Luxury Institute News

May 24, 2016

NYC’s New Cadillac House is More than a Brand-Experience Experiment

It’s an incubator for what the brick-and-mortar economy does that the internet can’t.
The Drive
By: Brett Berk
May 24, 2016

Accompanied by the kind of fanfare usually reserved for a visiting R&B star—champagne, models, exclusive parties, and the launching of helicopters over the Hudson—Cadillac opened a New York headquarters late last year. Mostly used to house its communications departments, the grand offices on the top two floors of a West SoHo tower are meant to imbue the rejuvenated Detroit luxury brand with the trendy vitality of New York City, as well as the cosmopolitan east coast talent that lives here.

“We have great product. Our challenge is relevance,” says Melody Lee, Cadillac’s brand manager, as we walk the halls of the space. Those halls are lined in chevron-embossed leather meant to evoke, but also update, the marque’s vehicular heritage. According to Lee, consumers have a false familiarity with Cadillac; the brand may have positive and luxurious connotations, but they’re dated. “In order to change perceptions, we need to build connections between Cadillac and current luxury consumers’ interests,” she says.

The brand is taking an almost Mormon approach to this conversion mission, seeking not only new audiences, but new partners in the far-flung worlds of fashion, art, food, and culture. But in order to truly fortify a new identity, a contemporary brand must build a fort—a temple that embodies these projections, a dream board made real. Red Bull has its Studios, filled with extreme video and other disruptive lifestyle bullshit. Apple has its Apple Stores, filled with austerity and smugly superior Geniuses. Mars has M&M’s World, filled with candy colored candy and pre-diabetic tourists.

Into this fray Cadillac has opened Cadillac House, a showroom—but not sales room—for contemporary and vintage automobiles, as well as an art gallery, a retail fashion incubator, a coffee bar, and an event space on the corner of Charlton and Hudson. If Cadillac had an actual brand Ambassador, this would be her Embassy.

“We want to bring people into the Cadillac world. Our interpretation of what luxury means to us, which is warm, inviting, funky, and emotional, not austere,” says Eneuri Acosta from Cadillac’s department for lifestyle-, influencer-, and partnership communications.

The space, designed by the San Francisco architecture and design firm Gensler, reflects these notions, with surprisingly human materials like pebbled leather, cork, jute, and wool, along with an audacious use of neon and mirrors. Reclaimed wood, Edison bulbs, and polished concrete are the familiar icing on this cupcake, but the space still manages to transcend the de rigueur global upscale urban style I like to call “unique sameness.”

I live around the corner, so I look forward to visititing—Cadillac House will be open to the public daily—to drink Joe’s coffee, attend lectures and openings, and maintain my aversion to recherché loungewear. But does any of this brand experience misheggas move the needle with actual luxury consumers?

“It’s interesting because it’s very commonplace for brands to think that if they just create a place to hang out, that people are going to hang out. And I think that’s a little naïve,” says Milton Pedraza, head of premium sector research and consulting firm The Luxury Institute. “I think it’s probably not going to do anything significant for the brand.”

If this is the case, then why do so many luxury makes chart this flashy retail route? “Well, I think there are two fundamental reasons,” Pedraza says. “First, because brands and their agencies mistake gimmicks for effective action. And second because the really hard thing to do—to create a brand experience—are beyond their imagination.”

According to Pedraza and his surveys of luxury consumers, the enlightened path to retail engagement requires the imbuing of three characteristics: empathy, trustworthiness, and generosity. “People want to make personal, emotional connections,” Pedraza says. The difficulties that luxe brands have in this sphere comes mainly from failing to adopt a brand culture—and retail employee training program—that privileges these interactions. “They don’t know how to scale the humanity of their associates,” Pedraza says.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, all of this is more, not less, important given the ubiquity of online shopping. According to Pedraza’s research, 80 percent of luxury consumers do significant virtual Internet research prior to entering a store. They come into the store looking for more than what they can find online. “I don’t expect you to be my hotel concierge and make reservations for me at a restaurant. I mean, it’s nice, but that’s not the expectations I have when I enter an apparel, or a watch, or a jewelry shop,” Pedraza says. “I expect them to be experts on what they sell, and the competition, so that they can inform me more than I would inform myself with my friends, my peers, and going online. I don’t need that again. I need more information, or better information. Or affirmation.”

