Tuesday, February 2, 2010

LVMH - letting creative flourish

I read an article over the weekend about LVMH's (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton's) approach to ensuring ideas leadership in product development and corporate culture.

The key point was that instead of creating a corporate structure and then recruiting bods to fill the holes, they identified talent, hired and then allowed that person to carve out a niche for themselves within the company. This ensures that the business makes attracting the best available talent its Number 1 priority to ensure that it stays ahead of the pack in creating new products for its generally well-heeled clientele.

Another interesting observation was that the company ensures creative teams remain small - no design by committee. Its rationale is that the bigger the creative team, the more compromise and the greater the propensity to design products to the lowest common denominator i.e. pleasing everyone, qualified to comment or not and, in the end, standing for nothing.

To those who might argue that 'of course they can do that, it's reflected in their prices!' I would say there is no reason why this approach cannot work for any brand that knows its marketplace. All LVMH is demonstrating is that it clearly understands its history, its customers and its future success.

I have questioned before why organisations insist that every department that wants to 'have a say' in the way things are written, presented and marketed, gets it. LVMH clearly believes, as I have said before, that this is counter-productive to the creative process. It merely stunts thought leadership in areas of product design and new business opportunity.

There was a long period when I was involved in the auto industry where new vehicles were 'clinic-ed' to death. Design leadership was trashed by public viewings of proposed new models - only for the business to find out that the clinics merely resulted in style-compromised vehicles that looked out of date on the day they were launched.

The successful companies are those that lead the market in a considered way, guided by the best talent they can afford. I have never worked for LVMH but, if they are true to their PR, good luck to them for daring to lead.

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