Company Name: Lacoste
Owner: René Lacoste and André Gillier
How It All Started
After the retirement from tennis, René Lacoste founded La Chemise Lacoste in 1933 along with André Gillier, the President and owner of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm at that time. They began to manufacture revolutionary tennis shirt Lacoste with the crocodile logo embroidered on the chest.
The champion had designed this to wear on the tennis court for his own use, as well as a number of other shirts for sailing, tennis, and golf – as mentioned in the first catalogue that was published in 1933.
The company reported this was also for the first time a brand name/design appeared on the outside of any clothing – an idea which has since become tremendously successful. This shirt refashioned men’s sportswear and replaced the long-sleeved, woven fabric, starched classic shirts.
The first LACOSTE shirt was slightly shorter than its counterparts, was white and had a ribbed collar. It also had short sleeves with ribbed bands and was made of a light knitted fabric called “Jersey petit piqué. As of today, it continues to offer the same quality, comfort and solidity on which it built its name and which constitute its uniqueness.
Lacoste is associated with the Retail and Lifestyle industry and deals in accessories and apparels. As mentioned earlier, being of French origin it was founded in the year 1933 by its famous co-founders Andre Gillier and Rene Lacoste. In the year 2012, the brand transferred its ownership as it was purchased by Maus Freres.
Starting in the 1950s, Izod produced clothing known as Izod Lacoste under license for sale in the U.S. In 1993, this partnership ended, when Lacoste reclaim exclusive rights to distribute shirts under its brand. In 2005, almost 50 million Lacoste products sold in over 110 countries. Its visibility has increased due to the contacts between Lacoste and several tennis players, including former American tennis players Andy Roddick and John Isner, Swiss Olympic gold medalist Stanislas Wawrinka and French veteran Richard Gasquet.
Lacoste had also begun to increase its presence in the golf world, where noted two times Masters Tournament champion José María Olazábal and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie have been seen playing in Lacoste shirts in tournaments. In early 2005, Bernard Lacoste became seriously ill, which led him to transfer the presidency of Lacoste to Michel Lacoste whi was his brother and closest collaborator for many years.
Bernard died in Paris on 21 March 2006.Lacoste licenses its trademark to various companies. Devanlay till now owned the exclusive worldwide clothing license, though still Lacoste Polo Shirts are also manufactured under licence in in China and Thailand by ICC. Pentland Group has the worldwide sole license to produce Lacoste Coty footwear, Inc.
Lacoste went on internet in June 2007 and launched their e-commerce site for the U.S. market. To help children be able to play sports in school a community program is developed named as Rene Lacoste Foundation. In March 2016, the company launched a new flagship store in Budapest on Fashion Street. In 2017, tennis player Novak Djokovic was named the brand ambassador and “the new crocodile” for Lacoste.
Marketing strategy and Interesting Facts behind its Success.
Lacoste is a globally recognised brand with its product presence in nearly 120 countries like Canada, Australia, India and China. In the year 1952 the brand introduced its products in United States market for the first time and had gained immense popularity by 1970s. The company has an organised community that includes a workforce of 10,000 employees responsible for designing, production, distribution and communication.
It has its own boutiques located at independent places as well as in very popular departmental stores like Macy’s, Halls, Nordstrom and Belk. Lacoste products are easily available using 10,600 wholesale sale points. Products are also sold by the use of 11 online outlets that meets client requirements by a single click.
Lacoste is a vintage company and it is known for the niche look, modern comfort, quality and designs. It is surely a leader in the premium-casual-wear segment and this is reflected in its modern collections via natural elegance and unique style. It expanded its portfolio to include shirts for sports like golf and sailing.
As a brand, Lacoste started introducing colour shirts besides the already available tennis-white shirts in the year 1951. With the expansion its portfolio, today, it includes apparels for Men, Women and Kids.
Lacoste target customers include fashion conscious people and sports personalities. In short, they target niche customer base who has high buying power and who do not hesitate before making a purchase because of a price tag. Customers of Lacoste has no hesitation in flaunting it through their purchases as it is a status symbol for them.
Brand name which is simple in terms an expensive and trendy that deals in high-quality and premium items. The company has adopted a premium pricing strategy for its products due to its customer loyalty. Due to its rich and premium clientele product prices seem reasonable and affordable to its potential and permanent customers.
In order to maintain its iconic image and rich heritage, Lacoste has adopted several branding strategies. The company has positive attitude towards social responsibility and has taken part in several events. At school level it helps children in sports through Rene Lacoste Foundation. An organisation in the Philippines is funded by Lacoste, that is working towards saving crocodiles from extinction.
Lacoste has adopted an aggressive promotion plan and its ads are shown via magazines, television, billboards and social media platforms. It has roped in several famous personalities to promote its brand name like Richard Gasquet, John Isner, Andy Roddick, and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Famous golfers Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie are also associated with this world-renowned brand.
Lacoste’s strategy has been quite comprehensive and will probably help the company to keep having its traditional and vintage image, which is almost all luxury, sportive, elegance, authenticity, spirit and product quality. Lacoste’s prime focus is to create fashion for its premium customer and maintain its brand image.