How can luxury brands capitalise on the digital revolution borne of a most unusual year?
Luxury brands have always maintained a much-envied cachet built on heritage, tradition and —in some cases— centuries-old craft. But a reliance on the past is not always conducive to performance in the future.
In our webinar, chaired by our Chief Growth Officer Si Muddell, these expert panel discuss the innovation brought about by COVID-19, and how luxury brands can seize that inventive momentum in ways that are both unconventional and incredibly effective.
Are luxury and innovation mutually exclusive?
As a multi-decade veteran of the digital sphere, our MD Mark Bower has seen the truth. While some luxury brands embrace new digital channels, and manage some inspiring digital transformation, most of the sector is behind the curve, tending to focus on the tried, true and traditional.
We’ve been negligent for the last 12 years in our lack of attention to digital transformation.
Kiran Haslam, CMO, Princess Yachts
Luxury and technical innovation may not be mutually exclusive, but there’s an opportunity for them to work a lot more magic together, reaching new audiences in Gen Z and beyond.
What’s the problem with the old ways?
Luxury brands tend to put most of their spend into the top of the funnel. That is to say they build a glorious, coveted brand and let it trickle down indiscriminately. By paying attention to the middle of the funnel, they have an opportunity to forge connection with highly-targeted audiences. To deliver the activity that engages, with the precision of a Patek Philippe.
Fortunately, when everyone’s audiences were suddenly stranded at home, the focus shifted. As panellist Sarah Yule, Director of Sales and Marketing at Audio Technica tells us: “The pandemic hit fast-forward for us.”
Have you met HENRY?
The rise of the HENRY demographic —High Earning, Not Rich Yet— is increasing the demand on luxury brands. These younger consumers have high expectations of luxury and wealth, but are also natively online, consuming content on demand and expecting robust digital experiences.
To move with the new luxury market, and impress with online experiences as much as bricks and mortar, organisations need to think beyond marketing and ads. This is full digital transformation, and affects the entire company. It’s why, as Google’s Customer Insights blog states: “If the CMO is coming to the meeting, the CFO has got to be there too. Because if not, we’re not going to make any progress.”
Digital outreach done right isn’t a pilot scheme on the fringes of your business. It’s a red thread that needs to run through the company’s DNA. Tesla offers a fantastic case study of this.
From the very first point of contact, Tesla offers targeted, personalised experiences to entice, tempt and inform potential customers. Using qualified, highly-detailed data, they’re able to ensure that every buyer has a unique experience across multiple touchpoints.
The result? The brand becomes associated with a bespoke, intelligent precision, and they receive an overall customer experience score of 90%. More than any other car brand. In addition 80% of Tesla customers go on to choose a Tesla for their next car.
So how do you put a little more Tesla in your company?
10 rules for branding in a digital age.
1. Be authentic – understand who you are, and who you speak to.
2. Understand your audience like never before. Including new priorities for travel, sustainability, ethics and more.
3. Create value across the user journey. Build engagement at every step, not just the beginning and the end.
4. Connect emotionally. The luxury market lives on passion over practicality.
5. Be consistent. If your above the line activity eclipses the rest of the sales cycle, you’ll lose people.
6. Think digital first. It’s where your reach is broadest.
7. Listen and engage. Engage with social media to get closer to your audience.
8. Personalise the experience. The right content at the right time makes the difference.
9. Aim for advocacy and create evangelical fans. This is cachet in the modern age.
10. Become an experience innovator. Think about how you sell, how you build trust, and how you captivate throughout the sales cycle.
Some of this may be on your radar already, but it’s as a whole package that you begin to unlock the true value. Let’s see how some of our prestigious panel members are approaching it in the wild.
Maddalena Deandrea, Brand and Category Manager at Liberty:
Liberty is venerated the world over, but in the digital age, you need so much more: “Brands, regardless of their legacy, need to be aware of a shift in dynamics and focus on a message to empower their audience.
Heritage alone isn’t enough.
When a brand creates content, they need to be aware that the relationship is symbiotic. The brand doesn’t dictate, it’s a constant two-way conversation. Always developing.
When you want to communicate a new product launch, you need to communicate the purpose and the story of the product. Heritage alone isn’t enough. Making the most of every channel is key.”
Helen Brocklebank, CEO, Walpole:
Running the UK’s luxury sector body, Walpole, Helen gets a rare insight into the activities of their membership. And she’s excited to see where it’s going: “Over the last 12 months, they’ve created an extraordinary dataset. Everyone’s been accelerating digital strategies madly. Now, luxury brands are sitting on some interesting data that you didn’t have before.
I don’t see challenges, I see opportunities — and a lot of experimentation.
Their customers are more understood than ever before. Now the challenge is to get into the segmentation of that data. They’re sitting on this incredible treasure trove that will help them come out of the pandemic sprinting.”
Ollie Taylor, Head of Commercial Development, Williams Jet Tenders
For brands who rely on the personal touch, and an exceptional, concierge-level service, the pandemic posed new problems. As producers of the world’s most sought-after yacht tenders, Williams felt this more than most. So how do you make those personal connections when everyone is at arm’s length?
“Social is an interesting space in the luxury segment. A lot of brands don’t know how to capitalise. They collect followers —but they don’t connect. Covid removed the human connection. Our business is built on being so in touch, solving customers problems. How do we bring that human connection to social.
Brands are too busy trying to collect followers rather than connect with them
We decided to inject some personality into our brand. Creating videos to show our customers exactly what we’re doing, generating as much free content as we can.
Our engagement went through the roof, beginning valuable two-way conversations. Even selling product through social media. These are very expensive boats, and you would never have previously thought you could do it through social media.
Social media gave all of our consumers their own broadcast platform. Peer to peer referral has never been more crucial, and producing shareable content builds a network of advocates who can amplify your message. It was a revolution for us.”
For luxury brands, this is an enormous opportunity. To transform processes, public perception, and the way you do business. To find out how you can create a top-down strategy that will see you turn your rich legacy into a fully fledged, digitally driven experience, get in touch with our team today.