Mega icon Marilyn Monroe was once asked, about what she wore to bed. And her reply was “Chanel No 5”, an answer that surprised everyone.
Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard the name ‘Chanel’. The brand is one of the very few in the world, to remain popular and exclusive over decades.
Brand Inception and Acceptance over the years
Gabrielle Coco Chanel launched ‘Chanel Modes’ in 1910, selling her iconic hats. She then opened her couture house, employing 300 workers and exhibited her first haute couture collection.
1921 saw the launch of the iconic perfume Chanel No 5, which she created with perfumer Ernest Beaux. The next three years, saw Chanel gaining massive acceptance. The brand then launched makeup collections, and skincare ranges, followed by bags, fine jewelry, and watches. Today, Chanel is valued at more than 13.2 billion dollars.
The brand stands for poise, and class and spells wealth and prestige. In fact, people aspire for the brand and consider it, a prized possession. So, what did Chanel do right, to achieve this?
1. Product Innovations
Chanel is credited with bringing many innovations, in fashion and lifestyle, right from inception. This has been the biggest reason contributing to its popularity.
Let’s check a few such breakthrough transformations, that changed a lot for the better.
The 2.55 handbag.
Named after the date on which the bag was created, Gabrielle Chanel launched the iconic quilted 2.55 handbag, that gave women freedom to go about doing their work, without worrying about actually carrying a bag.
Introducing the jersey material
Chanel popularised the use of jersey in women’s clothing. This completely metamorphosized a woman’s relationship with her body.
The Little Black Dress
The LBD as we know it was a product created by Chanel during The Great Depression, keeping in mind the affordability and simplicity. The outfit was hailed as one that made a style statement without spending too much.
These pumps had two colors, with black on the tip, to make feet look smaller and long. They also had an elastic strap for comfort, which was a ground-breaking idea back then.
Normalising the colour black
Black was considered to be a color of mourning. Gabrielle Coco Chanel popularised wearing the color apart from just funerals saying “black wipes out everything else around”. The impact has been such that even today, women consider the color black as chic.
2. The strategy of maintaining scarcity and exclusivity
As opposed to another well-known luxury brand Pierre Cardin, who diversified into unrelated product lines, made products and overexposed them, Chanel, has been known to maintain exclusivity.
Chanel has been utilising scarcity marketing techniques, that help build desire for a product, in a customer’s mind.
For example, they make a new fragrance every 10 years, and do not resort to the variety game, thereby creating a sense of scarcity and maintaining exclusivity
3. Use of content
The core idea of Chanel is to make every woman feel she is unfettered. Also, selling products is not Chanel’s forte. The brand is a story in itself. Chanel is known for its massive social media presence too.
4. Use of innovation and brand ambassadors
Chanel does not just cater to the uber-rich. It also has something for everyone who aspires to be uber-rich.
While everyone may not be able to afford its $4000 tweed suit, one could definitely afford a $40 lipstick. Armed with a revolutionary lip scanner app, Chanel allows women to try lipsticks from its collection, virtually.
The brand has had some of the best faces as its brand ambassadors. It all started with Ines De La Fressange followed by the likes of Kate Moss, Nicole Kidman and Keira Knightley.