Chanel’s Brand Identity and Personality

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Type of Academic Paper – Essay

Academic Subject – Brand Identity

Word Count – 2800 words


In a highly competitive market, various brands are concerned about obtaining a strong customer base. This is due to the fact that homogeneity in the markets has made it difficult for luxury brands to differentiate their products. The contemporary world of the market proposes two major tools for effective brand management: brand identity and brand positioning.

The former is related to the specification of the brand’s unique attributes and values. The latter posits the main communication mechanism through which the brand can be promoted in the market, creating consumer preference. The reason behind the significance of these aspects is that the effective strong identity and positioning.

Strong brand equity is considered the outcome of how the brand has been positioned and communicated to the customers resulting in the establishment, long survival, and performance of the brand in the market. With respect to these aspects of brand management, Chanel has been prominent in the market with a strong brand identity and personality, which has given the brand the leading position in the luxury market.

This essay aims to evaluate the brand identity and personality of Chanel and in addition, the evaluation of current promotional strategies of the brand for building brand equity will also be given.

Main Body
Brand Identity Framework

Figure 1: Brand Identity Framework

Source: Baisya (2013)

According to Schiffman et al. (2013), with the rise of a number of luxury products in the market, consumer behavior has also been changed with the change in their lifestyle. These significant changes have also been due to the stance taken by many famous brands for creating a strong brand identity and personality. Brand identity specifies the brand goal, which makes it different from other parallel brands within the one market segment. Baisya (2013) suggests that strong brand identity tends to resist change by tying to fixed parameters, namely brand physique, brand personality, culture values, relationship, customer reflection, and customer self-image.

Brand Values of Chanel

Figure 2: Brand Values of Chanel

Source: Author (2017)

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Brand identity plays an important role in obtaining consumers’ preferences in the market(Tuškej, Golob and Podnar2013: 53). The strong brand identity of Chanel has been due to a number of factors. The French brand was founded in 1909 and since then has been targeting multi-consumer segments. The brand has been proclaimed as the year’s best Luxury Marketer due to its brand attributes and transparent strategy and advertising campaigns.

According to Stobart (2016), there are two main elements that create brand power brand value, and brand meaning and by providing both elements the consumer’s search costs reduce impacting the consumer’s choice towards a particular product. This further builds trust and understanding between the brand and consumer and increases consumers’ association with the brand.

The monolithic Chanel brand has created a sensation and ad ability to connect with and relate with the consumer’s designated brand values. The brand founder Gabriel Coco Chanel has herself been the pioneer of the fashion industry whose personality and outlook have created the foundation for strong brand identity.

Brand Identity Prism

Figure 3: Brand Identity Prism

Source: Alston (2014)

According to one research conducted by Brun and Castelli (2013: 823) the brand parity in the fashion industry is low due to the lack of differences in major luxury brand alternatives in the market. With respect to the brand values associated with Chanel such as elegance, luxury, quality, detail attention, and less-is-more approach have led the brand to stand with strong brand identity in the market.

The ambition of Gabriel Chanel to provide clothing with literal elegance and precision of the product line of Chanel is the reflection of beliefs associated with the brand (Kapferer, J.N., 2014: 371). The major outcome of these beliefs is the people’s preferences towards the trendsetter brand. All the beliefs integrated with the Chanel brand have been the enchantment of the spirit of Gabriel Chanel which retained the specific brand mantras such as “The House of Chanel Dressed a Century”.

As defined by Wheeler (2013) brand identity alters due to the brand meaning perceived by the consumers. Chanel has created a strong brand identity by incorporating uniqueness into its brand. For every buyer, Chanel has some meaning which is why it is known as a top-of-the-mind brand. According to the above Chanel’s brand identity prism, the brand’s proposed agenda about the “total look for women” has created a physique of the brand whereas the components like creative, perfectionism, and daring have constructed a strong brand personality (Alston 2014).

The brand values catered by the brand have been sophistication and simplicity and the revolutionary images used by the brand give the proposition of a liberated lifestyle of women. The brand’s reflection as defined by Dinghai and Tingting (2014) is the social communication of the attributes in a flattering manner which increases the overall prestige of the brand in the market and amongst the consumers. The reflection carried by Chanel has been the modern elegant woman who carries her style with class and elegance.

Aaker’s Dimensions of Brand Personality

Figure 4: Aaker’s Dimensions of Brand Personality

Source: Ferrandi et al. (2015)

According to Aker’s dimensions of brand personality there are mainly five elements which create strong brand personality such as sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness (Ferrandi et al. 2015: 7).

Chanel is a popular brand engaged in delivering simple but elegant designs for young women around the world. With respect to Aker’s dimensions, Chanel lies at the sophistication dimension by targeting the people in the upper class who are also fashion-driven and glam-focused. Adding a tagline “A Girl can be Two Things Classy and Fabulous” has become the pioneer for creating the brand identity and personality of Chanel.

