Are you the target?

I came home this evening a very disappointed consumer. I had just seen “Man of Steel” and “The Wolverine“. I know it seems so off-message to start my post on luxury with talk of comic book heroes, but read on to see where this leads.  Continue reading

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I Love The Business of Luxury Like A Fish Loves Water

So, the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference is over and I’m wondering why I go to this conference every year.

Well, its simple.

The Dream Team (and yours truly) - Members of the LuxRe Club from The College of William and Mary at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

The Dream Team (and yours truly) – Members of the LuxRe Club from The College of William and Mary at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

I like to listen to the array of views on what’s going on in the luxury industry. I also enjoy meeting new minds, and reuniting with old friends. However, the real reason I go to the conference is simply because it makes me feel good. It fires up my creative neurons and allows me to think about things in different ways. The best way to describe it is that I feel comfortable – like a fish in water.

Reimagining the In-Store Experience: One of the panels at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

Re-imagining the In-Store Experience: One of the panels at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

Key Idea: Find those environments and business cultures that make you feel good about who you are. Find the people and places that excite your true passions. You won’t go far if you fail to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you believe in. Act like a luxury brand and stand for something.

My View: The main reason I joined the industry is because it stands for something that is important to me. Though there are opposing opinions out there, I believe that the luxury segment benefits a vast array of stakeholders in different geographic, cultural, and socio-economic segments – governments, companies, the environment, and of course, consumers. The industry doesn’t just provide beautiful products and valuable services for consumers – it also provides jobs and supports economic development.

Finally…. Luxury Car Brands are Taking Tips from the Kings of Customer Service

Key Takeaway from The Luxury Doctrine (a new resource in development):

If you want to be successful, especially in luxury, you have to think of, and act like the customer, at all steps in the value chain… you have to manage the customer’s experience

– Edmund Amoye, Lessons in Luxury

For those who have been following my posts on the different luxury segments, you’ll notice that the key catalyst for success in today’s environment is innovation in managing the customer experience. If you are new to this customer-centric theme, I have a list of related posts at the bottom, to get you up to speed.

In every business there are seasons and cycles – ups and downs. At their rollout to end-users, luxury goods and services are sometimes heralded as innovative novelties and “must haves”. However, as brands permeate, manufacturers innovate, and marketing teams penetrate (I had to use that rhyme… too easy to pass up), commoditization sets in. Luckily, the Ford Motor Co. is doing something about that with its Lincoln automotive brand.

– Top View of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ Continue reading

How Many Lives Does a Jaguar Have?

So Tata Motors is doing a lot to revamp the Jaguar brand. It purchased the Jaguar and Land Rover brands from Ford for $2.3B. Ford, which lost $800M on the sale, seems to have shed its heavy baggage, but can Tata bring this cat back to life?

There are mixed reactions from industry on the effectiveness of the luxe auto’s new advertising campaign, which is aimed at making an emotional connection with auto enthusiasts. Professors from the University of Michigan and MIT said it missed the mark, while a consulting firm out in LA stuck its neck out to say that the campaign is “avant-garde enough to definitely capture consumers’ attention and put Jaguar on the radar screen of more potential luxury customers”.

All those opinions don’t matter. Let’s see what the sales numbers say in a year. It will surely be an improvement for Jaguar to get 18,000 to 20,000 people to test-drive its cars, as opposed to the the 300 to 400 who try them out annually in the United States. Wow only 300 to 400. Anything above that will be a remarkable improvement.

What Apple Can Teach You About Not Having To Compete On Price

I found this great article at www.fastcompany.com. The major take aways for businesses that do not want to compete on price are:

  1. Develop Powerful Branding – Effective and unique branding puts your product in a competitive space that has little to do with price, and more to do with being cool, trendy (or timeless), and of great quality.
  2. Strategic Marketing – This encompasses the four Ps of marketing and much more. In luxury marketing you need to be thinking about the four Es (exclusivity, emotion, engagement, and experience). While Apple won’t admit that they intentionally create product shortages in order to create a buzz, it is certainly part of the reason why customers are willing to pay huge premiums to have their products as soon as they are released.
  3. Excellent customer service – Customer service is something you can not afford to lack. From getting customer’s to try your products and services to keeping them loyal, customer service is the lynch pin that sets you appart from competitors.
  4. A product that doesn’t disappoint – All of the above won’t mean anything if you don’t have a stellar product. Take a page from companies like Apple and Patagonia who are committed first to making the best product possible.

If a product can’t live up to the expectations set by its marketing, it won’t be successful for the long term

Part 1 – This Thing Called Luxury

Yesterday, I got into an intense discussion with two of my classmates about the strategic justifications for my focus on the “luxury” segment. While my colleagues were making an argument for the limited market size demerits of luxury products, I tried to explain my thesis of luxury goods/services in a transactional framework. In the end, both sides came to similar conclusions. I’ll attempt to take you through the debate first from an abstract level.

If a customer asked me: “why do you consider your product/service a luxury?”, I’d say to them: Continue reading

Some Stuff I Read Today

30-day Challenge – Day 28

It’s been a wonderful and exhausting day. Our LuxRe Club did some consulting work for a large VA winery today, and I’ve been busy doing some necessary follow up.

Today I’m posting a link to an article, entitled “Top 8 Luxury Travel & Marketing Trends for 2012”. I recommend it not only because I read it, but because I do not believe I could give you the gist of it without omitting some important information.

If you are thinking of starting a new business catering to affluent consumers, I recommend you take the 10 minutes necessary to increase your knowledge. The article may validate or refute some of your perspective, but I can assure you that it covers a lot of ground.

I also recommend you read “To Market or not to Market? The No-Marketing Approach“. I read the following lines and couldn’t stop because it’s one of the best luxe conceptualizations I have come across:

We can live without luxury, and we are consciously aware that when we buy it we are spending our money on something we don’t need. So why, in an age of financial instability and austerity measures, is luxury spending on the rise? The decision to purchase luxury good is closely tied to the importance of freedom – freedom of choice, or the freedom to spend our money as we wish.

– Dr. Isaac Mostovicz, consulting academic