At Kering, Gucci’s long-lasting success has inspired a new innovation model that the company is planning to apply across its full stable of brands, including Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.
According to Duplaix, the company is reinvesting gains from the momentum back throughout the brand through initiatives like store remodeling and the Gucci Art Lab, the brand’s resource center in Italy for designing leather goods, sourcing new fabrics and creating sustainable materials. He also noted that Gucci’s eye-popping revenue growth — it increased revenue by 49 percent in the company’s final quarter of the fiscal year — would soon stabilize, since sales began taking off in the second quarter of 2017.
The next step is to take what the company has learned from Gucci’s performance and apply it across the network of brands, something Kering managing director Jean-Francois Palus said in July of last year that the company would be undertaking, in regard to how it balances its retail sales between digital and in-store.
“We are confident we have taken the right steps to lay the groundwork for all our house bands, not just Gucci, by undergoing a radical reset in retail with a great digital component,” said Palus at the time.
Kering has found that increasing digital media spending, including investing in hiring more people to create the digital content, pays off in a direct increase in online sales. And in doubling production capacity in 2017 by adding new suppliers and internalizing different parts of the supply chain, Gucci’s demonstrated how to quickly react to customer demand.
“We are at full speed at Gucci, in terms of organization, revamping and reshuffling the offer. All categories are performing really well,” said Duplaix. “So we are insisting on the fact that the growth at Gucci is very sound and healthy, because it’s across category and clusters of clientele, and it’s principally driven by full price sales.”
Kering works with its individual titles by having management teams of differing sizes report up to Kering executives in respective departments. Kering chief digital officer Grégory Boutté leads e-commerce management, data platforms and CRM, and has worked across-company to onboard customer information like purchase and browse behavior into an internal database. Physical stores are undergoing a Gucci-like revamp across the board, something Duplaix said would be a work in progress, and Kering’s marketing team has had a hand in rethinking the visual activations that go into retail.
“Kering has moved fast to drive its brands. It’s going to remain brand-specific and continue to put its support there,” said Rachel Spiegelman, CEO of the agency Pitch. “It’s an overarching ‘master plan’ message that then plays out on the brand level, where the power ultimately lies.”