Studying Luxury Marketing in Paris

Ying Liu, MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation visited Paris during her third term for our Luxury Marketing elective. In this blog, she shares her experience of both the module and the city!

Hi everyone. My name is Ying Liu, a Chinese girl who has been in the UK for nearly 10 years and I am currently studying MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation at Bayes Business School. In order to extend my interest in marketing, I chose this course.

Studying at Bayes is one of my goals, considering its popularity for ranking and practical learning, as well as good recommendations from friends, institutional culture and value and its location in London. Additionally, I am also the president of the Chinese Career Society at Bayes which aims to support international Chinese in seeking jobs in China and England, enhancing their employability and confidence, etc.

As a student of MSc Marketing Strategy Innovation, I was entitled to choose from a few international electives in term 3. In particular, I was interested in the Luxury Marketing Strategy international elective as it would be taught in Paris and France has been recognised as a symbol of luxury for almost a century. I believe this module structure would not only be insightful and meaningful, but also be exciting and engaging.

The elective was taught at Institut Français de la Mode, this fashion institution is located in the centre of the City of Fashion and Design, we were surrounded by teaching, fashion design studios and working professionals. The institution offers master’s courses and conducts research regarding fashion, luxury goods, textile and design. Compared to teaching in the UK, it is more casual and relaxed here, with varied drinks and refreshments too.

A retail safari

The course structure was very motivating and it was a unique experience. There is no better way to acknowledge the core concepts of luxury brands than physically being immersed in it. We were asked by our lecturer Dr Gachoucha Kretz, an expert in luxury branding, to do a retail safari. This meant working in groups to visit areas like in Champs-Élysées and St. Germain to understand how high luxury brands use sensory marketing via sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell. We also had to find out about the iconic pieces for each brand and the history behind these, as well as understand how the shops in different areas differentiated from one another.

This elective involves students across majors, including MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation, MSc in Entrepreneurship and MSc International Business. I was grouped with my two classmates in the same major and one from the MSc in International Business. In Champs-Élysées, we visited Dior, Maison Margiela and Balenciaga. Each store’s atmosphere and environment were totally different, showing varied company culture, marketing strategies and potential target audiences. Once we figured out our ideal brand, we went to Montaigne – another high fashion location. We found out that high-end flagship stores in Champs-Élysées were large and well-located, highlighting brands’ status and marketing position. They had a wider range of stock and displayed many iconic products, but it might make some customers feel exclusive. Whereas stores in Montaigne were smaller but might make people feel welcome and included. Products might be fewer; however, they could be used daily and are ideal for casual and informal occasions. Interestingly, we also identified many stories behind each iconic piece. For example, the Lady Dior bag was originally named the Chouchou and was made for Lady Diana. She was photographed wearing it  and the day after the name was changed and it sold out.

Whilst we obtained the necessary information, we were required to produce a short film with a presentation. The whole process aims to transform marketing knowledge and insight into actions like in a real-world workforce in the field, thus, being practical and fun coursework to do. The exploration and collaboration to produce a film were tough but entertaining, however, we enjoyed it a lot. On the filming day, it was a great session in which we can see varied films about how different luxury brands differ from one another to make significant success. At the end of the module, I felt it was a completely different style of teaching and assessing, but it was definitely a positive happy-feeling and memorable course taught in Paris.

Around the City

Apart from teaching, we were also introduced to some extent to local and niche brands for shopping or gifting in different areas. There were diversified cuisines from West and East tastes in Paris, and we never felt disappointed with the food. I also noticed the cafés culture which I really liked where many people might sit outside after work and order drinks with crisps or snacks whilst networking or talking to friends at cafés and bars after work (the reason may be the dinner starts at 7 pm). Besides, there were a number of attractions, museums and entertainments to explore, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum.

In short, I would like to thank Bayes Business School, the elective team and other officers and faculties who organised the program. I also need to thank the lecturer Dr Gachoucha Kretz a lot who delivered the module and designed the assessment to allow us to sufficiently absorb the knowledge of this module. I believe every effort Bayes did is making it stand out and as globally recognisable as my course – Marketing, Strategy and Innovation.