Luxury brands play digital catch-up

18 December 2013
SINGAPORE: Asia's luxury brands remain heavily reliant on traditional channels and need to develop appropriate digital strategies with a focus on personalisation, leading industry figures have said.

One of the major challenges faced by such brands is what to do with social media, which demands frequent content but risks losing exclusivity. And since brands are going to be talked about by fans anyway, it becomes important for them to retain some element of control over the conversation by having a presence there.

"The solution is to share passion with consumers, rather than talking too much about products, being too sales driven," Etienne Chia, digital director at brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide, told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Most luxury brands are planning a move into e-commerce if they are not already there, noted Pablo Mauron, general manager China at Digital Luxury Group. "The next challenge will be to build the trust between a brand-operated platform and the consumers," he said.

An alternative would be to partner with a third-party e-commerce site, such as ShangPin, a members-only online mall, but that would be to lose the opportunity to offer a personalised experience which is widely regarded as a must-have for luxury brands.

Chia suggested that rather than spend money on above-the-line ads, "brands should create rich experience and cultures" which they could own. "They also need to make sure the investment is on people who understand the brand culture and DNA," he added.

Such a strategy should also incorporate offline as well as online elements, as this was one way in which brands could address the problems they faced in attempting to recreate the physical experience of luxury in an online environment.

Mauron cautioned marketers that their own experience of such brands should match that of the people actually selling them. "A digital team working for a luxury brand, no matter if it is in-house or with an agency, should have the same knowledge and understanding of the brand that the sales staff have," he declared.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff
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