I’ve heard it said that women fall in love with their ears and men with their eyes. I’m a woman who studied music and has an ear for languages. Perhaps this is why I’m particularly attuned to the words I hear, especially when those words are delivered as part of a luxury customer experience.
If you book your wedding at the Union Street Guest House (USGH), a luxury boutique hotel in tony Hudson, NY, beware—the hotel will charge you $500 for every negative review your guests leave on social media. The hotel will happily refund the $500 as soon as the bad review is taken down.
Reading through the hotel’s online policy you’ll notice several disclaimers, including several that warn (all in caps) to CANCEL AT YOUR OWN RISK! The hotel believes there is a potential for negative reviews because not all guests understand that “Our bathrooms and kitchens are designed to look old in an artistic “vintage” way. Our furniture is mostly hip, period furniture that you would see in many design magazines.”
When I worked at BMW the company either provided you with a BMW or a very attractive lease program to encourage you to drive the vehicle. I thought the idea was brilliant. Every day I drove that car, I grew more impassioned about the brand. The more passionate employees grew about the vehicle, the more that passion was communicated to its customers.
In today’s New York Times, fashion commentator Vanessa Friedman coined a new term (with the help of one of her readers): smart luxury. Friedman uses the term to describe designer Tomas Maier’s new aesthetically luxurious styles that don’t carry a luxury price tag. Friedman suggests ‘smart luxury’ could serve double duty as a substitute for the less pleasant sounding ‘wearables’. Who wouldn’t want to buy smart luxury?
What are your thoughts? Is ‘smart luxury’ a phrase that will catch on? (Read the New York Time’s article here.)
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Another luxury brand, Salvator Ferragamo, connects with the world of art to capture and reinforce the brand’s message (see how Lexus did this in a previous post). The nine-room exhibit at Ferragamo’s own museum in Florence uses famous works of art, photography, film, architecture and performance pieces to honor the designer’s dedication to the art and science of the human foot. To create a sense of the interplay between the feet of fashion and of art, this video takes you on a walking tour of Venice in a pair of lipstick-red stilettos as they navigate through iconic works of art. The triangular “pendulum” is the symbol for the Equilibrium exhibit.
What do you think? Is fashion art and does connecting a fashion brand to the world of art increase its prestige?
Through its innovative Lexus “Amazing in Motion” campaign with the STROBE project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Lexus intends to use art as a vehicle to translate its brand across the globe. The art campaign celebrates art, technology, innovation and movement – all elements of the Lexus brand. Above all, “Amazing in Motion” shows a new creative side of Lexus, according to Brian Bolain, Corporate Marketing Communications Manager at Lexus. Bolain believes the STROBE project, through its inventive use of tumbling LED-lit acrobats and stuntmen, will transmit the message of speed and movement across language barriers, “As the brand has now expanded to over 80 world markets, it is more important than ever that there be some common understanding of what Lexus represents that transcends any barriers that language might present.”
In a previous post I talked about how Burberry was able to reverse its faltering image and return to its status as a sought-after luxury brand. Not an easy task. In this video CEO Angela Ahrendts explains how Burberry is evolving the retail experience to be just as rich and just as exciting across multiple channels whether physical, mobile or social. Though the video is essentially a commercial for Salesforce.com, watch how the Burberry store “becomes” the website. This is a great example of how to create a seamless omni-channel customer experience.
“Our vision is that a customer has total access to Burberry, across any device, anywhere,” says Ahrendts. “They get exactly the same feeling of the brand and feeling of the culture. Everyone can come to Burberry World and understand the journey that Burberry is on.”
Once a luxury brand loses its prestige through over-licensing, discounting and off-message marketing, it’s nearly impossible to regain its former luster. In this post, brand guru David Aacker talks about how Burberry’s CEO strategically overcame these challenges to bring the brand back on track: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140616191245-2171492-on-giving-a-luxury-brand-relevance-and-energy-look-to-burberry
For more on Burberry, see this post.