Ladurée. France, 1862 (relaunched 1993)
The house of Ladurée holds the dual distinction of being the inventors of the ganache-filled macaron, and one of the pioneers of Parisian salon de thé culture. But Ladurée’s cult popularity, from the Champs-Élysées to Ginza, owes just as much to a clear and simple positioning strategy as its decorated history.
The Ladurée brand is expertly managed by the same group responsible for the worldwide Paul chain of pastry cafés. When Groupe Holder acquired Ladurée in the early nineties, they correctly spotted the potential for a gourmet, eat-in/take-home experience that responded to the insatiable global demand for French luxury.
Few places are more fashionable than Paris and few things are more quintessentially Parisian than a filled macaron. Ladurée recognises this and positions itself not as expert bakers, but as ambassadors of French ‘art de vivre’. Elaborately decorated maisons, imaginative recipes and flawless presentation all contribute to a brand promise of ultimate indulgence.
Above all, the brand’s close ties with the world of haute couture fashion enable it to connect with a much wider audience, while making Ladurée impossible for competitors to successfully emulate.
Ladurée’s elaborate, special edition fashion boxes are Happy Meals for supermodels. Collaborations with names like Nina Ricci, Christian Louboutin and Marni lend star appeal, as well as providing showcases for the bakery’s full creative repertoire. The company’s event catering business also benefits from its extensive links with the fashion industry.
The brand’s successful line extensions have included pushes into categories scented candles and cosmetics. Meanwhile, its cult status among fashion fans – particularly in Japan – has made it possible for Ladurée to develop its own exclusive souvenirs and fashion collectibles. A special Hello Kitty edition was especially popular, and resulted in cross-licensing opportunities with Sanrio.
Rather impossibly, its macarons have also provided inspiration for the creation of series of collector figurines: showing a level of obsession that the brand’s founders could never have foreseen.
“Fashion Powers Ladurée’s Brand Promise of Ultimate Indulgence” is a post from Collaboration Generation: a series profiling companies who use brand innovation platforms to double down on specialness, and extend their reach and influence.