SEcon 2012 at W&M

In my last post, I mentioned a conference coming up in April, 2012. Well there’s one that’s just came to an end at the Mason School of Business at The College of William and Mary. The inaugural session of SEcon (Social Entrepreneurship Conference) has just concluded. What an amazing two-day experience being among leaders, innovators, and change agents with a passion for doing great good for business and society.

The conference hosted participants from across the globe, including:

  • Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Bin Jassim Al-Thani – Vice-Chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Program.
  • John Bridgeland – President & CEO of Civic Enterprises
  • Jonathan Greenblatt – Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation at the Domestic Policy Council
  • Stanley S. Litow – IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of IBM’s Foundation
  • Mike Perlis – President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes Media LLC
  • Ali Siddiqui – Principal shareholder of JS Group and board member of the Acumen Fund, a social enterprise fund
  • Wayne Silby – Founding Chair of Calvert Funds

There’s a complete list of participants here.

Social entrepreneurship is not a new idea that requires considerable thought or effort to understand. It occurs and develops in many different ways – with individuals, communities, companies, and even nations. After attending all the breakout sessions and listening to the various speakers, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for luxury brands that want to be more relevant to consumers.

The SEcon 2012 conference website will be up for a long time to come. I suggest you access the trove of videos and information generated by the event. I’m going to study all of the material to find those nuggets of wisdom that will help me in my luxe-focused career.

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A New Lens on Sustainability: The Triple Bottom Line in the Luxury Sector

By Renee delCastillo, MBA 2013 @ The College of William and Mary

The business world is not just about reaching potential, it is about redesigning it. In modern business environments, success is no longer measured in the bottom line of the income statement, but a triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.  While the luxury sector is more immune to small economic downturns, the prolonged effects of recent global financial crisis have made all consumers (including buyers of luxury goods and services) more cautious of the social and environmental impacts of their purchasing decisions.

Continue reading

Luxonomics

Today’s post focuses on luxonomics (luxury economics). Since luxury goods embrace the concept of rarity, it would be an obvious deduction to assume that the more scarce a luxury product or service becomes, the more demand it enjoys. Consequently, prices can appreciate – to levels that can be absorbed by few.

Some of the factors affecting supply include:

  • Input Prices
  • Technology or Government Regulations
  • Number of Firms
  • Substitutes in Production
  • Taxes
  • Producer Expectations

Today I want to show you some “scarce” luxury products, whose supply has largely been affected  by government regulations. As the cited MSN Money slideshow states, all the products listed are affected by legal restrictions limiting their production, distribution, and sale in parts of the world. Much of the reasoning behind these bans is aimed at protecting the environment. Continue reading

Diamonds are Getting Pricey

30-day Challenge – Day 21

If you are an affluent consumer earning more than $100,000 in annual income, then the recent report by Bain & Company on diamond prices should worry you. If you make upwards of $250,000 a year, then you shouldn’t be as perturbed because you will not be greatly affected by the forecasted jump in diamond prices.

The global consulting firm has put out a report estimating that diamond demand will  grow at a 6% CAGR over the next decade. The company believes that as we approach 2020, diamond supply will not be able to keep up with demand due in part to the growing economies of China and India. Those markets alone are estimated to push diamond demand at a CAGR of 6.6% in diamond volume alone. While demand is estimated to grow, diamond supplies are only expected to grow by 3% (CAGR) in volume. Continue reading

Keeping to Your Mission with Counterintuitive Marketing Approaches

30-day Challenge – Day 20

A while back, our business school, the Mason School of Business, was visited by Tetsuya O’ Hara, the Director of Advanced R&D. It was a momentous visit especially for students  who had never heard of this manufacturer of outdoor gear and apparel.

One thing Tetsuya told us about the company, was in regards to the new marketing campaign it was executing. Basically, Patagonia was asking its customers not to buy its products – for environmental reasons. As a professional in the luxury market, this certainly looks like a great way to market your product. However, there is some sincerity behind the company’s plea.

You should check out the ad here. Also look at the company’s blog post, explaining their rationale for the ad in more detail. Check out the comments as well.

Sustainability – The New Dimension of Luxury

30-day Challenge – Day 11

Over the course of writing this blog, I have learned a lot by covering the evolving themes in the business landscape occupied by premium brands.

For any of my readers interested in working in the luxe space, these themes are what I believe will dictate and most possibly define their success. I have talked about luxe-related issues ranging from social media to responsible business. Today I want to talk about sustainability. If you have already got a dose of this in my earlier posts, then I am re-emphasizing it in light of recent news articles highlighting how some brands are introducing sustainability in their corporate strategies.

Who would have ever known that acclaimed jeweler, Tiffany, would build a dedicated web page to highlight its efforts in corporate social responsibility (CSR); or that the renowned Peninsula Hotels would make a bold (and maybe costly) decision to stop serving shark fin in its restaurants?

Well, its happening all around us today. Whether or not you believe in the sincerity of these varying corporate initiatives, sustainability is no longer a matter of lip-service. Brands are actually paying attention to many of the concerns of consumers. In his opinion piece on luxurysociety.com, Leslie Pascaud, Director of Added Value Paris, discusses why luxury brands should and will embrace sustainability in the near future. See the article here.

Luxury Hospitality Giant Shows Love

30-day Challenge – Day 7

     

Today, I am both glad and proud to write about a company, with which I have done business: both as a pre-MBA professional and as a consumer. I have to say that I wasn’t surprised when I came across this article announcing Hilton Worldwide’s initiative to give people around the world better access to the hygiene that can help prevent fatal illnesses such as diarrheal diseases and pneumonia.

In partnership with the Global Soap Project, Hilton Worldwide is leading the charge to help develop a cost-free way for hotels around the world to recycle left-over bars of soap, which are provided to guests during their stays. In the first year of this partnership, Hilton Worldwide expects this investment to result in the donation of more than one million new 4-ounce bars of soap to people in need. Learn how it works here. Continue reading