Traditional engagement marketing and advertising models are struggling, even when it comes to established brands today. As they are unable to create an engagement that keeps users / customers loyal and or interested in them.
Constantly evolving social media trends, social networking platforms are creating more and more challenges even for some of the top luxury lifestyle, retail, fashion players etc, let alone new entrants.
Which means, fashion, retail, lifestyle and luxury brands will need to rethink their marketing strategy.
Luxury brands need to find newer ways to engage their customers, both, offline and online. At the same time, they need to find a clearly defined marketing strategy that helps them maximise their ROI.
Which brings us to the most important question, “What can luxury brands do to engage users with digital marketing and social media?”
First things first, consumers today are ready to buy-in to the idea of spending huge amounts. But, this is subject to, if and only if they feel, that the brands stand for something they believe in. In other words, these brands need to be proactive advocates of diversity and inclusion.
Few things that need to be kept in mind while planning a marketing strategy that brings together the online and offline users are:
- Supply chain issues and risks
- Government decisions that might change or disrupt how businesses are being run, their costs, import and export duties, laws etc
- How vivid is their currently defined consumer preferences? And can there be a strategic way to disrupt and channel users with newer models of transacting and communication
- Too much focus should not be given to social networking or third party applications. In the long run, what would sustain are brand-owned channels online
- Luxury brands need to clearly understand that consumers today are no longer impressed merely because a celebrity is wearing or using their product. They need to be experts in storytelling and with that, convey how their products and or brands are truly different from the others in the industry.
For example, I recently read an article about Jennifer Lopez’s jungle dress from Versace. It says that the embroidery design in it, seems to have been designed by a group of Indian artisans (read recycled plastic – PET), I know, it’s so amazingly crazy, that I am simply going to share the link for you to read it here: Img and Src BusinessofFashion and on similar lines, the Lady Dior Bag has incorporated traditional Rajasthani inspired mirror work. With respect to, JLO’s dress, Karishma Swali, managing director of Chanakya says it was her Mumbai-based export atelier that did the embroidery for the Jennifer Lopez Versace dress. A representative for Versace declined to comment
Now, assuming the above statement to be true, though, the sources can only be confirmed I guess, when the team from Versace too shares their comment on this. Having said that, this could actually be a wonderful way for luxury brands to engage emotionally with users in a country like India where people are ready to spend huge amounts to own a piece of something that helps them stand distinct in a crowd. Especially, if they have a story that can connect them with the product in a way that says, the international repute of the product though is unquestionable, it still has its roots in our own country and a hint of that can be seen by users or felt or experienced by them in the product itself. This is possible through a powerful story telling via social channels.
What can luxury brands do to power boost their marketing and or digital marketing strategies:
- The power of real influencers, not just celebrities or pseudo- celebrities: Partnering with individuals or other brands who truly live the lifestyle and can tell an authentic story, rather than blindly paying popular influencers to promote their products, I feel is a key factor for luxury brands today to plan their influencer marketing campaigns.
In fact, I would go a step further and state that if they can somehow harness the power of their existing customers content sharing habits, train them to fine tune and communicate in a corporate communication brand tone as felt acceptable by the brands, such influencer campaigns could go a long way and deliver way better ROI too. That would be what we call, User Generated Content (UGC) and without a doubt, one of the best forms of advertisement for any brand, however big or small.
- What are the triggers? – It’s key to understand the consumer preferences, what are their aspirations, what are the emotional and social triggers which can convert a prospect to a loyal customer. Here, clearly designing the buyer persona, customer journey mapping, digital touch-points can help you as a luxury brand to even plan a marketing strategy with clear ROI.
- Deals NOT really, whereas Personalisation, a big YES!: Luxury brand shoppers are not looking merely for deals, discounts or freebies. They are looking for personalisation and customisation more than anything. If you, as a luxury brand can create a distinct product only for users shopping, let’s say online from your app or website and or those specifically visiting your store on a said date, they can be offered an exclusive custom designed product experience. These are decision making triggers for users engaging with luxury brands.
