a theoretical base must be established for these representations.
The most effective formalised format for this research study may be adopted from
futures management. As stated by Neuhaus, every engagement with futures is
intrinsically linked to the development or reworking of futures representations of future or
futures. Futures representations (we will opt for the plural for the remainder of this study,
due to the individuals ability to conceive multiple instances of possible outcomes of
futures to come) are meaningful representations that are created, exist and represent in
the consciousness and memory, as well as in the communication, organisation and
other social systems, events or developments that lay in the future. Futures
representations are thus one of the forms in which social systems and individuals
construct their own meaningful perceptions of time, consisting of each of their current
pasts, presents and futures, constantly adapted. Thus, futures representations represent
the futures in the present.xiv (Neuhaus, 2010) This conception of futures representations
complimentarily builds upon the earlier insights rendered by Popp concerning the nature
of futures and their temporal, knowable and morphological place in time and perception.
Allusions are made as to possible explorative and normative future developments of the
place the subject of futures & futures-oriented themes may take in the field of luxury
brand development, but this thesis lays no claim as to scientific accuracy or relevance of
these explorative & normative allusions, as this would jeopardise the research which is
inherent herein, concerning the current state of affairs, not those of possible, probable,
plausible or desirable futures in the field of luxury brand development.

xiii

Translated from R. Popp (Hrsg.) (2012), Zukunft und Wissenschaft. ISBN: 978 3 642
28954 5, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012. Pg. 21.
xiv

Paraphrased & Translated from Neuhaus (2010) Zukunftsbilder Als Medium Von
Zukunft, based upon Neuhaus (2007) Zukunft im Management - Orientierungen fr das
Management von Ungewissheit in strategischen Prozessen. ISBN: 978 3 5407 8564 4,
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009. Pg. 2

Page 13 of 52

This study looks to supply and employ tools to determine the state of present futures
representations in the literature pertaining to, not an answer to the question of, futures
that are to come in the field of luxury brand development.

Luxury Brand Development


While luxury brand development is a field of relatively recent inception in a formalised
academic context, brand management has existed as a sub-discipline of management
studies at an institutional level and a prevalent practice over several decades. Luxury
brand development emerged as the first artisanal leather brands and fashion houses, as
well as automotive manufacturers, perfumers, watchmakers, jewellers, vintners, and in
recent years hoteliers and service providers have developed their commercial offerings
and business size, as well as global market presence to be formally categorised in the
field of a luxury brand. This development became imminent with the inception of the
first commercial conglomerates, namely the Italian PPR (now PPR Gucci), the french
LVMH and the swiss Richemont groups, assimilating multiple luxury brands at the end of
the 20th century. Through this shift in business structure and practice in the luxury
industry, alternate forms of management practice, study and literature were developed.
One of the first volumes dedicated to luxury brand management particularly was Alleres
Luxe: Strategie, Marketing.xv, a vastly dated piece of work by contemporary
management standards, yet still a foundational literary contribution to the field itself, but
not the subject of study here.
Whilst the definition of a luxury brand is already a complicated undertaking, the
definition of luxury has proven to be even more elusive and a point of vehement
discourse. We are aware of a variety of possible definitions, and, as Chevalier &
Mazzalovo denote in their seminal work Luxury Brand Management (second edition)
the luxury of one is not necessarily that of another. (Chevalier & Mazzalovo, 2012)xvi.
Many or even most are aware of what is being alluded to when speaking or writing of a
luxury brand, definitions however subjectively differ. These differences are often noted
as depending upon variables such as the defining subjects social standing, wealth,
education, field of occupation and consumer preferences, amongst a plethora of

xv

Alleres (1990), Luxe: Strategie, Maketing. ISBN: 978 2 7178 1824 6, Economica
1990.
xvi

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege.


ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 1.

Page 14 of 52

possible other influential social, cultural and economic circumstances that may effect an
individuals perception of luxury.xvii
This sector, dominated by global fashion entities such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton &
Hermes, as well as automotive brands such as Bentley, Rolls Royce and some might
even argue segments of Mercedes-Benz or BMW, amongst a variety of other exclusive
brands from different industries such as Moet in Champagne or Hennessy in Cognac,
or Wally in luxury yachts, is as diverse as it is hard to define. Specifically, this industries
brands deal in a products that are, by a large segment of the population, deemed as
more exclusive than other brands, either due to their pricing, availability, product
placement or historical heritage.
Luxury brand development, is then, the theoretical discourse and active management
practice associated with brands of this tenor. This theoretical knowledge and the
operational skills this knowledge entails as a pragmatically oriented discipline is focused
upon the management of developing, marketing, sustaining, growing, proliferating,
popularising and amalgamating such brands, amongst other functions.
As we are here dealing with futures representations in academic works dedicated to the
specific field of luxury brand management entitled as luxury brand development, not an
analysis of brands pertaining to the industry, an overly specific definition of categorised
industry players is erroneous and of little significance at this point. It may be said we are
dealing with a relatively recently formalised academic field concerned with the expertise
and knowledge of business management in a rarified but often ambiguous luxury
industry. The courses usually are taught through an MBA degree format at diverse
universities and business schools including the ESSEC Business Schoolxviii, the IFA
Parisxix, the Instituto Marangonixx and others across the globe, whos lectors literary
offerings are amongst those scrutinised in through semiotic analysis here.

xvii

Paraphrased from Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A


world of Privilege. ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.
Pg 3-6
xviii

Identified via: http://www.essec.edu/programs/mba-programs/mba-in-internationalluxury-brand-management.html


xix

Identified via: http://www.ifaparis.com/courses/postgraduate/mba-luxury-brandmanagement


xx

Identified via: http://www.istitutomarangoni.com/en/fashion-courses/postgraduate/


master-programme/fashion-luxury-brand-management

Page 15 of 52

These courses and the corresponding knowledge is documented by a variety of


proponents who write on the subject and its perspectives, tools, goals and practices
periodically. The authors studied are all, in some capacity, part of this academic
institutionalisation of luxury brand development, and their works constitute the most
relevant material available to this investigation.

Futures Management
Another recently formalised academic field, with a similarly dispersed collegial presence
and diverse literary and methodological proponents, future studies, specifically futures
management as a related and overlapping discipline, also eludes simple definition. The
general terminology Future Studies invokes and air of mystique, from which one must
distance oneself in order to grasp the subject matter more firmly, but even here opinions,
perspective and approaches defer broadly.
At the basis of futures management lies the idea of the future or futures (plural), and the
management practices concerned with or coinciding with these idealised states, so
much can be said without rousing conflict. But this seemingly simple point of entry also
yields the basic nature of the discursive conflict that divides researchers and academics,
as well as adherents in the areas of business, economics, politics, social services and
technological development.
The basic nature of the future or futures, and their place in any area of expertise may be
the subject of future studies, but the manifestations said study and its advocates take
are as varied and variable as perhaps futures representations themselves. The subject
of defining futures management has been an area of academic discourse in itself.
For the purpose of this research thesis, futures management is define as a subject
concerned with an area of management, as defined earlier, of futures & future-oriented
themes and the futures representations they entail, as well as the consequent
formalised administrative management of the results. As Fink states, futures
management is about the close connection of strategically relevant futures and
strategies implementable in futures - or more simply put, the intersection of futures and
strategy.xxi

xxi

Fink & Siebe (2012) Handbuch Zukunftsmanagement - Einfhrung. ISBN: 978 3 5933
9500 0. Campus Verlag GmbH 2011. Pg. 10

Page 16 of 52

As this is a field where futures-oriented themes and strategic practices relating to


business management have been relatively formalised under the sub-category futures
management over recent years, this particular branch of future studies will serve as a
point of reference for research results pertaining to the literary analysis of luxury brand
development, and the futures representations and themes thus isolated.

Selected Works
The selected works which are to be the subject of this investigation have been chosen
for their prominence in the academic pursuit of luxury brand development and for the
recognised academic standing of their authors. They each treat a different aspect of
luxury brand development, so as to avoid repetition, but all revolve around the coherent
core them regarding luxury brands and their contexts, practices, aims, perspectives and
other knowledge accumulated in the successful administration & management of luxury
brands in general.
As the field under scrutiny, much like futures management, may seldom lay claim to a
solid scientific base, the works are largely subjective, highly normative, and at times
disparate. They represent knowledge and know-how not necessarily garnered from
rigorous research practices in an academic context, but from market research studies,
business culture analysis and hands-on experience in the workforce of luxury brands.
They have been selected for their perceived validity in luxury brand management.

