Luxury and sustainable packaging by Gucci
“When I started working at Gucci, I literally tried to destroy everything”.
Strong words, don’t you think?
This was said by Alessandro Michelle, the current Creative Director of the luxury fashions house Gucci.
But what did he mean by “destroying everything”? Well, his goal as the new creative director and head of the brand was to give Gucci a brand makeover.
And he did it seamlessly.
In this article, you’ll explore the brand transformation of Gucci, and how, inspired by sustainability, the world-renowned luxury brand gave itself a new image. The most interesting part of it all?
It all started with packaging.
The right strategy for the right audience
Let’s take a step back.
What comes to your mind when you think of Gucci?
Many things come to my mind; the signature double G logo, Italy, luxury, expensive things, influencers sporting similar bags on social media, other influences sporting Gucci slides.
All in all, our generation knows instantly what Gucci is, regardless of whether or not they are actual customers of the brand.
And this is due to their incredible marketing strategy.
Let’s dive even deeper into this.
Creating the right brand image in luxury branding
Did you know that humans use symbolism as a way to easily understand the world?
At least this is what psychologist Carl Jung theorized about.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a lecture. But you will discover some interesting of how the mind works and how psychology is used in marketing.
According to Jung’s theory, the human mind categorizes paths to better understand things. In fact, these categories can even be identified as “personalities” to people.
And this same theory can be applied to brands.
This is what is now known as “Brand Archetypes”. They basically reflect the personality of a brand and help to link together a brand with a specific Customer Persona.
Let’s look at an example.
Gucci can be sorted as part of the Ruler Archetype.
If Gucci were a person, it would be commanding, refined, and articulate. It would create order from chaos and stand out from the rest. It fears weakness and wants to demonstrate wealth.
Gucci could tell you “You are successful in your life, reward your achievements and show them to the world”.
The image that comes to your mind immediately makes sense with what comes to your mind when you think of someone wearing a Gucci product.
The Brand archetype defines the brand image, and all strategy decisions surrounding it.
Adopting the right target audience
With a defined brand identity, you can then start thinking about the right audience to appeal to.
As a luxury brand, Gucci mixed demographic and psychographic variables to segment their market.
From there, it was identified that their target audience would be very limited. But that was the catch; by knowing early on who they would targeting, they got to know their audience very well and were able to position themselves ahead of the competition and ahead of time.
Gucci stars appealing to audiences as young as 15 years old, inciting feelings of desire before they are customers. With this value-based positioning, they’ve set the products to be a symbol of quality, and the pinnacle of Italian craftsmanship in the luxury apparel industry.
That was not the only perk.
Gucci understands its audience very well. They know how they evolve and they want to change with them. This is what drove the change to the brand.
Brand changes to increase interest.
While learning about Gucci, a thought an interesting came to my mind; why has Gucci so suddenly become even more popular.
It’s everywhere on social media and for some people, it’s the ultimate symbol for “you made it”.
In fact, a simple Google Trends search for “Gucci” worldwide over the past five years proves it. At the end of 2017, there was a peak in search volume for the brand and found that many things were changing. This is what came up.
A new future for Gucci
Remember that quote from the beginning? That was from Gucci’s current creative director, and he was not joking when he said he was coming to make massive changes.
Ever since he was appointed in late 2015, the interest in the brand began to spike.
Gucci began a complete transformation into a sustainably driven luxury brand. They developed a “Culture of Purpose”, where their main goals are to advance sustainably and protect the earth’s resources, all while maintaining their luxury brand identity.
The new line of sustainable packaging used the signature print with the double G logo with debossed finishes all over the bags, boxes, magnetic boxes and tissue paper. They also changed created a new font to print the brand name.
The leaders of Gucci have been adamant to be creators of change. Even the chairman of PPR (parent company of Gucci), François-Henri Pinault has stated the responsibility they have as industry leaders to start making environmental changes.
“If we wait for customers to make sustainable development a condition for purchasing, then nothing will happen. It's as if green products were somehow not normal. They are normal, it is the other products that are not normal. It's up to us to work out how to make green products the new normal”.
Luxury packaging was only the beginning, they decided to take it a step further.
The new sustainable environment of Gucci
Being a brand with such a global standing bears a lot of weight. And it also brings lots of responsibility towards consumers, employees, supply chain stakeholders, and of course, your impact of society.
And with environmental concerns increasing year by year, Gucci decided to be change-makers in the entirety of their operations.
They developed a new Corporate Social Responsibility strategy that lead to many eco-conscious changes and a company-wide environmental policy.
When it comes to materials, they pledged to use only sustainably sourced materials in their retail products as well as all packaging materials.
For example, they support circular economies by locally producing high-quality leather goods and upcycling of waste material from leather and textile goods.
Gucci has also restricted the use of substances and chemicals in the supply chain, and are opting for non-toxic options. They are adamant on a chemistry that respects the planet.
One of the biggest initiatives was to make the brand completely carbon neutral. By this, they balanced their carbon emissions with carbon elimination.
To support the initiative, Gucci’s parent company has shared an Environmental Profit and Loss account, to understand where their impacts are being made, steer their business strategy responsibly and be transparent with all stakeholders.
The Second Round of Sustainable Luxury Packaging
In terms of packaging, they didn’t stop at 100% recyclable options. In fact, they created a specific division in its Research and Development department dedicated to the optimization of their packaging.
As a result of their efforts, they underwent another major packaging transformation.
Now, Gucci is using exclusively FSC certified materials in their packaging. The brand even became a member of FSC Italy.
Did you know Packhelp can help you get FSC certified packaging?
Their new packaging design is the one you can see today; elegant and minimalistic white and black boxes, sporting the brand name in the signature font. Simple, efficient, and eco-friendly.
Alessandro Michele even took the design a step further. He has created special packaging designs to support special collections. The result, limited packaging that only adds to the luxury of the brand.
This was particularly seen in the 2017 New Flora collection.
The new packaging engineering did not end there. The research team managed to create “spatial puzzles” to reduce waste.
Classic rectangular boxes can now be folded into 3 different sizes. The new design of the box can, therefore, be adapted to the most appropriate size for a product.
Gucci also created new triangular boxes. These boxes can be placed neatly into each other to form squares.
This helped reduce the waste of space in trucks. As a result, more products can be shipped and carbon footprint is reduced.
Sustainable change that leads to results
Gucci is one of the most popular luxury brands in the world. With its history of opulence and boldness, their radical environmental change is seen across the entire operations has given Gucci a new sense of fearlessness.
Their new image has made them opinion leaders, winning the hearts of younger generations. Gucci has identified the ideal touchpoints of their target market, creating loyal customer bonds and increasing word of mouth.
It is safe to say that their new environmental strategy has delivered great results and it serves as a great example of what other brands should be doing today.
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