The Rise of Luxury Brands Online : A study of how a sense of luxury brand is created in an online environment
Abstract: Luxury brands have only recently tapped into the online market in an attempt to increase revenues and expand their businesses. This leap onto the online world has resulted in several new challenges, including the luxury brand paradox. The luxury brand paradox concerns the inherent difficulty for luxury brands to increase sales and expand their customer base while simultaneously maintaining an aura of mystery and exclusivity. The openness and accessibility of the Internet are believed to pose an extra challenging environment for luxury brands. This research explores how a sense of luxury brand is created in an online environment. Using methodology comprised of different online methods to comprehend what is taking place online, this study primarily concentrates on visual imagery and online communication.The online world of luxury brands is conceptualized into three distinct categories: brand websites, counterfeit websites and community websites. Using these three categories, the thesis demonstrates what role they each play in the creation of a sense of luxury brand. From this analysis, four themes emerge on the sense of a luxury brand (luxury history, authenticity, community and paradox).The concept of an online fair is used to illustrate the environment of luxury brands on the Internet. The online fair consists of a confluence of people involved in it as well as the various activities they perform. In addition, the fairground where the people participate and the activities that take place are described. In conclusion, this thesis proposes a move from the identity-image construct toward a view of handling and co-creation of sense of brand.
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