What most luxury brands didn’t understand about digital

Back in 2007, as I was the General Manager of BuzzParadise, we handled the very first operation involving bloggers for one of the most iconic global luxury brands.

At that time, it was really modern for a luxury brand to integrate bloggers into a strategic marketing plan or even to simply create a presence on social networks.

Brands were struggling with the fact that they could ruin their mystique, they were concerned that to stay inspirational they needed to remain out of the conversation. Ultimately the issue on everyone’s lips was ‘control’ and still to this day to a certain extent this is ‘the big issue’ when it comes social media.

How do you control anything in the wild wild west when everyone is breaking the rules and trying new things?

Well you don’t! This is why many luxury brands decided to, very simply, ignore it all.

Obviously, things have changed now, luxury brands have understood that they have to go where the people are. Therefore, bloggers are at the front row of every catwalk and almost all luxury brands have a presence on, at least, one social network.

But there’s a hitch!

Marketing is not only about talking (even for luxury brands)

This is an obvious statement, but the reality is, that those brands are talking and sharing but almost none of the luxury brands have arrived at the stage of listening. Reality is that according to Bain & Co, no luxury brands are doing it properly.

Most of them only consider social media as ‘push media’ and only use social to push out what marketers would term ‘decision’ content, concentrated on the brand and products themselves.

Take a step back, close your eyes, and pretend you are in a boutique.

In that brand’s sanctuary, the role of a luxury brand is to serve his clients as best as possible and therefore answer anything. There is no reason why this shouldn’t apply on the web. Some still think that luxury shoppers aren’t online but that’s a profound mistake as Google has shown through their figures.

100% of luxury shoppers owned a smartphone or a tablet, 75% conduct research online before purchasing…and therefore they are also active on social networks.

It is not rude to answer a complaint online and some luxury brands have already understood that quite clearly. The truth is that if you don’t listen, your competitor will, and the worst thing is that it’s live, open and free…. so there is no excuse!

It seems evident that most of brand followers are not buyers, but enthusiasts (I rather prefer this term than “fan”.) This customer advocacy is a strong asset for luxury brands, as they will create content that motivates other consumers to become customers.

Luxury brands are much more focused on products, creativity and branding than in understanding the consumer but they are wrong to ignore them.

That’s a pitfall.


If you want to read the full article, it has been published on Oracle platform here.

gregfromparisAuteur: Grégory Pouy
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