As more and more luxury brands turn toward creating streetwear, Lacoste stands out in that it has long been a champion for casual luxury. From a symbol of sport to a classic vestige of French style, Lacoste has asserted itself as a staple in the luxury industry.
Embracing the Culture
The Lacoste mission is to embody French elegance through their casual luxury brand, which features apparel, fragrance, and lifestyle items. Consumers apparently respond well to this vision, as an average of two Lacoste items are sold every minute.
As a company, the brand values audacity, accountability, cooperation, and attention, and believes that following this set of values is as critical to the company’s success and as emblematic of their brand as the iconic alligator logo.
Tennis Great to Style Icon
Rene Lacoste was a French tennis star of the 1920s, famous for both his graceful style in the sport as well as his conduct. He was nicknamed the alligator because of a bet he won, and when he launched his own fashion brand in 1933, the alligator became the Lacoste logo.
For decades after its founding, Lacoste survives almost exclusively by producing their classic polos, which are a favorite of athletes all over the world, though they did launch fragrances and leather goods in the 1960s. A couple of decades later their offerings expanded again when they moved into sunglasses and tennis shoes.
The product lines expanded further still in the 21st century, and the company has stayed afloat by continuously revisiting the foundation upon which it’s built, redesigning it, and moving forward. Now, Lacoste employs more than 10,000 people with 1,200 stores in 120 countries as it turns its sights toward appealing to a younger demographic.
Maxing Out in the Middle
Despite being an older company than many of its competitors, Lacoste has not achieved the same level of success as other mid-tier luxury brands like Guess (founded in 1981) and Ralph Lauren (founded in 1968).
Even so, Lacoste does beat out a number of other companies in the same market, and despite being a private company it appears to have grown to the point that it employs ⅔ the number of people that Guess does, which could be a testament to the brand’s growth.
Marketing to Match the Style
As a brand that bases itself on adhering to a classic French style, it should come as no surprise that recent Lacoste advertising efforts exhibit many of the same qualities: expressive minimalism, and leaving plenty up to the imagination.
Rather than showcasing their products, Lacoste has turned their attention to telling a brand story that depicts the company as tough, durable, and capable of dealing with life’s most chaotic moments. Equally emblematic of their withholding inspiration is the fact that Lacoste, unlike many brands, hasn’t dealt with major scandals despite being more than 85 years old.
Lacoste may not rank among the top luxury brands in terms of revenue, but major outlets like Forbes still recognize the fact that this brand has an important place in the luxury market and isn’t about to disappear, thanks in large part to its continued involvement with the tennis industry.
Founded on a stern set of principles, Lacoste has maintained the attitudes of its founder, and achieved a great deal of success because of it.