Gabriel Coco Chanel

Figure 5: Gabriel Coco Chanel

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The brand is also popular for endorsing high-class celebrities represented in the role models (Dion and Borraz 2015: 77). This endorsement has also led towards a strong brand personality, especially with the inclusion of iconic actresses such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, making the brand personality highly personified that there would be no chance for a brand to fade from the market.

By adding a human personality to the brand Folse, Burton, and Netemeyer (2013: 331) suggested that the brand can personify its characteristics by transferring celebrity characteristics. The celebrity endorsement has also been another reason why Chanel has a strong brand image and personality amongst the consumers.

Chanel’s Icon Audrey Hepburn

Figure 6: Chanel’s Icon Audrey Hepburn

Davis (2013) explained that branding is associated with all the attributes of the brand, such as name, design, shape, colour, logo, tagline, and others impacting the brand image as well as brand identity amongst the consumers. In 1925 Chanel’s logo was designed and has remained the same (Kennedy, Stoehrer and Calderin 2013). The symbol with the overlapping double “C” stands grounded for Chanel, which has intrigued the consumers in the developed markets. The outcome of such a unique and attractive logo has been the feeling of timeliness amongst the customers inclining them to make more purchases.

Chanel's logo

Figure 7: Chanel’s logo

Phillips, McQuarrie, and Griffin (2014: 225) explained that brand identity and personality are the elements established through brand DNA. The brand DNA is the uniqueness of the brand in terms of identity, image, personality, values, and positioning. The iconic items of Chanel, including the “little black dress”, the Chanel Suit, and the Chanel No.5 Perfume, interpret the sheer simplicity, anticipation, liberation, and sophistication.

The late couturier of the Chanel brand, Gabriel Chanel, played a crucial role in creating brand DNA which has been the centre of the brand’s identity (Riot 2013: 283). With the adventurous mindset of the founder the brand commensurate the sheer legacy with enduring success. The mediatized and charismatic designer has taken care of enhancing brand identity by reinterpreting the seasons and making Chanel famous for the pearls, the tweed jacket, the Camilla, and the black and white bringing with the modern twist with the timeless fashion: can be worn by older and younger customers.

Brand DNA

Figure 8: Brand DNA

Source: Bhattacharjee, Berger and Menon(2014)

Brand expression and knowledge are one of the main components of brand identity and personality (Bhattacharjee, Berger, and Menon 2014: 294). As the consumers associate with the brands which creates a strong perception about the brand is often influenced by the knowledge provided about the brand through various channels. The brand expression of Chanel has been consistent because of the basic practice of the owners and marketers to provide what has been promised by the brand.

The classy style with the modern edge and the mixture of femininity and masculinity has given strong brand expressions to the customers creating a strong brand image (Morand 2013). The consistency in the brand expression has ensured high standards in the fashion business with the renowned brand personality in the market. As the legacy rests on the shoulders of Karl Lagerfeld, the success of the luxury fashion business has been kept vitalized by his spirit providing innovative but simple and elegant designs as promised by the brand. This strategy has kept the brand current and created a strong brand identity amongst the customers.

Brand Expression

Figure 9: Brand Expression

Source: Author (2017)

According to Aaker and Biel (2013) brand equity is defined as a set of liabilities and assets associated with the brand. In other words, brand equity is defined as a commercial value of the brand driven by the perception of the consumers towards the brand name and its products and services. Brand equity is an important element to be achieved for brand managers due to the fact that it influences consumer loyalty and business growth as well.

The consumer perception can be altered in a number of ways such as effective marketing and promotion. Chanel’s success is not only related to the rich legacy but also astute evaluation of the markets and adopting effective promotional strategies. These strategies build strong brand equity for the company. The artfully built promotional campaigns have appealed to the customers from different segments and strengthen the brand awareness amongst the consumers.

Aaker's Brand Equity Model

Figure 10: Aaker’s Brand Equity Model

Source: to Aaker and Biel (2013)

As defined by Hung (2014:155) celebrity endorsement plays a role in bringing a celebrity’s own characteristics into the brand. Chanel targeted women from 23 to 80 who have high incomes as well. With this respect, the brand took the advantage of celebrity endorsements and included famous celebrities such as Blake Lively, Nicole Kidman, Kritlin Stuart, and Kiera Knightly which created the ideal identification in the designated consumer segments. The strong fan following of the celebrities has made the brand more prominent amongst the customers. This strategy has demonstrated the competitiveness of the brand in the market as well as the dynamic creativity of the brand management enhancing the brand equity of Chanel.

