Luxury Institute News

February 6, 2014

Making His Name His Own

Reed Krakoff Will Show His First Collection Since Leaving Coach

By Ruth La Ferla
New York Times
February 5, 2014

Dana Taylor, a model, stood straight as a maypole as Reed Krakoff circled, paused, then peered intently at his handiwork. Ms. Taylor was wearing Mr. Krakoff’s cobalt-blue sleeveless officer’s coat, a sample from the fall collection he will show on Wednesday, a piece stripped to its essentials: welted seams, slant pockets and a pair of outsize lapels its only embellishment.

Was it too much? Too little? Mr. Krakoff considered before snatching up a swatch of matching blue leather, attaching it briefly to a lapel, then rejecting that notion, slipping it beneath the coat like a T-shirt. He toyed with the neckline, gathering it in his fingers. Then something clicked. “I like the ruched effect,” he said. “And we might finish it with a little black tape on the top.”

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/06/fashion/Reed-Krakoff-first-collection-since-leaving-coach-fashion.html?hpw&rref=fashion

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February 5, 2014

Wealthy Shoppers Tell Brands How They Want Technology Integrated Into The Shopping Experience

(NEW YORK) February 5, 2014 – The New York-based Luxury Institute asked consumers 21 years of age and older from U.S. households with minimum annual income of $250,000 about their views on incorporating technology in the shopping experience.

Nearly half (47%) of wealthy consumers say that a sales professional providing live chat or video assistance online would help them understand more product details, and 58% appreciate the convenience of instant answers.  Only 15% of shoppers say that they have tried chat or video and refuse to do it again.

Wealthy shoppers do not mind companies collecting personal data and using it for customized marketing, but they do show strong distaste for clandestine data gathering via mobile phones, facial recognition software and GPS tracking; 69% say information collected in this manner is a privacy violation.  Just 24% approve of retailers using facial recognition software to identify them and observe shopping habits.

Using technology in-stores to accelerate checkout is popular, but many affluent shoppers shy away from self-checkout.  Almost three-fourths (73%) say that they appreciate the time savings of checking out via mobile devices instead of standing in line at cash registers.  Although 45% say that self-checkout is more efficient, 44% prefer transactions with help from staff.

Technology has little to do with what wealthy shoppers desire most: free shipping and returns, cited by 92% of respondents.

“Habits of today’s wealthy consumer have increased the desire to browse, reserve and purchase using a mix of channels,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Technology allows brands to leverage customer data and shopping habits, however salespeople still play a vital role into creating unique and engaging experiences.”

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January 23, 2014

Three Luxury Myths Killing Your Brand Equity

(NEW YORK) January 23, 2014 –As one the world’s foremost research and consulting companies for top tier luxury brands, Luxury Institute has been privileged to work with the most dynamic brands in the U.S., Europe and Asia.  We often find ourselves engaged in rich dialogue, and healthy debate, with senior executives and top leadership at the world’s greatest luxury firms.

We help iconic brands adapt themselves to compete in the new world where technology, people and product superiority combine to drive success.  Below are three of the biggest myths that we often encounter and our recommendations for how brands can overcome the tendency of destroying their own equity, despite the best of intentions.

Myth #1: You Must Choose One Area of Focus Among Product Leadership, Operational Excellence and Customer Intimacy

Back in 1995, Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema published “The Discipline of Market Leaders” in which the authors addressed the idea of strategic focus, and discouraged attempts to excel on multiple fronts.  The concepts and principles were adapted by top-tier consultants and spread throughout the management ranks of corporations that engaged them, propagating the myth that you have to choose only one area of differentiation.

Today, superior products, efficient operations and brand intimacy are an inseparable trio for building and maintaining a luxury brand. The reality now is that you have to be great at all three, or you are highly disadvantaged.

A clear example of achieving excellence on all three fronts is Bottega Veneta.  The iconic luxury fashion brand has seen a phenomenal sales growth trajectory over the past ten years. It was on the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, and in 2001 was acquired by the company that is now Kering.  Back then, annual sales were around $50 million and the income statement was mired in losses. Today Bottega Veneta’s sales are topping $1 billion.

Bottega Veneta’s management team is best-in-class. They are blessed with a brilliant, authentic designer matched by a management team that is beyond superb. The brand delivers on all three disciplines seamlessly. At Bottega Veneta, brilliant execution delivers a reported profit margin of 32%. Phenomenal sales and profit growth flows from product leadership, operational excellence and customer intimacy that is the envy of any brand. A profoundly personal, humanistic culture translates into the Bottega Veneta brand running on all three disciplines, instead of getting a lift from only one.

