By Rachel Lamb
May 19, 2011
The chief expectation for attendees at the Luxury Interactive Conference: Integrating Your Marketing and Branding Strategies Globally May 24-25 are real-life case studies of luxury brands, whose examples will help the industry to more effectively navigate in the future.
This invitation-only event at the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair, London, will feature executives from upscale brands such as LVMH’s Tag Heuer, Alfred Dunhill, Polo Ralph Lauren and Christian Dior. Luxury analysts will also attend and speak to explain what is moving the needle in the luxury industry today.
“We launched the event in 2007 and have experienced a tremendous amount of change in the industry throughout the years,” said Seth Adler, general manager of Luxury Interactive, New York. “We’re excited for the 2011 incarnation of the event as the industry seems to be in a much healthier place than the recent past.”
At last year’s show, much of the hubbub was around social media marketing.
This year, Shenan Reed, founder and managing partner of Morpheus Media and a host at the conference, hopes that the show will focus on digital trends.
The United States is further ahead in digital marketing than Europe, per Ms. Reed.
Therefore, this conference may encourage new trends such as search engine optimization or Web site development to emerge in Europe.
“The industry has woken up to digital marketing in the last year, and we’ve made some great strides,” Ms. Reed said. “Banner ads are making a huge comeback because they’re so much more developed than what they have been in the past.
“We can make an entire experience for a customer through a banner ad without having them leave the page,” she said.
Meanwhile, social media is continuing to be a beacon of customer interaction, per Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, New York.
“I’m looking forward to hearing about the digital space in luxury and how effective brands’ Facebook and Twitter presence are,” Mr. Pedraza said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how it is generating sales, building long-term loyalty and what functionality is necessary and what is just bells and whistles that customers don’t want.”
The industry ahead
There have been many reports that suggest affluent consumers are back, with open wallets at the ready.
However, do luxury brands know what to do with this newfound willingness to spend?
“The market is very healthy in terms of growth with regards to BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India, China] markets, but we have some challenges in the developed markets such as the U.S. and in Europe,” Mr. Pedraza said. “The service levels and relationship building capabilities leave a great deal to be desired.
“There is a lot of healthy activity, but there are real challenges and opportunities to address,” he said.
Moreover, Ms. Reed believes that consumers are more eager than ever to start splurging on luxury goods.
The Luxury Interactive show will be sure to address this concern, as well as make it easier for brands and consumers to interact.
“Real-life case studies are so important because everyone gets this wonderful, tactical information and it’s one of the great attributes of a conference like this,” Mr. Pedraza said.
“I expect a lot of open and friendly debates on the realities of the industry right now and the results of things that have really happened from actual case studies,” he said. “I expect a lot of best practice and honesty to help us better traverse the landscape better than we’re doing now.”
Tactics such as a better-developed Web site so that customers can easily find products or more mobile awareness is definitely something that could serve both the luxury industry and its consumers, per Ms. Reed.
Still, she believes that most brands are beginning to acknowledge these concerns and are taking marketing into their own hands.
“As far as consumer and profitability going up, I’m seeing positive things from luxury brands,” Ms. Reed said. “A lot of affluent consumers didn’t get hit as hard as any of them expected to be, and those that did get dinged are back and with a vengeance.
“I heard someone say ‘I’m too poor to buy cheap products,’” Ms. Reed said. “I truly believe that luxury brands are benefitting from this new wave of thinking.”