Effect of Celebrity Endorsement

Figure 11: Effect of Celebrity Endorsement

Source: Williams (2014)

According to Tsimonis and Dimitriadis (2014) promotion is referred to the mechanism used for raising customer’s awareness towards the brand or the product. An effective promotional strategy generates sales, creates brand loyalty and brand equity. Chanel has used the promotional strategy of storytelling in its promotional campaigns. Storytelling is the communication between the brand and the consumers on the levels of consciousness and unconsciousness (Williams 2014: 45).

In order to communicate the core values of the brand, Chanel has taken the advantage of symbolic figures and the rich history behind the brand. The head designer of the brand Karl Lagerfeld has directed many mini-films for revitalizing the brand image. The key elements covered in such films were the brand history, feminism, the city of Paris, and the pursuit of perfection. All the aspects created a strong consumer perception towards the brand as well the brand equity.

Storytelling by Chanel

Figure 12: Storytelling by Chanel

As defined by Kelley, Sheehan, and Jugenheimer (2015) above-the-line promotional strategy is the use of media such as television advertisements for communicating the brand to the customers. Chanel used the line promotional strategy in the sense of visual representation of the brand attributes through the film. For instance, in the movie “Once upon a time” the head designer used the silent form of the film in order to revive the memories of the origin of the brand.

This is also known as the use of nostalgia for creating a strong brand image. This film traced the time when Chanel first began her business in the fashion industry. The visual representation included the simple minimalist hats with the over-embellished style people adopted in 1913 (Hong and Kim 2013: 43). …(content removed – please contact us to access full version)

Sales Comparison between Chanel and its Competitors

Figure 13: Sales Comparison between Chanel and its Competitors

Source: Hong and Kim (2013)

The effective and attractive website design of Chanel enhanced the engagement of the consumers (Sims 2016: 114). Apart from that, the compelling stories on the website which cater to the various aspects of the identity, culture, and values of the brand have positioned Chanel on multiple platforms. The content-based site named INSIDE CHANEL …(content removed – please contact us to access full version)

Chanel's Website Design

Chanel’s Website Design

Figure 14: Chanel’s Website Design

As defined by Strauss (2016) digital marketing strategy is used for marketing products by internet technologies. The strong content and good narrative are given by Chanel have been the central point of its digital marketing strategy. The main aim of the strategy is to deepen the consumer’s knowledge and understanding of the culture and values associated with the brand which has further motivated a large number of customers to make purchase decisions.

The use of the films has demonstrated the true legacy as well the core elements of Chanel in a powerful and creative way (Marcangeli 2015). This has further encouraged the audience to get inspired by the cult of the founder and her spirit. The stories have encapsulated the sound comprehension of the consumer’s profiles as the existing customers of the brand are known to be fashion savvy, informed, and knowledgeable.

Luxury brands around the world are reinventing the ways of communication due to high-level market penetration and substitutes (Kotler et al. 2015). …(content removed – please contact us to access full version)

Chanel Paris

Figure 15: Chanel Paris

Brand awareness makes the consumers familiar with the image or qualities of the product (Huang and Sarigöllü 2014: 133). …(content removed – please contact us to access full version)

Keller’s Model of Brand Equity

Figure 16: Keller’s Model of Brand Equity

Source: Huang and Sarigöllü(2014)

Luxury brands should have effective communication mechanisms to gain high consumer preference and brand equity (Oliver 2014). With regard to the recent promotional strategies of Chanel, it has been recommended that Chanel should communicate with the consumers through the flagship stores. These stores would allow the brand to appear more easily amongst the buyers and consumers. In this way, the supplier would be more convenient to approach in the market (Kim, Lloyd, and Cervellon 2016: 304).

As Chanel is targeting only high-income women, it is also recommended that for having high-level brand equity and building consumer perception Coco Chanel should target other customers as well. These customers may include middle-income women as well as men. Furthermore, this segmentation should include the internet segmentation as well where consumers should enjoy unsubscribed channels to reach the brand apparel and make online purchases

The emotional attachment of the brand is important for making high consumer motivation towards the brand (Sarkar 2014: 481). It has been recommended that Coco Chanel should combine functionality with emotionality in its brand to create high brand equity. In order to gain high-profit margins, Chanel should invest in emerging markets…(content removed – please contact us to access full version)


The main aim of the essay was to evaluate the brand identity and personality of Chanel as well as its promotional strategies to create strong brand equity. It has been identified by the analyses that Chanel has a very strong brand name and with unique brand attributes and DNA, it has created a strong brand identity amongst the customers. The effective promotional strategy of storytelling and using different haute couture for showcasing the brand Chanel has also gained strong brand equity in the market. However, the brand requires entering into the e-world for having more profit and a high amount of sales. With this inclusion, Chanel would be able to target more potential consumers in the market.


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    (complete list of references can be provided on request)

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