Louis Vuitton has been identified as the leading luxury brand in a survey by Interbrand that indicates an uncertain future for high-end brands.
The report shows that through diversifying and expanding, many companies risk devaluing their brand.
Louis Vuitton, which has a 2008 brand value of £14.2bn, ranking above second place Gucci, valued at £5.4bn, is said to have maintained a high brand value with its expansion into the watch market by replicating the quality shown in its existing brands.
Conversely, the Mont Blanc pen brand is said to have suffered by expanding as a lifestyle brand.
Graham Hales, executive director at Interbrand, explains, ‘The ball point fails to be seen as true luxury, but with the breadth [Mont Blanc] now covers it’s questionable if the brand can be seen as iconic. It lacks the sense of craftsmanship that more specialist brands do.’
Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Armani are said to have devalued their brands by creating less expensive sub-brands, decreasing their desirability among the affluent.
‘Essentially, they become ubiquitous at a point. There’s a degree of accessibility, but the price they pay is losing cachet,’ says Hales.
The survey uses methodology which values a brand based on its financial strength, importance in driving consumer selection and likelihood of creating ongoing branded revenue.
Hales says that luxury brands ‘have enjoyed the good times’ but claims, ‘It would be impossible for a luxury brand to start up today.’