Even if you have no interest in the fashion industry, the name Louis Vuitton is still impossible not to be heard of. Whether you know it though the infamous brown and beige tote or simply dream of having an utmost luxury bag, the infamous LV is certainly a desirable brand. In fact, Forbes estimates its value to be $39.3 billion in 2021.
In the world of luxury fashion, many names come and go, but Louis Vuitton seems to be stronger than ever. The brand remains classy, admirable, and instantly recognizable. Among dozens of luxury labels, Louis Vuitton stands on a league of its own, which is impressive for a brand that started in 1854, more than a century ago.
A significant factor behind Louis Vuitton's success is the advertising strategy that the company adopted. It helped promote the brand image as a luxury item that many can only dream of, which leads to more sales and engagement for every new campaign. And you may be surprised by this, but it didn't cost a giant budget. Let's open the sophisticated leather luggage of Louis Vuitton and see its advertising secrets!
Created in 1854, Louis Vuitton is one of the most valuable luxury brands in the world and is a division of LVMH - a French multinational corporation specialized in luxury goods. LVMH is home for many other well-known luxury fashion brands such as Celine, Charles & Keith, Givenchy, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, and Kenzo.
Louis Vuitton was the founder of the brand at the age of only 16. He arrived in Paris to start his career as a trunk master. This led to the creation of the most recognizable product of LV - the square trunk. Nowadays, Louis Vuitton provides luxury trunks, leather goods, ready-to-wear, watches, jewelry, shoes, accessories, sunglasses, and books. Most of the products have the monogram of the label's LV logo.
Louis Vuitton sells its products through standalone boutiques, high-end department stores, and eCommerce with its website. From 2006 to 2012, it was consecutively named the most valuable luxury brand in the world. As mentioned, in 2019, the brand was valued #39.3 billion, with $15.5 billion in sales. Louis Vuitton operates in 60+ countries with more than 500 stores all over the world.
Louis Vuitton marketing mix
As one of the trendsetters and most recognizable fashion brands in the world, Louis Vuitton's marketing mix represents a careful strategy on demographics and psychographic analysis of customers. The brand's products have become a symbol of superiority over time, and people don't seem to mind that.
Here is the marketing mix of Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton is a luxury brand that manufactures and sells specialized products. The main emphasis is on the premium quality of handmade goods. In order to provide the best products on the market, the company has always concentrated on sophisticated design and traditional artisanship as well as simple exquisite.
Instead of using machines to increase the production capacity, Louis Vuitton hires specialized and experienced workers to make products by hand. This resulted in original and unique merchandise that resemble the aspirations and desires of the consumers. In order to tackle a high-demanding market, the company has paid a lot of effort and money, making the products almost impossible to be replicated at the same quality.
Many of the products utilize the brown Damier and Monogram Canvas material, which have been used since the 19th century. All the products exhibit the famous LV initials, making them instantly recognizable. The company markets products through its own stores throughout the world, which makes it easier to control the quality and price. This also allows Louis Vuitton to prevent counterfeit products from ever entering its distribution channel.
Louis Vuitton is famous for its handbags and trunks. It also offers watches, jewelry, designer shoes, eyeglasses, scarves, belts, wallets, and briefcases. In recent years, the company has hired more young and talented designers to come up with products that attract the younger generation of buyers.
Louis Vuitton is very clear in the distribution policy. Its products are exclusive and sold with the same thought about providing exclusive access. To buy a Louis Vuitton product, customers have to go to the official stores. The sale of these items is through limited exclusive distribution channels. The company has a predetermined mindset and uses its own stores to distribute the products.
Louis Vuitton does not sell any of its branded products in department stores. The company feels that it has the best options to sell their products in their stores because their salespeople are very professional with a keen mind to address customers in a familiar environment effectively. In the long run, this marketing strategy helps reduce the intermediary costs that other brands face while selling through many distribution channels. This also leads to direct transactions with customers resulting in efficient and friendly relations.