Page 17 of 52

Section 2 - Analytical Framework


Context
In order to undertake the planned form of literary analysis, a framework must be adopted
to allow the researcher to differentiate certain areas of the studied works for further
analysis from the general content.
One of the ways this has been done across other academic fields is through the
pragmatic operationalisation of theoretic pretexts that are then adapted as a sort of
semiotic lens for discerning aspects of social arrangements, global economic shifts, the
psyche or any other specific area of study. These theoretical frames often rely upon
guiding theoretical paradigms. xxii
These paradigms may be a theory such as structural functionalism, used to highlight
relative functional structural distributions of power and economic means of subjects
within a given societal or cultural context. The semiotically structured meanings that this
lens is constructed of allows the observer to take on a meaningful perspective, looking
only at aspects of an objective state of affairs through the filter of the semiotic subjective
precepts of structural functionalism and its presuppositions as a theoretical
framework.xxiii
Taking this basic idea, this study employs a far less complex semiotic framework based
on semiotic markers. These are structures into four categories for the purposes of
analysing literary works for futures representations. These four lenses are based on four
semiotic pretexts inherent in most forms of futures representations, semiotics being the
study of meaning-making also employed by Chevalier & Mazzalovo in their work Luxury
Brand Management, subjected to study here, to describe what luxury brands are, and
how they create meaning.xxiv

xxii

Paraphrased & Adapted from Surdulescu (2002) Form, Structure & Structurality in
Critical Theory - The Semiotic Analysis of the Literary Text. ISBN: 973 5 7549 75,
Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti 2002. Pg. 45 - 55
xxiii

Paraphrased & Adapted from Seilers work Semiology // Semiotics written for the
Communications study 441 course of the University of Calgary, identified via http://
people.ucalgary.ca/~rseiler/semiolog.htm
xxiv

Paraphrased from Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A


world of Privilege. ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.
2012. Pg 164

Page 18 of 52

The semiotic pretexts are inherently linked to the basic idea that futures representations
are semiotically linked to one of the following lenses through which they may be
identified and observed in detail. As futures representations are meaningful, loaded
signifiers of a signified forward-thinking approach, method, statement or other sign
relating presents to come, the semiotic filters chosen are specific as well as retaining a
broad scope of information which they may produce. They work in relation to text as well
as visual semiotic signifiers, allowing for the inclusion of graphs and tables that are
utilised by the authors to represent futures-oriented content and futures representations.
Most definitions of complex themes require a discursive treatment themselves, but in
order to move forward a definition prevalent in future studies and consequently futures
management has been chosen to allow for a definition of a future or a plurality of futures
already. Here, the reiteration of an inherent problem should be denoted once again to
keep this in mind. As Grunwald (Popp & Schll et. al 2009), points out:
Future does not refer to one or the possible future present. Future is, due to its inherent
link to linguistic semiotics and language with which we converse about future, always
that which in the language is presently expected as a possible state of affairs which will
or may as such occur at another point in time. Future as a reflexive term about
possibles is always inherently something of the present, and thus a present term, which
changes with the nature of the present in which it used. Thus, we can speak of possible
futures, about alternate future possibilities, the way in which we imagine future presents
to be, and about the pretexts which we refer to as a basis for expecting certain futures,
but never about future presents as such. Only presently possible futures are thus
accessible to us.xxv (Grunwald, 2009)
This is of import as it highlights the fact that all information we may gather through
semiotics from the literature under analysis is, if in a less formalised manner, dealing
with perspectives that are limited by the field of luxury brand developments current
theoretical and methodological limitations, as well as the limitated perspectives of the
authors at the time of writing with regards to thinkable and conceivable futures, and thus
do not include any futures representations which were beyond their scope, or may be
prevalent but have not been formalised.

xxv

Translated from Grunwald (2012) Wovon ist die Zukunftsforschung eine


Wissenschaft? in Popp & Schll (et. al.), Zukunftsforschung und Zukunftsgestaltung.
ISBN: 978 3 5407 8564 4, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009. Pg. 27

Page 19 of 52

Also, the reiteration of the semiotic complexity of the term future or futures allows for a
more comprehendible point of entry into the selection of the semiotic markers used as
research tools in this study. They are terms that, while complex, are rudimentary
compared to the subject matter they aim to identify. Terms that are inherently linked to
the precept of future or futures, wrongly or rightly so, have been determined. Thus, four
terms that are inherently semiotically linked, at the basis of their capacity to generate
meaning, to the idea of a future or multiple futures, and pre-suppose some form of
practice associated with this future-oriented relationship have been selected. The
following four terms, after careful analysis, have been selected for their scope as well as
specificity, which make them possible semiotic concepts that may serve as markers for
literary analysis.

Semiotic Marker #1 - Planning


The first semiotic marker to be selected is the semiotic concept of planning. All forms of
planning may be identified as referring to futures & futures-oriented themes, as they
refer to the act or process of making a plan to achieve or do something, based on the
premise to plan. This in turn, has a variety of semiotic meanings, but the most relevant
aspects for the purpose of this study are method for achieving an end, an often
customary method of doing something and/or a detailed formulation of a program of
action.xxvi(Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, 2015)
What all of these definitions entail is that a plan refers to a structured, formalised
conception to dictate the approach to a certain action aimed at achieving a prescribed
end. Thus, all plans are inherently semiotically linked to the concept of the future or
multiple possible futures, and entail some form of futures representation, usually in the
form of a goal or aim to be achieved. This futures representation is often not temporally
linked to a specific time, it merely refers to a desired state of affairs to be attained at
some point in the future, when the plan or planning is applied.
This marker allows the researcher to identify all forms of methodological avenues and
tools that may be presented in a text, and categorise these according to the format the
plan takes, in relation to specific methods employed, timeframes adopted, goals set and
possible reflexive controls utilised.

xxvi

Planning (Verb) as defined by Merriam-Webster online edition (2015), retrieved from


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/planning

Page 20 of 52

Semiotic Marker #2 - Time Frame


The second semiotic marker to be employed within the scope of this research thesis is
the semiotic concept of a time frame. A time frame refers to any length time allocated to
an undertaking, a period of time that is used or planned for a particular action or
projectxxvii. This means a time frame is an allocated or utilised period of time that is
employed when engaging in any activity or project, planned or unplanned.
This marker allows us to identify futures representations that may be omitted by looking
for modes of planning due to these representations being presented outside a
formalised sphere of methodological planning. This may, for example, occur if a futures
representation is linked to a statement about temporally defined developmental
processes, but does not instruct the reader on the steps or actions to be taken to
achieve the same results. Time frame as a marker also allows us to view futuresoriented content that is connected to the rendition of historical contextual data, recorded
research information that maps data set progressions, and general statements about
time frames for different things linked to luxury brands in general.

Semiotic Marker # 3 - Aim


The third semiotic marker selected is the semiotic concept of an aim. An aim is a target
outcome, a future present, a result that has been set out by current standards, and is
thus a futures representation in itself. The two most relevant meanings of aim for the
purpose of this study are a goal or purpose and/or a clearly directed intent or
purpose.xxviii(Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, 2015)
These two definitions, the first less restricted than the second in that is does not define
the clarity with which the path to the outcome shall be directed, both refer to a semiotic
meaning that is clearly linked to a future state of affairs, and thus futures representation.
Whilst an element of planning or methodology may be missing from a prescriptive
statement, and no time frame may be reiterated, the statement of an aim does
intrinsically reference a futures representation, making this a further useful semiotic
marker.

xxvii

Time frame (Noun) as defined by Merriam-Webster online edition (2015), retrieved


from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/time%20frame
xxviii

Aim (Noun) as defined by Merriam-Webster online edition (2015), retrieved from


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aim

Page 21 of 52

Semiotic Marker # 4 - Control


The final semiotic marker employed is a less direct one, that of a control. A control, for
the semiotic purpose employed here, refers to a device or mechanism used to regulate
or guide the operation of a machine, apparatus, or system.xxix(Merriam Webster Online
Dictionary, 2015). This meaning may, on the surface, have little to do with futures
representations, but a control implies a future variable, and an element of regulation of
guidance. Thus, the semiotic marker control also implies a preferential or sought after
state of affairs, and this state of affairs must be formalised as a futures representation in
order to exist. A control references a normative futures representation to be attained. It
will usually refer to a conceived plan, possibly a time frame and/or aim. For example, if a
semiotic instance of a control takes the form of a formalised method for checking
outcomes, it is inherently already a form of planning, with an aim that is linked to a prior
instance of planning, and thus entails futures representations in variable forms. The
reason control is still included as a semiotic marker is for the purposes of more accurate
categorisation and classification of planning instances throughout the texts analysed,
allowing for a primary differentiation between instances of planning that pursue aims in
and of themselves, and planning which is aimed at the analysis of outcomes of prior
planning.

