How to be innovative at 236 years old: Veuve Clicquot

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I love what champagne brand Veuve Clicquot have done to rejuvenate their brand over the last 7 years, under the leadership of CEO Cecile Bonnefond. Its a fantastic example of growing the core. All of Bonnefond's ideas are focused on selling more champagne, not stretching off into wierd and wacky brand extensions.

Bonnefond captures perfectly the challenge of balancing the need to change with a respect of the brand's history and what made it famous: "I see my job as really managing a paradox. With Veuve Clicquot, you have history, but
we also want to be the most edgy, modern, audacious, 'in' name
in Champagne."

I posted previously on the brilliant outer box that turns into an ice bucket (bloody brilliant, and it works!) and the limited edition Andre Putnam edition. Here are a couple of other ones:

1. Riva Collection: what an inspired bit of co-branding! This collection of accessories for the top-of-the-range Grande Damme champagne has been done with Riva, the luxury speed boat builders. What's great about this is that the craftsmanship of Riva has been used to create objects that make consuming the champagne even more enjoyable, not just a series of random lifestye accessories.

So, you have what has to be the most amazing ice bucket ever, and a simply superb "cruiser bag" to transport your champagne bottle and flutes in. I also admire the attention to detail on the website text, which is pure poetry: "The pure lines of the sophisticated cruiser bag are a reminder of the yacht that inspired its creation: black lacquer with mahogany inlay, chrome detailing and leather trim".
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2. Clicquot on the go:
for the mainstream Yellow Label product, the brand has launched a series of accessories under the heading "on the go". These include a neoprene "jacket" to keep your champers cold for the picnic. The City Traveller goes further with a carrying case for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and 2 champagne flutes. This is a truly inspired example of growing the core:
– encourages consumption on new occasions
– great creator of buzz and incentive to buy in the the all important duty free channel
– brilliant, bright yellow branding when used out and about!
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Parent company LVMH don't break out sales by brand in their champagne and wine division, but according to Bobnnefond, Veuve Clicquot has played a key role in driving division sales ip 7% in 2007.

So, raise your glasses to Cecile and her team!