With an increasing year after year Brand Value of $25,9 Billion, Louis Vuitton is the luxury brand with the highest Value according to Millward Brown rankings (http://millwardbrown.com/BrandZ/Top_1... (Clear, consistent, coherent: Power of a brand.
Louis Vuitton's Idea of Travel As Banded Experience
When you are smart enough to have Annie Liebovitz shoot celebrities in far off lands with crumbled Louis Vuitton bags next to them THEN you know your marketing has entered a new level of existential meaning. Brand as art and promise begin to transform and take over.
Yes Louis Vuitton can own "Travel".
This is not to say everyone will buy the pitch or the extra expensive bags, but it doesn't matter. Not everyone is required. In fact Louis Vuitton must operate on a many are called; few are rewarded plan to keep the "elite club" aspect of the brand alive.
Don't expect to find Louis Vuitton on sale, at least not anything to do with the real logo (knock offs of something this good are inevitable and possibly helpful since those knockoffs make it feel like there is a rising tide of acceptance).
The first thing Louis Vuitton knows better than most marketing teams are to play UP always and all others be damned. Many brands seek acceptance. Not Louis Vuitton. Acceptance beyond some paltry elite is actually damaging to the brand as it reduces its perceived exclusivity.
Better to make people REACH a little, WORK a little to own the real thing. In most cases reducing friction between buyers and buying is a good idea. Not so much with an uber-highend brand like Louis Vuitton. Here you want friction as friction reinforces the elite positioning and fuels the story of those lucky few whose travel have become journeys and "luggage" exotic kitbags for sherpas.
Louis Vuitton is GEAR and gear becomes imbued with "memories that appreciate" to quote Will Dean, CEO of the $100M Tough Mudder race experience company (see Experience Is The New Luxury Goods http://sco.lt/8Q87Kz ). Here is how the linked article (who English is a tad rough) describes Vuitton's approach.
"Louis Vuitton masters its communication in a coherent way, adopting “The Journey” naturally as its product is per-se associated to the theme. But also, that the idea of a journey as a trip goes beyond giving it (Louis Vuitton) a deeper approach, to transport us to the brand’s own world, to a full experience with a spectacular capacity of innovation and experimentation inside the codes the brand has build for itself."
(emphasis is mine)
I would add the brand becomes the keeper of the "memories that appreciate" while extending the promise of memories to come. The logo becomes a highway of memory and promise calling its promise of heroic journey and personal transformation bringing us back to the Maslow thing.
On our way to self-actualization we will pack our hopes and dreams in Louis Vuitton (see the beginning of that thread in Experiences Are The New Luxury Goods http://sco.lt/8Q87Kz), have our picture take by Annie Liebovitz and make memories that appreciate.
Funny Aside -read about the day I hung out with Annie Liebovitz as she signed books for my ex-wife’s store and never thought to have Annie take a picture of US (we took plenty of pictures of her, something she seemed to enjoy): http://scenttrail.blogspot.com/2008/05/meeting-annie-leibovitz.html