Louis Vuitton: The 166-Year-Old Brand That Keeps Attracting the Young

With the rising of online shopping these days, some companies find it difficult to compete with them. Especially when targeting young generations, these young people are more attracted to virtual shopping. Therefore, companies must carefully market their products to attract them, otherwise, they are history.

Forever 21, a 36-year-old fashion company, is one of the large companies that lost against virtual shopping as they filed bankruptcy in America. They opened too many physical stores that they didn’t put a lot of thought into virtual shopping, thus failing to attract the most powerful consumer in the market, millennials. There are probably other businesses that had the same situation.

However, Louis Vuitton managed to avoid this. The 166-year-old company managed to top the fashion market and capture the hearts of millennials and Generation Z. Today, the company is one of the highest in fashion revenue in the world. Its CEO, Bernard Arnault, became the top five richest man on earth.

What was his strategy to market their products to the youngsters? They didn’t do any billboard advertisements, so how did they do it?

If you are not into fashion, it’s fine. This is to share how they market their products to the powerful young consumers today and avoid the mistake Forever 21 did.

1. Collaborations Outside Their Comfort Zone

This had the biggest impact after their announcements.

Ever since the rise of the internet, Louis Vuitton had to step up its game. While they are notable for collaborating with famous designers such as Marc Jacobs and Supreme, they have been going to extremes. Their designers are niche, only focusing on people who are into fashion. Therefore, they expanded their collaborations with pop culture.

Studies show that using avatars as the spokesperson of the business can help increase web-based sales. And this is where Louis Vuitton jumped right in.

Back in 2016, Louis Vuitton collaborated with video game company, Square Enix when their game, Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns, was released. The high-end fashion retail borrowed its character, Lightning, as a model, wearing the Louis Vuitton clothes and handbags for Series Four Spring/Summer collection 2016.

Not only did they collaborate with AAA games, but they also went even further. In 2019, they partnered with League of Legends to create their trophy cases.

Then in January, they agreed to create the trophy case for the NBA with a purpose to attract Millennials. The trophy case was designed by Virgil Ablo, Louis Vuitton’s creative director for menswear, and famous for his off-white designs.

This year, Louis Vuitton was supposed to acquire Tiffany & CO, taking their collaboration even further. However, due to the pandemic this year that required them to close all stores temporarily, it may have delayed it for a while.

But the point is, they have been working together with many other brands, not just from their fashion industry. Thus, they diversified their products, not being too niche in targeting the audience.

2. A Story in Every Bag

Louis Vuitton always ensured that there is a story with every bag they sold. When I worked at Louis Vuitton as their docent, I never thought that I’d be hooked up to learn about their products. Many of them have their tales and origins, making them more than just fashion products. History is basically instilled in them, thus, making their product more unique in the end.

For example, the Alma bag may look like any regular-sized expensive handbag. However, there is a reason why that bag is one of the top sales. In 1920, this bag was a special order from the great Coco Chanel herself. Eventually, it actually became popular for that reason and today it is selling in Louis Vuitton’s stores. Thus, in a way, anyone who carries that bag is carrying a part of the late Coco Chanel.

Now, the way they market these is by using client advisors. Not everyone knows the history behind the bags, so when the client advisors of Louis Vuitton introduce the bags, they always tell the story behind the bags.

A colleague of mine told me that this technique helped them greatly in increasing their sales. There was a time he had a client who nearly chose Gucci over Louis Vuitton’s bag, however, he was able to persuade her with the story behind one of the Louis Vuitton bag. I don’t remember which bag it was but he told her how one of the bags was inspired by the roads in France, how the leather was requested by an Indian prince. Eventually, he captured her heart and she purchased a Louis Vuitton bag.

So stories are important to grab attention, especially with young people. I own one Louis Vuitton bag, and I can say that I don’t carry just a bag, I carry a memorable history, which leads to my last point.

3. Events You Actually Remember

Virtual shopping may still be important. However, also remember that physical shopping is still as important. It’s one of the reasons why cinemas today are still standing even when there are so many online streaming services, such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO Go, and many more. “Avengers: Endgame” proved this as many people claimed that the feeling of watching the movie again without anyone shouting is so different.

As a young person myself, I always love memorable events. I take pictures of them and post them on my social media and talk about how exciting that event was.

Millennials and Generation Z are fond of these. They want to know the experience and have that memorable moment resonate with them, that’s why they’d post them social media.

Louis Vuitton gets this, which is why they always have events such as the Time Capsule or pop-up collections. When they created these events, they made sure that every corner of their walls is Instagramable. This is Louis Vuitton’s way to market their product without the company spending much on marketing itself. They know that word-of-mouth is more important than just campaigning on social media.

Shopping is one thing where someone purchases an item and forgets about it. But when you turn it into a memorable experience, that feeling will resonate with us and that helps to differentiate companies from competitors.

The Takeaway

In 2018, there was a survey on which fashion retail stores millennials and Generation Z liked the best. Many answered that they like Louis Vuitton and Gucci the best, and it became the favorite brand of young people.

Today, Louis Vuitton made it to the number one Top Valuable Brand in the world, beating Chanel by $10.2 billion. There is no doubt that they have been forming strategies to attract young people with collaborations outside their comfort zone, a story in every bag, and events you actually remember.

This was first posted on Medium.