Luxury Brands: Charity Begins at Home

“At the moment, it would seem that every new brand initiative we read about is promoting a charity link up or association. And when it comes to luxury brands – with long-standing values and quintessential beliefs – it is imperative to think from the inside out about representing core brand beliefs when choosing a partner or cause. It comes down to defining the right route and brand fit with a particular charitable action – rather than just going for a momentary ‘halo’ effect and association….Future luxury will be about many ideals and with a new age of consumerism driven by inventiveness, creativity, discovery and giving back, luxury will need to shift in line with this from being detached and untouchable to finding inspiring ways to explore causes, blend influences and create awareness.”

The idea of a luxury brand embracing a charity is not new, but rather a part time idea for a twice yearly function.  Today, with younger luxury consumers the world is a new and more altrustic place.  The luxury brand has a duty, indeed, a social responsibility, to take a position on what it chooses to support  to its customers.  But, its more than just an “idea” to market a product, its a corporate point of view that is becoming a critical part of the DNA of a successful luxury brand.

Many positive initiatives have come out in the past several years, most notably, the GREEN initiatives that are beginning to reach the luxe brand category. LVMH, for example has put its manufacturing on notice by embracing green practices. This has been a “ground breaker” for many storied luxury companies.  To continue this trend, local and worldwide events or partnerships with altruistic causes seem to be the last word on new trends in marketing.   This has moved the “charity” and “community partnership” into the world of the chic and fabulous.  Its a re-brand, if you will, for a typical charity that now hob-nobs with the likes of Prada, Burberry, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, et al.  In California, the tradition of being green was always a “cool” way to go, so this idea a bit amusing to the typical Californian used to idea of compost, earth shoes and riding a bicycle to work.  But, it is a refreshing change to the perception in the luxury community that “brands that are big consumers” and not sensitive to what the planet really needs.  Do we really need another designer bag, or one that is made a green initiative?  I think the answer is clear to the fashionistas who can now make a more “informed” purchase in this category and feel good about it.   From a corporate level, it makes sense to not only “think green” from the inside-out but also to consider how your gilded footprint really has an impact: on society, on your bottom line, on your client’s perceptions and finally on the planet as a whole. Now, if Chanel could just make a quilted bag out of recycled materials and make that a cool choice, then, we’re on to something!

Copy Curator, Editor in Chief.  P. Allen

Note:  We thank the Luxury Society in Paris, for our use of the quote from Sophie Maxwell, head of Insight, Pearlfisher Agency for our inspiration.