Welcome to the Louis Vuitton hotel. Louis Vuitton? Why not?
Here is a hotel in which every room is decorated with the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram. A hotel in which the LVMH group's top Champagne brands, Dom Pérignon and Krug, are served on arrival; the group's top Hennessy Cognac is displayed in the bars; and the staff members are dressed in the latest Louis Vuitton fashions and sport Louis Vuitton watches. This is a hotel that aims to make luxury a synonym for life.
The latest Louis Vuitton ad campaign, featuring Mikhail Gorbachev sitting in a limo beside a piece of signature Louis Vuitton luggage was a coup. The hotel may yet be a victory for the brand.
That's right. It hasn't happened yet. But when the hotel does enter the scene, Louis Vuitton will be one of the last luxury brands to express itself as the ultimate branded lifestyle.
Already, the Versace Palazzo in Australia, the Armani Hotel in the United Arab Emirates, and the BVLGARI Hotel in Milan have made their impact on the hotel business by pursuing the art of true experiential branding.
Some have been more convincing than others. But all of them have succeeded in demonstrating a new wave of branding that aims to occupy every minute of the customer's day with an unbroken theme of branded experience rather than the momentary brand rush of purchase.
Experiential brand building is taking on new and all-encompassing dimensions. IKEA, for example, is no longer just a flat-pack-furniture and homewares store. It's a construction company that builds IKEA houses, based on the IKEA promise of easy living and affordable design. When you buy an IKEA house, you get two days of complimentary interior decorating advice. Of course, the recommendations centre on which IKEA furniture and accessories to buy.
Then there's Martha Stewart's latest venture with KB Home that promises her devotees the perfect home. The kitchen design, the living room, the bathrooms and hallways are all designed in the spirit of Martha Stewart—plug-and-play ready for $250,000.