Gucci is the number one searched brand in 2021 with a search volume of 7,480,000 each month. Living in a world that has adapted to life online, it is a wonderful accomplishment for Gucci to be so popular amongst consumers from all around the globe. What is it that makes Gucci stand out and why is Gucci so successful? These questions along with many other ones will be answered as we study Gucci!
What is Gucci?
Founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Tuscany, Gucci is an Italian luxury fashion house. Like many historic fashion houses, Gucci started out as a luggage manufacturer, only producing luxury travel goods for Italy’s wealthy upper-classes, as well as equestrian equipment. Now, the brand has product lines in handbags, ready-to-wear items, footwear, accessories, makeup, fragrances, and home decoration, Gucci does it all. When Gucci was taken over by Aldo Gucci (son of Guccio), it became a worldwide-known brand, some might even say it is the Italian Dolce Vita. Many years later, in 1993, the Gucci family was removed entirely from the capital of the company. Fast forward many more years and Gucci became an iconic ‘chic’ brand. As of 2021, Gucci operates 487 stores for 17,157 employees, and has generated €9.628 billion in sales (with an incredible €8.2 billion just in 2018). Since December of 2014, Gucci has been in the hands of CEO Marco Bizzarri and is now a subsidiary of the French luxury group Kering.
The History of Gucci
During the second world war, material constraints owing to the war effort forced Gucci to retreat from their production of leather goods, as well as premium knitwear, silk goods, shoes and handbags and instead they turned to cotton to create their goods. The very famous “Double-G” monogram was created during this time as well as the clearly recognizable Gucci stripe which is composed of two green stripes separated by a single red stripe. As the brand continued to grow, Hollywood celebrities and other wealthy shoppers continued to return to Gucci for their most desired products. It wasn’t until the 1960’s while Gucci was under the leadership of Guccio’s three sons, Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo, that the brand introduced luxury accessories like eyewear, watches and jewelry to their product line; which are now very significant to the brand.
When Rodolfo Gucci passed away in 1983, the brand’s control was passed to his son, Maurizio (Guccio’s grandson), who was unable to maintain Gucci’s successes. It was during this time that the brand experienced many complications including sales to foreign investors, tax evasion charges, owing to family disputes, and even assassinations and. In 1990, American designer Tom Ford was brought onto the Gucci team as a ready-to-wear designer. Not even four years later, Tom was promoted to Creative Director of Gucci. Following Gucci’s downfall, it was Tom Ford that helped rebuild the brand’s public reputation. His strategy was to reduce the brand’s product offer, to make its identity recognizable in every sense and restore the quality of luxury that Gucci had become so well known for.
Tom Ford was later replaced by Frida Giannini who took control of both men’s and women’s ready-to-wear designs. She served as the Creator Director of the brand until late 2014. A year later, in 2015, it was announced that Gucci would bring in Alessandro Michele as the new Creative Director. Alessandro Michele was pretty unknown as a designer, so it was not clear in what direction he would take the brand; however, he had been working for Gucci in various roles for 12 years, so combining his experience as well as his unique style, proved to be successful. He expanded the target market and was able to attract many young, exuberant, customers.
Under Michele’s leadership, it was announced in 2017 that Gucci had achieved record breaking sales. A time in which the search traffic also reached a record high for Gucci itself (16,260,900 searches per month). This success increased profit margins by 11% which benefited both Gucci as well as the brand’s parent-company, Kering.
The Gucci Name
Today, the term “Gucci” not only represents the luxury fashion house, but is now also used as a form of slang. In this form, gucci means Its most common vernacular usage is to describe something that is “all good, well, fine, fancy, fashionable”. The term is used more than you know and can even be heard in popular songs by well known rappers and singers. I even hear the term used amongst friends. For example, “Hey how is your day going?”, “It’s gucci, thanks for asking!”. It is the overall journey and success story of Gucci’s that resonates with people not only in style but in this term because it is associated with “the come up” and “success”.
The Gucci logo has been and still is one of the most recognizable logos in the branding of luxury fashions. It was son, Aldo Gucci, who designed the brand’s logo for his father in 1933. The logo incorporates the two G’s as a direct reference to the initials of Guccio Gucci himself. This logo is a memorable way to commemorate Guccio’s contributions and significance in the brand.
