Insight | Responsibility
Responsibility enhances appeal to consumers
We are going to see more expressions of social responsibility by luxury brands. Consumer brands are getting hammered with the need to show their green credentials. The luxury brands will communicate more about all aspects of their businesses from how they make their products to how they run their offices. People purchasing luxury items and spending a lot of money on themselves would like to know that the brands they’re buying are putting money into good causes. It makes the customer feel better about buying, owning, and using a luxury product.
Global Client MD
Insight | Inclusivity
Must-have products draw consumers
There’s a difference between how people look at luxury brands overall and how they look at one specific luxury product that really takes off. People are saving for that product. That’s the inclusivity part of luxury. It could be the Gucci backless loafer or a particular YSL lipstick that sold out after it was used on a show in Korea. There’s something interesting about looking at a particular product. We’re finding that in beauty, showing products drives higher click-through rates than tutorials.
Global Consulting Partner
Insight | Heritage
Communication should look back, but face forward
Craftsmanship and the use of premium authentic materials remains key. It is important for brands not to talk about craftsmanship in ways that simply repeat the past, but to use the learnings of history and heritage to inform what they do in the future. Dior, for example, uses social media to talk about craftsmanship, referencing the skills and methods that it has applied for many years, but talking about how to apply them in progressive ways. Luxury car brands make use of cutting edge technology while referencing classic designs, and their storytelling around modern approaches to craftsmanship appeal to a new audience of discerning global luxury consumers.
Senior Account Director
Insight | Data
Luxury brands now personalize services using customer data
Luxury brands are acknowledging the fact that they need to understand their customers in ways that brands in any other category need to understand their customers. They are investing more in data insights with a view to providing personalized services that are complementary to a luxury product. We see data being used with personal shoppers to understand shopping habits and provide recommendations that are appropriate to high-end customers. The data might yield a curated list of fashion items that could be delivered within a couple of hours. The customer tries on the merchandise, purchases what she wants and returns the rest.
Senior E-Commerce Consultant
Wunderman Thompson Commerce
Insight | Lifetime Value
Best to focus on customer lifetime value
Strong luxury brands have been able to hold their price points and exclusivity. In many cases, they have found a way to be accessible to more than just the most exclusive shoppers, by offering tchotchkes like keychains or purse tassels as a way to own a “piece” of the brand and/or an entry point into it. These tchotchkes offer an on-ramp to the brand, so that Customer Lifetime Value can be maximized. The cautionary tale is when a luxury brand offers a lower-priced line of goods that serve the same purpose as the original, high-end line, under the same (or similar) brand name. That gives people permission to trade-down, diminishing not only the CLV but also the brand’s equity along with it.
Senior Vice President, Business Development, Strategic Client Partner
Insight | Inclusivity
Today’s luxury comes in rental, resale, and new
Before the global financial crash, people talked about style tribes, which were more exclusive. Now, because of social media, people think in terms of style communities, which are more inclusive and intersectional. People can move around based on their values, their moods—and are more open to trying different brands, different philosophies. New operations like The Real Real and Rent The Runway are thriving because today’s customer often is comfortable with rental, resale, and new. That’s a different behavior. This not a customer who is looking for something cheap; it is a person who will pay full price for an exclusive Gucci loafer, but buy vintage Valentino, and happily rent Prabal Gurung on subscription.
Insight | Secret Recipe
Luxury brands need to focus on long-term
The balance between long-term and short-term business results is a hot topic in boardrooms across the world, with the added pressure of the management revolving door spinning faster than ever. Luxury brands are no exception. High-end luxury has always been a long-term game, with brands resonating for decades not days. But with ever-expanding product ranges that are becoming more accessible, the temptation for a short-termism approach has never been greater. But this is dangerous territory to play in, with costly implications in the longer term—luxury brands need to remember their “secret recipe,” which is more relevant than ever.
Global Business Director
Insight | Access
Luxury brand relationships are open to all
Enabled by social media, your product may not be for everyone, but your brand may be. Everyone can have a relationship with a brand on Facebook or Instagram without owning one item from the brand. To reach people who can own luxury products, it is important for brands to resolve any disconnect between what the brand believes its stands for and how people experience the brand online. That requires moving the high-touch experience from instore to online, making it easy to get help, check out, and return merchandise.
Whitney Krause James
Partner, Analytics Practice