• Maite Aramayo

Four reasons why Chanel is thriving and doesn’t need anyone

Image: Chanel

On October of this year, it was revealed that Chanel was the second most popular luxury brand on social media with a share of search interest of 11.79%, right after Gucci reaching an ultimate high of 22.34%. This same year it was also revealed for the first time in 108 years around June Chanel’s financial report, letting everyone in the world know that the brand had reached $9.62 billion on sales in 2017 and positioning itself as the second brand with the strongest financials right after competitor Louis Vuitton. Following this financial information, it might seem obvious that Chanel does not need to join any fashion conglomerate, but there are four deeper reasons why this brand is successful as it is and why everyone should learn from it.

Chanel's exclusive nature and reputation

We have reached the point where e-commerce is no longer a taboo conversation in the luxury business. It has become necessary for a lot of brands to adapt to the desires and needs of young customers who are now becoming the biggest spenders in the world. Although it would seem logical for all luxury brands to follow this trend, for Chanel that is not the case. Right now, Chanel is the living proof that e-commerce is no guarantee for bigger sales. While high fashion brands like Gucci, Dior or Louis Vuitton have already completely dived into the world of online sales through the most famous platforms, Chanel chose to stay low-key in that area and decided to only use e-commerce for eye-wear and fragrances.

The reason why they do this is because Chanel has a strong belief that e-commerce reduces exclusivity. This might sound a little old fashioned to the modern customer, but Chanel is one of the few brands who still plans on establishing a direct link between the boutique and the costumer. With their future launch in the UK of “reserve-online, pickup in-store” system, Chanel is still striving to keep the customer experience inside its boutiques more personal and exclusive.

Chanel’s way of doing business

The way the Chanel business is managed is completely different compared to its fellow competitors Gucci or Louis Vuitton. In an interview, Bruno Pavlovsky, the president of Chanel mentioned that Chanel focuses on the emotional value, rather than the margins. While most luxury brands are focusing on mass-production and lately becoming money machines, Chanel is still all about its own history and heritage. The image and influence of its founder Coco is still there after all these years, and it will be here to stay.

Now it’s obvious how all historical fashion houses still speak about the brand’s DNA whenever a touch of inspiration is needed, but it was Karl Lagerfeld who first understood the power that historical heritage has. Truth is, in times of Gabrielle, each competitor brand represented the personality of its founder and as time went by, this characteristic lost its relevance in the strategies built by the creative minds that are in charge now. Without a doubt Chanel not only has a genius designer, but also a brilliant marketing visionary.

Chanel's exclusive digital strategy

Nowadays, luxury brands are constantly re-adapting their brand language, store format and online content all because they want to attract the young audience who is constantly on social media. That being said, Chanel is all about a particular type of content posted constantly. The brand has reached its important share of audience thanks to its impeccable production of film-like content. Alongside with celebrity campaigns, the brand also uses a “behind-the-scenes” strategy, designed to remind customers of the brand’s influential and long history and Coco’s unique vision.

Moreover, this year Chanel came into terms with its digital marketing strategy by finally reaching out and deepening its relationships with influencers. What the brand does differently though, is that it doesn’t randomly pick the ones with the most followers. Chanel is picky with influencers and it will only pick the ones that represent the brand’s values. In addition, there’s a 100% chance that the brand will never follow anyone back or establish any type of online interaction with its customers. It’s all about exclusivity and content that is aspirational rather than accessible.

Chanel’s unique customer brand engagement

A lot of people think that the most reliable way of getting customer brand engagement is online, and while online content is very important, Chanel’s strategy is still focused on encountering its customer face to face. They will pick the most unusual ways of meeting their customers like sending a secret and “private” Chanel tram line around the streets of Milan only to give you the entire Chanel N 5 experience. The response to this kind of events, of course, will be by posting everything on social media, which proves that the brand is brilliant at catching anyone’s attention, just like Coco was in her time. This is a very interesting point because despite the fact that the brand works really hard on staying exclusive, Chanel doesn’t exclude any consumers. It’s a balance between Chanel being unresponsive to you online, but letting you feel as if Coco were still alive by letting you into its private party if you reach out.

There are a lot of things we all could learn from the Chanel strategy, but the main thing to keep in mind might be that it’s not always necessary to follow what everybody’s doing. Sometimes the most innovative thing you could do is just to stay true to yourself and remember where it all started.

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