John Bricker, creative director at Gensler and lead on the Cadillac House project, concurs. “Product is product,” he says as he gives me a tour. “The reason people go to a bricks and mortar space is about experience. I can buy just about everything I need online.”

Just about everything, of course, except a car. Due to of our anachronistic, if purposeful, automotive retail system, in most places you can’t just click over to Cadillac.com and purchase a new CT6, as much as you might like to. You have to go to a dealership. Herein lies the big discovery of my visit to Cadillac House.

Cadillac has very publicly announced an emphasis on improving its retail experience—the last mile in the brand’s $12 billion investment in product and positioning, but the first point of contact for consumers. To this end, Caddy will be requiring its 900 dealers to make significant capital improvements in facilities, technology, and training. (In exchange, it will offer upgraded incentives, compensation, and profit sharing.) Certainly this new NYC space is about showcasing aspirational and urbane partnerships. But in addition to being an incubator for a hipper Cadillac brand, it’s also an incubator for the real world physicality of Cadillac’s new retail outlets.

When I ask about this directly, Melody Lee confirms my hypothesis. “Experimentation here will find its way into our facilities, our next generation dealerships,” she says. “That could include things like design and mood and layout, but also technologies like holographic imaging, which we’re working on.”

All of this is further borne out when I enter the small conference room behind Cadillac House’s main showroom. Here, attractive and elegant New York-based product specialists are being trained to offer Cadillac House visitors information on the XT5, CT6, CTS-V, and other new Cadillacs that will line this new showroom.

“The one thing that a computer can’t do, that coffee can’t do, that freebies can’t do, is have great people that are engaging you in a relevant experience within the context of what you sell,” says Pedraza. If Cadillac’s broad plans are to come to fruition, Pedraza-style, these brand-imbued specialists will need to fan out across the country, conducting trainings, and replicating themselves in hundreds of newly renovated dealerships—all of which will resemble Cadillac House, at least in tone. Their practiced scripts and gestures, with an air of New York sophistication, and emotion, will become the human face of a changing brand, on the road to changing minds.

Source: http://www.thedrive.com/travel/3651/nycs-new-cadillac-house-is-more-than-a-brand-experience-experiment

May 23, 2016

Aston Martin unveils latest chapter in 5-decade partnership

Luxury Daily
By: Staff Reports
May 20, 2016

British automaker Aston Martin is revealing a new concept car developed in collaboration with Italian coachbuilder and design house Zagato at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

The fifth edition in a partnership that spans 50 years, the Vanquish Zagato Concept will make its world premier at the show being held at Lake Como in Italy from May 21-22. This longstanding pairing has led to Aston Martin vehicles that combine its sporting capabilities with Zagato’s design sensibilities, leading to some of the automaker’s most creative designs.

Joint effort
For this concept car, Aston Martin’s design team under the direction of Marek Reichman worked closely with Andrea Zagato and his design team. The vehicle, featuring a carbon fiber body, was engineered and developed at Aston Martin’s headquarters.

Showing the blending between both brands, the car features tail lights that have round reflectors, reminiscent of classic Zagato designs, while they use the LED technology found only in Aston Martin’s racetrack exclusive Vulcan.

Aston Martin Vanquish Concept exterior
Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato concept

Further Aston Martin-inspired elements include wing mirrors that resemble those on its One-77 and DB11’s aerodynamic rear end shape.

Inside the vehicle, the collaboration is referenced in herringbone carbon fiber and Z quilting on the seats and door panels.

Aston Martin Vanquish concept interior
Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept interior

Aston Martin’s Mr. Reichman, the executive vice president and chief creative officer, said, “Over the years, we have developed and refined our own design language and we have always gone that little bit further with our special series cars like CC-100, One-77 and Aston Martin Vulcan. The Vanquish Zagato Concept shows how our two companies can come together and push the definition of Aston Martin design.”

