We interviewed Carly Newman, Project Manager at the Kering Foundation, and previously at the L’Oréal Foundation. We asked her for her vision of luxury in France through those foundations, the purpose of these organizations and the link with the French luxury brands.
She strongly believes on the purpose of those foundations. For her, it is a result of a deep will of changing things and mentalities. By choosing to work for those foundations, she did not choose to work only for the luxury industry but mainly for all the causes luxury groups are defending. Those two foundations have very different goals: the L’Oréal Foundation advocates for Science and exceptional women scientists who are still too few in this sector, while the Kering Foundation fights violence against women. For both groups, women remain at the heart of their concerns as the major part of their luxury brands’ clients and employees are women.
We can notice that there is indeed a real will of change and empowerment, but we also think that it may represent an opportunity for luxury brands to improve their image and boost their notoriety. Some of them are facing scandals related to their industry (anorexia and working conditions of models, animal abuse and environmental issues related to raw materials, etc.) and to commit to a cause can be a way to restore their image. The budget allocated by the Kering Foundation to the communication is moderate, and according to Carly Newman, this is justified by the fact that it is much more important to finance a lot of actions than to communicate on them. However, only few people know the aim of those foundations, whereas L’Oréal and Kering conglomerates are known by everybody. This raises a question: Is it preferable to do more actions than communicate more about them to make these causes known by the public? Communication should be essential to gain awareness toward the causes. A more informed public will be able to better understand the stakes of these causes and the link with the luxury groups, which would also justify the commitment of these brands on these subjects.
Luxury is a sector that launches trends and educates customers on beauty and quality. These foundations reflect their brands and their universe such as the L’Oréal Foundation which is committed to Women and Science. It is a way for them to show that innovation and the place of women in the scientific world is at the heart of their activity. This is one of the best means to communicate for a luxury brand, thus bringing an image of a brand close to its consumers and their needs, while being a modern and innovative leading brand. It is also through foundations that the luxury industry can show its engagement, its principles, its connection with the world and with societal issues. By choosing to speak for a cause and engage for it, the luxury brands demonstrate one important thing: renown, reputation and prestige can be used wisely to help voices be heard.
Luxury is not only about glitters, it also involves commitments and battles for human beings, their ideas and their well-being. All this successful economy could not exist without the help of those who work for it every day. Behind a beautiful brand, a popular product, a good concept, there are always great people and brilliant ideas. And nothing is more important for the future of luxury than to promote and protect them.
By Lara Levet – Juliette Gazeau Jallet – Louise Amsellem