Tag Archives: Luxury Industry

Insights on Social Media Monitoring for Luxury Brands: Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and Forums.

Major B2C companies should increase their marketing investments in On-Line activities in 2010 according to a recent survey completed by Forrester Research. Social Media should be the Big Winner.

Marketing Investments 2010 - Forrester Research
(*) Forrester Research – Global Marketing Leadership Online Survey (multiple answers)

However, the main question remains the optimal allocation of resources in Social Media Marketing: recruitment of a Community Manager, selection of specialized agencies, production of specific content?
One way to look at it could be to monitor actual behaviors of Social Media users in order to define priorities.

I have recently performed an in-depth analysis amongst 28 brands in the Luxury, Jewelery and Watchmaking industry based on Customer Centric MatrixTM methodology (using the monitoring tool Radian 6).

Social Media and Luxury industry: Blogs and Forums are still ahead.

  • “Traditional” Social Media Channels (Blogs and Forums) represent almost 80% of the content published on Luxury and Watchmaking brands
  • The second largest Social Media Channel (Twitter 19%) is the one where brands are the less present and active
  • 34% of brand related content is not supported by a Luxury Brand environment (Twitter and Forums)

Social Media Monitoring - Luxury Brands - Split by Media Type

3 major profiles of Social Media usage amongst the 28 Luxury brands analyzed

  • Active engagement (7 brands)
    Social Media content related to these brands reflects a very active involvement of brands and their communities of “Fans”. A regular and frequent follow-up of brands takes place mainly via Blogs and Twitter. Brands are usually present with an active presence through their Official Facebook page.
    Louis Vuitton communities  are a good example of this profile.
  • Passionate and Sharing (4 brands)
    Committed communities of passionate clients and fans are interacting regularly with their brand(s ). Moreover, they use all Social Media channels to discuss and share points of views.
    Breitling Fans illustrate well this profile.
  • Personal Involvement (17 brands)
    Posts related to these brands are mainly channeled by Blogs. It corresponds usually to individuals sharing their interest via Blogs dedicated to a sector (e.g. watchmaking) or a brand.
    Jaeger Lecoultre can illustrate this profile.
Social Media Monitoring - Luxury Brands - Split by User Groups

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The main conclusions of this analysis indicate some practical tips“Story Telling”Frequent publishingSpecific content initiated by the brand,synergies between Social Media channels are some of the critical success factors.

28 brands were monitored and analyzed in March/April 2010
The research sample includes the following sectors: leather goods, watchmaking, jewelery and accessories. The scope covers International leading brands, challengers and niche brands.

Methodology:

– Customer Centric Matrix combining quantitative and qualitative measurements
– Social Media Monitoring based on total number of posts (all languages and all regions) supported by Radian 6
– Social Media channels based on Radian 6 definition

Source: weblog.customercentric.org

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Social Media and Luxury Brands: A New Era

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Stephane Galienni, founder and director of digital media experts BalistikArt, explains the leading digital marketing technologies and how they relate to luxury brands.

2010 was a turning point for luxury brands in their conquest of the digital world. With the new opportunities provided by social media – where the conversation takes place – and by the blogosphere – where opinions are voiced about brands – a major shift has occurred. From a society of communication, we have moved to a society of recommendation.

Today we are experiencing a mobile and social Internet, ruled by the notion of “every time, everywhere” in which the C-to-C conversation becomes permanent and real-time and is held in a written mode. A French proverb says: “Words are fleeting, writings remain” and Google is always there to remind us of this. Social media can become uncontrollable for prestigious houses, as was recently experienced by Guerlain.

To ignore what is happening in social media is like delegating the brand’s power of expression to the first passerby. Digital strategy in luxury is not about a marketing operation using a 2.0 “Swiss army knife” with its array of gadgets. It is a true anticipation of the future communication challenges for the luxury industry.

Twitter, how to reflect timelessness in real time

Early 2009, no luxury house was to be found on Twitter. Today, they almost all have their Twitter feed, with the difficulty of reflecting their rich heritage in 140 characters. Why is writing the story of an esteemed brand in real time so complicated? Literary inspirations and creative storytelling can enrich the live feed of a luxury house. Imagine the experience of discovering an unfolding story around the Hermès “Echappée belle” ad campaign, or regular telegraphs sent by a Vuitton traveller.