Collaborations can sometimes be risky for luxury brands, and half of affluent shoppers say that the biggest risk for a luxury partnership is the potential damage to the brand’s image or reputation, according to a survey from the Luxury Institute.

Overall the study found that most affluent shoppers enjoy brand partnerships, even with the risk. However, luxury marketers should pair up with brands that have the same goals and mindset when seeking partnerships (see story).

Source: https://www.luxurydaily.com/aston-martin-unveils-latest-chapter-in-5-decade-partnership/

January 15, 2016

The wonderful, unexpected return of the luxury coupe

The Verge
By: Tamara Warren
January 15, 2016

If you want to win the hearts of cynical car journalists at an auto show, dazzle them with the unveiling of an unexpected luxury coupe concept. Buick, the GM brand that’s struggled with its old-guy image over the past few decades, opted to use the stage of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this week to make a powerful statement about its identity. Last Sunday, Buick unveiled its vision for a luxury concept coupe — the Buick Avista, a classic two-door looker.

The “coupe,” a term with French origins, refers to a two-door body style and dates back to the turn of the 20th century. It is typically smaller and more svelte in proportion compared to a four-door sedan. In recent years, automakers have started to bend the definition of the word to include sporty four-doors, but the Avista is a true coupe in every sense of the word. “[The Avista] was purely a design exploration exercise,” says Liz Wetzel, director of interior design for Buick. “We used this project to take sculptural beauty and think about Buick and where it’s been in the past. The Buick Y-Job was the very first automotive show car. Buick used to use technology and beautiful sculpture together.” (GM’s first car design chief Harley Earl created the Y-Job, the first concept car at an auto show in 1938.)

But Buick isn’t the only luxury automaker to spark car crushes at the Detroit show this year — Infiniti is showing the Q60, and Lexus makes a powerful statement with the LC 500 production car. Both of these handsome coupes attracted considerable attention away from the more conventional crossovers and sedans.

At NAIAS, automakers’ design departments get to put their best foot forward, and the classic coupe is sure-fire way to drum up attention from admirers. “Luxury consumers have come to expect fuel efficient cars for both economical and environmental reasons,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “Aerodynamics play a huge role in the fuel efficiency of cars and highly influence the design. The most aerodynamic designs are simplistic, chic, and timeless. The cars of 2016 will have a classic familiarity that comes with simplistic design, but with contemporary features that make them appealing and modern.”

Design departments are able to experiment at auto shows by pushing boundaries without the constrictions of practicality and safety regulations. When given the green light to make compelling concepts, the show fuels a sense of competition among car design studios. Buick’s exterior director of design, Holt Ware, describes Detroit as “the Super Bowl for car designers.”

“If you think about it like the race track, there are some really fabulous races around the world, but Le Mans is still Le Mans and everyone wants to go to Le Mans,” Ware says. And the Avista won this week’s Super Bowl: it took home the EyesOn Design Best Concept award.

The Avista, like most beautiful objects, started from a burst of creativity followed by an approval from management, not the other way around. “From the teams in the studio, it happened because they wanted to see themselves in a vehicle,” Ware says. “They didn’t all want to see themselves in a three-row SUV or a crossover.” Production designers worked on the car as a side project. “If you’re in a production studio, you have to justify your resources, because everyone runs on a budget. The justification for us was that it was our jam session. If a musician has a concert, you can’t mess up in a concert, but then you have the jam session where you go in the garage, throw down, and try to explore your instruments and working together as a band. That’s what we did on this vehicle as well.”

Both Wetzel and Ware says they’re shocked about the powerful response to the show car. No one at GM is saying this car, which is based off GM’s Alpha platform (the same one that underpins the Chevy Camaro) and boasts a 400-horsepower V-6, will be built. For now, the company is positioning it as a statement piece.”We’re getting the data points in North America right now, because everybody loves it. And so, when is the right time to do it?” says Mark Reuss, GM’s executive VP of global production development. “Is it three years from now; is it two years from now? Is it a year from now? When is that? That would be the next discussion. And so, it’s not out of the question, but the point of the car is, ‘here’s where Buick’s heading.’”

