Ralph Lauren, the creator of the lifestyle Polo brand, now worth over $6 Billion in sales worldwide, has created a nostalgic image of Americana that continues to appeal and endure.
Mr. Lauren has described his contribution to fashion as “I like things that get better with age”. Obviously, this concept has kept him in business or over 50+ years now.
His main New York store is a reflexion of a country estate and his restaurants make you feel as if you are in an equestrian club, even if you have never been within 10 feet of an equestrian club. His advertisements are out of a movie set illustrating the same mood of Americana with attractive models from a bygone era.
He captured the sense of wealth and everything associated with it in his globally recognized polo player logo. His customers are buying into the world that he has created with the purchase of a garment or other polo branded product.
He continues to dazzle his loyal customers with slightly new designs season-in and season-out, much like Apple does with their new devices. The other marketing strategy that a successful brand like Polo has been able to sustain and grow is a premium price, even at their discount outlets.
Ralph Lauren has been able to create a perception of affluence for their customers that allows them to assume another identity by having the polo logo reflect an association with prestige, quality, and a gilded age. It is a reflection of an age old marketing tenet that “perception is reality”.
The lesson here is that the value of brand equity is a concept that every company should be striving to achieve.
Apple, for example, has the highest brand equity of any company in the world.