30 - New York University

Last updated October 11, 2015
Prof. Thomaï Serdari
“Advanced Luxury Marketing: Brand Thinking and Experience”
Course Objectives
Building on concepts and business principles discussed in the core course for
the Luxury Marketing specialization at Stern, this course is designed to provide
students with an understanding of branding, design thinking and how these are
combined to define luxury business strategies. It also completes the discussion on
luxury products and brands by demonstrating that branding within the luxury
segment of the market is an integral part of business strategy.
By the end of this course students will have developed:
a. An understanding of design thinking and strategy and their fundamental role
in reinforcing the emotional impact of luxury brands on consumers
b. A deeper understanding of the luxury segment of hotel, fashion, and financial
industries without excluding other product/service groups
c. Analytical skills by hands-on experience and business case analysis,
discussion, and presentation
d. The critical skills to distinguish/discover faults in business strategies that are
not compatible with or contradict the essence of a particular luxury brand
Course administration
The course consists of case discussions and lectures. Supplementary reading
material will reinforce the cases and lectures.
Classroom Contributions
You need to be fully acquainted with the readings and cases for a given session.
Positive participation includes attendance, active involvement in all in-class
exercises and discussions, and maintenance of a classroom demeanor that
encourages the participation of others.
You will be evaluated on the quantity as well as the quality of your contribution and
insights. Quality comments possess one or more of the following attributes: (a)
Contribute to moving the discussion forward; (b) Offer a different, unique and
relevant perspective on the issue; (c) Build on other comments of others; and (d)
Include some evidence or analysis of inherent tradeoffs, i.e., demonstrate reflective
Last updated October 11, 2015
Attendance Policy
Attendance at all sessions is expected. Absences will significantly impact the class
participation grade.
Electronic Devices Policy
Cell phones and other electronic devices may not be used during class.
Honor Code
Students must adhere to the MBA Honor Code. All students are obligated to report
to the instructor any suspected violations of the Code (see
Student With Disabilities
If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation during
this course, please contact the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD,
998-4980) and provide me with a letter from them verifying your registration and
outlining the accommodations they recommend. Keep in mind there is no exam for
this class.
Course Grading
Business case group presentation
Class attendance & participation
Final group project
Course Materials
Harvard Business Cases will be made available through the Harvard Cases
website. Supplementary readings may be distributed in class or posted on NYU
Last updated October 11, 2015
Thomaï Serdari, Ph.D. is a strategist in luxury marketing and branding. She helps
clients launch, grow, and successfully manage luxury brands. She is an expert on
luxury and actively studies, values, and reports on companies or funds that operate
and invest within the luxury goods market.
Prof. Serdari has been teaching at New York University since 2004. She has
developed a variety of courses at NYU, among which: “Cultures of Excess: Product
and Fashion Design through Modernity” and “Entrepreneurship in the Business of
Art.” She also developed the core courses for the Luxury Marketing specialization at
the Leonard N. Stern School of Business, MBA level: “The Core of Luxury: Processes,
Products, and Strategies through History, ” “Luxury Branding: Brand Thinking and
Experience,” and “Luxury Launch.”
Originally trained as an architect at the National Technical University of Athens,
Prof. Serdari received her doctorate in Art History & Archaeology from the Institute
of Fine Arts, New York University in 2005. She also holds an MBA from the Leonard
N. Stern School of Business, New York University, with a specialization in corporate
and quantitative finance (2009).
Heavily drawing on her interdisciplinary training, Prof. Serdari launched PIQluxury,
a digital platform that provides marketing, consumer and creative intelligence to
brand professionals to reinforce the creative direction of brands. She is the coeditor of the first academic interdisciplinary journal on Luxury: History, Culture,
Consumption published by Taylor & Francis. Her chapter “Experiments in Suchness:
Hiroshi Sugimoto Silk Shiki for Hermès,” appears in John Armitage & Joanne Roberts
eds. Critical Luxury Studies: Art, Design, Media, Edinburgh University Press in 2016.
She has contributed an essay entitled “STEIDL: Printer, Publisher, Alchemist: The
Field of Luxury Production in Germany,” in the November 2015 issue of Luxury:
History, Culture, Consumption and is regularly reviewing academic publications in
the field of luxury business.
Prof. Serdari is one of the main contributors to the LVMH Fundamentals in Luxury
Retail: A CPC/Parsons Collaboration, an education program designed to train and
provide a wide range of retail skills to Chinese-Americans.
