The richest man in the world doesn't own a tech, online retail, energy, or a media business. He owns 75 brands.

The richest man in the world owns 75 brands

The richest man in the world doesn’t own a technology, space exploration, online retail, manufacturing, telecommunications, finance, media, investment, or an energy business. Oh no. He owns 75 luxury goods BRANDS: in fashion, watches and jewellery, cosmetics and perfumes, wine and spirits, and hospitality.

Bernard Arnault is chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, commonly known as LVMH, which he has built into a global luxury empire. His personal net worth is currently $US223.2 billion ($A322.3 billion), making him the richest man in the world today, according to Forbes.

The list of brands owned by LVMH include Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Tiffany, Christian Dior, Belmond, Kenzo, Moet Hennessy, Fendi, Givenchy, Tag Heueu, Bulgari, Guerlain, Marc Jacobs, Birkenstock, and Stella McCartney.

The power of reputable brands endures, even today

I find it interesting that in today’s business world – a world characterised and dominated by (primarily) innovative tech and investment companies – the power of owning a stable of great, long-standing reputable brands is still the best investment that there is.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton position themselves as “the world leader in luxury”. Their branding philosophy is anchored in one of the greatest achievements in French 17th century art, The Palace of Versailles, and the 18th century fashion icon, Marie Antoinette.

In the words of Bernard Arnault, “I see myself as an ambassador of French heritage and French culture. What we create is emblematic. It’s linked to Versailles, to Marie Antoinette.” In this way, French culture runs through each of LVMH’s brands as a wonderful story of luxury, refinement and elegance.

LVMH reminds us how brands are a feeling

LVMH reminds us that people have always aspired to own, enjoy, and wear luxury goods that make them feel special. It’s never about a laundry list of features and attributes. And it’s never rational: how else can you justify spending $5,000 on a Louis Vuitton handbag or $520 on a bottle of Moët Impérial.

And yet, too many brand owners still employ function-based branding – telling consumers what the product does instead of connecting with them on an emotional level. How does your brand make people feel? Because if you don’t know, they don’t know, and they won’t care either.

Richard Sauerman
Richard Sauerman
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