Is it possible to successfully relaunch a luxury brand?

With digital media rewriting the rules of marketing, manufacturing and distribution, it’s never been easier to form a business, whether it’s a one-man start-up or an international conglomerate looking to move in a new direction.

In the world of fashion, however, groups prefer to instead revive existing dormant or flagging brands with a long history in the industry rather than set up a new brand, even it if requires more resources and investment and completely drifts from an older brand’s original audience and aesthetic.

Luxury brands are different to mainstream products trying to court broad, global audiences in that they’re seeking to foster an exclusive core group of loyal customers willing to spend up large to be part of the brand family. Authenticity and history are two hard-won qualities of a brand that require decades of marketing and top-notch products. Brands can last years, even decades in the vernacular long after bankruptcy – Concorde, a company long out of business, is still synonymous with luxury and exclusivity.

So, how can a flagging brand capitalize on that old fame and reinvent themselves for a new audience?

The first step is to take a look at the brand aesthetic and values, and measure them against the desired customer base. Do they match up? What market are you trying to target? Is your brand at the cutting edge of fashion or is it classic and luxe? Make some hard decisions about your brand’s aesthetics, beliefs and wider goals, and rewrite its product story for a new generation. The worst thing a fashion brand can do is become irrelevant.

Next, you want to implement that new brand image on the most popular medium of them all – online. While it seems to fly in the face of traditional beliefs of luxury marketing, six out of 10 luxury product sales are now influenced by digital media, and it’s become necessary for any brand to survive in a competitive market. Instead of a generic campaign, capitalize on what’s currently popular in digital culture, and use it to capture your audience’s interest and generate discussion.

One brand which successfully relaunched themselves with the help of an on-trend digital marketing campaign was long-running fashion house Gucci. The company employed influencers, such as graphic designers, artists and independent fashionistas, to create memes in the form of digital art, also featuring a Gucci watch. The posts went viral online, reintroducing the fashion brand to a new audience of digitally-savvy millennials and gen-y’ers. Profits the following year soared, and Gucci, which is now desired by millions of aspiring customers around the globe, currently shows no sign of slowing down.

A brand doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘young’ to target a young audience. To successfully rebrand a company with such a long-running history in the public eye, it requires a bold, creative vision for the brand’s future that will resonate with customers and make the product desirable. A targeted, relevant marketing strategy will appeal to the new audience, and marketing online means it can reach your target audience wherever they are.