Methodological Application Of Semiotic Markers


In order to be effectively employed, the literary texts under study must be subjected to
detailed scrutiny, sifting through each volume to identify semiotic instances which relate
to one or more of the four categorical semiotic markers. These identified words,
sentences, passages, methods, visual representations or other forms of relevant
signifiers are then referenced to other texts, and if a significance to the field of luxury
brand management is accord to them as a futures-oriented theme which directly relates
to luxury brand development they are noted and integrated into consideration. Not all
instances of futures-oriented themes were recorded for the purpose of this thesis, as the
sheer volume would exceed the parameters of the study as an explorative engagement,
now a scientific work. Only instances deemed by the thesis author as relevant were
exemplified to illustrate how futures are represented in luxury brand development. These
recorded instances then make up a significant section of futures in a section of the
literature pertaining to the specific field of study, in this instance the field of luxury brand
development.
xxix

Control (Noun) as defined by Merriam-Webster online edition (2015), retrieved from


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/controls

Page 22 of 52

Section 3 - Literary Research


Futures Representations In Luxury Brand Development
The following categorical insights about areas of futures representations in luxury brand
development literature were attained using the outlined semiotic framework for analysis
for the selection of possible areas of interest. The descriptions of each form of futures
representation is qualitatively expounded, and lays no claim as to quantifiability related
to prevalence or popularity of such perspectives throughout the discipline itself. They are
qualitatively, subjectively selected in accordance with the semiotic framework used to
isolate them. The categories selected were those that could be identified to be prevalent
across a number of volumes, and thus lend themselves to comparative analysis.

The Forms Of Luxury Brand Development Content


The content pertaining to luxury brand development throughout the literature studied
takes a variety of forms. From formalised instructions referring to approaches that
different phases and situations in luxury brand development require, to merely
referencing the need for directions, goals and targets, the literature studied is as diverse
as it is complex. The manifestations of plans and approaches to the represented futures
that accord to these instances are vast and varied, and futures-oriented thinking
pervades most of these works, even if this is often the case solely in the form of
normatively uttered forms of prescribed or recommended engagement to an aspect of a
luxury brands development. At the less formalised end of the spectrum are general
statements according to a need to engage in activities that deal with aspects of strategic
planning, financial planing, marketing and other prevalent themes. For example:
One of the most fundamental qualities for any luxury brand leader is strategic thinking.
to keep the dream alive you must evolve. You cant stay stagnant and just enjoy the
current business model.xxx (Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge, 2013)
This example implies a fundamental understanding of the need for reflexivity, explorative
strategic engagement and evolutionary thinking, all entailing directions toward futures
representations of positive growth and development, but the quoted text does not
propose a valid way to move toward this strategic evolutionary ideal, or what
management practices may bring such results about.
xxx

Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge (2013), The Luxury Alchemist. ISBN: 978 1 6142 8150 4
Assouline 2013. Pg. 44

Page 23 of 52

On the other end of the spectrum, somewhat more formalised and insightful models and
methodologies are presented throughout some of these texts, which deal with a variety
of aspects pertaining to business planning. These have been broken down to several
categorical classifications. These include luxury brand positioning, the luxury brand
dream, luxury brand growth, life cycles, global expansion, line & brand expansion,
innovation and long-term strategy.
These areas dont necessarily include plans or time frames, but their content relates, in
accordance with the four categories selected, to the theme of futures representation in
luxury brand development. All of this points to a rudimentary understanding of different
forms of possible, probable, plausible and desirable futures and their representations in
the context of this subject matter. The level of sophistication is rendered throughout the
following sections, exhibiting general insights, as well as selected examples to furnish
each section.

Luxury Brand Positioning


A High level of normative perspective is presented throughout luxury brand development
literature, concerning prescribed or preferred developmental aims of a luxury brand. As
luxury brand development, a field that is intrinsically linked to the developments inherent
in economic markets, and sometimes seen as responsible for many of the trend
developments in these markets by fulfilling a role as taste-makersxxxi, the texts studied
advocate a certain normative necessity when dealing with positioning a luxury brand.
The futures represented in relation to brand positioning as a normative aim herein are
based upon the idea of normative stances to be taken when engaging, planning and
goal-setting throughout any luxury brands development. These stances are even
portrayed as ontological prerequisites for continued functional management of a luxury
brand in some passages. For example, the following excerpt represents a particularly
normative stance in relationship to a luxury brands positioning in the market:

xxxi

Paraphrased from Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules
Of Marketing To Build Luxury Brands (2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan
Page Limited 2012. Pg. 157

Page 24 of 52

For a luxury brand to fulfil its ontological function (recreating the social distance, the
gap) it is necessary for it to be known beyond its realistic clientele: it must radiate as a
symbol of superior taste, in a literal and figurative sense.xxxii (Kapferer & Bastien, 2012)
Similar normative statements even presuppose or acknowledge the power of luxury
brands to shape the future presents they will be a part of, at least partially, in a
explorative normative manner. These representations of possible, plausible or desirable
(not necessarily probable) futures refer to consciously developing the brand, trend and
consumer taste environment through active engagement. For example:
The luxury brand must also resonate today, be a key emitter of future trends and
tomorrows tastes.xxxiii (Kapferer & Bastien, 2012)
Whilst this represents one extreme end of the spectrum relating to a brands positioning
without apparent methodological foundation, various other instances that are aimed at
actively discerning the possible and desirable future positioning of a brand also exist in
others of the texts studied.
FIGURE 1.0 - EXAMPLES OF BRAND POSITIONING ON THE SEMIOTIC MAP

This semiotic map shows a luxury brands positioning in the market in relationship to several
brand identity parameters, complimentary and opposing.xxxiv

xxxii

Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To
Build Luxury Brands (2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan Page Limited 2012.
Pg. 143
xxxiii

Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To
Build Luxury Brands (2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan Page Limited 2012.
Pg. 157
xxxiv

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege.


ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 175

Page 25 of 52

The diagram in Figure 1.0 depicts several prominent brands and their positioning
mapped along an X & Y axis. While this may initially seem irrelevant to the
representation of futures in this field, models such as these can be employed as a tool
for planned and targeted positioning of a brand in the market, allowing for an
engagement with desirable and plausible futures in contrast to possible or probable
ones. This can be achieved through the reflexive capabilities of a model such as the one
above, allowing for conscious engagement with the question of possible positions, and
thus viable futures representations.
Here is another diagram, portraying of how brand positioning may effect the operational
and strategic activities of a luxury brand throughout its development:
FIGURE 1.1 - BRAND IDENTITY PROJECT: OPERATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

This flow chart shows the effects that the selection of luxury brand positioning,
in relation to brand identity, aesthetics and ethics can have on the
pragmatic operational & strategic development of a luxury brand.xxxv

This flow chart shows that the selective positioning of a luxury brand during its
development has a number of effects on the brands operation down the line, and thus
on possible, probable, plausible and desirable futures that may come about. However
useful these forms of planning may be, they remain relatively informal, providing only a
very limited frame of reference in the relationship to choices made, and possible
effective outcomes. There are few controls suggested, but the methodology is
rudimentary when related to the complexities of effective influxes upon the development
of a brand. No material was found as to trend analytics, context analysis or any other
form of formalised engagement with the brands environment which could have guided
choices effecting represented futures and possible guidance on a path to effective brand
positioning.
xxxv

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege.


ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 183

Page 26 of 52

The Luxury Brand Dream


The dream is a prevalent theme across the volumes studied. It refers to a reified
futures representation of desirable, normative and meaningful futures to be attained
through the purchase of luxury goods by the consumer. It is also referenced as a
construct that may represent these desirable futures, but which leaves them wholly
unattainable and thus implausible, improbable or impossible futures representations,
unable to be manifested by most consumers who encounter this dream. The concept of
the dream refers to an alternate form of the idea of brand perception or brand image, but
the language in which it is presented already outlines some of the mystique that is
preferably projected in luxury brand development as a part of a brand image. For
example:
the luxury field is about dreams, and in order to create dreams, the story needs to be
told flawlessly with the brand guarantee that every single client has the same experience
and shares the same dreamxxxvi
This rendition of the dream implies an understanding of the power of a widely
proliferated futures representation, namely of one in which the brand has positive
associations, and is all-present, with an intrinsic positive connotation attached. It does
not, however, show an in-depth understanding as to the highly subjective nature of
perception, and the construction of futures representations that individuals engage in,
shaped, as was earlier expounded, by their own subjective environment and
circumstances. The proposed homogeneity of this perception of a brand in the eyes of
observers ignores the subjectivity with which individuals approach perception of
anything, even a brands identity, image and message. This shortsightedness is of
course not the case throughout the works studied, and merely adheres to some
perspectives.
Futures representations, contained in the dream, are proliferated through advertising,
public relations, the press and all other communications channels available to luxury
brands in order to propagate their signified meanings, encoding possible or even
plausible futures to be popularised, even idolised through their proliferation via mass
media engagement.

xxxvi

Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge (2013), The Luxury Alchemist. ISBN: 978 1 6142 8150 4
Assouline 2013. Pg. 94

Page 27 of 52

Some works even formalise a methodological approach to the effective creation of the
brand dream in order to effectively develop a luxury brand. While this is akin to general
brand image development across other fields, it takes a slightly different form here. This
practice is engaged with varying degrees of complexity, from the overly simplified and
incomprehensible instance to the highly sophisticated and useful. The following two
examples are indicative of the varying degrees of complexity that exist in the texts.
For example, Kapferer & Bastien conceived of this visual guide to Managing The Luxury
Dream Equilibrium seen below:
FIGURE 2.0 - THE BRAND DREAM: FOUR TYPICAL SITUATIONS

The model above aims to portray the relationship and dispersion between
brand perception and active consumer behaviour of a luxury brand.xxxvii

The diagram shown in Figure 2.0 is meant to convey to the reader that a strong luxury
brand is one where the brand image transcends the realm of its active customers, and is
present in the consciousness of the general populous at large. Clearly this model is not
meant for operationalisation, and deciphering it may allow an adherent to the field of
luxury brand management to discern that the brand dreams communicative reach
should be as broad as possible to allow for the highest possible rate of dissemination of
meanings, and consequently futures-oriented ideas represented by the brand.

xxxvii

Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To
Build Luxury Brands (2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan Page Limited 2012.
Pg. 155

Page 28 of 52

FIGURE 2.1 - ECONOMIC MODEL OF LUXURY

This model shows the economic relationship between the target customer of a
developed luxury brand and the luxury brand itself.xxxviii

The diagram in Figure 2.1 depicts a model of a luxury brands relationship to its target
customer using the idea of the dream also, but renders a higher complexity, displaying
where the brand identity, or the dream is positioned in relation to the place of the luxury
company staff, and the customer. This model, and the section related to it, suggests that
the brand as a meaning system is a shared grounds between the customer and the
employees of the brand. This shared aspect of a reality, even though observed from
multiple very different

subjective angles in each actors case, still enables the luxury

brand to share their futures representations in a meaningful way with the customer
through advertising, in-store communication and events, for example, as well as all other
mediums of communication available to the luxury brand.
This means that the customer, when purchasing, or even merely coming into contact
with the brand, may have their perception of possible, probable, plausible and desirable
futures altered by the meanings projected by the brand. The customer, in turn, in the
case of purchase, provides the luxury brand with the financial means to actively also
alter its own set of present futures. In the age of customer relationship management,
online communication and social media, the customer now even has the ability to
directly, ever so minutely, also effect the luxury brands present futures. The above
model manages to show the shared nature of influence, space of communication and
even avenues for this two-way engagement.

xxxviii

Gutsatz & Gilles (2013), Luxury Talent Management - Leading And Managing A
Luxury Brand. ISBN: 978 1 1372 7055 5, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Pg. 31

Page 29 of 52

The brand image and identity, or dream, is a central theme throughout the texts
studied, and elucidated in varying forms and complexities by the different authors. The
utility of the idea for the purpose of meaningful engagement with themes of futuresoriented planning or practices is complex, but just the kind of task that futures
management methodologies may be a plausible solution for.

Luxury Brand Life Cycles


The luxury brand life cycle refers to the perceived phases of development that different
proponents of the discipline deem a luxury brand to go through, from inception onward
through a variety of different developmental stages. The varying perspectives also
render different developmental referents, and consequently different ideas of futures
representations prevalent and discernible in the descriptive texts themselves,
sometimes linear and singular, at other times explorative, plural and exhibiting the basic
characteristics of unformalised scenarios that lend themselves to comparative analysis
as a basis for decision making. These models will be looked at here, in order to discern
their basic relationship to futures representations.
The following two luxury brand life cycles were selected as examples, due to their
contrasting degree of definition, each portraying a different range of developmental
stages, as well as treatments of temporal horizons, when compared. This reflects the
lack of uniformity presently prevalent in the field of luxury brand development where the
subject of brand life cycles is concerned, but this lack of uniformity can be constructive
due to the inherent exploration of working models, and be put down to the variable
instances of how brands perform in the marketplace. Thus their observers may render
different examples for reference when constructing models such as the ones shown
here, utilising the knowledge they bring from other fields to luxury brand management.
The first model, depicted in Figure 3.0, shows a linear, processual, understanding of
luxury brand development.
FIGURE 3.0 - LUXURY BRAND BUILDING PROCESS

The flow diagram shown above represents the separate developmental


stages which a luxury brand is perceived to go through.xxxix

xxxix

Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2012), Luxury Strategy In Action. ISBN: 978 0 2303
5454 8, Palgrave Macmillan 2012. Pg. 128

Page 30 of 52

While this model is simple to understand, and is reiterated to some degree with short
explanatory passages throughout the corresponding descriptions concerning the
functionality and a few possible choices to be made in each step it is a reductionist
rendition of the complexities that a brand goes through in order to develop effectively
and sustainably. Showing no sign of reiteration as to the planned measures to engage in
the building process, no time frame, only isolated and decontextualised goals and no
evidence of a more elaborate system of controls that transcends the possibility of
checking on the scale where the brand one is assessing may be positioned, this model
may lack the depth to be truly instrumental as a guide to effectively developing a luxury
brand. The singular nature of this construct deters consideration of all possible alternate
avenues of development, and what comes between or qualitatively within each stage.
There is a lack of futures-oriented strategic discourse enclosed, which can lead to
misinterpretation. The future representation in this instance is linear and singular,
normative and lacks the possibility of deviation, or explorative material concerning forms
of action which may return to the brand to the original course should deviation occur.
The futures representations herein are thus not easily adaptable without a certain
amount of prior knowledge, and this particular texts treatment of the matter is more
descriptive than prescriptive. The arrangement of different temporal stages may also be
challenged, as brand awareness precedes brand positioning in this diagram, which
lends itself to critique on the grounds of inaccuracy, the one cannot temporal precede
the other, as brand awareness may be held secondary to brand positioning.
The second model that pertains to a luxury brands life cycle is depicted in Figure 3.1 as
a line graph extending along time on the X axis and sales on the Y axis. This model
aims to portray the development of a luxury brand in terms of its product offerings, and
their market performance, from inception of the initial product and consequent launch of
the brand, through stages of initial growth, perceived maturity and consequent decline.
This model likens a luxury brands developmental stages to those of a person, and
specifically refers to a life cycle. Although a brand has no life of its own, this metaphor
allows for an immediate understanding of the historicity of a brand. An account on which
this may be deemed misleading is the relatively unitary length of a persons life, and
anthropomorphic representation such as these may incite the perception of uniformity
with regards to a brands timeline. This problem is aptly dealt with in the text, as
reiterated below.

