The Louboutin Brand Experience: “flirting with your feet”

by Kurt on November 2, 2012

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” (Marilyn Monroe)

Ask a woman about the most aspirational brand of shoes, and chances are you will hear “Louboutin” as an answer. Why? Shoes are shoes, right (says a man) ? WRONG! Louboutin doesn’t make shoes. Louboutin sells an experience that every woman on the planet aspires: feeling confident, in control, sexy. The stilletto styled red-soled shoe-maker achieved a brand perception that I would label “flirting with your feed”. But I can’t put it better than how Louboutin says it himself: “A good shoe is one that doesn’t dress you, but undresses you!” How about that for a brand promise? Niiiiiiiice…

Parisian Christian Louboutin had shoe-making in his vains from early on. A remarkable character that wrote his own story and is now an “icon” in the shoe-world. Louboutin was expelled from school three times and ran away from home at the age of 12, ended up in Egypt and India later on, and then capitalised his interest in cultures into making shoes. At the age of 14 he was already a familiar face at the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergère. He’d set his heart on designing shoes for showgirls, and so at 16, pitched up at the Folies Bergère. The rest as they say, is history.

Now, Louboutin owns the words “red shoe”, “premium”, “luxury”, “sexy”, and walks amongst the great (LV, YSL, DIOR, CHANEL, Viktor & Rolf, JEAN PAUL GAULTIER)

Here are some learnings I take from Louboutin’s strategy:


Louboutin sells the fairy tale story. Every day. He turns women into Cinderella. Consistently. He sells the dream, not the story. He sells the sizzle, not the steak (see here).


A pair of Louboutin goes for 500 dollars or more. There is no value shoe. And it fits the dream he sells. Quality is unmatched, the Louboutin outlets are as unique as the stores (I can see it here in Dubai), and there is no discounting and hardly ever a sale.


Every one in the world heard about the Louboutin vs YSL case over the red sole (a Louboutin trademark). He fought hard, but has now won trademark protection for his distinctive red-soled shoes, preventing competitors from following in his footsteps! It began last year when YSL unveiled a design with red soles. At the time US courts rejected its claim that a single colour warranted legal protection, but this decision was overturned on appeal last September. Well done, mister Louboutin! Now, there is a catch: the ruling only applies to designs where the red sole is in contrast with the rest of the shoe, so competitors are free to sell products with a red upper and sole, as will do YSL.


Both Louboutin and Jimmy Choo own the digital space in the shoe industry. A recent Digital Luxury Group study reveals that Louboutin ranks on top of searches about shoes with a whopping 45 percent, way ahead of Jimmy Choo, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tod’s who come next with 11, 7, 6.5 percent, respectively. Check out the Louboutin facebook fan page, and you’ll see why.


Louboutin started brand extensions just a few years back. Successfully. After the classical black red sole stilletto toe-cleavage shoes, Louboutin is now into bejeweled sneakers, stilletto nails, make-up, glass Cinderella slippers, handbags, lipstick, etc. Next year, a full-on beauty line will hit the market. Women, get ready. (Men, burn that visa!). As long as he sticks to his promise of giving women seduction, sensuality, confidence, my advise is: keep walking!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ziad Kayali November 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Crazy Horse Paris 2012 has a show dedicated for Louboutine that tells the story, a must see!!


Kurt November 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm

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