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Palgrave Macmillan

Luxury, Lies and Marketing

Shattering the Illusions of the Luxury Brand

ISBN 9781137264688
Publication Date January 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Luxury brands like the world to think they are above mass marketing; that they can rely only on prestige, status and inherent quality to gain and retain their customers' loyalty. The truth couldn't be more different.

In this cutting-edge and revealing book, Sicard redefines the concept of luxury for the first time, challenging the traditional and outdated beliefs that are manifested across society at large; instead taking a historical approach to understanding what luxury really is. Based on her own research, Sicard then presents a brand new model for creating luxury campaigns, termed 'Swerve Theory', which outlines the methods that brands can use to convince customers that they are a cut above the mainstream.

MARIE-CLAUDE SICARD is an Associate Professor at Paris IV-Sorbonne University, and Adjunct Associate Professor at Stern University, NYU, and EM-Lyon, Shanghai. Sicard is a well-known European expert on luxury and brands, and a consultant for French & international companies with her own consulting company MCPS Conseil, Brand Analysis and Strategy Consultancy. As a strategic marketing consultant, her clients have included L'Oreal, Lancôme, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Kellogg's, Porsche, Jaguar, Renault, Dior, Louis Vuitton, tourism companies (Club Med ) and banks (such as BNP Paribas ). In addition to the permanent teaching positions she holds at the Sorbonne (Paris & Abu Dhabi), she lectures and consults around the world, most often in the USA & Asia ( China, Japan, India ), speaks at international seminars and conferences, and is often interviewed in the media for her outspoken views on branding and the luxury industry.

Part I
Doing Away with Some Received Ideas
French Luxury : An Ego as Big as the Ritz
A Neglected History
On the Art of Denying One's Mother
Going Back Still Further
The Origin of European Luxury : Court Society
And on the Paternal Side ?
Luxury's Quest for Meaning
False Ancestors
The Limping Devil
Luxury is Always a Swerve
The three 'Swerves' of Luxury
Part II
International Luxury : The Clash of Cultures
The Pyramid
The Galaxy
Two Models, Two Societies
The Classical and the Baroque
A Work in Progress
When the Erosion of the Industrial Model Reaches Luxury Brands
Invisible Luxury
New Brands on the Horizon ?
Part III
How Luxury Brands Work
Defining Luxury : Insufficient Criteria
One Luxury, or Three Luxuries ?
A Brand is an Impression
The Fingerprint Method
• The Physical Pole
• The Temporal Pole
• The Spatial Pole
• The Norms Pole
• The Positions Pole
• The Projects Pole
• The Relations Pole
What does the Future Hold ?
The Slider Console
Ralph Lauren : a Luxury Brand ?
The Summaries of Summaries
The Brand Ladder of Values
Descending and Rising
Marketing and Luxury : the Big Misunderstanding
A Paradoxical Form of Marketing
Down with Luxury Marketing ?


'Luxury, Lies and Marketing isn't just one more book about luxury marketing, it's THE book that challenges all the others, thanks to its indispensable critical approach, its capacity for overturning our preconceived notions, the effectiveness of its analytical methods, and its salutary critical spirit.'
- Inma Urream Brand Meaning Management Director, Pompeu Fabra Universitat Barcelona, Spain
'Luxury marketing without a grounding in luxury culture is nothing. This is the point of departure for Luxury, Lies & Marketing. Marie-Claude Sicard offers very innovative analytical tools that all luxury professionals will benefit from in the management of their brands. A stimulating, enlightening book that yields results.'
- Alexandre Peraldi, Design Director, Baume & Mercier
"The concept of a culture de l'écart - a 'twist' or 'swerve' culture that Marie-Claude Sicard advocates is particularly important to us at L'Oréal Luxe. The challenge for us is to apply this principle every day, in the sector we operate in, that of luxury beauty."
-Marc Dubrule, Strategic Development Director, L'Oréal Luxe
"For years now, this book has been circulating discreetly in all the international luxury marketing seminars and workshops. Why? Because it is easy to read, has a lot of substance, and offers an analytic method that is as flexible as it is rigorous. Luxury, Lies & Marketing has become indispensable for anyone wanting to address luxury without keeping to the usual, well-worn paths, but with a constructive, critical approach."
-Agnès Bureau, Program Director of the MA in Luxury Management, Haute Ecole de Gestion, Geneva School of Business Administration
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