In 2012, when we launched the exhibition “Swarovski Sparkling Secrets” in Shanghai guests entered through a keyhole intro a crystal maze and were drawn into an iridescent blue room that revealed the stories and traditions of Swarovski through interactive media. While the opening night event was meant to be exclusive and private, everywhere I looked fans were taking photos of participants trying on different dresses and posting them on Chinese social media. The event was now public and inclusive.
The New Yorker recently commented the same about Robert Wilson’s experiential installation for Hermes, which showed off its home collection. “Roughly a hundred per cent of them pulled out their phones to take pictures—Instagramming in lieu of contemplating.” Wilson talks about how the lights from smartphones drive him crazy, often destroying the effect of all the adjustments he makes to a space. #HermesHere Elsewhere trended on Instagram. This makes us recall Adele’s recent response to a woman on her phone during her concert in Italy. “You can enjoy it in real life, rather than through your camera.”
Today’s marketing climate includes savvy social media, a command of content, and a deep understanding of analytics. While this holds true regardless of the sector, luxury brands looking to establish a specific exclusive customer base need to go even further. Here are four essentials below for luxury marketing:
Sell the Dream. The best way to sell luxury is to relate to people’s emotions. Luxury is not about meeting a specific function, it is not rational: a Hermes scarf doesn’t keep you warmer than any other scarf. Coco Chanel said, “Luxury is the necessity that begins where necessity ends”. It’s about creating a vision and dream behind your product that remains aspirational for the customer.
Defining an event as a luxury event involves more than just a location with a skyline view, expensive décor, or champagne and caviar. Below are three essentials to all events that mark them as luxury:
1) Exclusivity. Luxury events must guarantee people special access and be limited to a certain amount of people. A general rule of thumb is to have a maximum of 300 people as that’s the limit of how many people a host can shake hands with in the duration of a night. Limiting the amount of people guarantees a certain level of personalization. When you know each of your guests, you can host them as individuals with that personal touch.
The Affluent Perspective 2016 Global Study by YouGov revealed the luxury purchasing trends of affluent households, and lead to a discussion about the differences between advocacy and loyalty.
Surprisingly, brand loyalty is actually higher in millenials than in other groups. And while brand loyalty relates directly to purchasing, advocacy takes it one step further where people are more engaged with the product and brand. “Advocacy is the result of the journey to personal freedom. Advocacy is not loyalty. Advocates want to be experts, and you need to give them something to share and talk about.”
In terms of sectors, advocacy is highest in auto and dining but lowest in jewelry
and apparel. This makes sense if we think about how often people go to restaurants based on what their friends and families recommend, as well as by reading reviews online. Advocates are the ones who write those reviews and they keep up to date on the brand, reading marketing emails and retaining information on brand news and trends.
Generation Z is loosely defined as individuals born after 1994 (12-19 years old). By 2020 Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers. To target Gen Z, luxury brands need to create marketing strategies for digital natives.
Not only does Generation Z hold enormous wealth potential today, but creating a loyal client base with Gen Z lays the foundation for luxury brand growth for decades to come. The panelists will discuss exactly how executives can tap into this influential demographic.
How do you turn a niche watch trade show into an event that a thirty something New Yorker would want to visit on their free weekend afternoon? This was the challenge presented to us when we took on the marketing of the 4th edition of TimeCrafters. Every year the show brings top luxury watch brands like Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piquet to the Park Avenue Armory along with panel discussions by media partners such as the New York Times. We wanted to make those brands exciting for everyone.
We knew that to reach a larger audience we had to make the show emotionally appealing, and the best way to relate to people’s emotions is through strong storytelling. As we were conducting focus groups with watch enthusiasts and collectors alike, one thing they all had in common was the desire to share stories about their watches. We decided then to launch a creative campaign “Every Watch Has a Story – What’s Yours?” where we featured watch stories from individuals on Instagram, where watch enthusiasts and collectors post their wrist photos.
While popularity may be a dream come true for many, it’s often a fear for luxury brands. Nevertheless, in today’s evolving landscape digital is no longer an option: it’s an imperative. This panel will explore if and how the prestige market can remain niche and aspirational while embracing digital integration and the key decisions brands in purgatory need to make today.
When we think of French luxury, an image of a woman from the bourgeois sipping expensive red wine off a balcony in Paris’s 7th Arrondissement may come to mind. The French perhaps even can be credited for inventing luxury, in the days of royalty, Versailles, and a class based hierarchical system. Luxury was exclusivity.
Now when people think of luxury they often think of personal jets, access to services a touch away on their a mobile app, maybe even their Apple Watch or FitBit. American luxury has come to mean speed, technology, accessibility of services no matter where you are. It’s often based on money, and rather than being exclusive to a certain social class, it’s an aspiration for all.
Luxury has evolved and so have the methods of communicating it. With the advent of social media branding, if brands choose to remain out of the digital space, others will communicate for it. As a colleague recently said at the luxury conference in Paris, “Everyone is talking about you, so you may as well acknowledge it and enter the conversation.” Brands that have embraced social media, such as Chanel and Gucci, as well those that have focused creative content online, such as Burberry and Hermes, have stayed ahead of the digital, inclusive revolution.