Myth #2: A Luxury Brand Must Be Organized As a Hierarchy In Order to Be Effective

At the center of a luxury brand is usually a brilliant innovator and founder whose creative genius is unquestionable. There is also typically a business partner who makes all of the decisions jointly with the founder.

The origin of luxury in Europe has created an industry organizational model that has some of the strictest hierarchies known in the business world. When we visit with senior management teams in Europe, and even at many U.S. firms, the organization is defined as a military style, top-down hierarchy.

Proponents of this model say that luxury brands, unlike brands in any other industry, have lasted hundreds of years–or at least for several decades–so why fix what is not broken?

There are two major reasons why the myth of the luxury brand as a strictly regimented organization must be shattered. The first is demographic in nature. As millennials in the 21-34 age group enter the work force, our research shows that that these younger people are far more idealistic about having meaningful purpose in their work.  They tend to change jobs more frequently and often leave if they are in a structured environment where opportunities to develop and contribute are limited. Author and researcher Daniel Pink says that three things are required in an organization today to retain employees: a meaningful purpose; some degree of autonomy over how they perform their function, and continuous skills growth.

The second reason why rigid hierarchies are ineffective is the new meaning of strategy. The metaphor for a successful brand is not the machine model, but the organic model. There must be a balance of adapting processes to achieve healthy, sustainable growth while adhering to corporate DNA.

Myth #3: Sales Professionals are Anonymous and Robotic Transactors

Luxury sales teams at most brands already have enormous turnover and this is not likely to decrease in organizations that fail to empower associates. Brands must embrace the ‘freedom with boundaries’ approach or watch their associates walk out the door.

While luxury executives say they are sold on the ideas of customer experience and engagement, they are far less enthusiastic about employee experience and engagement.  Most brands will tout the new principles but will resort to giving orders instead of trusting front-line professionals, especially in tough times.

The paradox is that in order to unleash the power of customer relationship building, driven by a customer culture, brands cannot simply task front-line employees with delivering results, excluding them from the “customer” definition. Employees are really internal customers and they should be measured just as carefully. In addition to empowering employees, brands must use innovative education and daily customer and sales associate metrics to improve skills and reinforce the culture daily.

Luxury sales professionals in the future will be treated as artisanal entrepreneurs who are given their own email addresses and digital devices for professional use. They will be given the freedom to innovate in small and large ways daily in order to personalize and customize for the customer

It may be true that many sales associates in a variety of industries will be replaced by technology solutions. However, in luxury, these jobs will be upgraded to deliver the extraordinary customer experiences and build the long-term relationships that brands once took for granted when they first opened their doors.  Innovation will flow from the bottom-up as much as from the top-down.

Conclusion:

Luxury Institute has worked with more than a dozen luxury brands or conglomerates on Customer Culture projects in the past few years.  The improvements are real and deliver powerful results in customer data collection, conversion and retention. Brands have seen retention of employees increase too. Bridging the gap between management, the front line, and the customer may be hard for some executives to swallow or imagine, but that is the future of luxury.

The luxury industry is very much a darling of Wall Street today, and with good reason. As the global population of affluent consumers grows, luxury is in for a good ride indeed. Yet, these myths are preventing many luxury brands from achieving significantly better sales and profit growth and could potentially drive many established companies out of business.

About the Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers globally about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Customer Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

 

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January 11, 2014

Tiffany results signal caution among luxury shoppers

By Jonathan Berr
CBS News
January 10, 2014

Shares of Tiffany & Co., whose name has been synonymous with luxury since before the Civil War, fell Friday after the second-largest luxury retailer said its earnings would be less than analysts had expected.

The New York-based company expects to earn $3.65 to $3.75 per share in the fiscal year ended January 31. While that forecast is unchanged from a previous forecast, it was below the $3.79 that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast.