- It’s not just what your product is about, it’s how it makes them feel: Forget the Uber-exquisite features, rather, talk about what it does or how it transcends users and their experiences at an emotional level. Luxury brands need to be able to convey the message of “how this product or service” will make you feel. If they can do that, they have hit the consumers “reasons to buy this”, at the right time for all the right reasons. Is it social status, is it the cause that the brands believe in, is it how sustainable it is…. and the list could go on.
- Buyer Persona: Lexus created 1,000 video ads for different types of consumers. Now that is buyer persona profile taken to an altogether different level.
- Brand heritage: The story of how the brand has evolved over the years, where it began decades or even centuries ago and what it means to the consumer of today. How has it kept its core values intact while ensuring it has blended in to make the users of today a part of it. Thus, a brand heritage story could be a powerful way to connect and showcase the traditions and the innovation journey of the brand.
- Pinterest and Chanel: Chanel doesn’t even have an active account on Pinterest, but that didn’t stop the brand fromranking first in a study of luxury fashion brands on the platform. You don’t need to be on every single platform, just ensure your brand has that impact which empowers your most loyal customers to create a shrine sort of for you online. It’s crucial to note today that whether we like to accept it or not, consumers today are more aware about the brand than the brand themselves.
- Personalised services: Having a private member groups, customized and personalised concierge services, loyalty perks that are delivered digitally etc could be the key to winning a luxury brand consumer in the long run!
- An interesting case study is how we, at Techdivine Creative Services, my 10 year old digital agency that has catered to clients across 9 countries, custom designed a successful offline to online digital marketing campaign for a client brand partner based out of UK by using traditional marketing ideas and bringing them to life in the digital space. I often discuss this case study when I am hired as a speaker, trainer on luxury brand management.
There are brands that have already taken the digital way to empower their customers. Here is another wonderful example, Fashion meet Data Dress for couture, the digital way (Click to read)
Highlights of the above article: Fashion meet Data Dress:
- Download their app on your phone.
- It will translate a week of your life’s activities and routine into a custom designed dress based on the data it accumulates which empowers you to own and or wear clothing that in every sense of the term speaks of your life story.
YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUlF3rW8flU&w=560&h=315
Here is yet another example of a luxury brand doing it right! Burberry merges Google Search with AR for shopping inspiration
Listed below are some interesting statistics and data about the activities and the market online with their sources and links
Google tops Facebook, Instagram in e-commerce activity, study finds. Google’s paid search ads have a conversion rate of 2.7%, ahead of direct traffic at 2.5%, while Google’s organic search is 2.1%, Facebook’s is 1.5% and Instagram’s is 0.8%
- Global comparison revenue – Source Statista – https://www.statista.com/outlook/21000000/119/luxury-goods/india#market-revenue
- A combined research carried out by Euromonitor, Forrester and McKinsey Company projects the digital share of the global luxury market to be at 20% by the year 2025
- With increasing awareness of environmental issues on the part of both government and consumers, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue across a range of categories in the Indian luxury goods market
- Most popular social networks worldwide as of January 2020, ranked by number of active users
Another market in the luxury segment that has popped out of nowhere is the reusable luxury market. The new luxury consumer of today is preferring to purchase a pre-owned luxury product. Big Boy Toyz, which is an Indian company selling pre-owned luxury cars from brands such as Audi and Aston Martin) is one of the best examples.
Few other quick ideas and strategies that could work wonders in the luxury brand management and luxury brand marketing segments are:
- Voice search and Alexa Skills
- Micro blogging, micro vacations and micro moments
- Zero distance retail and design thinking to make things more sustainable, accessible and engaging in other words, relatable to end users
- 4G, cheap and smarter phones with low costs for internet at better speeds have made people more aware. So relying or content that is immersive to engage by using AR, VR, IoT, etc is a no-brainer, especially in the luxury brand segment.
An interesting example is of BVLGARI and #SEEMYWISH campaign.
Another interesting example is Crocodile. For the second year in a row, the crocodile is leaving its spot to ten threatened species. Join #LacosteSaveOurSpecies on May 22nd.
In other ways, there are hundreds of things that can be done to ensure your marketing success for UHNI and HNI in the luxury brand segment. But, to be honest, you just need to figure two to three things that will fit perfectly based on your products and your end users.
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Ananthanarayanan V (Ananth)
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