MBA 2438 Luxury Brand Management

MBA 2438 Luxury Brand Management

Course code: 
MBA 2438
Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Course coordinator: 
Denis Morisset
Course name in Norwegian: 
Luxury Brand Management
Product category: 
MBA China
2023 Autumn
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Branding is still relatively new in China. In the last 20 years, Chinese consumers have seen a radical transformation of the consumption landscape from few products and practically no brands in 1998, to a proliferation of products and brands favored by the exceptional economic development of the last 20 years and by the impact of globalization. Strong in the early phase of this fast expansion path, the voice of the brands is now getting weaker due to the abundance of choices and the difficulty to stand out of the crowd.  At the same time, the digital revolution empowered consumers with e-commerce, social media, online cross border and Chinese consumers today can access from their mobile phones all the products and brands they are interested in, even those which are not yet in China. Brands are also increasingly squeezed between these empowered consumers and powerful digital market places and integrated digital platforms. The development of local consumption continues to attract foreign brands but more and more Chinese brands also realize the huge opportunities they have to compete with western brands by leveraging on their understanding of Chinese consumers culture, aspirations and also digital consumption journeys. However, there is still a certain deficit of branding skills among many Chinese companies and the real “power of the brand’ is still a relatively new concept, not fully understood. This course aims at developing a stronger branding culture and helping Chinese brands and businesses learn from the best practices of successful western brands, primarily in the premium and luxury sector, where we can often identify the best branding and marketing techniques. These best practices can be applied partially or totally to many brands and businesses in China, not only in the premium and luxury sector and help them upgrade their branding and marketing activities, increase their brand equity value, become more aspirational. Last but not least it should be reminded that Chinese luxury consumers will account for 40% of the global luxury consumption by 2025 from 34 % today and that most of the growth will be driven by millennials and Gen Zers. This constitutes a huge opportunity for western premium and luxury brands but also for upcoming Chinese premium and luxury brands.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

Students will learn primarily what constitutes the essence of luxury marketing and branding, where luxury comes from, what are its drivers and how the “business of luxury” has become a very significant industry sector, enlarging constantly its territory from personal luxury (Fashion & accessories, watches & Jewelry, fragrance and cosmetics) to luxury and premium cars but also experiential luxury (Food & beverage, hotels and tourism, real estate, furniture, art and vintage, various services, etc.). They will also learn or revisit the foundations of what constitutes a brand and how it can be defined. They will learn how brand management evolved to luxury brand management and how some premium and luxury brands have transcended the concept of brand identity to become unique and occupy a unique space in the minds of their consumers. They will learn some of the best marketing and distribution practices of premium and luxury brands and how they sometimes deviate from traditional marketing laws to enhance their specificity and uniqueness, create dream and desirability factors across evolving consumer cultures. They will learn how luxury and premium brands are now leveraging the disruptions of the digital revolution and of the sharing economy and how they have become successful at developing social media branding and social commerce in China through KOL’s and micro influencers. They will learn the foundations and KPI’s of retail management, how luxury brands are growingly using retail as a branding and communication tool as well as consumer engagement tool and how they are developing a true multi-channel strategy, starting to leverage on data and AI.

Learning outcomes - Skills

Students will acquire practical skills in the following areas:

  • Branding (How to define a brand, how to differentiate brand from product and company, how to analyze a brand identity, how to find the right positioning, how to define a brand program in the early phase of brand creation and launch.
  • Luxury branding and marketing: How to be unique or at least significantly different. Through the tool box of “DNA & Codes” they will learn how to enhance a brand uniqueness, reinforce its elements of differentiation, achieve a brand diagnosis. Which marketing strategies unable luxury and premium brands to become so aspirational.
  • International development and business models: how luxury and premium brands managed to become global, what types of international distribution business models can be used by Chinese brands, how they can leverage on collaborations, licensing and co-branding to grow.
  • Retail & selling: students will learn how to operate a retail business, offer the best experience and service, but also what is the specific art of selling techniques.
General Competence

Students will understand how successful premium and luxury brands put quality and even excellence at the center of their strategy. They will understand that discipline and attention to details is essential to their success. They will understand that another important success factor is the consistency of their branding and marketing activities and how they are able to create dream and desirability not only for their customers but also for their employees and shareholders. At the same time, they will understand that, luxury being a cultural phenomenon, successful brands are also constantly innovating on tradition (cultural innovation) in order to stay relevant to younger consumers, and particularly millennials and Gen Zers in China and in the rest of the world. They will understand that building strong brands take time, and that this is also a consideration that investors and business people will need to integrate in the future.

