Forget what you know about luxury marketing

A little bit blingy???

A little bit blingy???

I was recently asked by Marketing Magazine Australia to write about the new codes of luxury marketing. Here’s my viewpoint on how luxury brands need to think about engaging the neo luxury consumer.

How do you be exclusive, sell the dream, retain the magic and mystique, craft the message in an area of transparency, open access and democratic sharing? These are the fundamental issues facing luxury marketers today.

The next generation of younger multi-channel luxury consumers are rising in influence, seeking demonstrations of discernment rather than badges of bling. Luxury is no longer about outward displays of wealth, it’s a state of mind, with self-fulfillment trumping traditional status symbols. Here are my emerging codes of luxury marketing worth thinking about:

  1. Provocation over poise

Whilst superlative storytelling has always been the bread and butter to create desire for luxury goods, brands now need to look to new more provocative brand archetype to cut through and engage. Jaguar’s latest ‘Villains’ #GoodToBeBad campaign has successfully positioned Jaguar as an alternative Anti Hero in a stuffy luxury car world.

  1. Timely beats timeless

Luxury brands need to think about how they are offering cultural value in real time. Thomas Pink in the UK recently launched their ’90 minute service delivery in London’ to fix dressing woes. 

  1. Making exclusive inclusive

More than ever, people want to help craft the narrative of a luxury brand. Brands need to think about hey they involve people in interactive stories at all stages of the product and marketing process. Burberry’s famous Art of the Trench project and Mont Blanc’s Beauty of a Second are best practice here.

  1. Living is more than owning

The era of Experiential Luxury means status and social currency is derived through engaging in unique and rare experiences often powered my immersive technology. Innovative examples include the Mercedes Benz Travel program in China and our Johnnie Walker Blue Label Gallery .

  1. Personalisation over conformity

Luxury consumers are craving hyper personalisation at every touch point, so luxury brands need to think about how their products and experiences are delivering more personal moments for people.

So luxury marketers need to tear up the traditional marketing toolkit, cleverly leveraging the myriad of digital channels and tools at their disposal to demonstrate discernment rather than blast them with bling.

Brands as Cultural Curators:: Mulberry’s Brilliant Britain Guide

We’re well into the era where brands are playing the role of cultural curators. To manage all the info overload and noise, it’s great to see brands like Mulberry in the UK curating cultural content in a way that’s as equally beautiful as it is useful. Inspired by and created to support the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, it’s an amazing curation of what makes GB Brilliant.  Check out Brilliant Britain,  a great example of a brand playing a bigger cultural role in society that’s both meaningful and highly engaging. Well done.

Ten learnings on how #coolyouthbrands behave

I am well aware that writing a post about ‘cool’ is fraught with danger as it is such a subjective topic and is the topic of annual contemplation amongst cool hunters, psychologists and people way cooler than myself (that’s not that hard by the way :). Firstly, I’m no cool hunter, just an interested observer of youth culture and how brands are trying to stay relevant and meaningful in todays social world.

Having said that, I thought I’d put together some observations of brand behaviours I consider ‘cool’ in the youth marketing space. Here are 10 behaviours  in no particular order that brands I think are cool are displaying.  I’m sure there are others I’ve missed 🙂

 

  1. BELIEVE in something bigger than yourself, an ideal young people can belong to

Love her or loathe her, pop princess Lady Gaga is cool. She stands for something bigger than herself and has complete conviction in her beliefs, which young people gravitate towards. Her activism comes through in her lyrics/music videos giving her ‘little monsters’ something to belong to.

  1. Leverage MYTHOLOGY and MYSTIQUE in your brand narrative

One of my favourite Aussie brands is custom motorcycle brand Deus Ex Machina. They do a brilliant job of building an interesting, discoverable story around the brands origins. To me, they feel mysterious and never ever over market themselves. For youth brands, less is more in terms of the storytelling.