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FIGURE 3.1 - THE BRAND LIFE CYCLE

The diagram above depicts several brands, positioned at different


perceived stages of temporal development, with the dates at which the
brands were perceived to have been at these stages inscribed.xl

Whilst this likening to a persons developmental stages may, as said, be misleading, this
representation accounts for a lot more detail than the flow diagram shown in Figure 3.0.
The graphical representation of a luxury brands developmental steps in Figure 3.1 are
much more detailed. Referencing stages to sales volume in relation to temporal age,
and through the provision of brands as examples on the scale allows for a deeper
understanding of a contextualised time frame. The aims or goals are not specifically
weighted in the diagram, although outlines in the form of the steps marked launch,
growth, maturity and decline indicate the futures representations that are encoded
herein. The referential examples that have been provided allow for a certain measure of
control of performance, even if the dimensions of the above diagram is singular and
without context. Due to the ability to assign a relative stage to any given case study in
comparison to the historical data portrayed, a founded assessment may be made. Thus,
the futures representations that may be discerned from this particular model of a luxury
brands life cycle are much more complex than in the first instance, allowing for
preparation, adaptation and planning that takes into consideration variables that were
unknown in the instance of Figure 3.0, and the information provided in conjunction with
this.
What is also important to denote is that Figure 3.1 is rendered not as an isolated master
model that aims to portray the machinations of a luxury brands life cycle, it is
complimented by various exemplary graphs depicting the sales growth of successfully
developed luxury brands, charted over a period of the past 22 years.

xl

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege. ISBN:
978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 140

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FIGURE 3.2 - HERMES SALES (IN MILLION EUROS)

The above chart reflects the historical sales


of the Hermes brand from 1988 -

2010.xli

FIGURE 3.3 - FERRAGAMO SALES (IN MILLION EUROS)

The above chart reflects the historical sales


of the Ferragamo brand from 1988 - 2010.xlii

These two examples of the complimentary brand performance information provided in


this particular volume, Chevalier & Mazzalvolos Luxury Brand Management (2nd ed.),
show the potential depth such literature can take on. The data provided, which in the
literature is even more extensive, ranging across a variety of brands, allows the inquirer
to gain a relatively firm understanding of the variety of circumstantial developments a
luxury brand may undergo. The section also includes detailed descriptions of the
circumstances that led to individual instances along the historical timeline. For example,
the authors denote that Ferragamo, whos sales are depicted in Figure 3.3, seemed to
enter into the deep maturity phase, until it finally showed outstanding results in 2010
with growth of 24 percentxliii, as depicted in the diagram above. This qualitative
reiteration of prior historical developmental occurrences allows the reader to gain a
much deeper understanding of the model depicted in Figure 3.1, and allows for much
more variable, complex and even explorative futures representations to be contemplated
in relation to the task of luxury brand development. The spectrum of knowable possible,
probable, plausible and desirable futures is thus extended immensely. This qualitative
reiteration also shows that a model such as the one depicted in Figure 3.1 is an
indicative tool, and is not to be taken as a paradigmatic truth formula that reflects a
consistent way that luxury brands develop over a temporal space. This form of
engagement allows for enough insight to create an understanding of the holistic context
in which a luxury brand develops, and the plethora of environmental, internal, financial
and other influxes that can effect this development.
xliChevalier

& Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege. ISBN:


978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 142
xlii

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege.


ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 143
xliii

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege.


ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 142

Page 33 of 52

As extensive as the body of case studies is, and the varying scenarios it propounds, it is
also structured enough to include a case study for the scenario of a brand that
eventually actually does reach a state of decline, staying true to the model. The case
study outlining the financial woes that the former came a giant Kodak encountered,
depicted in Figure 3.4, and the steady decline in sales from 1995 onward this company
had to deal with is instructive to the observer. It is instructive in that it shows another
form of possible alternate path of development, that of a brand at the height of its glory,
and its subsequent regressive development to decline in a turbulent market, upset by
the digitalisation of film and the revolutionising of photography. Whilst this example does
not refer to a luxury brand, similar examples can be gleaned in other texts also.
FIGURE 3.4 - KODAK SALES (IN MILLION EUROS)

The above chart reflects the historical sales


of the Kodak brand from 1960 - 2010.xliv

In addition to this case of decline, cases of relaunch or overhaul are also exemplified, as
in the case of Guccis repositioning at a stage of sales stagnation. It is stated that The
brands traditional values were replaced by the universe of the Hollywood swingles.xlv
(Chevalier & Mazzolovo, 2012). This short passage, referring to one of the largest brand
repositioning endeavours in the history of the luxury industry as a whole, indicates that
luxury brand development as a field is very well versed in alternate histories,
perspectives, futures-oriented outlooks and possible representations of such futures.
Such a qualitative wealth of information makes for a variety of scenarios that may be
explored from a managers point of view, and enriches the luxury brand management
discipline. While no sophisticated forms of prescriptive planning methodologies were
evidently recorded or lent to the subject matter here, real time frames were reiterated,
xliv

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege.


ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 154
xlv

Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege.


ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326 2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd. Pg. 157

Page 34 of 52

and solid aims and goals were to be discerned from the above information. Exemplary
case studies can even be categorised as forms of controls that allow for reflexive
engagement when studying the development of other luxury brands or engaging in
development personally.

Luxury Brand Growth


The theme of brand growth is of course intrinsically linked to that of brands life cycles,
but differs in the sense that it may be based on other factors that are not necessarily
alluded to as semiotic, coherent models or stage based developmental theories. Luxury
brand growth, usually charted by economic performance and relative market share, is
presented throughout most of these texts in some formalised manner or another.
This growth, charted and modelled in its different forms, lends future perspective to the
field of luxury brand development, providing planning models, time frames, aims and
goals as well as controls to be able to engage in futures representations. While these
models again all represent a varying degree of depth and complexity, some allowing for
more explorative, others for more normative insights, they are nevertheless prevalent
amongst the text studied.
The following two examples are visuals selected for their semantic value in relationship
to the markers used, and their adherent meanings and implications related to futures
representations will be extrapolated below. Several other instances were encountered,
but for the sake of representation the following examples were analysed effectively and
in a meaningful manner.
The first example is an NPV, or Net Present Value, projection chart which exemplifies
the effect of initial investment at the inception of a luxury brand, as opposed to the
development with no initial investment, on operational cash flows, and a subsequent
NPV position.

Page 35 of 52

FIGURE 4.0 - PROJECTED NPV

The above chart shows the cash flow projections for a luxury brand,
and the effect initial investment has on the same company.xlvi

Effectively, the chart represents two alternate financial scenarios, and thus two differing
financial, and consequentially operational future representations. These form the basis
for further meaningful engagement with the subject of investment and its effect on a
luxury brands development over time. This planning tool exhibits concrete parameters
in the form of financial instances, a solid operational time frame in the shape of a ten
year financial projection space, discernible aims in that its overarching aim may be seen
as the goal to provide a model that allows for sound financial planning, a secondary aim
of educating on possible alternative paths to luxury brand development, and finally the
aim to relativise initial financial performance of a luxury brand. The controlling effect of
the chart is also inherent, as it may be used as a simplified point of reference for the
financial performance of a luxury brand developing with the help of investment capital.
Thus, a variety of future representations are made available to the discipline here, and
they are semiotically encoded in the form of financial management tools that serve to
effectively plan and make decisions on the manner in which to proceed. While the
perspective advocated in the text and the tool at large is a normative one, proliferating
the positive effects of investment on the development of a luxury brand, the model still
allows for reflexive contemplation of the best form of engagement.
The second example is depicted in Figure 4.1 in the form of a comparative line graph
that maps the temporal and numerical growth relationship between the number of
worldwide personal luxury goods per capita, the number of high net worth individuals
(HNWIs) in the world, and the overall global financial wealth (in US$ Trillion).
xlvi

Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2012), Luxury Strategy In Action. ISBN: 978 0 2303
5454 8, Palgrave Macmillan 2012. Pg. *****

Page 36 of 52

FIGURE 4.1 - LUXURY MARKET GROWTH

The graph above depicts the annual luxury market growth in comparison to the number of HNWIs,
and the global financial distributed total wealth from 2000 - 2010. xlvii

The graph depicted in Figure 4.1, while not very clearly marked or defined for purposes
of numerical differentiation, does give a very different growth perspective to the prior
example, in that it depicts overall growth of the luxury brand segment. The comparative
rendition of this growth is aimed at portraying how this growth relates to other financial
trends, namely the development and distribution of wealth upon potential consumers, in
the form of HNWIs and total international wealth. This depiction, and the texts
information that is provided alongside this graphic, is focused on the overall historical
financial context of luxury brand development, from the years 2000 - 2010. While this
graphic depiction may be seen as an oversimplification of financial circumstance, and
the causes and effects denoted qualitatively are not necessarily accurate, this form of
historical engagement with the contextual growth of the luxury industry as a whole does
allow for an engagement and development of futures representations that are founded in
a market context rather than a conceptual vacuum. The prognostic discourse that is
rendered in different parts of the works studied adhering to the subject of future growth
in the luxury industry can lack breadth and prescribe to a notion of predictability of
markets, but this historical graphic may be instrumental to understanding the multitude
of market forces that influence the growth of the luxury industry as a whole, and thus in
turn the development of any luxury brand. Futures representations thus become much
more nuanced and deal with external as well as internal development context. The
theme of statements and passages adhering to luxury industry growth to come in future
tense, found in various segments of the texts studied, also present a widely normative,
prognostic stance. This prognostic perspective rings, from a future studies and futures
xlvii

Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2013), Global Luxury Trends - Innovative Strategies
For Emerging Markets. ISBN: 978 1 1372 8738 0, Palgrave Macmillan 2013. Pg. 53

