American Marketer


Louis Vuitton boasts most consumer affection among luxury brands

July 5, 2016

Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton's the Twist handbag Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton's the Twist handbag


When it comes to luxury brands, consumers show the most affection for Louis Vuitton, according to new research from NetBase.

NetBase's global ranking of the most loved brands according to positive social mentions shows consumers' inclinations toward technology, entertainment and ecommerce companies, the three categories that dominated the top 10. While luxury labels typically have a smaller client population than mass brands, a number of powerhouses managed to elicit passionate posts from aspirational and existing customers.

"The luxury brands performed better than in 2015 as exemplified by Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci," said Paige Leidig, CMO of NetBase.

"Similar to 2015 and as seen in 2016, the technology related brands performed the best – on both overall mentions and the intensity of these mentions with respect to their audience loving them," he said.

The NetBase Passion Report: Top 100 Global Brand Love List ranks brands based on the amount of love expressed for them by consumers in 200 countries on social media, including blogs, microblogs, forums and news sites. NetBase used technology to sift through English language posts, finding mentions of affection for brands between May 18, 2015 and May 17, 2016.

Social displays of affection

Of the top 100 most loved brands, only four are traditional hard luxury brands. However, all four have moved up in the rankings.

Louis Vuitton gained the most, moving up from 71 in 2015 to come in at 30 with 1.13 million mentions of love, while Chanel follows close behind at 32. Gucci is 39th on the list with Dior placing 58th.

Chanel Lily Rose

Instagram post from Lily-Rose Depp, the face of Chanel N°5 L’Eau

The luxury conversation occurring across social media channels has increased by 75 percent year-over-year, according to a report by NetBase released earlier this year.

In this previous report, Chanel won out over second seat Louis Vuitton, since the research measured intensity of passion, rather than sheer volume (see story). While Louis Vuitton may have more people talking about their love on social media, Chanel’s fans demonstrate a stronger affection.

Louis Vuitton fans point to an authentic experience most frequently, while Chanel received a number of mentions of its “incredible show.”

"This finding reveals that while a larger amount of conversations on social are about the love of Louis Vuitton, the conversations that mention Chanel are filled with a higher passion intensity," Mr. Leidig said.

"Perhaps a smaller amount of fans voice their love for Chanel on social, but are intensely loyal, outspoken brand advocates, whereas lots of fans (super fans, sometime fans, fair weather fans) of Louis Vuitton mention the brand," he said. "It’s not really an either-or; a brand wants and needs both types of fans to purchase products and encourage others to do so."

Among auto brands, considered a separate category for the purpose of the report, BMW leads for luxury makers, at 24. Mercedes ranks 31st, while Ferrari places 43rd.

UGC post BMW

User-generated content produced by BMW enthusiast

Other luxury automakers to make the cut are Porsche at 52 and Lexus at 68.

NetBase points out that many of the mentions by fans of auto brands are reflective of aspiration rather than ownership. This sharing of affection therefore may be less tied to sales and more to brand positioning.

The only luxury retailer to make it into the top 100 was Nordstrom.

Within the top 100 brands, volume of mention is skewed toward social media platforms, technology companies and ecommerce brands, which account for about two-thirds of posts. The clear winner is Facebook, with more than 60 million mentions of love, getting 20 percent of mentions by itself.

Luxury brands to make the list only garner 1 percent of mentions.

While not traditional luxury, Etsy and eBay made NetBase’s top 10 luxury brand list released earlier this year. This is reflective of both consumers’ shift toward technology and ecommerce, as well as their pleasure at access to pre-owned luxury.

Amazon, considered by a number of researchers to be a luxury disruptor, comes in fourth.

Amazon delivery

Amazon delivery

Amazon’s favorability among the affluent represents a long-term concern for luxury brands, according to a new report from the Shullman Research Center.

The online retailer still remains firmly outside of the luxury industry, as Amazon does not carry high-end brands, but its success nevertheless permeates all income classes. Brands need to prepare for the giant’s potential entry into the luxury space by beefing up digital purchase channels (see story).

When broken down by region, NetBase found that Europeans were more apt to share love for luxury brands than their American counterparts. While no luxury brands fell into the top 10 for the United States, BMW, Chanel, Audi, Ferrari and Porsche fell in the top 10 for Europe.

Conversation driving commerce
Social media can have a profound impact on a brand's bottom line.

In the fashion world, brands that receive the most buzz and see results from marketing and publicity online are often times luxury labels, according to a new report by Fashionbi.

Fashionbi looked at the buzz generated by social media posts and actions to calculate an index score measuring the effectiveness of a brand’s marketing in 2015. In France and Italy in particular, luxury brands were the highest scorers (see story).

"Great luxury brands master the art of creating an emotional connection with their consumers, which to a large degree removes price comparison as a deciding factor," Mr. Leidig said. "Luxury brands looking to win consumers’ love should listen. Stay on top of consumer emotions and prepare for upswings and downturns.

"Find new opportunities for growth. Use social and mobile as part of the marketing strategy to engage, connect and excite consumers in the opportune moment," he said. "Look at purchase intent for your audience to find untapped potential.

"Make the customer experience dynamic. Learn what people say and do 'in the wild' by surfacing new social audience insights–see it through their eyes, not through your brand lens. Turn newfound ideas into relevant content.

"Find natural brand ambassadors. Use social to discover consumers who are eager to share their love for your brand and will be the perfect spokespeople and influencers for you. Use social testimonial advertising on a peer-to-peer basis.

"Seize category leadership. Know where you stand for social share of voice (SOV) and brand passion, learning consumer geography and why they care. Use your insights to obtain retail space or leapfrog campaigns."