Course content

Lecture 1: Understanding luxury and the business of luxury

  • Luxury origins
  • Cultural foundations of luxury, luxury and a
  • How luxury became a significant industry sector in the 70’s and 80’s
  • From luxury products to luxury brands 
  • Differentiating luxury and premium
  • Presentation of the major industry players in the most important sectors
  • The importance of PE funding and IPO’s in the luxury industry
  • Evolving purchasing patterns of luxury consumers
  • Luxury and globalization
  • Luxury and Asia/China
  • The case of Chinese luxury brand and China luxury eco-system
  • Luxury business models
  • Best practices and case studies


Lecture 2: Pillars of luxury brand management

  • Branding foundations
  • Various definitions of a brand
  • Evolving branding environment
  • From brand management to luxury brand management
  • The art of luxury brand management is the art of creating and selling dreams
  • The concept of uniqueness
  • The DNA & Codes to convey the uniqueness and the legend of the brand
  • Luxury brands story telling specificities
  • How to balance exclusivity, accessibility and popularity
  • How to manage the time paradox: innovate on traditions
  • Managing evolving consumers expectations
  • Best practices and case studies


Lecture 3: Luxury marketing

  • Introduction on how the digital revolution disrupted traditional marketing
  • Specificities of luxury and premium brands marketing strategies
  • The anti-marketing laws of luxury
  • Revisiting the traditional 4P’s with focus on luxury brands marketing
  • Specificities of Product, Price, Promotion and Placement (Distribution) for luxury
  • Typologies of luxury consumers: From segmentation to personalization
  • Leveraging on marketing collaborations
  • Digital marketing for luxury brands
  • Managing luxury brands online reputation
  • Brands online social communities
  • Social media branding
  • Best practices and case studies


Lecture 4: Luxury distribution and retail

  • International Luxury distribution business models
  • Wholesale distribution: distributors, agents, JV’s
  • The evolution of the licensing model
  • Branded wholesale and integrated retail
  • Understanding luxury retail

                - Locations & real estate

                - The financial management of retail: KPI’s

                - The hard components of luxury retail (decoration, merchandising)

                - The soft components of luxury retail (luxury experience and service)

  • How digital revolution and e-commerce are disrupting luxury retail

               - From E, M & S Commerce to omni-retail and new retail

               - The sharing economy phenomenon in luxury

  • Case studies and best practices
Teaching and learning activities

The course is conducted through 4 days in a total of 32 hours of lectures and class room case discussions and group presentations. The group work will be communicated 4 weeks before the course dates, so that students can do the necessary research and group work in advance, so that their finding can be presented during the course.

Students will also be required to complete a personal project which will be communicated during the class and will have to be remitted about 3 weeks after the end of the class.

Participation will also represent a minor part of the final grade

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component will be graded using points on a scale 0 -100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the course. Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. Candidates may be called in for an oral hearing as a verification/control of written assignments.

Specific information regarding the points system and the mapping scale beyond the information given in the course description will be provided in class. This information may be relevant for requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several elements of the overall evaluation.

The course is a part of a full MBA and examination in all courses in the MBA programme must be passed in order to obtain a certificate for the MBA degree.

In all BI Executive courses and programmes, there is a mutual requirement  
for the student and the course responsible regarding the involvement of the student's experience in the planning and implementation of courses, modules and programmes. This means that the student has the right and duty to get involved with their own knowledge and practice relevance, through the active sharing of their relevant experience and knowledge.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

Granted admission to the BI-Fudan MBA programme. Please consult our student regulations.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
MBA 24383
Grading scale:
Grading rules:
Internal examiner
Examination when next scheduled course
60No4 Week(s)Individual Individual written assignment, counts 60% of the final grade
Exam category:
Form of assessment:
Handin - all file types
Exam code:
MBA 24384
Grading scale:
Grading rules:
Internal examiner
Examination when next scheduled course
40No -Group (2 - 8)Group work presentation – The groups submit a PPT presentation who will be graded, counts 40% of the final grade
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Grouping (size):Individual
Duration:4 Week(s)
Comment:Individual written assignment, counts 60% of the final grade
Exam code:MBA 24383
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Handin - all file types
Grouping (size):Group (2-8)
Duration: -
Comment:Group work presentation – The groups submit a PPT presentation who will be graded, counts 40% of the final grade
Exam code:MBA 24384
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
All exams must be passed to get a grade in this course.
Total weight: 
Student workload
32 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
18 Hour(s)
30 Hour(s)
Project work
40 Hour(s)
Individual project
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 4 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 110 hours.