By Mylena Vazquez
When was the last time you bought something from Ralph Lauren Rugby? How about Ralph Lauren Blue Label? How about the Black Label? Are you wondering to yourself if you have ever even heard of these? You’re not wrong to think this. These sub-brands actually don’t exist…anymore, at least. They did exist at one point, though, under the umbrella of the flagship Ralph Lauren brand.
What happened? Why did these sub-brands go the way of the dodo?
Blame it on brand equity. (Or, in layman’s terms, a brand’s value in the eyes of consumers.)
As you might know, Ralph Lauren has a lot of different sub-brands in the fashion category, ranging from everyday apparel to luxury apparel. Apart from sharing classic silhouettes and clean lines, they all also share one core principle: the fact that, as founder Ralph Lauren once famously said, they don’t sell clothes, they sell dreams–in their case, the American Dream. This is what drives Ralph Lauren’s brand equity with consumers. Once a sub-brand is no longer serving that purpose, the parent company is quick to eliminate it in pursuit of the broader goal.
The combination of these factors has allowed Ralph Lauren to develop an extremely strong consumer-based brand equity, where the consumer does not only like a brand for its products’ performances, but values the brand because it resonates with them.
The strength of the relationships between Ralph Lauren and its consumers has allowed the classic brand to not just survive trends but also to thrive, with the company’s shares increasing 17% by the end of 2021. More importantly, Ralph Lauren’s high brand equity has allowed them to grow.
As you might know, Ralph Lauren now sells more than just clothing. It has expanded its portfolio to include various sub-brands focusing on home products, fragrance, pets, and even restaurants. These sub-brands are all incredibly removed from the fashion category in which Ralph Lauren primarily operates.
But it is precisely because of the incredible brand equity that Ralph Lauren has built in the fashion category that it has been able to expand beyond those borders. Ralph Lauren has been able to leverage its brand equity to successfully expand into these other categories. More than anything, Ralph Lauren has been able to sell consumers on a whole lifestyle because of the relationship it has developed with them. The Ralph Lauren brand truly resonates with their consumers because every one of its component parts sells the same branded dream.
How does your brand track and manage your brand equity? How have you been able to leverage it?