While Reuss fashions the presence of three big luxury coupes at the show a coincidence, I have to wonder if this splashy trio suggests that there is more space in the marketplace for new coupe buyers — particularly as Infiniti and Lexus invest in building the production versions of these cars. Pedraza suggests that automakers might be making cars that appeal to an aging population that has disposable cash. “A majority of current purchasers in wealth are baby boomers,” he says. “This age group is currently in a transition as their children move out of the house and they are left with an empty nest. They no longer need large cars and are able to buy more stylish, trendy, and fun vehicles such as coupes,” he says. Hence products like the LC and Q60 — and maybe, if we’re lucky, the Avista.

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/15/10772432/the-return-of-the-luxury-coupe-detroit-auto-show-2016

October 26, 2015

Some brands fail to reach women

Warc
October 26, 2015

NEW YORK: When it comes to marketing to affluent women, some brand categories are notably more successful than others and have even improved the perception of their marketing efforts over the past three years, a new survey has shown.

Luxury Institute, a New York-based specialist research firm, ranked industries based on their success marketing to women with a minimum annual household income of $150,000 and then compared the results with a similar survey it conducted in 2012.

It found the top industries considered to be doing a good job marketing to women are clothing (75%), shampoos and conditioners (74%), fragrances and cosmetics (72%) and shoes (72%).

Compared to 2012, each of these categories achieved a wider share of women who view their marketing efforts favourably, but the jewellery and watch sector saw the biggest improvement, rising to 62% positivity from 53% in 2012.

However, the survey – which did not include a sample size – also identified industries that continue to lag in their marketing to affluent American women.

Among industries that these women say are faring badly in their marketing efforts are insurance, liquor, electronics and banks, each of them gaining approval ratings of less than 5%.

In addition, just 6% of respondents view the car industry favourably and other poor-performing sectors include real estate (7%), home improvement (8%), credit cards (13%) and pharmaceuticals (15%).

“Women maintain huge economic power and it is a necessity for companies to step up marketing and how they connect with affluent women regardless of industry,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute.

“Research that includes speaking directly with these women about what appeals to them and what turns them off removes much of the guesswork in making marketing decisions,” he added.

Part of that research could involve marketers taking account of the age profiles of their target audience as the survey also revealed that older women are more receptive to marketing activity.

Affluent women aged 45 to 64 generally feel that brands across industries are doing well when marketing to them, the report found, but this positive response drops among younger generations.

Source: http://www.warc.com/LatestNews/News/Some_brands_fail_to_reach_women.news?ID=35615

October 22, 2015

Tesla, Musk shine from free celebrity marketing, but will it last?

Automotive News
October 22, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (Bloomberg) — When “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” debuted on CBS last month, the host chose Tesla CEO Elon Musk as one of his first guests.

Colbert, who commutes into Manhattan in a Model S sedan, took his enthusiasm for Tesla Motors Inc. one step further in an episode last week. He spoke for almost six minutes about his car’s latest autopilot features, the march toward self-driving vehicles and efforts by competitors Apple, Google and Uber.

“I love my Tesla — it’s so fast, it’s all electric,” he told viewers. Comparing his car to a laptop computer on wheels, he said that with the company’s latest over-the-air software update, “Tesla owners woke up to find their cars could drive themselves.”

That glowing Colbert report shows how Tesla benefits from celebrity enthusiasm — for free, from customers that include Oprah Winfrey — to promote the brand. Throw in some viral Internet clips, test drives and customer referral programs, and Tesla is able to spend money on developing products instead of on marketing. In stark contrast to other automakers, Tesla doesn’t currently pay for traditional media such as television, radio or print advertising or celebrity sponsors.

“The Colbert segment was amazing because it was so long, it was Colbert, it was Colbert’s new show and instead of being playfully sarcastic he was overwhelmingly positive,” said Lincoln Merrihew, senior vice president of client services for Millward Brown Digital in Boston, who first watched the Colbert clip on YouTube. “The magic of a celebrity evangelist is that they love a product so much that they will talk about it for free. It was more than a simple endorsement; it was more like a commercial.”

