Last week Walpole held their 2020 Festival of Luxury Marketing, and team MCH was there. This year the event was in a virtual form and as always full of fascinating talks and panel discussions. In this blog post we have collected our top 5 key learnings from the festival.
1) Language of Luxury
The New Language of Luxury needs to give your audience the feels. Skills in story-telling and the use of multiple tones of voice will see brands gain traction with both existing and new audiences. “Better to show rather than say,” says Adam Larter at Studio Black Tomato. Furthermore, storytelling can be a valuable element to bring onto a digital format because it can help a brand stay connected to their roots on the digital platforms.
2) Increasing use of technology
When a global pandemic hits causing stores to close down and making face to face communication off-limits brands need to find alternative ways of communicating with their consumers. Lockdown has led brands to become increasingly digital. In China, more brands have used live streams as a way of communicating with their consumers. Since the ease of the lockdown more brands all over the world have continued with the increased use of technology. Consumers are becoming more adaptable, so brands need to do the same. However, following every technological trend on digital platforms can be seen as off-brand and disingenuous. Alexandra Currie at Farfetch warns not to use technology for technology’s sake. knee jerk reactions won’t provide the authenticity that is the backbone of many luxury brands. It is important to listen to consumers, while at the same time staying true to the brand.
3) Luxury products in China
According to Adam Knight, co-founder of TONG. Travel restrictions due to Covid-19, amongst other things, has increased the number of domestic purchases of luxury products in China. Especially Generation Z is buying luxury items in China. It is therefore important for brands to understand this generation as they are a generation that knows what they want. Brands need to be aware of sustainability, CSR, and inclusivity now more than ever. Brands need to listen and communicate with their consumers to make meaningful localization and avoid tacky or stereotypical products and campaigns because the key consumers are the best influencers for a brand.
4) The value of purpose
Some marketers believe we are entering a post-purpose movement in brand management however research from Bain & Company and The Future Laboratory suggests that consumers want to be emotionally connected to a brand that aligns with their values, ideas, and passions. This has only been reinforced as a consequence of the global pandemic. Consumers want transparency and business ethics they can relate to.
Anna Bartle from The Estée Lauder Companies gave such reassurance when she talked about transparency and business ethics. Consumers are turning in their droves to a more sustainable and ethical way of consuming and 76% of people under the age of 34 feel it is a company’s duty to be good to the world. Brands can benefit from and are increasingly expected by consumers to be good and contribute to a better world, but it must be genuine and every brand needs to find its core purpose.
5) Diversity in the fashion industry
The fashion industry is an industry that is projecting itself as being divers, however, this may not be the case behind the scenes. Jamie Gill, CEO of ROKSANDA talked through some of the diversity-related challenges facing luxury fashion brands. Consumers of British luxury products are located all over the globe. It is therefore significant for brands to understand and apply divers cultural aspects to their way of doing business to meet their audience. Inviting diversity in and challenging an already set business culture can lead to a continuous innovation that is key in business today. Ways of doing business that have worked in the past may not work anymore, so brands need to bring in people that can contribute with new and different ideas.
Diversity was also on the topic when Farrah Storr, Editor-In-Chief of Elle UK talked about diversity and inclusivity for luxury brands. “Smart brands understand that there is a place where everyone can meet.” It is essential not to create an echo chamber; let the drawbridge down, stick to your core values and find someone to help you get your message out there.