LVMHxBOCCONI Spring 2016.

If you are a Bocconian, your geolocation can oscillate around piazza Straffa for the whole day. Looking for a place in the library for fifteen minutes makes sense, as well as having no time for studies because of studies. However, in spite of all the hard times we share times of pride.

As part of the cooperation program between Università Bocconi, ESSEC and LVMH the last couple of days our university hosted the “LVMH days”. The main event of the program was the inauguration held on the 16th of March.

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Toni Belloni, the Group Managing Director, started off with the introduction of LVMH (though the 78-billion-worth conglomerate does not seem to need any), during which particular attention was paid to the value of individual brands coming from their heritage. According to Mr. Belloni, in LVMH belonging to the group gives synergy for financing and operations, but the creative processes remain independent for each single brand – “brands before business”.

Concerning the industry of fashion&luxury, we got reassured about the stability and relative resilience of the sector. This complies with the conclusions drawn by lustinfashion editors: as we were telling you lately, Asian markets are worth keeping an eye on, but still compared to some other industries luxury seems less volatile. Even so, Toni Belloni stressed today’s hard-to-handle dynamics: strategies are no more long-term plans, rather approximate paths prone to changes. Examples of such changes were given, namely generation shift, technology, digital revolution and lifestyle shifts.

Expectedly, the buzzing issue of “importance of people” could not be avoided. As we were told, LVMH does not take people fitting the company, instead it shapes the business to fit outstandingly talented individuals.

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Toni Belloni presenting. Source: lvmh.com

Another interesting topic raised that day was digital&luxury. It was developed mainly in relation to the notion of co-creation, delivered by Emanuela Prandelli, the Associate Professor of Management of LVMH Associate Professorship in Fashion and Luxury Management (created by a mutual effort of LVMH and Bocconi). Mrs. Prandelli spoke about a research she made, which aimed at studying consumer perception of co-creation in product design. Its findings are very interesting and applicable to different spheres of doing the business of fashion.

It turns out that people on average see added value in customer co-creation. However, the issue is much more complex than that. When it comes to high fashion, the preference is different: people tend to choose pure company design. There are two particularly interesting patterns. Firstly, the lower the “status” of the product, the higher is the tolerance to customer involvement. Secondly, the perception of co-creation in general is a curve: people like to be involved, but only to a certain extent, at some point the added value of “more cooperation” goes from positive to negative. It gives clear directions for strategy shaping: while customization is a good thing (proved by empirical evidence), design in luxury can not be totally outsourced to the crowd. To my mind, pretty much in line with common sense.

After this educational part, Bocconi CEO Bruno Pavesi finished the inauguration, highlighting the values Bocconi shares with LVMH and the prospects for future cooperation (which seem promising).

Small reminder: the most hard-working fashion addicts can still submit their applications to take part in the Loro Piana competition and fight for the opportunity to join the 130 thousand employee base of LVMH for the 4 months of internship. Wish you good luck!

Ksyusha Task

Ph.: Ksyusha Task, Massimiliano Stucchi (lvmh.com)

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