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Is brand location an outdated concept?

stevejobs

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Where clothes and watches are made location-wise is still a parmount concern for sellers of luxury goods. If the brand is not made in some European locale, it is seen by consumers as inferior and unworthy of a high price tag (This is because so much marketing goes into reinforcing the Eurocentric imagery). But we are in the 21st century where modern manufacturing is all about worldwide distribution and logistics. Do luxury brands do consumers a disservice by misleading them into thinking that the location of where a product is made has anything to do with the quality of the good produced?

I think so. Luxury brands should take their cue from another high status brand, Apple. Apple doesn't care that its ipods and iphones are manufactured in Asia and has not seen its luster decline in the eyes of consumers.
 

Cary Grant

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Originally Posted by stevejobs
Where clothes and watches are made location-wise is still a parmount concern for sellers of luxury goods. If the brand is not made in some European locale, it is seen by consumers as inferior and unworthy of a high price tag (This is because so much marketing goes into reinforcing the Eurocentric imagery). But we are in the 21st century where modern manufacturing is all about worldwide distribution and logistics. Do luxury brands do consumers a disservice by misleading them into thinking that the location of where a product is made has anything to do with the quality of the good produced?

I think so. Luxury brands should take their cue from another high status brand, Apple. Apple doesn't care that its ipods and iphones are manufactured in Asia and has not seen its luster decline in the eyes of consumers.


Comparing consumers love of brand in a laptop versus a hand-tailored suit is pretty specious, IMO.

A good new brand can come from anywhere if it proves itself over time. But I'd wager that very few consumers, even of high-end clothing, know or care. Sure "Italian" in a marketing campaign for suits is a "seller", but the suits it's usually applied to are decent, if often overpriced.

I think the apple comparison is any non-apple product that puts an "i" in it's name to ride the coattails.
 

SoCal2NYC

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I don't get the Apple thing.
 

rach2jlc

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Obviously, it still depends a lot on the item in question, though it certainly is changing and brand location is BECOMING an outdated concept. In ten years, China might be making suits and shoes to rival Europe, but certainly not yet.

Leather goods, though, are less bothersome to me, except at the very top or when the retail price doesn't reflect its location of manufacture. In reality, almost all are made in China these days, even from the top brands (they utilize some sort of legal loophole where the bags are made in China, then sent to Italy to have the zipper put on and the "Made in Italy" logo attached). As such, I find this practice MUCH more of a disservice to customers. The number of brands who actually manufacture completely in Europe is probably rather small...

As I mentioned before, I used to be anti "made in china" for leather goods until I realized that most of my Lambertson Truex men's leather items were made in China. They're great in every way and have a very affordable retail price that seems to pass on the lower manufacturing costs to customers. So, I'd rather pay $375 for a made in China LT tote that has excellent construction, than pay $900 for the same tote because it was made in Italy out of the same materials, to the same standards, but cost a lot more to produce.
 

lee_44106

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Check out the recent threads (sales) about Brunello Cucinelli. Seemingly exorbitant prices for items that per review of quality (as reviewed by others in other threads), do not justify the price for the quality given.

Now of course you cannot get more Italian than a name like BC; it's also supposedly completely made by Italian hands (by indigenous Italians rather than the common "finished" in Italy practice).

People clamor all over each other for a chance to buy BC, the quality is not there for the price, so I must assume that the "Made in Italy" name has lots to do with it.
 

chorse123

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Comparing consumer electronics to clothing doesn't work, as Asia has been a key innovator in the former.

This kind of thing has been discussed ad nauseum here and (perhaps more) on AAAC. For me I'll take the top quality garment first. But if they are the same, I'll take the first world one.
 

v0rtex

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Originally Posted by stevejobs
Where clothes and watches are made location-wise is still a parmount concern for sellers of luxury goods. If the brand is not made in some European locale, it is seen by consumers as inferior and unworthy of a high price tag (This is because so much marketing goes into reinforcing the Eurocentric imagery). But we are in the 21st century where modern manufacturing is all about worldwide distribution and logistics. Do luxury brands do consumers a disservice by misleading them into thinking that the location of where a product is made has anything to do with the quality of the good produced? I think so. Luxury brands should take their cue from another high status brand, Apple. Apple doesn't care that its ipods and iphones are manufactured in Asia and has not seen its luster decline in the eyes of consumers.
The value of the location is another aspect of branding which happens further down the chain. Place branding is a huge industry - any major city or country will have a well-funded marketing campaign to associate their region with particular values - Australia for laid back vacations, New York for culture, Asbury Park NJ with hip music venues, Milan for fashion. China currently has an association with "cheap", "mass market" and "high-tech". If a company is associated with Chinese production they will do well if they are aligned with one or more of these properties (Apple, Wal-Mart, etc) but if they do not wish to associate with those brand values they will need to work extra-hard to compensate or override those values with their own (at the very least they will downplay or not mention the association at all). Brands which heavily rely on promoting craftsmanship and tradition would still do well to create an association in the mind of the consumer which links them to a place which also extols these values - Milan, Paris, etc. Of course, mental association is very different from actually locating there. Look at manufacturers who make the product cheaply in China then ship to expensive Italy for finishing and a 'Made in Italy' tag. Another distortion is practiced by companies such as Donald J Pliner and the UK's Marks and Spencer who manage to leverage the brand equity of the Italy name using dubious 'Handmade in the Mountains [third-world part] of Italy' or 'Italian Style' type phrases. This shows that some companies still place a lot of stock in that Italy 'brand'. Also, these place brands only last as long as some marketer is being paid to pump them into consumers' brains - the idea of Milan as a fashion powerhouse is only a few decades old and Paris has been losing ground for decades. I'd imagine some sleek, high-tech luxury brands will emerge from China in the next 10 years and do very well. The premium brands who sell themselves by appearing traditional and artisan-created will still put that all-important 'Made in Italy' or 'Made in Paris' label on everything though. Footnote: Small, artisan makers will continue to flourish everywhere and will do far better thanks to the Internet allowing them to reach a smaller audience. If you actually care enough about fashion to read this forum for hours and look at details like stitching, fabric and cut then you will seek out the best regardless of location. We were talking about mass market brands though, which rely on marketing fluff and loose mental associations to get very big and very successful.
 

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