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Pierre Cardin Brand Equity and Popularity Essay

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Updated: Nov 5th, 2020

Pierre Cardin is a designer brand taken directly from the name of the company founder and current owner. Pierre is an Italian-born French designer who has registered impressive success in the field of design. Soon after the Second World War, Pierre started focusing on unique clothing designs for both men and women. By the 1970s, he had become a world-class designer known in Europe and North America and parts of Asia, especially Japan, that was experiencing massive economic growth at the time. He broadened his scope product line when he started designing car seats for America Motor Association. By the 20th century, Pierre Cardin had become a popular brand for both men and women clothing. In this paper, the researcher will critically look at the brand equity of Pierre Cardin and factors that made the brand to become less popular in the market.

Critical Analysis of Pierre Cardin

Building a strong brand in the market is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of the target market and the changing tastes and preferences (Aaker & Biel, 2013). For Pierre Cardin, building a memorable brand mantra was one of the first steps in winning customer loyalty. The brand was strongly identified with the owner, who, at the time, had created a name as a successful designer. In this critical analysis, the researcher will determine how brand equity was built and how it performed in the market.

How Pierre Cardin Customer-Based Brand Equity Was Built

Brand equity, according to Johansson and Carlson (2015), refers to the commercial value of a given brand name that is directly attributed to the popularity of the brand other than the value of the product. When building his brand equity, Cardin focused on five criteria for choosing brand elements. The first criterion is the ease with which a brand is memorable. Instead of using complex names for his brand, Pierre Cardin chose his name. It is a simple name that is easy to remember. The second factor is the meaningfulness of the brand. He decided to identify himself with his brand in the market. By using the brand name Pierre Cardin, he informed his customers that he is the brand, and the brand was part of him. He was informing the clients that he has a deeply rooted personal interest in the brand and will always do what it takes to ensure that he gives his clients the best. According to Johansson and Carlson (2015), logos and symbols are also very important when building a brand. It helps create a unique identity for a brand that makes it easy for customers to identify with it. Pierre Cardin chose a unique logo, the image for its brand (Kubacki, 2014). The logo is shown in the figure below.

Pierre Cardin brand symbol.
Figure 1: Pierre Cardin brand symbol. Source: (Bevolo & Gofman, 2016).

As shown in the above figure, he combined letters and sounds of the brand name uniquely. It depicts the first letters in the two names, p (Pierre) and c (Cardin), in one figure. In the brand name, the most common sound that comes out is r. This sound is also depicted in the logo. According to Johansson and Carlson (2015), developing a meaningful brand requires artistry and an understanding of the meaning that should come out in the image. In this case, Pierre Cardin had developed a name as a person in the field of design. He was the brand’s DNA. He had to convince his clients that the brand was as good as he is in delivering the best value.

Pierre Cardin’s Brand Performance

The brand Pierre Cardin registered impressive performance in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. This brand first came up with the idea of having the name of the designer on the suits and dresses as a mark of quality. The designer suits from this brand had the name written to demonstrate the value of the dress. At this time, the class was increasingly becoming an issue among the rich. Kapferer (2012) says that for a long time, the rich have had the desire to demonstrate their wealth in what they wear. Pierre Cardin came up with a way for them to demonstrate their value. By having the label in the dress, the wearer would be telling the world that what they have is a designer suit (Elliott, Percy, & Pervan, 2015). The brand became very popular in Europe, North America, and the Asia Pacific. People started associating the brand with a sense of class.

The popularity of this brand was witnessed when the auto industry started using its designs for the seats of the cars. At this time, car manufacturers were keen on winning the trust of the customers as the competition started growing stiff. Comfort, safety, and speed were some of the factors that were very important in cars at that time. Pierre Cardin saw an opportunity to design car seats, which were very comfortable and enhanced the safety of the passengers. The seats were not just comfortable but also appealing to the eye. They became very popular in American cars in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The company benefitted a lot from the growing popularity of this brand. People continued associating the brand with high-quality products both in the automobile industry and in the apparel industry. The brand image evoked a feeling of quality.

The Decline of the Brand

Pierre Cardin has not registered impressive performance in the 21st century as it did in the 20th century. The brand has been overtaken by other top designer brands such as Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors Collection, and Calvin Klein Collection, which are currently very popular in the global market. Pierre Cardin is still one of the trusted brands in the world, especially in Europe and North America. However, it is currently facing serious branding challenges. According to Bevolo and Gofman (2016), one of the reasons that led to the decline of Pierre Cardin was its inability to embrace the emerging styles popular among the younger generation. This brand is currently popular among the baby boomers and the older generations. It has failed to identify with the youth. Most of its designs, especially for men, are fit for official duties. However, most of the youths prefer having casual clothes most of the time, unless it is completely unavoidable. As such, this brand is becoming irrelevant because of the declining population of the baby boomers. It has failed to recruit the younger generations to assure it of continuity.

Another reason that has led to the rapid decline of this brand in modern society is its inability to come up with designs that are specifically female-centric. At first, Pierre Cardin himself was a designer of women’s clothing. However, when it reached a time when he turned this name into a brand, he focused more on men’s designer clothes. He completely ignored women in his later designs. Keller (2013) says that women are always more obsessed with fashion than men. As such, they make a more attractive market segment for designers such as Pierre Cardin.

However, it is this attractive market segment that this brand ignored. It focused on a small market niche of aging men. Emerging brands that focused on delivering value to women achieved greater success than this firm. Currently, the brand is still popular among a section of high-end customers. However, its inflexibility has forced it out of its adorable top position that it enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s. Bevolo and Gofman (2016) say that when a firm fails to embrace the emerging market changes, then it risks being forced out of the market by other trendy firms. Pierre Cardin has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that it is still focused on meeting the needs of a section of the market it has been taking care of for decades. If it fails to change in line with the changing market forces, then it risks being forced out of the market.


Pierre Cardin is operating in a highly competitive business environment. The brand became very popular in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s because it was able to understand the needs of its customers. The brand was associated with quality, and its products became popular even in the auto industry. It was positioned as a brand that shows one’s social class in society. Despite the success that it experienced in the 20th century, the firm started facing challenges in the 21st century, primarily because of its inability to change with the changing environmental forces.


Aaker, A., & Biel, A. (2013). Brand equity & advertising: Advertising’s role in building strong brands. London, UK: Taylor & Francis Group.

Bevolo, M., & Gofman, A. (2016). Premium by design: How to understand, design and market high end products. New York, NY: Cengage.

Elliott, R., Percy, L., & Pervan, S. (2015). Strategic brand management. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Johansson, J. K., & Carlson, K. A. (2015). Contemporary brand management. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Kapferer, N. (2012). The new strategic brand management: Advanced insights and strategic thinking. London, UK: Kogan Page.

Keller, K. L. (2013). Strategic brand management: Building, measuring, and managing brand equity. Harlow, UK: Pearson.

Kubacki, K. (2014). Ideas in marketing: Finding the new and polishing the old: Proceedings of the 2013 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference. Hoboken, NJ: Cengage.

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