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

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

Adding Value – Train Rides and iPads

Train rides are very enjoyable for me because I get the chance to remain terrestrial. I’m not driving myself, nor am I on a bus going pretty much the same way I would have driven myself. Since train tracks do not always follow “car routes”, I get to take a more scenic view, stumbling upon sights that don’t come into my view on a regular basis. I also like to take trains at times they are sparsely occupied, so that I have a lot of space to myself. The combination of those components makes the ride an enjoyable one. However the real luxury experience can be summed up in one picture from my last trip on Amtrak: Continue reading

Pictures from NYC: Part 2

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I have successfully completed the 30-day Challenge. I am really proud of the fact that, with exception of a few days where things were beyond my control, I was able to write a blog post every single day, for 30 days. Now that I am done, I’ll slow down just a tad to work on some other projects I have. Now on to more pictures from NYC. Continue reading