Les Merveilleuses by Ladurée, the not-so-French olde makeup brand

Ladurée is one of those typical luxury French boutiques you can find in Paris: considerate personnel, products of quality, and exquisite decoration and ornaments. Stepping in is already an experience. Epicureans have the pleasure to go back to the end of the 18th century thanks to an aura of comfort, a world of elegance for a precious moment of gourmandize.

Well, the experience for the senses doesn’t stop here anymore. I recently learned that Ladurée had its own range of makeup called Les Merveilleuses. I, the Parisian, had no idea?! You can imagine how curious I was to know more about it and this is what I discovered…

Oops, but first, a little bit of history is “de rigueur”. The “Merveilleuses” were fashionable women during the Directory (period following the terror of the French Revolution) who wore luxury and decadent clothes imitating the Greeks and Romans light, and sometimes transparent, tunics. They scandalized Paris.

Nowadays, Les Merveilleuses by Ladurée, developed with the Japanese company Albion, offers makeup (cheeks, eyes, lips, foundations, and bases), skin care and body care products, and accessories. All the products are in a sophisticated round packaging embellished by cameos reminding of the atmosphere of a boudoir. The product comes with a story a woman would like to identify herself to, like a piece of jewelry passed on through the generations in a family.

The brand has first been commercialized in Japan in 2012 and clearly focused its expansion on the Asian market.

How does the brand faithfully adapt itself to the Asian market on the social media?

The website is translated in Japanese, English, and French. The feminine and floral spirit is very present with light colors, clouds, and nature. The experience is completely bucolic. We can already notice that the French version is the lightest one on the website, with a minimum of information on the products (image and use indications), the brand story is not even available yet but “coming soon”.

The English version is a little more informative. The story of the brand is explained with nice illustrations, the relationship with the Ladurée patisseries is established, the history is narrated, and the philosophy explained.

A contrario, the Japanese version is more complete and almost exhaustive, and fun! There is music and the story is told with moving illustrations. The pricing information is indicated and more importantly, the links to the brand’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) are not only displayed, but the last Facebook and Twitter posts appear on the main page which is a great way to make the experience consistent as a whole.

The Japanese Facebook posts very frequently and has 44k likes, the Twitter account, 16.1k, and the Instagram, 64.1k (and follows only 2 accounts which are Ladurée US and Ladurée Paris Official). The posts on theses three social media are very frequent. They are mostly products pictures and some photo contests to create engagement.

For the E-commerce part, the brand does not seem to have one. However the products are available on retailers’ websites such as Sephora in France, Amazon, iMomoko, and eBay.

When it comes to comparing it to the same brands categories, I would like to talk to you about Benefit and Bobbi Brown. For me, they really offer to the customers what they can expect from a cosmetic and makeup brand: lessons and tutorials. Those are a great way to create a solid identity and universe around the brand and also to enhance interactions with the community. They both have YouTube channels and social media video posts that illustrate their last products or how to follow the last makeup trends. They are teaching brands and do make their footprints on the social media platforms.

I regret a little that the brand is a lot about the product itself and not a universe the community could really identify to. The Instagram posts are not about lifestyle but only products. It then become difficult to be able to relate to such a brand without knowing what its philosophy is, what you may share we the other users.

In a nutshell, I would say that Les Merveilleuses has been focused on the Asian market and this is the same reading we can learn from its social media actions. However, it does not seem to try that much to engage with its community. It is present on social media, made a footprint but does not go beyond that to connect with people.The platforms should be seen as growth, awareness, and exchange opportunities to evolve. I believe the brand should rethink its strategy to get more awareness being more responsive like its competitors, more international and accessible.

Chloé M.

This post was created as part of the Global Luxury Management Program at the NC State Poole School of Management. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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