Louis Vuitton Malletier
Visit a popular store, like an Apple, Nike, Levi, H&M or an Ikea store. The brand should be well-known and you must visit a shop where their products are being displayed or distributed. In smaller towns you may not have access to these stores, in this case you will need to find a section showcasing these items and view how they are displayed or laid out. Before going to the shop, determine the following about their brand identity and, once at the shop, evaluate how they remain true to their brand identity or not. How is the brand identity enhanced (or, perhaps, not expressed) at the point of customer interaction? Hand in a write-up with photos of the following:
What brand identity element are they using in their logo (e.g. abstract mark or word mark)?
Louis Vuitton uses a monogram ‘LV’ as a central logo to define their brand. This monogram coupled with the original Damier Print (created by Vuittons son), were used as a means to counteract the replication of their goods (at the time mostly Trunks) in the late 1800’s.
What do you think their brand ideal is?
As defined by Jim Stengel, brand builder extraordinaire, a brand ideal is ‘A business’s essential reason for being, the higher-order benefit it brings to the world. The factor connecting the core beliefs of the people inside a business with the fundamental human values of the people they serve.’
As per the definition, Louis Vuitton’s brand ideal appears to be a maintenance of quality in luggage in the light of fast fashion, disposable goods and meandering levels of durability of handbags. It also leans on it’s long running history and heritage to further lend credibility of their claims.
Their brand also conjures distinct feelings of exclusivity (despite their numbers, which are high), heritage, class and travel.
How do they remain true to their brand ideal within their shops?
It’s difficult to say, the staff are a bit skittish with ample handling of the goods and as it turns out, cameras were not permitted (understandable due to their running problem with counterfeiting). That being said I have bought several of their bags and some of their luggage over the years. The service at the store will continually ensure that the bags are, of course made of the highest quality, in a small atelier in France – by hand no less. While that may be true of some of the models, it is clear that by the volume of product that is dished out by the company and by the sales figures, this is not the gospel truth. Upon inspection of some of the bags, some are by their coding machine made in the United States, Germany and even Spain. While all the bags I have bought are extremely sturdy, long lived and robust, I cannot say their manufacturing process and the advertisement of it is entirely transparent nor as haughty as their sales assistants attest.
Evaluate the customer experience according to the brand ideal.
The customer experience varies here much as it does at any other retail establishment and is highly dependent on the retail associate you are dealing with on that particular day. They are generally more knowledgeable about the history, back catalogue and authentication of their goods compared to other establishments, rivaled only by the likes of Hermes which is a block away. This professionalism lends to the company’s ideals of quality, heritage and passion.
Evaluate the visual display of the products according to the brand ideal
As mentioned I was cautioned that my (large) camera was not really permitted in the store for obvious reasons, however as you can see the right most of the store and the front entrance feature some of their bags and accessories for sale. The majority of their back catalogue is available as well upon request. Everything is showed and laid out in an extremely orderly fashion, from their shoe section to the scarves everything is symmetrical, highlighted and stiff. It makes it so everything is either literally outside of someones grasp or too beautiful to think to even attempt to touch. I think this technique aids their attempts at exclusivity, though the rest of their ideals outside of the knowledgeably of their sales associates, was seemingly lacking. There were very little signs in their decor, marketing and layout that gave note to the long standing heritage of the company, the durability or quality per say. It is as if, by the opulence alone it is simply assumed, but should it be?
Either way, I’m off to Hermes.