Innovation Inspiration: How Can Luxury Brands Innovate?

17 Feb 2011|Added Value

This month’s newsletter is guest-written by Mark Whiting of Added Value’s Paris office.  Mark joined the company last year, after ten years working for Moët Hennessy, and wants to share some inspiration related to innovation in luxury brands.

1. Luxury vs. Innovation?
Luxury and innovation can sometimes seem like uncomfortable companions.  On the one hand, luxury is the epitome of everything classic, enduring and traditional, while on the other, innovation stands for newness and modernity.  In this article, Dr. Bob Deutsch, a cognitive anthropologist, outlines twelve key concepts that aim to reconcile this apparent paradox and that show how to harness creativity to unlock innovation in luxury businesses.

Read more: 12 ways to recognize an innovative corporation

2. Luxury and Ethics
As reported by Luxury Daily recently, Unity Marketing surveyed 1,364 affluent consumers with an average net wealth of $7.3 million and identified the two most important values affecting affluent consumers’ luxury purchasing decisions as quality and ethical behaviour. They suggested that luxury brands are likely to be unsurprised that upscale shoppers find the quality of products and services important, as marketers centre their sales strategies on delivering the best of the best. However, the level of importance placed on ethical, honest and lawful behaviour in luxury brands might be surprising to some people.

Read more: What makes quality and ethics the most important brand values to luxury consumers

3. Luxury loves Social Media
The Independent has documented the increasing popularity of luxury brands on Facebook, highlighting the 3,000,000-fan milestone for Gucci and noting that Burberry was not far behind. Both brands now both have well over 3 million Facebook fans, in the case of Burberry warranting a thank you message to the digital users by chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, on the brands’ YouTube channel. The article then went on to discuss each company’s digital IQ, as proposed by marketing think tank, Luxury Lab, as well as their bespoke digital initiatives such as Burberry Art of the Trench and the launch of the Gucci Digital Flagship and Gucci connect.

Read more: How luxury brands battle for fans on Facebook

4. Luxury Segmentation
The Wall Street Journal writes that “With luxury on the rebound, companies once again are obsessed with the mythical luxury consumer.  This dream spender is, we are told, wealthy, young, beautiful and prone to buying $4,500 bicycles for their dogs. As for the global financial crisis…well, what financial crisis?”

The paper then gave a more nuanced view of today’s luxury consumer by reviewing a report from BCG Research, who divided the luxury consumer into five distinct species in six luxury markets – the U.S., Brazil, China, Japan and Russia, and Europe.  They found that each of the five species has experienced the financial crisis differently.

Read more: The five species of luxury consumer

5. Innovation bonus: Insight driven innovation
For an extra innovation boost this month, how about tuning into ESOMAR’s webinar series on 21 February?

ESOMAR’s aim is to promote the value of market and opinion research in illuminating real issues and bringing about effective decision-making.  To facilitate this ongoing dialogue, ESOMAR is running a series of webinar’s with industry leaders and this month’s offering should be of particular interest to those of us interested in innovation.
The presenter is Johannes Hartmann, who is the Vice President Corporate Marketing, Estée Lauder Companies, Asia Pacific. Before that he was the VP for consumer and market insight for Unilever Foods Categories where he led a global team of about 120 people.

Johannes will explain that insights are a multi-facetted concept, crucial throughout any innovation cycle. Generating insights is a constant stream of learning, interpreting, applying and then going back to learning.  According to Johannes, this process of knowledge development can be called “Insighting” because Insights should be seen as a verb not a noun.

You can sign up for the webinar (to be broadcast on 21 February) by clicking here

And  a quick final plug… if you would like to know more about the role that emotions play in building strong brands, particularly luxury brands, please tune in to my own webinar on the ESOMAR channel on 7 April by clicking here


If you’d like to discuss how Added Value can help you how to learn from luxury brands to strengthen your own brand’s desirability, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Written by Mark Whiting, Director, Added Value France

Jonathan Hall will be back in March.


prev next