Lalique is a French artisanal luxury crystal house that dates to the late 19th century. The Lalique style is derived from an artistic gesture that outlines a drawing in total osmosis with crystal. The human hand of the craftsman marks every work of art with the immaterial force that embodies Lalique’s unique style. In an era defined by the rapidity of new technological and materiality advancements, how can the vision of a late nineteenth century glass designer become relevant again? By conversing in terms of the language of a new generation.
Recognized as one of the world’s greatest influential glassmakers and jewelry designers of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods, René Jules Lalique was an innovative and imaginative artist and businessman. Lalique’s passion for exploring his material of choice and thriving through the adaptation of new technologies is just as appropriate now as it was when he first entered the world of design.
Case Study Concept
Lalique North America asked the students to 1) rejuvenate Lalique by attracting a younger customer base while simultaneously maintaining its core clientele 2) modernize Lalique by repositioning the brand whilst preserving its artistic legacy. The aim of this project was not to disregard or regurgitate Lalique’s history, but to adjust it in the discourse of the current times. The scope of project includes the development of a holistic branding strategy, a target customer profile, and an integrated marketing communication campaign that includes PR initiatives, an interactive site, and a limited edition package designed to celebrate the 150th anniversary in Spring 2010.
Design, Business and Marketing Plan Solution
The student team began by diving into the history of its legendary founder, Rene Lalique. After learning about Lalique’s unique artistic heritage, the student team examined the present situation facing the company as well as analyzed its prospects for the future. Combining sophisticated marketing tools (consumer research, analysis of the competitive landscape, affluent market overview, industry megatrend) and state-of-the art design techniques (design analysis, visual comparison, persona), the student team found that although Lalique has contemporary product lines that offer unique, exclusive, and artistic designs with superior craftsmanship, the challenge before them lay on how Lalique could be presented and communicated to fit into the lifestyle of the aspirational customer.
The recommended branding strategies would be to create a meaningful connection between Lalique and its customers. By bringing the idea of giftware back to celebrate every memorable moment in people’s lives, Lalique would become a token of attachment that keeps memories alive, maintains relationships, and honors the bond between loved ones. The ideal customer profiles are confident and sophisticated, yet young and dynamic individuals who are constantly bringing positive changes to their lives and to people surrounding them. The timeless design of Lalique as a gift represents their unique taste and how they treasure relationships.
Serving as a focal point to implement the new branding strategies, the 150th anniversary in Spring 2010 would mark a new era for Lalique and its customers. By re-positioning the giftware through co-branding, artists’ collaborations, outdoor events, personalized on-line experiences, and engaging people through the exploration of Lalique’s contemporary product line, the desired message would be revealed. To celebrate the anniversary, Lalique would introduce limited edition packaging, reviving the vintage color used by Rene Lalique himself. A Lalique contest along with concept reinterpretation and product collaborations would invite new artists and clientele to share a piece of the Lalique dream, while a Crystal Zoo installed in Central Park and an summer open music concert in the Lincoln Center would integrate Lalique’s decorative figures into the daily lives of the public. As an addition, a carefully executed website in the name of Maison Lalique New York would be hosted by local society members to share stories and interact with Lalique, which would not only encourage others to do the same, but also cohesively solidify a brand presence.
The team’s accomplishment was largely due to the strong partnership between the Parsons New School for Design and Columbia Business School students. Their positive and integrated work ethics allowed them to leverage the diverse skill sets of both groups in order to deliver a full range of high-quality marketing ideas to the client, both strategic and creative. It is interesting to witness how the combined processes of design talent and business knowledge worked toward not just reinventing a classic French luxury crystal brand, but also redefining the meaning of luxury in the new era.
The Lalique Project Team
Yun-Hsuan (Crystal) Chang, Columbia Business School
Tania Kooros, Columbia Business School
Tsung Hsiang (Johnson) Tsai, Columbia Business School
Eun Joo Cho, Parsons The New School of Design
Roberto Fantauzzi, Parsons The New School for Design
Nisha Kanabar, Parsons The New School for Design
Joann Ngai, Parsons The New School for Design
Hsin-Chuan (Evanee) Wu, Parsons The New School for Design