Top 10 Posts on “Lessons in Luxury”

Below are the top 10 posts based on readership.

Title
1. Aman Resorts: A Tough Sell for DLF
2. Questionable Co-branding
3. Fair and Square at JCPenney
4. Part 2 – This Thing Called Luxury
5. Luxe Value: Interbrand’s Best Global Brands
6. Adding Value – Train Rides and iPads
7. Swatch: Creating a Shakeout in the Swiss Watch Industry
8. What do LVMH and L’Oréal Have in Common with Google, KPMG, and Deutsche Bank?
9. A Room With a View of Your Porsche, Ferrari, Benz, …
10. Differentiating Upscale Hospitality Series: Ritz-Carlton
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Bangladesh: The Next Hot Spot in Apparel Sourcing?

Here’s something for MBAs interested in the apparel sector. The industry is a global one with pieces of its value chain spread across a variety of regions and countries. McKinsey Quarterly is a great, FREE resource for MBA students watching the pulse of their target industries. Click on the picture on the left to see an executive summary of this issue.

Are Luxury Brands Recession Proof?

Credit for this post goes to Chase Harps, one of my MBA classmates.

I often find myself having to evangelize for the luxury industry, especially to people that may be skeptical of its necessity or long-term viability. For those people, I am posting a link to a new 2012 brand ranking report from Brand Finance. Based on its findings, the company issued a viewpoint on luxury brands. Entitled “Recession Fails to Dent Consumer Lust for Luxury Brands“, the article lists the following main points. 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

Luxury is About Freedom

So, we can obviously say that relativity plays an important part in the way we think about many things – including luxury. What’s that old adage: One man’s meat is another man’s poison? I read an article from WSJ that brought this idea well into focus for me, and I think it also has some adjacent relevance to the concepts of trends and cycles.

When the great fashion designer, Yves Saint-Laurent started his own couturier in 1958, there wasn’t much in the way of pattern machines or industrial cutters for him to achieve his goal of making womenswear more affordable for the masses. In those times, the best clothing cost too much for common folk because of the time, money, and people that were required to make the ravishing clothing he designed. Today’s more affordable technology could certainly have done much for “la mode”. Continue reading

On the Shoulders of Giants

It’s been a while since I wrote something on this blog. I must apologize for my absence. I took some time off to do some studying. I watched movies, read books, and thought much about the cycle of business. My current curriculum includes books by Vance Packard, Marvin Traub, and Paco Underhill. I intend to have some of their books read by the end of Jan. 2012. You are probably wondering what those studies have to do with luxury and retail. My answer is ALOT.

From fashion to real estate, cycles are the most repetitive phenomenon. For me, business success has little to do with the present, but more with predicting the future. It’s not about what’s going on now, but what will happen in the next month. Thus, in order to get better at “seeing around corners” in the business environment, it’s important to study the past.

I am going as far back as Da Vinci, to learn from successful people who had something profound to say. Vance Packard, Marvin Traub, and Paco Underhill all bear some insight into the history of consumerism, the evolution of modern day retail, and the science of advertising.

They may not all be talking about social media, but ALL of what they say in books like The Hidden Persuaders, Like No Other Store, and Why We Buy should be part of the curriculum of any professional. I view my entrance into luxury and retail like little kids playing jump rope on a Harlem sidewalk. Imagine the little boy waiting for the perfect time to get inside the pattern that the twirling rope takes. It’s the same with business cycles – you just need to have great timing and jump to the rhythm – real well.

It is great to be back.