Facebook, luxury masstige

Facebook, with its 580 million members around the world, is a further godsend to luxury masstige and in particular for fragrance and small leather goods. The dream becomes accessible to all with one click, from fan page to e-commerce. The hundreds of thousands of fans who join the pages of luxury brands are voluntary and motivated, but unlike the customers who enter a store, there is often no one to say: “Hello, can I help you?”

Social Relationship Management, or SRM, is an initial response to social media strategies, because luxury is primarily a matter of customer service. Social Relationship Managers can provide a daily service similar to that of a butler or concierge, listening and providing personal advice for each of its customers or fans.

Front Row Bloggers

It is now common practice to have bloggers in the front row of fashion shows, as they are the first to tweet live and quick to post articles on a new collection. Bloggers are content creators, passionate and technically savvy, capable of getting the word out on Google faster than online magazines. The paradox of embargoed press releases and information leakage on the blogosphere is a new issue of communication timing in a digital environment. PR departments have to rethink their methods so that they can address different audiences simultaneously by developing a form of transversal storytelling.

What is next? If social media was the trend in 2010, in particular with the spectacular acceleration of Facebook, 2011 will be the year of the mobile web. The QR code technology, for example, opens new opportunities for luxury advertising as it provides content to mobile users from a billboard or a point of sale. With a pocket internet connection and geolocation-based services, the media is closer than ever to the end user and offers a fabulous new perspective on brand content.

Source: Luxurysociety.com

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Why Mobile Holds the Key to the Future

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Just like the e-commerce and blog sceptics before them, those who doubt the importance of m-commerce and mobile marketing will be exposed as short-sighted

Contrary to popular belief, mobile is not just a new medium that will win attention. Instead, it represents a continued trust in a brand and its values which translate to a new channel for marketing and commerce. And as more consumers transfer their online shopping habits to mobile devices, this means the biggest beneficiaries will be those luxury brands which consumers trust across all channels – mobile included.

“Affluent and wealthy consumers are embracing mobile functionality and mobile applications,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute in New York. “Right now they’re doing it for things that are a little mundane, but also for important things like financial services and financial information, and they have downloaded luxury brands’ apps.”

“Younger consumers have downloaded more than older consumers, but as devices get easier to use and as more people buy mobile devices with better screens, I think you’ll see mobile becoming a far more important device – even more important than the PC in terms of interacting with consumers,” he said. “It’s going to become a mobile world and luxury brands need to be really prepared.”

Finding the fit

All indications point to more luxury brands starting to advertise on mobile ahead of a fully-fledged mobile commerce presence over the next couple of years.

Prestige players such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Toyota’s Lexus have made waves and moved the needle. Each has taken an early initiative in targeting consumers with mobile advertising and each by integrating interactive components.

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Neiman Marcus’s Christmas Book, Lexus advertising page on Esquire and R.L. Gang, the Ralph Lauren’s storybook for its children line

For example, Lexus placed a full-page rich-media ad in the launch edition of male lifestyle magazine __Esquire__’s iPad application. The unit prompted users to manipulate a digital graphic using their fingers to launch a 30-second video shot for the brand’s national “Drive Precision” campaign. Consumers could then find out more information about Lexus’ IS line of sedans and locate nearby dealerships to schedule an appointment.

Ralph Lauren, which was awarded 2010 Luxury Marketer of the Year, launched a shoppable storybook called “R.L. Gang” that promoted its children’s fashion line. The company placed a banner ad in The New York Times’ Editors Choice iPad application that drove awareness of, and traffic to, the initiative.

The storybook ran a plot narrated by entertainer Harry Connick Jr. that featured characters wearing Ralph Lauren items. Users could click the characters to shop the items online or on their iPads. The feature was viewed 131,000 times across channels, generating more than 100 million impressions worldwide, and drove a 250% increase in sales over the corresponding period in 2009.

Other luxury brands such as the automaker Bentley and watch manufacturer IWCShaffhausen have converted their branded magazines into interactive applications. Mercedes-Benz even integrated the iPad into its point-of-sale system, enabling dealers to conduct transactions on the showroom floor using the mobile technology.

Retail detail

Another example of a luxury brand looking to navigate the new marketing ecosystem by integrating mobile into its sales strategy is the storied US luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus.

“Even if you do have a great contact strategy, it doesn’t matter if your customer is disappointed with your lack of multichannel integration,” said Gerald Barnes, president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Direct, at the Luxury Interactive conference in New York in June. “Multichannel integration is key to prove that we’re customer-centric, 21st-century luxury retailers.”