That air time is valuable. On average, 30-second spots on the “Late Show” will average $38,400 from Colbert’s debut through the end of the fourth quarter, according to media-cost forecaster SQAD Inc. It helps, of course, that the 44-year-old Musk is a brand and a celebrity in his own right — making him a worthy guest — as well as a deft user of social media.

Stock decline

At the moment, Tesla can use a little extra fan love. Its once high-flying stock has fallen to the low $200s from its July peak at $282 in the wake of last month’s long-awaited introduction of the company’s Model X SUV. Three analysts have cut their price targets amid concerns that Tesla, which aims to deliver at least 50,000 vehicles this year, faces a steep production ramp in the fourth quarter.

On Tuesday, the Model S lost its recommendation from Consumer Reports after owners complained about quality issues as mundane as a squeaky sunroof to major issues like the electric motor needing to be replaced, the publication said in its forthcoming December issue. The Consumer Reports news sent shares tumbling 6.6 percent to $213.03, its biggest drop since Aug. 6.

Musk has pushed back on Consumer Reports via Twitter, saying the publication’s reliability survey “includes a lot of early production cars. Already addressed in new cars.”

Fan power

The auto industry already is also legend with celebrity ads, from Matthew McConaughey’s oft-parodied commercials for Lincoln to Clint Eastwood’s two-minute “It’s Halftime in America” spot for Chrysler, a hit of the 2012 Super Bowl.

For Tesla, the celebrities do the work on their own accord, not for a paycheck. Stars such as actress Alyssa Milano, director Jon Favreau, and Teller, the silent partner in the magic duo Penn & Teller, have praised Tesla or promoted the brand to their social-media followers in an increasingly fragmented media market.

Teller’s “customer story” is one of several that can be read in full on Tesla’s website. Oprah shared photographs of her recently purchased white Model S with her millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter. Colbert talked in detail about autopilot — a Tesla product announcement — just as it came out.

“On a daily basis, Stephen brings a smart comedic voice to all types of topical issues,” said CBS in a statement. “We don’t tell him what to say, but we certainly enjoy it.”

Automotive advertising

Other automakers usually have to rely on traditional marketing. General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles all rank among the top 10 advertisers in the U.S. in terms of money spent, according to Advertising Age, an affiliate of Automotive News. In 2014 alone, GM spent almost $1.7 billion on advertising in the U.S., according to Kantar Media; Ford spent $841 million and Fiat Chrysler spent $1.1 billion. Those figures are just from the manufacturers and don’t include the vast millions that dealerships spend as well.

In its annual report filed earlier this year, Tesla notes that “we have been able to generate significant media coverage of our company and our vehicles, and we believe we will continue to do so.” But the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company also notes that “to further promote our brand, we may be required to change our marketing practices, which could result in substantially increased advertising expenses.”

For now at least, Tesla’s strategy is working.

“Colbert benefits from talking about Tesla, because it’s a brand that his millennial audience associates with,” Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, said in an interview. “It’s a massive multiplier effect that is equivalent to spending tens of millions of dollars on media. Tesla doesn’t advertise: They are playing the game of not playing the game, and you win by that. They are doing it brilliantly.”

Source: http://www.autonews.com/article/20151022/RETAIL03/151029937/tesla-musk-shine-from-free-celebrity-marketing-but-will-it-last

September 16, 2014

Luxury In Motion: The Precarious State of the Super Car

By: Tamara Warren
Bloomsbury Publishing
Vol. 1 Issue 1
September 2014

Click the link to read the entire article which includes quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute (subscription required): http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/journal/luxury/

May 7, 2014

The $99,000 Aston Martin: End Of An Era Or New Beginning?

By: Hannah Elliott
Forbes
May 7, 2014

Change has shifted into a new gear at Aston Martin, the 101-year-old bastion of posh British motorsports. And a decade from now the manufacturer of James Bond’s most famous automobile may more closely resemble its counterparts in Munich and Stuttgart than its English forebears.

