How does Michelin Lifestyle fit into the Michelin Group’s strategy ?

Michelin Lifestyle integrates seamlessly into the group’s strategy and whilst it sits hierarchically in the Experience Business Line it has significant influence in other Business Lines. A clear example of this is with High-Tech Materials for footwear, where we bring together the Michelin’s technical tyre design and material expertise with that of the licensee in their technical shoe design. MLL capitalises on Michelin’s globally renowned credibility and legitimacy to bring new products into new markets and distribution platforms attracting consumers which would previously have been difficult to access. This strategy supports the group’s ambitions and MLL’s 3 key drivers to success: creating value to the group, engaging the consumer and supporting the brand.

Christian Delhaye

How would you assess the 20 year activity from Michelin Lifestyle ? How has it changed over the years?

Back in 2000 Michelin Lifestyle was conceived as an innovative communication tool. Vehicle Accessories were seen as a natural extension to tyres - a legitimate category which could open up new channels and support the tyre business. After 20 years, we are fully established and credible in the vehicle accessory segment. Today, we’ve built on this solid foundation of functional products solving specific needs into more emotionally focused products providing much more diverse interactions with the brand.

How do you intend providing more diverse interactions with the brand ?

We consider our cross-over category to be our “Soles by Michelin” programme. Consumers are very engaged when purchasing footwear, they take care around fit, style and of course technical performance – this is where we enter the story by providing custom-made technical soles to ensure that the consumer performs at the best level possible whether that be on the track, on the hillside or safely at their workplace. We have grown from 1 brand partner in 1 sport (Babolat) to over 60 brand partners in many categories of sport, work and safety, leisure and fashion. With over 5 million soles sold across 60 different manufacturers we can say with confidence that there are many consumers who will “Experience the Innovation” with our Michelin soles. Latterly we have evolved our offer in the “lifestyle and mobility” categories where through innovative collaborations we can complement the huge credibility and legitimacy of the Michelin travel and restaurant guides. This will open up further consumer segments and develop a brand proposition which will enhance consumer journeys and experiences further promoting positive emotional experiences with the brand. This exciting category is already creating opportunities and more which will come to market in 2021.

What is the most successful product you ever launched ? And what is the potential for the future?

Today, windscreen wiper blades are by far our biggest seller in volume, thanks to the comprehensive distribution network our licensees. Consumers absolutely understand and readily accept our proposition – Michelin technology in rubber compounds, a pedigree of engineering excellence and huge credibility in the automotive sector.  Consumers know the Michelin brand will deliver excellent product quality and technical performance. However over the years one of our biggest successes was with the Altaya die cast replica car collection. With over 60 models, each presented with a booklet about the vehicle and its connection with the Michelin brand. This programme generated over half a million Euros in income and absolutely resonated with collectors of model vehicles with historical significance.

 

For the future we see our growth coming from the lifestyle and mobility categories. This is where we can evolve our connections with established and attract new consumers to make emotional connections with around dining and travel. These product offers will be developed globally but by region according to consumer acceptance and market conditions.

We are not at the limit for partnerships with the Michelin brand, we have identified further scope but also have recently launch apparel and footwear around the BF Goodrich brand in North America where the brand has huge credibility in outdoor and off-road applications. Whilst this is relatively new, consumer acceptance has been extremely positive and sales via our brand partners have been strong.

  • Model vehicles

  • Peugeot Michelin
  • Maurice Caowley Michelin
  • Peugeot J7 "Pneu X"
  • Ford Michelin

How do you see the future of MLL after the COVID-19 crisis ? How has it affected the business?

There is no doubt the crisis has impacted product sales with our licensees. We are encouraged however that sales of Michelin branded products have been much more resilient than those of our competitors.  We will of course keep a watchful eye on the situation but we believe that the Michelin brand delivers trust and differentiation to the consumer so demand will remain strong.

During global lockdowns, digital sales channels have been critical to maintaining volumes and touch points with the consumers. In China, for example, on-line sales have doubled compared to the same period in 2019. Licensees report that the Michelin brand is extremely valuable in this channel, consumers trust our products. The presence of the Michelin brand gives instant credibility and trust, it gives a clear differentiation and peace-of-mind for consumers unsure of their online purchase. Due to the global structure of the MLL team where we have 40 people in 7 different countries, we have been accustomed to using digital tools for several years – it allows us to operate remotely with a high degree of efficiency across continents.

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