Page 37 of 52

management perspective, of a falsely rendered knowable future constructed on shaky


market research and experiential insights, but these do, when compared to one another,
show that the field of luxury brand management does contain multiple perspectives
relating to futures representations for the growth and development of the luxury industry,
which would allow a keen observer to plan, even if perhaps ill-advisedly, along the lines
of several possible scenarios presented. There is little reference made to possible
methodological planning in relation to these prognostic insights, and the time frames
vary, ranging from two years to the future of the luxury sector in the next decades. A lack
of global context also pervades these prognostic statements, as relevant markets are
alluded to in some instances, but a general lack of overall contextual geographical
perspective with possible, probable, plausible and/or desirable futures developments in
mind limits the futures representations that are present. The aims of these renditions are
elusive, as they often take on the guise of a narrative account of the status quo, as
opposed to an active engagement with variables to be considered, and most growth
accounts lack a reflexive review of statements made. Some can be seen as containing
control related functionality as they may prove useful for exploring a luxury brands
growth sectors and potential diversification of approaches after critical review of current
activity.
Generally, luxury industry growth, and thus the prevalence of luxury brands is a theme
that is generally addressed throughout the luxury brand development literature, and a
variety of perspectives exist. These perspectives are mostly normative, narrative,
seldom explorative, and founded on skint research findings that lend little to the validity
of statements made from a future studies approach to representing futures.

Luxury Brand Line Extension & Stretching


Luxury brand line extension & stretching refer to two different forms of development of a
luxury brand through the expansion of the brands product offering into alternative
segments. Line expansion, also referred to as brand expansion in some texts, refers to
the expansion of a brands product portfolio into segments that are not classically
associated with the brands current business. In the luxury business, this may mean that
a car manufacturer like Mercedes-Benz expands their product offering to include not
only new automobiles, but also sportswear or watches branded with the Mercedes-Benz
brand signs and signifiers. The stretching of a brand occurs if a brand which classically
produces, markets and distributes shoes decides to expand its product offering into the
realm of leather goods, ready-to-wear or sportswear products within its own segment of
luxury fashion.

Page 38 of 52

Different literature represent these developmental approaches differently, as shown in


Figure 5.0 below. This extracted graphic shows an effort made by the authors of Luxury
Strategy In Action to unify the currently disparate terminology and ideas that pervade
the luxury brand management discourse concerning brand development into new
product spheres, in order to solidify the fields internal coherence, and thus the
coherence of futures representations, similarly to efforts that are being made in the field
of future studies with respect to internal standards and terminological coherence.
FIGURE 5.0 - DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS OF BRAND & LINE EXTENSION BY AUTHOR

The table above shows different definitions and terminologies used by varying
authors to describe the practice of product or service range expansion, both in existing product
categories, and in new market segments.xlviii

Futures representations in this area are often of a prognostic nature, concerning growth
rates, necessary funding and return on investment, as well as time that developments of
all aspects needed for a new product line extension or brand expansion will usually take.
Prescriptive suggestions are made as to the advisability of each approach for different
sizes of developing luxury brands, referring also to their temporal state of development.
Plans for expansion and line extension are relatively formalised, including factors to be
considered, steps to be taken and stages that should be reached. For example, Figure
5.1 below represents two models of alternating forms of luxury brand expansion. The
first references a top-down approach when dealing with the creative efforts allocated to
different product lines, suggesting the brunt of creativity to be spent on the core product
lines, and refraining from pouring too much creative effort into the peripheral, larger
series licenses that may even be created and produced by third parties. The second
model represents a holistic product universe for the brand, suggesting that each product
should be dealt with at an equal level of creative effort, and a balanced product offering
should thus be achieved.

xlviii

Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2012), Luxury Strategy In Action. ISBN: 978 0 2303
5454 8, Palgrave Macmillan 2012. Pg. 145

Page 39 of 52

FIGURE 5.1 - TWO TYPES OF LUXURY BRAND EXPANSION

The two models above describe two types of brand expansion strategies.
The first refers to a vertically hierarchical approach to product expansion and creative
attention focused from the top down, the second to a holistic model of balanced creative input
across all product categories, core, old or new.xlix

Both models in Figure 5.1 suggest a completely different possible future, presenting
both as plausible in the texts qualitative description adhering to the diagrams. Both
forms of futures representations exhibit a high degree of complexity, requiring and
relating completely different business planning models, time frames, aims and possible
levels and forms of controls. The possible level of engagement here with two differing
and widely opposing scenarios as a basis for making conscious and reflexive decisions
with regard to a luxury brands development is very high. The futures encoded herein
are detailed, complex and suggest a deeper engagement with possible & plausible
futures by the field than is to be found anywhere else in the texts under analysis.
This relatively detailed rendition may serve to provide quite nuanced representations of
possible, plausible, probable and desirable future when engaging with the subject of
brand expansion or line extension. Provisioning detailed plans, time frames, aims and
controls in the form of providing optimal & sub-optimal renditions of development, this
area is more nuanced in respect to futures represented than others identified, which
may be due to the subjects importance to luxury brand development as a whole.

xlix

Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To
Build Luxury Brands (2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan Page Limited 2012.
Pg. 177

Page 40 of 52

Global Luxury Brand Expansion


Global brand expansion is also a prevalent theme in contemporary times, where the
luxury industry is increasingly focused upon expansion into the South-East Asian,
BRICS (Brazilian, Russian, Indian, Chinese and South African)l, and what are
considered to be other emerging markets. This global expansion in the luxury industry
ensued when, as mentioned earlier, the first luxury conglomerates emerged in the form
of PPR, LVMH and Richemont, and now Kering.
The forms of expansion, as also described in the texts analysed, were and still are to
this day, wholly owned foreign market ventures, joint ventures with local market
operators, franchised business operations of the luxury brand, or products and services
licensed under the brands name to foreign territories. All of these approaches have
different advantages and disadvantages, which warrant analysis in and of themselves,
but this is not the subject treated here.
The question of futures representations under scrutiny lends few narrative, qualitative
accounts of the status quo in localised markets, emerging or otherwise. These accounts,
bolstered by some market research insights and economic analysis of the areas in
question result in sparse, yet influential accounts of the possibilities inherent in these
markets, rendering a normative influence on what futures representations may be seen
as plausible for each, and what results will be probable if the right approaches are
adhered to. Again a very normative segment, but very focused upon the rendition of
future possibilities, as may be discerned from the short extract below:
Chinas luxury goods market will be worth an estimated US$27 billion by 2015,
representing 20 percent of global luxury sales. As observed in other sectors in China,
the speed at which the market took off is impressive. Louis Vuitton entered the market
20 years ago, has currently more than 40 stores in China and is opening more at a fast
pace.li
This example of a narrative description of the recent, current and immanent future
developments in the Chinese market are synonymous with many throughout the
volumes studies, reflecting a positivist and suggestive style that fuels futures

Morazan et. al (2012) The Role of BRICS in the developing world. ISBN: 978 92 823
3718 9, Ecologic Institute 2012. Pg. 4
li

Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2013), Global Luxury Trends - Innovative Strategies
For Emerging Markets. ISBN: 978 1 1372 8738 0, Palgrave Macmillan 2013. Pg. 23

Page 41 of 52

representations of opportunity and global expansion within the luxury brand segment.
While the industry as a whole is in dire need of a formalised discourse on foreign market
engagement, the material found relating to the matter in the texts studied was patchy to
say the least, and can lead to skewed perspectives of the potentials and pitfalls of
foreign markets. Planning material and market entry time frames were not to be found,
while aims were prevalent in the form that foreign markets are positive, desirable and
attainable, but control models were also lacking here.