Last month at the New York Auto Show the company unveiled its 2015 Vantage GT, a 430-horsepower variation of the bestselling Vantage line. What made Aston Martin’s debut so memorable was neither the strength of its V-8 engine nor the pleasing slope of the GT’s hood. It was the sticker shock.

Aston’s latest toy is the first model in decades to cost less than $100,000–in the base version, at least–and is positioned to open up a new customer for the Gaydon-based automaker. The $99,000 Vantage GT will presumably appeal to those who might have previously thought Aston Martin was out of reach.

“We’d like to sell a few more cars, and we believe this will offer an opportunity to broaden our appeal and bring more customers to the brand,” Julian Jenkins, Aston Martin’s president of the Americas, said at the show. (Last year Aston Martin sold 4,200 cars, an increase of 11%.)

The new GT, slated only for North America, is a more athletic version of the Vantage that skips luxury ornamentation and saves buyers $20,000 in the process. It maintains the sleek sculpture, halogen headlamps and interior technological trappings of the main Vantage line (those cars start around $120,000) but offers a new 4.7-liter V-8 engine that gets 10hp more than the standard Vantage and races to 60mph in 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 190mph. Buyers can choose between a 6-speed manual transmission (an ever increasing rarity) and a 7-speed automated manual gearbox. Sport exhaust and sport suspension come standard.

The Vantage, which was launched in 2005, has been Aston Martin’s most successful line, having sold more than 30,000 units to date–not a lot compared to BMW and Mercedes and not enough to keep Aston Martin exactly flush with cash. (It reported an operating profit of a mere $1.5 million in 2013.) But that hasn’t deterred the company from moving full-speed ahead into new markets. “Vantage was a tremendous success for us,” Jenkins said. “So we wanted to create another really sporty car which would appeal to the sportier buyer.”

The real trick, though, will be to position the new Vantage as a less expensive Aston without making it seem like a lesser Aston. The automaker certainly isn’t chasing the masses, but it is targeting a larger group in order to double its sales.

“You can offer an entry-level product, but you also must revamp and enhance your higher-level offerings as well,” says Milton Pedraza, founder of the Manhattan-based Luxury Institute. “Your upper-tier-level offerings must be extremely competitive, and then you’ve got to throw that halo effect continuously on your entry-level sports car.”

Click the link to see the entire article: http://http://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahelliott/2014/05/07/the-99000-aston-martin/

March 17, 2014

Wall Street Shares Wealth, for Better or Worse

By: Martha C. White
NBC News
March 15, 2014

The $26.7 billion in bonuses that Wall Street hauled in last year will help fill city and state tax coffers, and certainly boost retailers when bankers sport Patek Phillipe wristwatches and slip into Maseratis. But all that green is a double-edged sword for New York City.

Wall Street bonuses grew by 15 percent in 2013, to an average of $164,530, according to the New York State Comptroller’s office. Milton Pedraza, CEO of research firm the Luxury Institute, estimated that Wall Streeters spend between half and three-quarters of their bonuses, then save or invest the rest, and about half the amount they spend is funneled into the local economy.

Because they spend an incredible amount of money in their jobs, “I think that spills over in their personal life,” said David Friedman, president of research and consulting company Wealth-X.

Click the link to read the entire article: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/wall-street-shares-wealth-better-or-worse-n53071

February 28, 2014

Buying into bling

By Daina Lawrence
Special to The Globe and Mail
February 27, 2014

Affluent individuals around the world bucked the depressed market norms of the last few years and managed to keep the luxury goods market bustling by investing in alternatives such as art, wine and supercars.

Companies such as Hermès SA, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA are gaining new customers daily, with 10 million new buyers wading into the market each year.

