MARKETING TO THE LUXURY BUYER IS A SKILL MOST INTERNATIONAL BRANDS HAVE HONED TO A FAULT. BUT CAN THE NEW GENERATION OF SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY BUYERS BE SEDUCED THE SAME WAY? WE CULL THEIR INSIGHTS
We are constantly bombarded with
information as our phones, tablets and laptops have become vehicles of communication. The newest novelties from fairs like Baselworld and SIHH are instantaneously posted online, while creative directors and CEOS are actively engaging collectors directly through Instagram and Snapchat, showcasing not just their latest products, but also their lifestyles, celebrity friends and exotic holidays.
This has completely changed the way luxury buyers consume information, resulting in unconventional marketing campaigns, a greater emphasis on celebrity culture and a language that has been tweaked to suit this generation’s voice. It has changed the very notion of luxury, which was formerly characterised by an air of rarefied discretion and inaccessible aspiration. Today, the haves (and the pseudo haves) are taking to social media to flaunt their latest acquisitions and experiences, bridging that gap between purveyor of luxury and consumer of luxury. And this is all happening at an unprecedented pace, hurtling into uncharted territory, as the potential for online growth is still merely at the tip of the iceberg.
As horology and joaillerie brands adapt to this changing landscape, we speak to today’s luxury connoisseurs and discover their thoughts on the proliferation of this digital world.
Jewels & Time: Would you buy a statement-making jewellery or watch that has been worn on the red carpet?
LYDIA: “Yes, I would buy it if it was worn by a celebrity, but not a reality star. I feel that brands engage reality stars to connect with mainstream commercialism, and I don’t appreciate that for heavy ticket and luxury items. Luxury is not meant to be for everyone and it should never be too easily accessible. Jewellery worn by reality stars loses its appeal. The only similarity between a reality star and a real Hollywood superstar is their number of fans, outreach and exposure but there is usually not much depth or talent in the former. I would categorise their influence as sub-par.”
NYCKY: “I believe at the end of the day, it is important to buy something that you really have a liking for, instead of just buying it because someone famous has worn it before.”
VASHTY: “I am not sure if I like the idea of buying an item such as jewellery worn by someone else. But if it was previously owned by
the likes of Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly then I probably think I would.”
TZE TZE: “When I decide to buy something, it’s because it appeals to me. But if it was worn by a Kardashian, then maybe I would think twice!”
J&T: Are luxury brands speaking the right language to you, in a way that entices your purchase?
LYDIA: “It depends if the person speaking to us is of influence, or is a sales representative who has been trained thoroughly about the brand story and is merely reciting it. It makes a difference when they can alter sales pitches to increase a value proposition to each individual. That way you are not presenting the collection or the brand’s motto but really personalising it to me and making it clear that a particular product is perfect for my personality, style and values. The best sales pitches are the ones that answer the very question of why this product is perfect for me and not why the product is perfect, in general. Listening to and being able to understand your consumer is more important than delivering a killer sales pitch that is mass-targeted.”
NYCKY: “My preference on the marketing style depends largely on the product in discussion. If it is an item that I am already well-read on, such as watches and pens, I tend to cut through the marketing fluff and focus on what appeals to me, based on existing knowledge.”
J&T: Would you buy a luxury item if it is heavily marketed and exposed on social media?
VASHTY: “Sure, why not. My motto is, if you like it, buy it. But never buy any item just because you are following a trend. That is why, when I buy any luxury item, I always think, ‘would I be able to wear this in two or three years’ time?’ If the answer is no, then perhaps I would consider it again.”
RYAN: “Not really. When I do go shopping I tend to shop for things that are of good quality rather than be influenced by marketing.”
CHADWYN: “We would not buy a luxury item that has been heavily marketed or exposed on social media. Despite the perception of luxury being ostentatious and showy, social media tends to depict a clear alienation between the haves and the have nots. The measurement of wealth is not solely based on the number of luxury items one has.”
J&T: Do you engage with your followers on social media when you make a big purchase?
LYDIA: “No. I don’t care what people think about my purchase. If it’s a gift for a friend, however, I would ask around for a few opinions to make sure I am truly buying something my friend would love.”
RYAN: “Not at all! I think this is very unnecessary and outlandish behaviour.”