Friday, March 22

Louboutin for Men

You know you've got the makings of a great brand when there's an iconic element that readily identifies you and what you stand for.

Louboutin shoes certainly has it with their signature styles and red sole.  Wearing and seeing that flash of red quickly makes a statement about who you want to be and the lifestyle you want to lead.  The brand is making a statement and so are you by wearing it.  The red sole even has patent protection, something almost impossible to attain in fashion.

Now you may not buy into that, so you likely will not buy into the brand as a result.  That's what a great brand does ... it appeals to a specific kind of person appropriate to the brand's identity.  For many women, that red sole is a highly emotional symbol.

Knowing that, I found it very interesting to see Louboutin expand into men's shoes.  The brand is so firmly entrenched in women's fashion, how on earth could it do a gender bender?

Now when you do extend your brand, you have to carry over your brand identity and iconography ... and what you stand for.

Apparently this was quite easy for Louboutin; the line is quite large both online and in select stores.  Clearly the brand values are the same, just obviously adapted to men's fashion and a certain kind of men's fashion.  The Louboutin kind. 

I doubt this would work for all men, but it clearly does for some ... which again is the point of great branding and great target marketing.

So while I initially found it surprising, on reflection I have to say, "but of course."

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

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