Title page for ETD etd-07052012-132908

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Cavender, RayeCarol
Author's Email Address rcavende@vt.edu
URN etd-07052012-132908
Title The Evolution of Luxury: Brand Management of Luxury Brands, Old and New
Degree PhD
Department Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kincade, Doris H. Committee Chair
Beamish, Julia O. Committee Member
Fisher, Patricia J. Committee Member
Littlefield, James E. Committee Member
  • Brand Management
  • Case Analysis
  • Luxury
Date of Defense 2012-06-21
Availability unrestricted
This qualitative study contributed to the growing body of research in luxury brand management by constructing a framework that can be utilized by luxury companies and conglomerates to develop their business strategies. The purpose was to examine: (a) how the chosen luxury firm is addressing the changing business environment of the luxury goods industry and the changing consumer environment targeted by that industry, (b) how the firm is managing growth trade-offs, and (c) how the firm is adapting its marketing orientations to become consumer-centric and experiential. Six research questions guided the study, and data collection and analysis took place in two parts. Methods for this study included and in-depth review of literature, an exploration of the business environment, and a case study. The study concluded with the formation of a strategic management framework specific to the luxury goods industry.

Data analysis included an in-depth exploration of the evolution of the business environment of the luxury goods industry from the mid-1800s to the first decade of the 2000s, and a case study of the sample luxury goods company, Louis Vuitton. A historical review was conducted beginning with the company’s inception in 1854 and continuing through the formation of the LVMH conglomerate in 1987. Exploration brand management successes and failures helped identify information relevant to variables in selected business categories (business environment, corporate environment, marketing strategy). Analysis of the case study resulted in the refinement of the four brand management variables: corporate, brand management, trade-off, and strategic planning.

Environmental determinism and the zeitgeist were evidenced to be important factors that shaped the business strategies of LVMH and its brands. Strategic planning and strategic management response were identified as ongoing strategies that helped LVMH and its brands to effectively address and respond to environmental changes. Both environmental determinism and the zeitgeist and the use of strategic management response were incorporated into the luxury brand management framework as overarching themes for explaining the influences and responses for the four management indicators.

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