By Niki McMorrough and Joanna Lewis
Covid has accelerated societal shifts within luxury audiences, who now demand greater authenticity and a meaning beyond profit from the brands they bond with. This means that brands are now judged not just on their words, but also their actions. It’s not just about the end product, but also the way it is brought to the luxury market.
This means that marketers need to collaborate closely with product teams to provide their customer knowledge, values, needs and insight at the start of the product development process, to ensure that the product is developed and produced in a way that resonates with the luxury consumer. When the whole business understands the passion points of their audience, luxury brand marketers can ensure that in 2022 they will be promoting brands and products with a higher meaning, to an audience who look beyond the end result.
Relevance’s commercial director, Niki McMorrough, offers a quick-fire summary coupled with visual real-world examples, to inspire luxury digital marketers in the post-Covid dawn.
Read on to discover the top five luxury marketing trends 2022, find out why they are important, and what other brands are already doing in this space.
Customers are tired of global homogenization and need greater justification for travel in light of the climate crisis. Why should they travel for an experience they can get at home? Some examples of luxury brands bringing localized and unique experiences are:
- Fashion designer Stella McCartney celebrated her global #StellaCommunity by setting up local business pop-ups in her London flagship store to celebrate the return of non-essential retail in England following lockdown.
- Mandarin Oriental strives to ensure that each Mandarin Oriental property has its own unique personality, to celebrate local culture and customs, ensuring a unique experience at every venue.
- Ferrari created an Instagram page specifically for the American market.
You may have only just heard of the Metaverse, but it’s been gathering pace, waiting for its tipping point. It came this year in the form of immersive open source gaming universes Roblox, Fortnite and Decentraland, and the ability to prove digital ownership via Non-Fungible Tokens. Now that these building blocks are in place, the race to build the Metaverse is on, with tech giants investing significantly. Brands have already started experimenting with using the Metaverse to distribute and promote existing and new products. Some great luxury brand examples include:
- Instead of a real-life catwalk show, Balenciaga created their own game ‘Afterworld: Age of Tomorrow’ set in a dystopian 2031 to launch their Fall 2021 collection, as well as a phygital (physical + digital) limited-edition collection that customers could buy in Fortnite and the real-world.
- Dress X is a company selling digital versions of current fashion collections, for influencers to ‘wear’ on social media without ever seeing or touching the real thing.
- Zed Run is doing big business in digital race horses, while other companies have sold digital real estate, art and more.
- Anime, comics and games platform BiliBili is tipped to be the next big opportunity for Gen Z luxury in China. Fendi promoted its Peekaboo Bar while Louis Vuitton promoted its League of Legends virtual collection.
According to the 30% Club, 30% of women are now on executive boards but, according to the Harvard Business Review, only 2.3% of venture capital funding went to female-led startups in 2020. This is despite the Pipeline’s Women Count 2020 report highlighting that mixed gender boards are 10 times more profitable than all-male teams.
Wealthy women and people of color are therefore on a mission to promote ethnic and gender equality, and many have launched their own foundations such as Lady Gaga’s Born this Way foundation, Beyonce’s Beygood and Lebron James’s Lebron James Family Foundation.
Brands need to ensure their internal teams reflect the racial and gender diversity they show in their marketing. Organizations that have made a good start include:
- Estee Lauder is leading the way at #19 of Forbes’ female-friendly companies 2021. Zalando and Hermes made their way into the top 100, but luxury as a whole is lagging.
- Wheels Up, a private aviation company, hired the accomplished Stephanie Chung to be their chief growth officer.
- The iconic Harlem-based designer Dapper Dan not only collaborated with Gucci for collections and an entire atelier, but has also been a strong force for standing up for inclusivity within the brand.
- The Britely: “The Britely is a community that celebrates bright lives and bright minds, connecting a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and industries that impact the city of Los Angeles.”
- Chanel’s Culture Fund, which seeks to champion equality of voice.
To Millennials, Gen Z and Alphas, the environment is not just a cause, it is their future. Therefore, they will reject brands that don’t show true commitment to the environment.
Sacha Newall, founder and CEO of MyWardrobeHQ, points out that “car marques have embraced resale for generations without diminishing their value by their own resale offering; indeed, managing their own re-commerce allows brands to control the presentation and the price of resale—this is a solution MyWardrobeHQ is now offering to the fashion industry.”
Max Bittner, from Vestiaire Collective adds: “There is somewhere between half a trillion and a trillion dollars’ worth of luxury goods in people’s closets, and probably half of it is unworn. Resale is a fundamental solution to the enormous environmental challenges that we face.”
Gen Z and millennials find buying ‘pre-loved’ and ‘re-selling’ second nature, and it won’t be long before Gen X and Boomers catch up. So, luxury will become defined by its residual value, which can go up, as well as down due to scarcity, cult and promotion. Some examples of luxury brands putting ethics before aesthetics include:
- Anya Hindmarch’s I am a plastic bag initiative, which went to great lengths to develop a luxurious fabric from reused plastics, worthy of a luxury product.
- Jo Malone’s healing through horticulture uses the wonders of nature to improve mental health and wellbeing.
- Apple showed their commitment to sustainability by removing in-box accessories from a selection of their iPhones to help meet their environmental goals. According to Apple, removing accessories such as chargers and earphones means smaller and lighter packaging.
- Chloé have successfully achieved their B Corp status.
- Rent The Runway (rental), The Real Real (pre-loved).
- StockX – auction house for preloved items.
As our frame of reference expands beyond planet Earth, the need for global collaboration crystallizes. Indeed, Jayne Poynter co-founded Space Perspective—a six-hour journey that reportedly offers the safest and most accessible trip to space—out of a strong belief that human society will be improved when thousands, or even millions, of us have experienced the quintessential astronaut experience of seeing Earth from above.
“It profoundly changes your perspective and behavior; for example, many astronauts get involved in social and environmental causes,” Poytner said, adding that space travel “will have a huge positive impact on society.”
Don’t forget, our urgent need to explore space is intrinsically linked to the climate crisis, so always aim for a net-zero model.
- Partner with a consumer space experience provider:
- Under Armour collaborated with Virgin Galactic to create consumer space flight suits. Can your brand authentically elevate the customer experience on these pioneering space offerings, too?
- Tesla collaborated with SpaceX to create the Starman stunt, launching a Tesla into orbit. Musk owns both companies, but it still counts as a collaboration.
- In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Vans created a NASA Space Voyager capsule collection.
- Unistellar & Nikon have collaborated to enable people to see space in a new light, unlocking the future of telescope technology, allowing consumers to better explore, observe and understand outer space.
Relevance can help ultra-luxury brands reach and resonate with High-Net-Worth-Individuals by profiling your target audience to create actionable insights about their wants, needs, behaviors, personalities and values. Our full service strategic, creative and technical marketing support can also help high-end brands to deliver, measure and refine their marketing campaigns to these wealthy audiences. If you would like to learn more about our 360 digital marketing services, contact our team today.