Luxury marketing key to success: Inseec

By Korea Herald

Chief of French business school bullish on luxury education in Korea

  • Published : Mar 18, 2014 - 20:40
  • Updated : Mar 18, 2014 - 20:40
The nation’s soaring luxury goods sales, coupled with the people’s aspirations for better education, together create the perfect conditions for a luxury education market in Korea, according to the head of a French business school.

“Many countries see Korea as a role model for education. Along with the booming luxury goods business, this combination makes Korea an attractive market for luxury education programs,” said Catherine Lespine, president of Inseec Group. 
Inseec Group president Catherine Lespine (left) and Bertrand Pivin, senior partner of Apax Partners (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Inseec is one of the top French business schools and has invested considerable resources into academic programs on luxury marketing. Buoyed by the burgeoning luxury market in Asia, the group has recently decided to expand into Korea as well as China this year.

Inseec has already been offering its programs in Korea through its local partner Seoul Luxury Business Institute, the first of its kind here, established in 2009. The group plans to introduce students to the big names in the industry through lectures, case studies and internship opportunities.

The internship program, in particular, is a win-win strategy both for luxury brands and their trainees in France, where labor costs are expensive.

“Brands are always looking for young talent. It’s also competition for them,” said Bertrand Pivin, senior partner of Apax Partners, an equity fund which has recently bought Inseec Group.

“Through the internship, students get to know about jobs in the luxury sector, while brands get an opportunity to pick the people of their choice,” he said, adding that the group was closely working with high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, BMW and Audi.

Currently, Asian students, most of them Chinese, make up less than 5 percent of the group’s total 5,000 students studying luxury marketing. But the number continues to grow.

“Cultural aspects are essential when it comes to marketing. Brands cannot apply the same recipe throughout the world,” he said, adding that there were clear demands in the luxury sector, specifically among young Asians who are equipped with international mindsets and have received training related to the specific brands.

Along with individual students, Inseec is also pinning high hopes on corporate training in Korea, where not just industry people working for luxury brands but also Korean companies such as Samsung and Hyundai are now striving to appeal to high-spending customers in global markets.

“If you don’t want to compete on price, the alternative is to provide excellent service,” said the Inseec president. “Some French companies such as Air France and Nespresso have upgraded their brand image through successful marketing.”

By Lee Ji-yoon (