Luxury Brand Innovation


Whilst the general tenor of each work dealing with luxury brand development is
generally conservative in tone and approach, it cannot be forgotten that the luxury sector
remains a field whos business is based on creativity, and thus also innovation. A good
point of entry into this discourse of conservation and innovation, facing futures
representation with one eye on futures and one on the past is portrayed by a quote
uttered by Bassani, the CEO of Wally boats, a luxury yacht manufacturer with a
comparatively large focus on innovation compared to other luxury segments, and even
seen as an immense innovator in the luxury yacht world:
One of our roles is to innovate - and our clients see themselves as innovators with us.lii
(Tungate, 2009)
This remark a man who some might see as one of the more forward thinking individuals
in the luxury industry made portrays the inherent dichotomy the industry faces when
developing a luxury brand. Innovation is an essential value, yet it also always entails
risk, a risk which is only tentatively taken in the arena of luxury brands. If a brand
innovates, it must do so in a manner that allows the clientele to relate, without diluting
the brands image or alienating the luxury brands loyal followers, who may turn out to
not be so loyal after all.
This balancing act of innovative engagement with new possibilities, trends and tastes
with a keen regard to the brands identity, image and following is a difficult aspect of this
inherently creative business. The example of Guccis relaunch, abandoning many prior
values and taking a large risk on the brands perceived integrity is an example that
seldom occurs, but also entails a viable point of view regarding innovation.

lii

Tungate (2009), Luxury World: The past, present and future of luxury brands. ISBN:
978 0 7494 5263 6, Kogan Page Limited 2009. Pg. 82

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While there was no evidence of a formalised reflexive framework or methodologies for


innovation management to be found in the literature, the general stance found
throughout the texts evidences an adherence to a controlled, reserved stance to risk
taking in any form, specifically innovation. This is an interesting observation, as the
luxury segment at the same time lays claim to the role of trend setter and taste maker,
which some may argue, is at odds with a generally conservative approach often
proliferated. The futures propounded in the literature do specifically entail innovation as
a core element of survival for any luxury brand, and it is a subject that is breached in
nearly all of the texts studied. Its importance to luxury brand development should thus
not be disregarded, and the futures represented are generally encoded in narrative
prescriptive measures advocating a balanced approach to innovation.

Long-Term Luxury Brand Strategy


Luxury brand developments literature, in a few instances, also proposes the
implementation of long-term strategies, even dedicating whole segments to luxury
business modelsliii that deal with differing planning modes and time frames, representing
differing starting points and aims, and providing some controls in the form of referential
examples. While one author may subscribe the implementation of a strategy that deals
with the following five years of development, another may select another range as a
realistic horizon for strategic engagement with possible futures representations.
When launching your own luxury brand, youll need to have a vision, set multiple goals,
and develop a five-year strategy (that you will be willing to adjust regularly). You need to
be flexible enough to to realise that your plans might have to be totally changed to
ensure that your brands overall vision stays on course. You dont necessarily have to
predict which market will be hot in thirty years from now, but you will have to make sure
that your company answers a demand.liv (Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge, 2012)
The exemplary excerpt from The Luxury Alchemist above implies a fundamental
understanding in the field of necessary and effective planning time frames and goals to
be worked toward, as well as controls to be utilised and considered. Unfortunately, none
of these, apart from the plan itself, not its methodology, and the proposed time frame,
are elaborated upon in this instance. This speaks for an awareness of futures and
liii

Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To
Build Luxury Brands (2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan Page Limited 2012.
Pg. 297 - 322
liv

Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge (2013), The Luxury Alchemist. ISBN: 978 1 6142 8150 4
Assouline 2013. Pg. 51

Page 43 of 52

possible representations even from the point of brand inception in luxury brand
development, but does not, however, provide the reader with an adequate methodology
to undertake any formalised, trialled and tested strategic measures.
These are, however, prevalent in other volumes. The following comparative model set
out in Figure 6.0 shows a group of six different luxury brands from the fashion segment
comparatively analysed, displaying their product and price ranges, and general market
positioning. This seemingly simple set of diagrams depicts a vast amount of informations
pertaining to the business models, market approaches, and futures representations that
are prevalent in each of these brands. From the traditionalist, luggage focused and
exclusively positioned items of Louis Vuitton to the cheap, imitable textile belts now sold
by Pierre Cardin, a former Haute Couture house, these models tell a story if
contextualised properly, and when combined with a background knowledge regarding
luxury brand development that may be garnered from these texts. They are key to
selecting which form of luxury positioning, and consequently which future is deemed
possible, plausible, probable and/or desirable. The title of the models, Luxury Brands In
Perspective, is certainly telling of the implications of the depiction. As perspectives lend
themselves to possibilities, and scenarios may emerge from possible perspective, this
form of modelling does suggest a more complex form of possible futures engagement
and representations in luxury brand management and development.
FIGURE 6.0 - LUXURY BRANDS IN PERSPECTIVE

The above model shows six existent luxury brands from the fashion industry,
and their current product range & positioning.lv

lv

Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To
Build Luxury Brands (2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan Page Limited 2012.
Pg. 177

Page 44 of 52

Another example, drawn from the pages of Luxury World, a quote by Leopold-Metzger,
CEO of Piaget, when talking about the brand s development in relationship to the
ownership group Richemont, now in possession of Piaget, illustrates an eponymous
approach to futures often seen in and associated with luxury brand development.
They take a very long-term view of their brands. They wish to be successful, of course but not by doing anything that might damage the brand for future generations.lvi
(Tungate, 2009)
This quote illustrates both the futures perspectives advocated, as well as the prevalent
futures representations in many luxury businesses, which are conservative, enduring
economic presences which transcend generational time. This approach essentially
purports a strong sense of sustainability, and a conservative ethic when approaching
avenues of planning, time frames and goals, as well as a strong presence of controls
throughout the business practice regarding luxury brand development. Yet these forms
of engagement are constantly challenged, and may be shifting.

lvi

Tungate (2009), Luxury World: The past, present and future of luxury brands. ISBN:
978 0 7494 5263 6, Kogan Page Limited 2009. Pg. 56

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Section 4 - Research Insights


Methodology
The study of the texts analysed showed that a literary research study of this scope is a
difficult endeavour, if statement that are at once true, meaningful and at the same time
not overly general are to be made. The scope of this thesis also limited the possible
depth of renditions, as delving into one area pertaining to luxury brand development
over another in too much depth seemed disproportionately unbalancing, as it would
have given the impression of subjective preference or a lack of depth applied to areas
by comparison only touched upon.
The application of the semiotic framework, whilst an apt tool, proved to be difficult also,
as a lot of material had to be disregarded in favour of seemingly more meaningful
instances. This, again relates to the ambitious task, and the limited scope of a thesis
such as this. The framework also requires further development, as the semiotic markers
applied only resulted in very general insights, and did not render nuances of futures
representations apart from time spans where presented, the other three markers were
less useful as the extrapolation of each type of planning, each particular aim and each
form of control in detail was also too large a task for a study such as this.

Diversity
The literary study undertaken showed that a large amount of diverse perspectives, as in
many fields, existed pertaining to futures representations throughout the literature
studied. These different perspectives diverged from one another in scope, complexity
and possibility, plausibility, probability and/or desirability (the last at least from an outside
observers perspective). The forms that futures and engagement in futures-oriented
themes take in luxury brand development are so complex that their detailed relationship
to one another, their validity or short fallings, and their possible limits would take a
further, much more nuanced study to determine.

Page 46 of 52

Similarity
The texts were in the sense similar that they all dealt with a similar subject matter. Apart
from this, they can merely be said to have been complimentary to one another, not to be
regarded in an isolated context, as each only really gained meaning and depth when set
and seen in relationship to the insights gained from the others. There were also less
complex similarities to be found, such as the general normative nature of the books
studied, and their generally subjective, informal tone taken, even if the later varied
somewhat across the board.

Moving Forward
In order for this study to serve a purpose it should be seen as an explorative literary
analysis which can be used as a stepping stone to deeper semiotic inquiry, into the field
studied or other texts pertaining to other areas of interest , and their general relationship
to futures representations. Weariness of the overarching insights gained should be
retained, as a semiotic analysis is no mean feat, especially when dealing with subject
matter as amorphous as futures.

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Section 5 - Comparative Analysis


Luxury Brand Development & Futures Management
The insights gained throughout the study rendered a field actively producing a variety of
informal futures represented in a variety of ways throughout. Using the first three
semiotic marker categories planning, time frames and aims used for the literary study,
as well as the category of perspectives and methods, this short comparative analysis
looks to show how luxury brand developments informal engagement with futures differs
from futures management and the formalised methodological approaches this field has
spawned and adopted.