“When you think about the customer, the customer just really expects you to get the merchandise from wherever the merchandise comes from,” he said. “You need to be able to move back and forth between your own channels.”

The retailer fully mobilized its entire product catalogue this summer, making it available on a mobile commerce site compatible with any web-enabled handheld device.

“Our strategy is to enable our customer to shop with us anywhere she wants to, any time she wants to, from any place she wants to,” said Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications at Neiman Marcus. “To that end, NeimanMarcus.com is on a mobile-friendly site and we are seeing increased usage.”

“ Multichannel integration is key to prove that we’re customer-centric, 21st-century luxury retailers ”

Additionally, the brand has launched two mobile applications: NM Editions for the iPad and NM Gift for the iPhone. NM Editions creates a unified platform for viewing all of Neiman Marcus’ publications such as its annual Christmas Book that was released in early fall. Consumers can select and buy items from the catalogues within the application, which is available for free in Apple’s App Store.

The NM Gifts application lets consumers browse and buy from Neiman Marcus’ full selection of holiday gifts. It also integrates the iPhone’s accelerometer technology to create a more interactive shopping experience, letting consumers shake their devices to generate gift suggestions at random.

“When you look at the way [luxury retailers] reach and connect with consumers today, the old model where consumers are loyal to one channel of distribution has gone by the wayside,” said Pam Danziger, president of US-based firm Unity Marketing. “Marketers need to be reinforcing relationships across all channels, because that’s how consumers are shopping.”

“Neiman has done a whole lot of work in understanding this cross-channel mix and bringing the channels together into a unified marketing strategy,” she said.

Just check in

While success stories abound of luxury brands effectively tapping mobile’s potential for driving conversions, the actual development process can be tricky.

“I think the challenges are, specifically, when you first build a mobile site or application, it’s the first time you have done something,” said Christoph Oberli, vice president of e-commerce at the Mandarin Oriental. “You basically don’t know what you don’t know, and the learning experience can be a challenge.”

Mandarin Oriental had to address such concerns early in the development process for its slate of mobile properties, which includes a website and an iPhone app, as well as a forthcoming iPad app. One challenge the company faced was in understanding what its target consumers wanted out of a mobile offering.

“You really need to understand your customer if you want to build a mobile presence – and even more so because it’s such a small screen,” Oberli said. “When you’re in such close proximity to your customer, you need to really understand the customer and what it is they want to do on a mobile site and build around that. That’s a prerequisite more than a challenge.”

The Mandarin Oriental PC website has the most content and images, whereas the mobile site is a spare experience that focuses on maximizing utility and minimizing clutter by providing only relevant information for individual travellers. Meanwhile, the application includes information dedicated to bringing destinations surrounding the brand’s hotels and serves more as a travel guide than the other platforms, while also enabling bookings.

“Our mobile site was a big push first, and led to a lot of visits and a decent amount of bookings,” Oberli said. “The application was built in a later stage and was more of an engaging tool.”

“All three of our platforms – the website, the mobile site and the app – are trying to form online touch points for our customers, and have slightly different purposes,” he said. “In other words, there is some consistent content across all three platforms, then some very specific items for each platform.”

Another challenge is development.

“We’re a small company, so we don’t have in-house development teams,” Oberli said. “With virtually everything we do, we work with a third party. The beauty of that is, as a luxury brand, you need to build the absolute best. Whatever you do has to be top quality everywhere.”

“In our case, we have worked with solid partners who built apps and mobile sites before, so we could alleviate some of that danger [of inexperience],” he said.

What now?

The luxury industry, at large, faces a few challenges in terms of mobile engagement. The first is that many luxury brands are still working to understand how to execute e-commerce strategies. Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan have only launched e-commerce-enabled websites in 2010. For such brands, mobile will be a catch-up game.

What’s more, many other luxury brands are reticent to adopt mobile commerce strategies for fear that they might lose some of their prestige and mystique by making items available on a sales channel even further removed from the traditional showroom experience than e-commerce is. Consumers, however, are shopping across channels. And mobile is becoming a bigger piece of the equation.

“Mobile enables luxury brands to reach consumers at each step in the marketing funnel – awareness, trial, persuasion and loyalty,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Luxury Daily (1). “The consumer is already on mobile – don’t fall too far behind.”

Source: Luxurysociety.com

(1) Luxury Daily is a trade publication covering luxury marketing and retail

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