A polo shirt with an embroidered crocodile. This is the hallmark of the legendary French company Lacoste. Officially born in 1933, the famous shirts adorned with their badge is based on the story of the international tennis champion René Lacoste – dubbed the « alligator » and « crocodile » in reference to his tenacity on the court. Following the diversification of his offer, the brand has managed to develop its image.
A focus on the strategy of Lacoste, which from 2011, has increased its communication with women.
A Sporty Family
Although the founder is male, women have strongly contributed to the construction of the brands history. Firstly, the wife of René Lacoste, Simone Thion de la Chaume was the first foreign player to win the British Girls Amateur Golf Championship in 1924 which embodies a sporty and chic femininity. 40 years later, his daughter Catherine Lacoste becomes the female face of the brand, endorsing the families clothing since becoming the Golf World Champion at just 19 years old. Masculinised in its infancy, from the 90s the brand begins to select new sporting faces to represent it.
In 1997, the French women’s tennis team, dressed in Lacoste, wins the Fed Cup. This strong link between the brand and the fairer sex supports the legitimacy of the development of the range to women. In April 2003, the brand launches its first perfume for women, led by Estelle Lefébure. This ensued several years where the men’s range and the women’s range evolved at the same rate. But from 2008, increasing sales became more difficult, and Lacoste questioned its marketing to women.
Dare to Challenge
« The women’s collection was not sufficiently expanded, and opportunities to wear Lacoste were too limited to sport, leisure or beach” recalls Christophe Chenut, CEO of the Lacoste group between 2008 and 2013. “Since we introduced leather and silk, women can dress in Lacoste at the office, during the evenings or for dinners in town.” (3) The brand did not hesitate to embark into new territory, developing costume jewellery in 2011. At that time, the new artistic director Felipe Oliveira Baptista in 2011 breathed new life into the brand, which was especially recognised during Fashion Week in New York in 2012. The young designer presented “chic women’s sportswear which revisits the large stripy rugby shirt look as mini dresses, mini shorts and large hooded waterproofs” commented the press. (8)
However, Lacoste has not partitioned its women’s range by dedicating specific collections to women. On the contrary, it has instilled in all of its product lines modernity responding to women’s lifestyle expectations and diversification. It is in this perspective that in 2011 Lacoste launched Lacoste LIVE, which was characterized by capsule collections (enlarged with all segments of the range). With this, and also a stronger digital strategy on social networks, Lacoste’s sales increased by 11% in 2011. (5) And in one month the Lacoste LIVE facebook page had already acquired 88 550 fans. (7) Today, it totals 1,054,652.
At the launch of its first e-commerce site, Serrero Leslie, the former director of strategic marketing for Lacoste, confirms this ambition: « This e-shop is for all consumers of our brand, but it will also allow new customers to discover Lacoste. We think it is an opportunity to attract younger females than in our in-store customer clientele. Young people consume more information online and will also buy more online. « (4)
Lacoste Women, far from the high street fashion stereotype
In 2012, for the first time, the brand innovates itself by putting their principal focus on women in a new advertising campaign « Unconventional chic ». With a modern and off-beat tone, Lacoste chose to give a voice to its females muses. In contrast to the sometimes static and inexpressive models of competing brands, Lacoste models are original. Yawning casually or playing provocatively, crushing a can of soda, Lacoste gives a new stage to femininity.
Following these female visuals, men have been integrated into the campaign through a logical mirror. With no difference in staging the « Unconventional chic » campaign lasts over time through a unisex logic.
In 2014, the new tagline « Life is a beautiful sport », is launched and the brand restores the heart of its core values: sport and elegance, where Lacoste intelligently communicates an equal footing with men and women on a universal theme.
In 2011, women represented only 20% of Lacoste sales. (5) This figure has significantly increased to 40% in 2014. (6) With a historical legitimacy, a generous and fair communication, the crocodile brand has extended its spectrum, feminizing its target while returning to its original upper class clientele.
(3) http://www.lefigaro.fr/societes/2012/03/05/20005-20120305ARTFIG00452-lacoste-bat-son-record-historique-de-ventes.php (4)http://www.journaldunet.com/ebusiness/marques-sites/leslie-serrero-interview-lacoste.shtml(5)http://www.lefigaro.fr/societes/2012/03/05/20005-20120305ARTFIG00452-lacoste-bat-son-record-historique-de-ventes.php (6) http://business.lesechos.fr/directions-marketing/0203503401645-pourquoi-lacoste-se-remet-au-sport-64163.php?c6xqDX5hJT9fmZ5e.99 (7) http://www.influencia.net/fr/actualites/rub,blog-in-daily,lacoste-cure-jouvence-lacoste,1444.html (8) La marque Lacoste est présente à cet événement mondial depuis 2002 avec Christophe Lemaire comme Directeur Artistique – http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/expositions/mode/inspiration-60-pour-la-marque-francaise-lacoste-a-la-fashion-week-de-new-york-81900
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