Louis Vuitton or How to master the art of Social Media…
The main idea we have developed about social media is that it needs to be fully integrated within the overall brand strategy.
Social media cannot be seen as just a trend anymore, nor as a new way to do marketing. Social media is both a social phenomenon that translates the changes happening in our society and an innovative tool which can be used for marketing, communication, sales, PR, social CRM purposes. But it remains a means to an end, not an end in itself.
The luxury industry still has a lot to learn about web 2.0 and must try to understand not why but how they can handle it.
Yesterday saw the opening of the new Louis Vuitton London flagship and the brand demonstrated how social could be exploited in order to make a local event, a global one.
What was all the fuss about?
Louis Vuitton has re-opened its New Bond Street shop or Maison as Yves Carcelle explained – it is not a regular store. The Maison is ”Reflecting Louis Vuitton’s art-de-vivre and savoir-faire, conceived as the home of a collector . . . [it] gives visitors opportunities to discover new and exciting experiences.” This new Maison shows the Louis Vuitton belief that retail is all about emotion. Louis Vuitton wanted to renew with the fundamentals of luxury: making your customers dream about your brand. Luxury is not only about price and quality but first and foremost about the dream, about an “art de vivre”, a way of life.
This is where the Louis Vuitton strategy lied yesterday with the re-opening of their London flagship and the execution went very well, blurring the boundaries between art and fashion. A huge self-portrait by Gilbert and George hangs between the two walls of men’s tailoring. The top-floor is an “apartment” which is reserved for special client. They can make their selections in private. This apartment boasts a Basquiat, a Koons, another Gilbert and George, and two Richard Prince pieces.
The main question for LV was: how can render this opening as an exceptional event, worth the attention from a global audience? (Again the question is not why but how).
Of course with such as brand as LV, the traditional use of PR and communication makes any opening a very special event. The muses of the brand, many famous people and some trendy Londoners were invited to assist the event. But this type of event is extremely exclusive and only a limited number of happy few actually get to see what is happening in the shop – the rest of the crowd remaining outside.
An aspirational brand such as LV has fans all over the world and the opening of a new boutique is something that interest all of them: it showcases the latest trends coming from the brand, what direction it is lately taking, and they want to know everything happening with this brand they love; whether they are – potential – customers or not.
In our current societies, we have a lot to learn from brands like Disney, which focus on making people dream. In an article written by Agenda Inc. agency, entitled What can the luxury brands learn from Cinderella?, they explain that “in an increasingly crowded luxury marketplace, luxury brands should remember that it’s the story not the product that sells, and that it’s the story that represents the biggest element of differentiation from the competitive set.”
Yesterday, Louis Vuitton did a great job at completing this mission thanks to the use of social media; they enabled users who are fans of Louis Vuitton to be a part of this exclusive crowd as they live streamed the event on their Facebook page. They succeeded to engage with their community by living the Louis Vuitton dream.
They also created an event on Facebook that is similar to an invitation you would receive to go to the actual event.
And spreading the word on their Twitter account:
Enabling all the fans of Louis Vuitton to see the London Maison Opening, live from the Red Carpet on Facebook.
During more than 3 hours, Alexa Chung was the speaker to introduce the new Louis Vuitton “Maison” and interviewed many of the very exclusive guests, asking them about the brand and what it represents for them.
A Facebook app dedicated to this special event was created on Facebook. This very clever app was live streaming. It offered you the possibility to update your status with news about the event, comment on the video – and thus interact with worldwide users doing the same as you which reinforces the feeling of belonging to a community. The camera icon – as you can see on the image above – allowed you to take pictures from the live show. These pictures were then sent to a new Facebook album created on your profile. What is extremely clever is that this album would – as something new – directly appear on your news feed, exposing your Facebook friends to this incredible quality content.
This example should clearly be watched by other luxury brands – whether they are focused on High Fashion or not, as it provides key learnings on how these brands can master the art of social media:
– Social is not an impossible challenge. With limited costs – regarding the digital part – it achieved amazing results. The one rule to respect is to use social as a tool to reach a define aim which is part of the brand’s marketing strategy
– Luxury brands have to understand that people who are Facebook users are not only millennials. Everyone is on Facebook; especially the affluents who are the target audience. Luxury brands need to adapt and build a new kind of relationship with their customers who want to be more engaged with their favorite brand. Social is a way to create a more one – to – one relationship with your audience as social media is built on people.
– Luxury brands must understand that recreating the luxury experience online is key. They need to get people thinking of this question Alexa Chung was asking the attendants yesterday: “What is the Louis Vuitton Ethos?”
– The last advice would be that luxury brands must remain innovative. The luxury industry has always been divided between its heritage, its tradition and the necessity to remain ahead of the game, to be modern brands. Luxury brands must remain as creative as possible, especially to adapt to their users who are now spending more and more time on social platforms, discussing about their brand and consuming the brands’ content.
Luxury brands have always attracted people as they are focused on the products but are more culture-centric. The launch of a new store is always an event. But yesterday, Louis Vuitton really succeeded to make it really special for a vast number of people thanks to its great understanding of social media. As Marc Jacobs explained, this event was “like a catwalk” and the amount of exclusive content created for the event made it exceptional for anyone who watched it.
Louis Vuitton did very well because they understood that social media should not be used as an end in itself, but as a new and extremely powerful communication tool where your community does all the work.