Louis Vuitton’s launch of its new London flagship demonstrated how a luxury brand can harness the power of social media, writes Josephine Lipp of Social Media & Luxury blog.
Social media can’t be seen as a trend anymore, neither as only a new way to do marketing. Social Media is both a social phenomenon perpetuating the changes of our society and a new innovative tool that can be use for marketing, communication, PR, sales or after sales, social CRM… But it is still a tool, no more than that.
The Luxury industry has a lot to learn about web 2.0 and must try to understand not why but how they have to deal with it.
Yesterday’s opening of the new Louis Vuitton London flagship was a great way to show how a luxury brand can master the art of Social Media…
What was such an upheaval for?
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Louis Vuitton has re-opened its shop in New Bond Street or Maison as Yves Carcelle said, because it is not a 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 about emotion. Louis Vuitton wants to renew with the fundamental of luxury: to make your customers dream about your brand. Luxury shouldn’t be just about the price and quality, but first about the dream, about an “art de vivre”, and a way of life.
That was what Louis Vuitton’s strategy was with the new British “flagship” and they did it 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 “apartment”, where specially invited guests can make their selections in private, boasts a Basquiat, a Koons, another Gilbert and George, and two Richard Prince pieces.
But how to make the opening of this new Maison so special? (and i didn’t say why, but HOW?)
Of course with a luxury brand such as Louis Vuitton, the basics of PR and communication are to invite the most famous people, the muses of the brand and some new trendy gen Y. But this type of event is still exclusive and your customers are not limited to this small select few.
The communication is worldwide now, it is not because you are opening a shop in London that it is going to interest only British people. Of course not. The “fans” of Louis Vuitton are worldwide, they want to know everything about the brand, whether they are potential customers or not.
I just want to refer to an article done by the agency Agenda Inc. titled “what can the luxury brands learn from Cinderella?” That is true, especially in our time, in our society, luxury brands have to go back to the basics: make people dream. As they say, “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.”
Louis Vuitton succeeded in this exercise by using the tool of social media. Yesterday they enabled people who love Louis Vuitton to be part of the “exclusive club”, to get excited about the brand. They managed to engage the brand with its customers – or not – by living the Louis Vuitton dream, live!
They first got people excited by releasing a small amount of information about the event through their Facebook fan page:They first got people excited by releasing a small amount of information about the event through their Facebook fan page:
Then by creating an event on Facebook:
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 presenting the new “Maison” of luxury, interviewing people from the very exclusive guests to the Louis Vuitton Chairman & CEO, Yves Carcelle.
The application on the Facebook fan page also added the possibility to update your status about the event, and comment on the video and the opening ceremony. You could also take pictures, which go directly to an album that was created by the application on your wall, enabling you to share it with other people:
I really think that this example should have been watched by a lot of luxury brands- whether they are in fashion or not- because it shows important things about social media and luxury brands:
- Social media is not an impossible challenge. With limited costs, it can achieve amazing results. The only rule to respect is: use social media as a tool to reach a precise aim that is fully included into the global brand’s strategy.
- Luxury brands have to understand that people using Facebook are not only the Generation Y. Everyone is now on Facebook, especially the affluents, the wealthy people, their potential and existing customers. Luxury brands need to adapt to building a new kind of relationship with its customers, as they now want to engage more with the brand and have a more one-to-one relationship with it.
- They need to maintain the dream, they must perpetuate the experience. They need to make people understand what Alexa Chung was asking yesterday: «What’s the Louis Vuitton Ethos?»
- The last advice would be: keep being innovative. The luxury industry has always been divided between the tradition and the modernity but has always shown how creative luxury brands could be. So keep being creative, there is a lot to do to adapt to the change of your customer, especially with social media.
The opening of each new store is always a major event for a luxury brand but yesterday, Louis Vuitton succeeded because it provided great means to achieve amazing results with a mastered use of social media. Indeed, as Marc Jacobs said: “It’s like a catwalk that just happened”. As said before, Louis Vuitton did well because they didn’t use social media as an end, but it included it into global communication process.