LONDON: Digital ought to be part of a company's DNA and not simply a separate department, leading executives have argued.

Phillipe Baumlin, global digital programme director at luxury brand Chanel, told the Adobe EMEA Summit in London, as reported by Marketing Week, that while digital posed "organisational challenges", it had become clear that it should not be housed in a discrete unit.

"It's too deep, too important," he said, "the whole company has to become digital."

Separately, Jeffrey Hazelett, the former chief marketing officer at imaging company Kodak, told Digiday that digital was "one form of a tactic in marketing" and asked why he would have someone just in that sphere.

Digital "should be a way of life inside your organization," he declared.

Achieving this, however, is not easy, and Baumlin noted that Chanel had tested several different models before arriving at one that worked for it.

He suggested that departments keep the same direct reports but work together on projects with the same digital objective.

The results had been beneficial for Chanel, said Baumlin – "Through digital we can allow any customer to read his own journey into the brand" – but he conceded that the luxury industry overall was "by no means the most advanced industry in digital".

He thought this was because digital did not create any disruption in the business model of luxury brands, but he expected it would lead to "a new standard of service" that the industry would have to address.

An indication of the digital gap in the luxury industry can be seen in recent figures from the Shullman Research Center, reported in Luxury Daily, which found that mobile and digital apps were used by 90% of US consumers with a household income exceeding $250,000, but just 5% of the apps used could be categorised as luxury.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, Digiday, Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff