The Evolution of Louis Vuitton

So we have been talking a lot of international communications as it applies to the nation-state, networks, international relations theory, cosmopolitanism, and so forth. Well this post wants to take a different spin on international communications and see it through the eyes of a couture handbag retailer, Louis Vuitton. (Just as a side note, I work in fashion retailing, so this post fits right in with that!) From the mind of 16-year old Louis Vuitton Malletier, who set out to be a trunk-maker, developed into a globally known fashion house. Starting in 1854 evolving to the 21st century, Louis Vuitton is recognized as the most valuable luxury brand in the world. Yet, throughout its transformation from 1854 to 2012, its adaptation to the changing international atmosphere has enabled them to maintain their recognizable brand throughout the world. And something that has further facilitated this dominance is via social media. As Caitlin detailed in her blog post, the pros and cons of social media, it seems to help Louis retain his valuable status.

In 2009, Louis Vuitton with the opening of their global ‘maisons’, launched their social media presence. While Louis Vuitton markets and develops products with a ‘traditional’ appeal, this social media presence helps them to bridge ‘modernity’. Pulled from an Louis Vuitton’s launch of the London ‘maison’, setting up a social media presence provides them one more avenue in their “global communication process.” So just as political movements, the Department of State and other actors incorporated social media into their international communication strategies, retailers have needed to do the same. While this is certainly an adaptation of Caitlin’s pros and cons article, it applies to more than just governments, NGOs, and transnational networks. Global fashion houses are cognizant of similar issues impacting their business, sales, and the continuation of the brand.

So while we have been discussing international communications in more of a state, non-state, and network light, Louis Vuitton along with the other traditional fashion houses (such as Chanel), have had to pick up their game as well. Integrating social media into their international communication strategies have helped them to uphold their iconic status across the globe!


P.S.: Just check out their Facebook likes!


1 thought on “The Evolution of Louis Vuitton

  1. Lauren, this is a great application of the concepts that we’ve learned in class! I’ve always found Louis Vuitton’s marketing campaign to be innovative, and it’s interesting to see how social media has forced these large fashion houses to evolve with the times. Like NGOs and federal agencies like the State Department, major brands can’t really afford to stay out of the social media mix any more.

    The Corman reading on public diplomacy asserted that messages are always interpreted within a larger, ongoing communication system and the message that is received is the one that really counts (as opposed to the message that’s being transmitted). This is one important consideration for agencies, NGOs and businesses that are incorporating social media into their communication strategies. They have to keep in mind that people typically use social media to keep in touch with friends and to follow agencies/companies/people that interest them. They are not looking to be bombarded with advertisements or boring messages about meetings. When Louis Vuitton posts something on Facebook, it is competing with photos and messages from friends and others. Given these factors, it is necessary for organizations to recognize that social media is primarily is all about interaction, and that they should ensure that the message suits the medium.


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