Planning
Throughout the study a whole range of planning tools were identified in the literature
pertaining to the subject of luxury brand development. These forms of planning were to
a great extent normatively oriented, goal driven methods for reaching a specified
economic or brand development target state of affairs and corresponding futures.
These planning modes were seldom validated within the texts context, and critique of
one or another format was not found in another text of those selected, which speaks for
either a high level of coherence regarding planning methods in luxury brand
development, or as is the case here, a lack of deeper cross referential discourse within
the discipline regarding validity, effectivity and reflexivity when planning was taken into
consideration
Futures management, also a field only recently formalised, draws on a similarly long and
pragmatic history as the luxury sector, adopted only in recent years into academic
pursuit. Yet the formal modes & methods of planning that exist, drawn from a variety of
fields including, but not limited to, business management, innovation management,
future studies, social science and mathematics, has also developed a high level of
internal planning coherence. Focused around the core ideas of engaging in the
strategic, tactical and operative landscapes of organisational administrationlvii, futures
management thus encodes three discreet, temporally variable planning modes, each
engaged in a different time frame (long term, mid term and short term respectively), and
adopts methods to suit these modes.
lvii

Fink & Siebe (2012) Handbuch Zukunftsmanagement - Einfhrung. ISBN: 978 3 5933
9500 0. Campus Verlag GmbH 2011. Pg. 10

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While luxury brand development has the same wealth of information to draw on, and a
similarly long history of pragmatic engagement with the market throughout those now
working in the academic field of this discipline to futures management, it is interesting to
denote the low lever of formalisation concerning futures compared to futures
management. This may be due to the general historical stability of the economic
segment, or the sheer complexity of the influences already focused on in a field so
vibrant.

Time Frames
Accordingly, futures management and luxury brand management deal with time frames
in a very different way. As futures management is so acutely aware as a discipline of the
importance of planning horizons, time-bound planning for purposes of controlling, and
the limits of temporal planning, the discourse around time frames and their management
is very formalised and structured.
Whereas, as has been shown in this study, time frames are generally quite laxly
reiterated in luxury brand development. They are variant, and might deal with the short
as well as long term, but certainly showed no implications of being formalised to allow
for accurate controlling of performance regarding goals and aims, track records or
possible temporal variations.

Aims
Aims in luxury brand management are, just like in futures management, usually focused
upon optimising performance, be it financial, procedural or resource wise. But while the
aims may often coincide or even generally be the same, the contextualisation of their
manifestations is particularly differentiated. While futures management is focused on
showing what context that is yet to come an aim will be achieved in, often in the form of
variable scenarios in case of deviation from the optimally selected plan, luxury rand
development generally looks at aims and goals as isolated or at least not properly
integrated holistic futures representations. While one department may be tracking
financial performances, another may be looking at creative processes, but the two are
often seen in conflict, not in a balanced relationship to attaining set aims.

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Perspective
As already reiterated above, the major comparative insight gained regarding the
difference in perspective between the two fields is the ultimate divergence in
formalisation of planning modes and adherent knowledge that comes with engagement
in formalised futures planning.
One could also denote that futures management is generally a forward looking field,
whereas luxury brand management is generally acutely aware of its historical pretext,
thus the analogy of one eye on the past and one on the future. A vast change in
perspective would already occur if this changed to one eye on the past and one eye on
the futures.

Methods
While the methodological resource base is the same throughout academia, as forms of
methodical engagement are freely accessible across fields, luxury brand management
seems to have also retained a rather classical set of tools in its box, utilising strategic
models and methods that are relatively simple. Yet some innovation may be seen in the
form of methods & models particular adapted to the circumstances of the luxury industry.
Futures management is on the other hand very actively engaged in a turbulent
discourse regarding the adequacy, applicability and uses of methods and models that
are available to the field. This searching perspective regarding methodological
engagement may be both due to the difficult task of mapping possible, plausible,
probable and desirable futures, but also due to the innovation focused stance unbound
by history adopted in the field.

Possible Future Synergies


Throughout this literary study of luxury brand management, a feeling of datedness has
pervaded the authors consciousness while delving deeper into the field. Although faced
with increasing complexities, dominated by global conglomerates, and directed by
creative minds, luxury brand management leaves a lot to be desired in its future
regarding the prevalence of focused engagement with futures representations and
futures-oriented planning.

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Through the adoption of a multitude of insights gained from futures management, this
field could renew its vigour whilst also preparing itself effectively deal with the questions
of uncertain futures in order to heighten its chances of sustained economic
predominance in the market, and sustained success. As the market for luxury goods is
expanding at a never-before seen rate of influx from new buyers in emerging markets,
and through the rise of the lower-middle economic classes, the luxury brand
development sector could learn a lot from futures management through active
engagement with planning modes & methods that the later discipline could lend to the
former.

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Section 7 - Reflexive Summary


The study undertaken for the purpose of this thesis was from the beginning onward an
endeavour into uncharted territory, which entailed devising an adequate framework for
literary semiotic analysis as well as a lot of cross-referencing of large volumes of content
across varying works in a discipline that lacks uniform perspective or approach to
business.
The framework applied served its purpose, even if some short fallings in terms of
applicability of categorical semiotic markers and prevalence of specific theme-adherent
content in the works were identified. The purpose of the study was a purely explorative,
narrative engagement with the question of futures representations in luxury brand
development.
To the research question, How are futures represented in luxury brand management?
the answers were as varied as the findings themselves, but the strongest impressions
were that futures representations in luxury brand development are generally informal,
incidental, and dont often adhere to the same parameters twice. Time frames vary,
planning modes are tailor made by each author to suit the perceived needs of the
individual or case, the aims are generally similar, to become the biggest and most
powerful luxury brand globally while building a business sustainably over generations.
Controls were only to be found in relation to the tailor made planning solutions
mentioned.
As a narrative conclusion to the study of narratives in luxury brand development, it is
perhaps apt to say that futures representations are prevalent, as in any strategically
oriented discipline. They solely lack the structure to be used to their fullest potential, and
the exploration and adaptation of alternate planning modes and methods from other
disciplines, especially futures management, holds a lot of potential for a field as old and
enduring as the luxury industry.

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Bibliography
Literary Sources
- Alleres (1990), Luxe: Strategie, Marketing. ISBN: 978 2 7178 1824 6, Economica 1990.
- Chevalier & Mazzalovo (2012), Luxury Brand Management: A world of Privilege. ISBN: 978 0 4708 2326
2, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.
- Fink & Siebe (2012) Handbuch Zukunftsmanagement - Einfhrung. ISBN: 978 3 5933 9500 0. Campus
Verlag GmbH 2011.
- Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2013), Global Luxury Trends - Innovative Strategies For Emerging
Markets. ISBN: 978 1 1372 8738 0, Palgrave Macmillan 2013.

- Hoffman & Coste-Maniere et. al (2012), Luxury Strategy In Action. ISBN: 978 0 2303 5454 8, Palgrave
Macmillan 2012.

- Kapferer & Bastien (2012), The Luxury Strategy - Break The Rules Of Marketing To Build Luxury Brands
(2nd Ed.). ISBN: 978 0 7494 6491 2 Kogan Page Limited 2012.

- Grunwald (2012) Wovon ist die Zukunftsforschung eine Wissenschaft? in Popp & Schll (et. al.),Zukunftsforschung und Zukunftsgestaltung. ISBN: 978 3 5407 8564 4, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009.

- Gutsatz & Gilles (2013), Luxury Talent Management - Leading And Managing A Luxury Brand.
ISBN: 978 1 1372 7055 5, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
- Morazan (et. al) (2012) The Role of BRICS in the developing world. ISBN: 978 92 823 3718 9, Ecologic
Institute 2012.

- Micic (2013) Die 5 Zukunftsbrillen: So werden sie zum Vordenker (3. Ed.). ISBN: 978 3 8693 6555 8.
GABAL Verlag GmbH 2013.

- Neuhaus (2010) Zukunftsbilder Als Medium Von Zukunft - based upon Neuhaus (2007) Zukunft im
Management - Orientierungen fr das Management von Ungewissheit in strategischen Prozessen. ISBN:
978 3 5407 8564 4, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009.

- Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge (2013), The Luxury Alchemist. ISBN: 978 1 6142 8150 4 Assouline 2013.

- Popp (et. al.) (2012), Zukunft und Wissenschaft. ISBN: 978 3 642 28954 5, Springer-Verlag Berlin
Heidelberg 2012.

- Seiler (2014) work Semiology // Semiotics written for the Communications study 441 course of the
University of Calgary, identified via http://people.ucalgary.ca/~rseiler/semiolog.htm

- Surdulescu (2002) Form, Structure & Structurality in Critical Theory - The Semiotic Analysis of the Literary
Text. ISBN: 973 5 7549 75, Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti 2002.

- Tungate (2009), Luxury World: The past, present and future of luxury brands. ISBN: 978 0 7494 5263 6,
Kogan Page Limited 2009.

Online Resources
Institutes
- http://www.essec.edu/programs/mba-programs/mba-in-international-luxury-brandmanagement.html

- http://www.ifaparis.com/courses/postgraduate/mba-luxury-brand-management

- http://www.istitutomarangoni.com/en/fashion-courses/postgraduate/masterprogramme/fashion-luxury-brand-management

Dictionary Definitions

- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/planning

- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/time%20frame

- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aim
- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/controls