This is the latest sign of the uneven performance of many retailers during the holiday season despite the improving performance of the U.S. consumers. Wealthy consumers appear to be less enthused about buying goods and services than many experts predicted.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tiffany-results-signal-caution-among-luxury-shoppers/

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January 9, 2014

Top-Shelf Toasts: Wealthy Consumers Reveal Preferences Among Champagne And Liquor Brands In Luxury Institute Survey

(NEW YORK) January 9, 2014 – After ringing in another new year, the premium spirits industry is looking forward to a robust 2014. To determine which brands carry the most prestige, the New York-based Luxury Institute conducted its 2014 Luxury Brands Status Index (LBSI) survey to gather opinions of eight high-end champagne brands and 29 liquor brands from four categories. Respondents age 21 and older have an average income of $282,000 and net worth of $3 million. Brands rated include:

Champagne: Cristal, Dom Pérignon, Domaine Chandon, G.H. Mumm, Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët, Champagne Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot

Gin: Bombay Sapphire, No. 209, Hendrick’s, Plymouth, Tanqueray

Scotch: Balvenie, Chivas Regal, Dewar’s, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, Johnnie Walker Blue, Macallan

Tequila: 1800 Reposado, Cabo Wabo, Corazón, Don Julio, Herradura, Jose Cuervo Reserva, Patrón, Sauza Tres Generaciones

Vodka: Absolut, Belvedere, Chopin, Cîroc, Grey Goose, Ketel One, SKYY, Stolichnaya Elit

The LBSI is calculated by averaging each brand’s scores on five separate components of status that relate to premium spirits: quality, taste, packaging, worthiness of a premium price, and appropriateness as a gift.  Respondents also reveal total spending on high-end spirits, as well as personal history with particular brands and the brand that they will most likely buy next.

“Brand status is the key to achieving sustainable growth, especially in saturated categories,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Listening directly to the voice of the wealthy consumer will help champagne and liquor brands stand out on the shelves.”

Patron outranked its competitors in tequila and Balvenie took the lead in premium scotch. To find out more about the rankings within each category, contact us with any questions or for additional information.

About the Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers globally about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Customer Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

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January 6, 2014

But It Doesn’t Look Like a Marriott: Marriott International Aims to Draw a Younger Crowd

By Brooks Barnes
New York Times
January 4, 2014

J.W. Marriott Jr., the 81-year-old chairman of Marriott International, flew to London in September to inspect his company’s new jewel: Edition, a sumptuous boutique hotel intended to anchor a new 100-city chain — the next W, if Marriott has its way. But Mr. Marriott did not stay overnight at the London Edition, as the new property is known, with its laser-lighted nightclub and guest-room paintings of women wearing toilet-paper turbans. He bedded down at Grosvenor House, one of the company’s more traditional luxury hotels.

“This is what I know, but I’m the past,” he said, sitting in the old-fashioned floral splendor of a Grosvenor corner suite. Edition, conceived in partnership with the boutique hotelier Ian Schrager, is about the Marriott company’s future. “We’re trying to get some flash,” Mr. Marriott said. He rose wearily from his chair. “I’m off to see the flash.”

Marriott is big. The company, based in Bethesda, Md., operates 660,000 rooms under 16 brands, including Courtyard, Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton; more than 800 new Marriott-operated properties are in the works worldwide.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/business/marriott-international-aims-to-draw-a-younger-crowd.html?pagewanted=print

 

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December 25, 2013

Post-Twitter IPO: “Suddenly everyone thinks you’re Santa Claus”

By Mark Garrisson
Marketplace
December 24, 2013

Twitter may be the most famous company to go public this year, but 2013 was a monster year for IPOs in general.

And initial public offerings can bring big money to employees, on paper at least. Things can get a little awkward this time of year for the newly-rich, as certain friends and family members raise their holiday gift expectations. Strike it rich with an IPO, and suddenly everyone thinks you’re Santa Claus.

“You find you have relatives and friends you never knew you had,” says Doug Wolford, president and COO of Convergent Wealth Advisors. “I’ve known people whose friends have, you know, asked them to pay off their cars, take them on trips to the Super Bowl, you name it.”

Pressure to spend big is intense and not all external.

“The individuals themselves begin to feel guilty, feel like they do have to step in and solve a lot of the problems for the people they love. So it’s kind of a two-sided issue” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/post-twitter-ipo-suddenly-everyone-thinks-you%E2%80%99re-santa-claus

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December 5, 2013

Strong sales may result in weak profits for retailers this holiday season

Posted in E-Commerce,Fashion
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By Jonathan Berr
CBS News
December 4, 2013

So far this holiday season, it seems like economic pundits have been too pessimistic about the holiday shopping season. They worried that stagnant wages and high unemployment would dampen sales. They struggled over how consumers could pack in the same amount of shopping when there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

Yet consumers, whose confidence unexpectedly fell by one measure to seven-month low in November, showed a familiar propensity to buy as the holiday shopping season kicked off in earnest over what’s newly known as”Black Weekend” — the bonanza of discounting during and after Thanksgiving.

