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Company History
CHANEL, the international luxury goods company, was founded in France in 1911 by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Today, after nearly a century of continuous operations, CHANEL remains one of the world’s preeminent fashion businesses worldwide. Under the current design leadership of Karl Lagerfeld, the House of CHANEL remains dedicated to luxury, fashion, style and image.

Case Study Concept
The Fashion division of CHANEL markets handbags through CHANEL boutiques and wholesale distribution through department stores and specialty retailers. The students’ plan kept the company heritage in mind as well as CHANEL’s dedication to quality in manufacturing and service, high quality packaging and attention to detail. The team also focused on communicating a consistent message regarding the current brand attributes while repositioning CHANEL for a new generation of young, wealthy consumers.

Marketing Plan Solution
The team’s challenge was to develop the launch and marketing plan for a new CHANEL Travel Line with a target customer of the younger, affluent and fashion-involved (age 18-35) woman likely making her first CHANEL handbag purchase. Durable, luxurious and sexy, the Travel Line could be used for business, weekend getaways or vacations, making it a staple accessory for the target customer. To determine the lifestyle and interests of this young, affluent customer, the team conducted surveys and focus groups exploring the concepts of “experiential marketing,” and built the findings into the marketing plan and launch ideas.

Integrating the company’s brand history was important in building a strong product launch story so the team incorporated CHANEL’s rich history, using its founder’s name, “Gabrielle,” as the concept for one of two proposed campaigns. The second, “Where’s that Bag?” focused on showcasing the new product in the context of adventures taken by an unseen woman traveling with her CHANEL travel bag. With the thematic approaches in mind, the team created a marketing plan that would build anticipation around the new line as well as reinterpret CHANEL for the younger customer.

The marketing plan will focus on some traditional print for teaser ads, and generate excitement about the launch and the brand through innovative communication channels, ranging from a microsite to teaser ads in the form of “video billboards.” The plan will also rely on the involvement of young celebrities who embody the spirit of CHANEL travel line and will help reposition the brand for the target audience.

The Chanel Project Team
Gabriela Barufi, Columbia Business School
April Cao, Columbia Business School
Evan Chou, Columbia Business School
Stephanie DeSantis, Columbia Business School
Aparna Mukherjee, Columbia Business School