Last updated October 11, 2015
Detailed Course Outline
Class #1
Introduction to branding principles: How the anthropological and
sociological branding process defines commercial success (Lecture)
Luxury brands, logos, and the power of the core concept: How design
thinking is applied in luxury brand development (Lecture)
Discussion of course methodology—Group assignments—Selection of
topics for final project
Basics of Branding 1. What is Branding Really About?
Johan Gronlund BEP223-PDF-ENG (Harvard Business course pack)
Joachimsthaler, E. (2007). Creating customer advantage. In Hidden in
plain sight: How to find and execute your company’s next big growth
strategy, 153-170. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press. 4836BC-PDFENG (Harvard Business course pack)
Class #2
Class #3
Branding as “up-market” strategy (Lecture)
Principles of experiential design (Lecture)
Basics of Branding, 6. Marketing Today: Branding for Digital
Marketing and Social Media
Johan Gronlund BEP228-PDF-ENG (Harvard Business course pack)
Fashion industry: The power of images in a cyclical business
environment (Lecture)
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Group Presentation: Shanghai Tang (HKU 650-ODF-ENG)
Group Presentation: Diesel (INS617-PDF-ENG)
Class #4
What is a luxury brand? How is it different from a regular,
mass-market brand? How does one build a luxury brand?
How would you characterize Shanghai Tang’s brand image and
source of brand equity?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the brand’s existing
personality and image?
What might have accounted for Shanghai Tang’s unsatisfactory
results in building a global luxury Chinese brand? What could
they or should they have done differently?
How has Shanghai Tang positioned itself relative to other
luxury brands? How might the positioning be improved?
Would D-Diesel’s brand associations enhance StyleLab’s value
Would D-Diesel enhance StyleLab’s credibility?
Would D-Diesel enhance StyleLab’s visibility?
Would D-Diesel provide communication efficiencies?
Would StyleLab strengthen D-Diesel’s brand?
Would the company be able to support a distinct StyleLab
Guest speaker TBA
Hospitality industry: Branding that defines both strategy and
customer experience (Lecture)
Group Presentation: Rosewood Hotels (HBC 2087-PDF-ENG)
Why is Rosewood considering a new brand strategy?
What are the pros and cons of moving from individual brands
to a corporate brand?
Will the move to corporate branding maximize customer
lifetime value?
Class #5
Last updated October 11, 2015
Financial Services and Private Wealth: Brands that cater to the superaffluent and UHNW individuals (Lecture)
Group Presentation: State Bank of India: Kohinoor Banjara Branch
Class #6
Was the decision to attract Ultra High Net Worth (UHNI)
customers through a separate, dedicated branch a good idea?
Critically evaluate the service design, customer selection and
employee selection strategy of SBI Kohinoor. Assume that SBI had a strong intention to roll out Kohinoorstyle branches. How should it have approached piloting the
concept? What should be the aim of such tests? In your judgment, is the concept ready to be rolled out
successfully throughout the country? Assess both the positives
and negatives in your assessment and then make a final call. Finally, think of serving the same UHNI customers through
some of SBI’s existing branches. What would be the advantages
and challenges of such an approach over the independent
Kohinoor type approach? On balance, which one do you favor
and why?
Final group project presentations
Last updated October 11, 2015
Classic Reference Works in the Field of Branding
Aaker, D. A. (1996). Building strong brands. New York, NY: Free Press.
Aaker, D. A. (2011). Experience map worksheet. Stanford class resources, Stanford
http://www.stanford.edu/class/mktg353/index.php?/resources (accessed March
21, 2015).
Gobé, Mark. Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People,
Joachimsthaler, E. (2007). Creating customer advantage. In Hidden in plain sight:
How to find and execute your company’s next big growth strategy, 153-170. Boston,
MA: Harvard Business Press.
Kegan, R., and L. L. Lahey (2009). Immunity to change: How to overcome it and unlock
the potential in yourself and your organization. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard
Business Press.
Keller, K. (2000). The brand report card. Harvard Business Review 78(1): 147-157.
Keller, K. (2001). Building customer-based brand equity: A blueprint for creating
strong brands.
Lockwood, Thomas. Building Design Strategy: Using Design to Achieve Key Business
Objectives, 2008.
Lockwood, Thomas. Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience,
and Brand Value, 2010.
Park, C.W., D. MacInnis, J. Priester, A. Eisingerich, and D. Iacobucci (2010). Brand
attachment and attitude strength: Conceptual and empirical differentiation of two
critical brand equity drivers. Journal of Marketing 74(6): 1-17.