For example, in the hot game console category, they snapped up more than 2 million Sony PlayStation 4s in the three weeks since it debuted. Rival Microsoft sold more  than 1 million of its Xbox One units, which retail for about $100 more than the PlayStation 4.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-holiday-season-of-consumer-unease/

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November 30, 2013

Are Apple users savvier shoppers?

Posted in Mobile
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By Quentin Fottrell
MarketWatch
November 29, 2013

Owners of iPhones and iPads pay a premium for their Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)   devices, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking to save a few bucks elsewhere. In fact, though Android devices outnumber those running iOS, Apple users were four times as likely to search for Black Friday deals, new research finds.

As retailers released their Black Friday deals online on Thanksgiving, data indicates that owners of Apple devices were on the case. U.S. consumers using Apple’s iOS operating system drove 19% of online sales compared to 5% for Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG)   Android, according to the “IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark,” a real-time analysis of millions of online transactions from 800 retailers. The type of device used also affects sales. Smartphone owners browse, while tablet owners buy, the study found: Tablets drove 15% of online sales versus 9% for smartphones.

Apple also has far more affluent customers than Android, says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. What’s more, Apple users spent $127 per order online versus $113 for Android, the IBM study found. Android phones are sold at heavy discounts, while Apple keeps a tight rein on its pricing for iPads and iPhones, says Thomas Husson principal analyst at Forrester Research. “iOS users also tend to be more mobile-savvy than Android’s,” he says.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/are-apple-users-savvier-shoppers-2013-11-29/print?guid=6C5C5C18-5911-11E3-8B2D-00212803FAD6

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November 28, 2013

Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014

By Staff Reports
Luxury Daily
November 27, 2013

Tip a hat or nod respectfully to the 25 women on Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014 list, a roll call of the some of the smartest women set to make a difference in luxury marketing and retail in 2014.

These executives share traits in common: dedication to craft, consumer focus, leadership potential, ambition, educator and exemplar. And yet, for all the plaudits, these women know that the journey is won step by step, with many miles to go before true gender parity is a reality in the luxury business.

“Women are extremely underrepresented at the highest ranks of luxury companies but fill the majority of positions at every other level,” said Meera Raja, analyst at The Luxury Institute, New York.

This honor list, the second since its debut last year, is geared to spotting future occupants of the C-suite.

Honor list
Executives on the list represent brands and retailers such as Rosewood Hotels, David Yurman, Bang & Olufsen, Lexus, FHRI Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Co., Savelli, Pratesi Linens, H. Stern, La Prairie, Estee Lauder Cos., Moët Hennessy USA and Michael Kors.

Also on the list are executives from agencies, publishers, researchers, consultancies and service providers such as Art Luxe Style, Avista Partners, Brenes Co., ePrize, ShopIgniter, Gallant Media Group, Bluemoon Works, Luxury Institute, Interbrand, Carrot Creative, Hearst Design Group and Style Coalition.

It is a field of strong women with stronger convictions.

“So much of the luxury business is creating personalized experiences and I think women can think creatively to develop them,” said Nancy Hubbell, prestige communications manager at Lexus, Torrence, CA.

Judging process
Picking the honorees was not simple, given the sheer number of submissions. Luxury Daily invited readers to send in their nominations. The Luxury Daily team also had its own slate of candi¬dates based on regular interactions with luxury marketers.

Once the deadline expired, the Luxury Daily team judged the nominees on their merits and narrowed the list to 25 women who showed the most promise to push the envelope in 2014. All judging was based purely on merit and the potential to make a difference.

The list’s responses reflected the pragmatic approach to luxury marketing and retail, balancing both art and science across all channels including online, mobile and especially the mainstay, retail stores.

“Luxury retail settings are modern art galleries,” said Rebecca Miller, New York-based executive vice president of Pratesi Linens.

MANY THANKS to Michelle Nance for putting together this Clas¬sic Guide. Also, thank you to Jen King, Joe McCarthy and Sarah Jones for their nominations and judging as well as the reporting on Luxury Daily.

Please read this guide and reach out to the women honored. As role models, they pave the way for more women aspiring to not only enter luxury marketing and retail, but also aiming for the top.

London-based Rebecca Robins, Interbrand director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, said it best when she quoted the last words of the late British poet Seamus Heaney: “Noli timere.” Translated from the Latin: “Don’t be afraid.”

Please click here to download Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014

http://www.luxurydaily.com/luxury-daily%E2%80%99s-luxury-women-to-watch-2014-2/print/

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