The designer Louis Vuitton has one of the most recognizable brand identities; the interlocking “L and V” symbol is well known throughout the world.  On Louis Vuitton’s international website, the luxury brand self-proclaims itself a “major player in corporate sustainability.”  In an attempt to reduce carbon emissions, the company has established a “5 R’s Rule.”  The “5 R’s” are Renew, Recycle, Reduce, Review, and Repair.  For each one of these general objectives, there is a detailed explanation on the website of how Louis Vuitton executes a specific strategy to work towards these goals.

In an effort to “Renew,” Louis Vuitton “incorporates a number of architectural features that allow it to reduce their environmental impact.”  A specific example is the photovoltaic panel installed at their logistics center in France, which sufficiently converts solar radiation into electricity for all of the plant’s needs.  When I finished reading about a sophisticated water-recycling system also installed at this logistics center, I began to wonder if the firm uses this highly environmentally sustainable plant as an icon to falsely represent their company-wide environmentalism.  I realized this is not entirely the case when I came to the third “R”: Reduce; a company initiative exists to reduce the packaging used in all of their processes and this has resulted in a saving of 70 tons of packaging per year.  This clearly demonstrates that all of Louis Vuitton must be working together to achieve such a significant result.

The LVMH group’s mission is to “represent the most refined qualities of Western ‘Art de Vivre’ around the world.”  There are five priorities, which “reflect the fundamental values shared by all Group stakeholders:”

– Be creative and innovate

– Aim for product excellence

– Bolster the image of our brands with passionate determination

– Act as entrepreneurs

– Strive to be the best in all we do

The underlying theme is to produce unique and superior products, which demonstrate the brilliance of the designer name “Louis Vuitton.”  A significant threat to LVMH carrying out this mission statement is the ubiquitous presence of knock-offs of the Louis Vuitton brand.  The company becomes especially frightened when celebrities flaunt fake Louis Vuitton items given these are the individuals that mainstream society blindly follows for all fashion-related decisions.  Just last month, Justin Beiber wore a jacket with the famous Louis Vuitton monogram pattern to the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas.  It was assumed by fashionistas that the jacket was custom-made for Beiber by Louis Vuitton designers, but a representative from the corporate office of Louis Vuitton told the press that the jacket is “a cheap knockoff of the Louis Vuitton brand.”  Although it can be near impossible for Louis Vuitton to prevent knock-offs from popping up across the globe, they can at least condemn celebrities who wear Louis Vuitton fakes since that sends a very depraved message to the masses.  Louis Vuitton made a statement with respect to this Justin Beiber controversy saying, “Anything unauthentic, whether worn by a famous individual or not, is seriously frowned upon.”

While attempting to discover if Louis Vuitton has a large social media presence, I found according to the blog “Haute and the City,” Louis Vuitton is ranked the number one powerful luxury brand that is leveraging social media to stay on top.  Louis Vuitton has two twitter pages, which do an excellent job of engaging followers to stay abreast in the brand’s exciting events and debuting lines.  The brand also has a facebook page and a facebook app, which allow users to custom design their own personalized LV bag.  In addition, Louis Vuitton has a branded YouTube channel, which offers many different playlists.  Lastly, there’s an LV Flickr photo stream, which provides a lot of behind-the-scene footage of runway shows and red carpet events showcasing the latest of Louis Vuitton.  Overall, Louis Vuitton really pushes to utilize social media in every way possible to stay connected to the public.

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2 responses »

  1. Connie says:

    I was very surprised when I read that Louis Vuitton stresses the “5 R’s” of Renew, Recycle, Reduce, Review, and Repair. For my corporate finance class, our group has chosen to focus our efforts on LVMH and its core business and financial statements. One of the most interesting facts that we came across about Louis Vuitton on the Economist (http://www.economist.com/node/14447276) is that they never sell any of their merchandise on discount. In fact, they would rather destroy any extra products they have than to sell them on sale. Evidently, this significantly goes against their mission to renew, recycle, reduce, review, and repair; they are knowingly destroying perfectly good products just to preserve the integrity and prestige of their brand name. Therefore, I wonder to what extent Louis Vuitton abides by their mission statement. Do they only follow these guidelines up until their unique brand is threatened, in which case, they would abandon their mission statement?

  2. Lindsay S. says:

    That is very interesting, Connie. Perhaps they feel they must compensate for that very wasteful aspect of their strategy by being environmentally friendly as often as they can the rest of the time. I agree it does seem very hypocritical and upon further thought, I am not very surprised that they act in such a way. I feel they are so committed to the prestige of their brand name that they are willing to sacrifice their environmental goals. At least they do make a conscious effort to be environmentally sustainable some of the time, but it is a shame that it is clearly somewhat of a facade.

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