Lacoste: A Winning Brand Strategy
By: Natalie Yiassoumi
The label is refreshing its image with a series of collaborations communicated via digital content.
Today, heritage can be considered as a form of currency for brands, yet brands cannot solely rely on it to sustain their customer’s interest. In the case of Lacoste, its long history and associations with lifestyle and sport – the label was founded in 1933 by the French tennis player René Lacoste – was eroded away as a result of an overly aggressive retail distribution strategy, with a large number of concessions in department stores across the world.
In the last year, however, the brand has been rethinking its strategy to refresh its image, regain the interest of its existing customer base and become more relevant to a new generation of consumers.
Lacoste Joins Influencer Marketing Strategies
Lacoste has collaborated with streetwear sensation, Supreme, and the niche accessories label, Yazbukey, developing a five-year partnership with Novak Djokovic (in which the popular player will act as Lacoste’s brand ambassador) and relocated to its native France to take part in Paris Fashion Week.
‘It’s important for us to do two to three collaborations a year. It’s not that people don’t know us, but these partnerships bring something different to the table that’s difficult for us to do by ourselves,’ said Joelle Grunberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lacoste North America, stating that fashion shows are also seen as part of key ‘marketing initiatives.’
At the same time, Lacoste is staying true to its brand ethos, highlighting its heritage ties in tennis and golf through a series of initiatives supporting tennis players and key global tennis tournaments. It has recently partnered with the French Open, the Miami Open, the Presidents Cup, and it supports young athletes through its René Lacoste Foundation.
Its signature crocodile logo also remains at the heart of the brand: ‘I’m proud to be the next crocodile,’ said Djokovic in a tongue-in-cheek video, released on social media after the announcement in which he had been appointed as the brand’s new face.
Social Media, the new branding channel for Lacoste
Embracing all things digital has played a key role in executing this renewed brand strategy. Social media, in particular, has been a powerful tool to hone Lacoste’s message and engage the new generation of consumers.
Instead of focusing on promoting products and driving sales through social platforms such as Instagram, the label has focused its strategy on telling the stories behind its products through producing beautiful and engaging videos and artistic animations, which are published across its social media channels.
There are black and white videos sharing the story of the brand’s history and how René Lacoste produced the first polo T-shirt by cutting the sleeves of his shirt, animations of the Lacoste crocodile travelling around Parisian landmarks ahead of the brand’s Paris Fashion Week show and behind-the-scenes images from its factories, showcasing the process of making its classic piqué T-shirts. Every short clip prompts users to visit the brand’s website which is filled with longer videos and richer content narrating stories of the brand’s past, as well as recent projects.
One of the highlights was a short film released in May, titled ‘Timeless’, which featured scenes from an old train station in the 1930s. As the trains in the film physically move, the brand is also figuratively moving towards the present, showcasing the timeless style of Lacoste’s signature polo T-shirts.
Lacoste’s commitment to highly-produced, unique content demonstrates the need for fashion brands to maintain high standards when it comes to social media content strategy, in order to stand out in an overcrowded market. There is a fine line between looking to the past and staying relevant and up-to-date. It is key to find that balance, stay true to a label’s ethos and communicate its standpoint in an interactive way.
In the case of Lacoste, it has found the right formula by standing by its ties to sports and the values instilled by René Lacoste, while maintaining a fresh image through fashion-focused collaborations and a strong digital communications strategy that prompts a sense of discovery among consumers.