The Success of Gucci
The target market
Gucci has been successful in their target market but incorporating strategies based on localization. Their strategy is the perfect balance between the classic pieces that we all know and love as well as chic, fashion-oriented products. Gucci does a wonderful job of producing articles and products that appear to consumers as timeless, yet they are also continuously improving their designs and selections to keep up with the latest trends.
Gucci has invested time and resources into their research which has allowed them to target a market composed of young, luxury consumers. It was in 1953, when Gucci made its way to the American market which proved to be very successful as consumers and celebrities easily took on the brand. Specifically, in America, Gucci targeted those in the film industry because at the time many American actors/actresses were becoming associated with brands. Gucci worked to become associated with Elizabeth Taylor during this time.When Gucci later expanded to the east, it targeted Chinese and Japanese consumers because they found that many luxury consumers lived within those markets.
When the brand started becoming associated with overt sex appeal more collections were born. This was a new and edgy approach because no runway had ever showcased this kind of style before. The ‘scandalous’ advertisements and pictures for this collection drew in consumers and led to a $10 billion dollar sale profit for Gucci. Gucci was able to connect with consumers on a more personal level because in 2015 the brand launched a collection targeting the newer generation and the identities of LGBTQ identities. The message was that Gucci men can indeed be involved within the fashion industry and that women should feel empowered especially by what they are wearing.
The brand has thought outside of the box and worked hard to use fashion as an outlet to break stereotypes, to create diversity, promote acceptance, and make itself easily recognizable. Gucci has been a luxury brand that has been able to launch multiple successful collections because they are associated with the words “bold, glamorous, glassy, exclusive”, for example. The advertisements, campaigns, collections and in-store experiences all prove to be much more beneficial when the products themself provide a message that consumers can take with them.
Living in a world, circulating around technology and continuous advancements, it is crucial that Gucci innovates in order to get in touch with millennials and Gen z’s consumers. For example, Gucci has opened Florence-based call centres, a place whereGucci’s assistants are available to customers at any and all times. The brand has worked hard to create an environment in which consumers feel that they have a personalised relationship with Gucci team members. To be successful in any and all of their markets, it is important that the brand understands their consumers from every part of the globe and in turn connects with them the right way using the right messages. Gucci has significantly invested in their supply chain, and has especially focused on lead-time reduction, vertical integration, and technological innovation.
A unique advantage that Gucci has over other luxury fashion brands is their Gucci ArtLab. Located in Florence, the Gucci ArtLab employs over 950 people and spans over 37,000 square metres. The ArtLab is the Gucci centre for in-house prototyping and sampling. For the first time in the luxury industry, the lab itself combines all of these activities, among many others:
- Bamboo room for leather goods area
- Internal last and heel department for footwear development
- R&D laboratories for new materials, metal hardware and packaging
- Pre-industrialisation area
- Test lab (climate chamber and physical and chemical tests)
- Accessories lab
The originality of the Gucci ArtLab resonates with consumers and attracts many worldwide. Not only was this the first time that an innovation of this sort had been done by a luxury brand, but the precise artwork on the building showcased the skill sets of various diverse artists whose works have never been compiled together in one place. This once again was a way for Gucci to promote acceptance through its brand.
Gucci being associated with celebrities is a tale as old as time. Some notable ones are Beyonce (known to be one of the best pop sensational black female artists) wore ‘Golden Gucci Suit’ from the brand’s 2016 collection in her groundbreaking album ‘ Lemonade’. Beyonce also showcased the brands’ adaptability to new trends and the acceptance of the female body by featuring Gucci’s leggings, sheer crop tops, and high waist booty shorts in her ‘ formation video’ around the same time. A personal favorite of mine is when Lady Gaga performed the national anthem at the Superbowl of 2016 and rocked the sparkly red Gucci suit.
Celebrity influencers can have a great impact on the success of a brand as consumers are likely to turn to a brand that is approved of and worn by a celebrity they admire. Staying up to date with the latest trends and day to day pop culture is important in the fashion world as change is always occurring. Gucci also takes advantage of instagram or in this case #Guccigram which is used as an outlet where Gucci can collaborate with various artists around the globe.
Gucci has proved to be successful in its venture by simply being a collection that resonates with diverse people. The brand prioritizes artistic inclusivity and is constantly adapting to changing cultures, preferences, and trends. This is their competitive edge.