Many of these companies have given good news to shareholders recently, including luxury goods dynamo Michael Kors – known for its footwear, watches and clothing – whose shares soared 17.3 per cent to $89.91 (U.S.) in early February, after the company’s report of higher-than-expected profits.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/buying-into-bling/article17132730/

February 21, 2014

Lamborghini gains top employer award, continues improvement efforts

By Joe McCarthy
Luxury Daily
February 21, 2013

Italian automaker Lamborghini is continuing efforts to expand its work force and improve the labor environment following its reception of the Top Employers Italia 2014 Certification.

After a year-long evaluation process, the Top Employers Institute awarded Lamborghini the award for its “excellent workplace environments and advanced policies for human resource management.” Recognition as a generous employer may endear the brand to new consumers who appreciate sound business models.

“It’s an award much like quality certification that they had to work for,” said Charles Hughes, founder of Brand Rules, Snowmass, CO. “They really put you through the hoops. It shows an effort and an interest.

“Teams that keep winning awards in all different places feel very good about themselves,” he said.

“Also, if you are working at Lamborghini and you know that this car is someone’s dream, you want to believe that you’re part of that dream, not part of a sweatshop, and that changes everyone’s attitude about working there.”

Mr. Hughes is not affiliated with Lamborghini, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Lamborghini did not respond by press deadline.

Sound model
The institute looked at five criteria during its evaluation: salary policies, working conditions and benefits, training and professional growth, career opportunities and corporate culture.

Lamborghini has built a welfare system that encompasses employee life both inside and outside the work environment to ensure well-being and motivation.

Attractive salaries and increases linked to tangible measures are available. An apprenticeship program helps to guide citizens into the workforce with compensation that exceeds Italian requirements.

The institute commended the brand’s training practices that continue to develop individual skill with culminating programs and international job rotation.

Labor unions receive respect and engage in “transparent” dialogue with management, according to the award statement.

Some welfare programs include health insurance, free check-ups and vaccinations and special terms at local nursery schools. Employees are given special access to sports facilities, businesses and cultural activities and discounts on VW Group vehicles. New parents are also provided with extensive paid leave.

Food service at the headquarters meets dietary restrictions and sources local fruit and vegetables.

The brand was the first Italian company to receive the Italian president’s award during the National Forum on Health and Safety in the Workplace.

Work stations are regularly updated to meet safety and health standards and new technologies for preventing risks have been incorporated.

The automaker has hired 300 employees since 2011 to reach a total of 1,029 at its Sant’Agata Bolognese headquarters. The majority of the posts have been in the industrial and research and development fields and 30 percent of new hires during this period have been women.

Additional hires will be made this years as the brand gears itself for human resource investment.

From the ground up
Other luxury brands have shown a commitment to elevating employee satisfaction and productivity.

For instance, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton looked to better serve its Mandarin-speaking consumers traveling abroad with a new training program for Chinese Americans.

The French conglomerate teamed up with Parsons the New School for Design and the Chinese-American Planning Council to design a program to teach recently immigrated Chinese Americans luxury retail skills, which includes an internship at a LVMH brand store. Through this program, LVMH will be able to connect with Chinese tourists in their native language and deliver enhanced customer service.

Also, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars opened up its annual apprenticeship program to welcome a new group of aspiring craftsmen and women.

Selected candidates will work alongside employees skilled in leather, wood, paint, engineering and assembly roles beginning August 2014. The brand’s ability to replenish its apprenticeship program acts as a tangible verification of its strong sales numbers and paints the automaker in a favorable light amid a still straggling economy.

Lamborghini’s employment award affirms the quality of its employee culture, and may also appeal to consumers abroad who investigate the roots of what they purchase.

“Today consumers are not just looking for products, but also for great corporate social responsibility and the credentials that drive it,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute, New York.

“In a country like Italy where employees are generally treated great, the award is a big deal,” he said. “It’s a big deal to consumers around the world and particularly in the United States and Europe, where they really believe in corporate social responsibility.

“As emerging market consumers become more sophisticated and demanding, they will view this reward as extremely important while making purchasing decisions. Employees are also your customers, so they have to be treated as the brand would treat clients.”

http://www.luxurydaily.com/lamborghini-gains-top-employer-award-continues-improvement-efforts/

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