All of Louis Vuitton stores are located at prime locations that immediately get attention. Products in these stores are prominently displayed to represent a luxury brand. Louis Vuitton has opened stores in various regions across the globe, and it has about five hundred retail stores. This includes stores in Los Angeles, Dubai, Las Vegas, New York, Paris, and Tokyo. Louis Vuitton products can only be purchased online in the United States.
Louis Vuitton invested handsomely to maintain the top quality of its products. The ever-lasting design of the products has helped the company to maintain a premium pricing policy. Louis Vuitton applies a policy of integrity pricing throughout its distribution network. Therefore, no product can reduce its price nor have time for sale or discount. Because of the high price, only those of the upper classes can buy Louis Vuitton items. The company is said to have adhered to a value-based pricing strategy.
Because the price of the product is actually much higher than the market, the uniqueness, material, quality, and value of the product must be impeccable. A Louis Vuitton product is a statement of style and class, so customers are happy to pay the high prices. The perceived value of the brand is so high that consumers feel that they are getting great value despite the high price. Therefore, the company's high value-based pricing strategy is still effective.
However, this leads to a problem: knock-off products. Like many other luxury brands, Louis Vuitton has seen its products remade into cheap alternatives by unknown sources, mostly in China. This leads to a flood of fake items that anyone can buy and consequently reduce the brand's values in consumers' eyes. This is a hard problem to solve for the company.
Louis Vuitton used an advertising strategy for its products with the help of celebrity endorsements. Famous actors such as Jennifer Lopez, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, and Uma Thurman have been associated with this brand as ambassadors. They have participated in high-profile campaigns for the brand. Louis Vuitton has also been actively involved in sponsoring major sporting events such as yacht racing and motorsport.
As you may notice, events like this are attended by the most elite members of society. The company can make a direct link with the target audience through these events. Advertising is the main tool to create product awareness and strengthen exclusivity, and the company has managed to create high fashion ads that feel personal.
Although the company does not advertise on television, it adheres to a premium advertising policy in newspapers and fashion magazines. These ads are all about exclusively processed images that leave a distinct mark about the brand. This demographic strategy created a wave in the advertising industry and helped make Louis Vuitton products popular globally. Most ads revolve around celebrities and create an emotional connection with consumers. By seeing the ads, consumers believe they are also a part of the exclusive group.
Through times, Louis Vuitton has also found new channels to showcase its content and run advertisements. The Facebook page has 23 million followers, and the Instagram account has 38.4 million followers, while the YouTube channel has 433k subscribers. The company also runs ads on Facebook and Instagram.
Louis Vuitton advertising strategy
In this section, let's break down the advertising strategy of Louis Vuitton and see how it built a successful luxury fashion brand. The company could build a long-lasting reputation and social status that makes any consumer craving for owning an LV product through the following strategies.
Promoting the ultimate handmade quality
A special part of Louis Vuitton's policy is personalizing the design of custom goods, which allows the brand to satisfy even the most demanding clients with exactly what they want, which explains why Louis Vuitton was the world's most valuable luxury brand for six consecutive years from 2006 to 2012.
But it is not only the diverse assortment that made Louis Vuitton famous. Every fashionista will tell you that the ultimate handmade quality is what makes the brand so unique. What sets them apart from the competition is the value for workmanship in an age of cheap mass production. This built a reputation for a company that is devoted to quality. Each LV trunk can take up to 60 hours to make, while a suitcase can take up to 15 hours.
So whenever people talk about high-quality fashion products, they mention Louis Vuitton. And that kind of word-of-mouth tends to stay very long in the consumer minds. The products speak for themselves, and the company doesn't have to pay any advertising cost to prove its quality anymore.
The exclusivity is another factor of the advertising strategy that made the success of Louis Vuitton. When consumers realize a series is limited, they hurry to buy while available. This is a psychological phenomenon called FOMO, which makes people act fast in fear of missing out on a good deal.
Exclusive doesn't equal uniqueness, but you know when you see an item from an exclusive series, it is not a mass-produced item that any other ordinary person can have. This is the main reason why people spend thousands of dollars on a Louis Vuitton item that is often available for only a limited amount of time.
Louis Vuitton often releases exclusive series on special occasions and through various sales channels. For example, in 2017, the company put on a cruise show that featured a limited selection of bags from a collection that is only available to purchase online. Customers should buy them fast, or they are gone forever.
This kind of exclusivity in the advertising strategy makes Louis Vuitton even more desired by consumers. The strategy not only works for luxury brands, by using FOMO, but any business can also increase the value of its products and tap into the psychology of consumers to make the purchase.
Working with the best talents
One of LV's success secrets is that its products are designed and promoted by the best talents. Over the years, leading names in the fashion industry such as Helmut Lang, Vivienne Westwood, Azzedine Alaïa, Stephen Sprouse, Sybilla, Manolo Blahnik, Isaac Mizrahi, and Romeo Gigli have joined LV.
But, you can have the perfect product and still get nowhere without good promotion. This is where Louis Vuitton's advertising strategy comes in. How do you promote glamorous luxury products? With glamorous celebrities and models, of course.
Louis Vuitton campaigns have starred both top celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sean Connery, Pharrell Williams, Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, and Kanye West, to name a few, as well as established and new models, such as Emmy Rappe, Ming Xi, or Xavier Dolan.
Keeping the tradition in the innovation
The history and journey of Louis Vuitton is long and interesting. Since the beginning of making mostly chests and trunks, you can now find the famous LV initials on clothes, perfumes, shoes, watches, accessories, jewelry, sunglasses, and even books. You will also see these products on many celebrities such as the young and talented Billie Eillish or Jaden Smith, which shows how millennials and gen Z still adore the brand.
For the new age of digital, Louis Vuitton tries to strike a fine balance between the old and the new. Visuals are so important now so the company tends to have the best pictures for every social channel. LV created a cohesive hash tagging system to unites the wide range of media and tap into the internet traffic. Social media provides a window for LV to connect with people, which it couldn't do with traditional marketing methods like magazines or newspapers. But that is the thing, LV doesn't just sell products, it sells a lifestyle.
Keeping the traditional values and showing them in an innovative way, LV could win audiences all over the world. Everyone now can get familiar with the luxury lifestyle that the brand provides. Whether they can buy an item or not, Louis Vuitton has already promoted a friendly and accessible image that it couldn't possibly portray back in the days.
Louis Vuitton best advertising campaigns
Here are some of the best campaigns that Louis Vuitton made to align with its advertising strategy:
Make A Promise collaboration
IN 2016, Louis Vuitton collaborated with UNICEF in the Make A Promise campaign, which was a bold move for a fashion company. The campaign was to support the vulnerable children around the world. By creating exclusive bracelets, LV would donate the revenue to UNICEF and help support the children in need.
The commands for people to join are simple: take a photo, hashtag it, and spread the word. A core group of LV models quickly joined the campaign and a flock of user-generated content followed. There were 14k #makeapromise posts on Instagram, and nearly $10 million donated.
Cruise 2017 Show
On the occasion of the Cruise show in 2017, Louis Vuitton features a limited selection of bags from the collection that people can purchase online after the show. Iconic bags like the Petite Malle, The Twist, the City Steamer are the bags for purchase. It was a great blend of glamour and online platform. It also generated a huge traffic of people watching the show online.
Spring-Summer 2021 show
This is one of my favorite campaigns made by Louis Vuitton. The show featured a diverse cast on the runway, including names from all backgrounds who have never been on the runway before. It shows how the company values talents and artists, making a connection with them directly, not by a normal runway full of models. The show invited footballer Héctor Bellerín, skateboarder Lucien Clarke, skateboarder-photographer Evan Mock, and guests like Gigi Hadid, Swae Lee, among others.
Louis Vuitton is not just another bag, shirt, or apparel company. It is a lifestyle that is ever-changing with the world, which keeps the brand stay as one of the most desirable luxury brands in the world. With good values towards the customers, the company doesn't need a complicated advertising strategy to stay in the consumers' minds. And, perhaps, that is the best tactic.
Now, knowing all of Louis Vuitton's advertising secrets, what would you do with your own marketing strategy? Have you had any idea how to promote your brand as luxury as LV? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and thanks for reading!