  1. Be ORIGINAL,  creating tales and crafted cult

It’s obvious, but originality is and always will be a key pillar of cool. A recent campaign by K Swiss really caught my attention. It’s polarising, but that’s what makes it cool.  To launch their Tubes shoe, they totally took the piss out of the corporate side of sport endorsement. They used Kenny Powers and crafted a highly engaging tale that’s generated a cult following in the US. Check it out here

  1. CREATE and REMIX CULTURE

Indie hipster brand, Converse do a great job of creating culture through their co-opting of hip hop music culture.  An oldie, but a goodie.

  1. Enable STIMULATION junkies to capture and share their lives

Make no mistake, Gen Y and Millenials are stimulation junkies. Boys and girls alike. They are hardwired for risk taking behaviour. So brands like Go Pro, have tapped into this behaviour and been the enabler for self expression. In the world of action sports, Go Pro cameras on your helmet are the must have item. They are becoming mainstream but still remain super cool. They are the perfect compliment to the Red Bull culture.

  1. Give youth genuine OWNERSHIP, appealing to the core and potential fans

 I think it’s such bullshit when people say cool brands have to be scarce. Brands like Modern Warfare 3 are perfect examples of a game which is appealing to both hardcore gamer and novice gamer like myself. Check out their recent epic spot here

  1. EMPOWER youth to do more, be more

 Youth movement,  One Young World is an annual summit where the leaders of tomorrow start leading, bring the best and brightest minds together to talk about stuff that really matters.

  1. Play a genuine role in making a SUBCULTURE better

 Many big brands try and co-opt a culture and piggy back on a trend. This is a major no no. Footlocker with their Sneakerpedia social wiki is genuinely making sneaker culture better by helping peeps keep on top of their sneaker game. Check it out here.

  1. AUTHENTICITY in being real and doing stuff, not preaching

It’s also noting, that I don’t believe ‘cool’ is reserved just for the fringe brands for the super early adopters. Thanks to social media ,cool is now diffused to mainstream so much quicker than say five years ago, so the incubation period for ‘cool’ is alot shorter. I also believe that it has and always will be typically the younger creative class that start cultural cool which brands then often co-opt.

  1. Help young people be more GENEROUS to their friends

In the social economy brands that help me do something of value for a friend are the brands are perceived as cool.

 

Would welcome thoughts on other brand behaviours people think cool brands are displaying.

#GoogleVoiceSearch speaks for itself in Aussie experiments

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the guys at Google Australia the past few months on an exciting project for Google Voice Search for mobile.

I’ll let the videos speak for themselves, but essentially we created two acoustic experiments with some rather unusual apparatus to test out the capabilities of Google Voice Search for mobile.

These are the two teaser videos

These are the actual longform experiments

During the filming of the two experiments we also reached out the the Tourism Australia Facebook community asking them what search questions they’d like to ask ‘underwater’ and in the ‘desert’.

So far we’ve got over 3.5m views all in and growing as well as a sizeable usage shift in peeps out there doing voice searches on their mobile, giving the technology a good old try.

Enjoy

Red Bull Creation

I love Red Bull, but I often wonder how far they can stretch their ‘creating culture’ ethos. This is Red Bull Creation, it’s like a 72hr scrap heap challenge. Not entirely new, but it’s pretty cool none the less, and it will be interesting to see what they creators come up with. It’s summed up as ‘ingenuity’, the proof will be in the creaitons I guess. For me as a hardcore Red Bull fan I love the fact that they’re constantly pushing the boundaries in the world of action sports and adventure, but for me, the further they drift away from this passion point, the less relevance they have in my life.

The 8095 Exchange: Millenials and the concept of REVERBERATION

8095ers Millenial Exchange

8095 Millenial Exchange Research

Great bit of research by Edelman Digital and Strategy One of Millenials – those born from 1980 – 1995. Nothing drastically new, more confirming what everyone knows about their highly digital lives and the impact of peer recommendation of brand decision making.

10 Trends of the Real Time Generation/iGeneration

A few hours ago, the One Young World forum kicked off in London, organised/founded by my old boss and good mate David Jones, CEO of Havas and Euro RSCG Worldwide.  It’s a fantastic initiative, a kind of Davos for young people – bringing together over 1,000 under 25yr olds to work on solutions to some of the worlds biggest problems. Whilst perusing the one young world site I came across a great post from trend guru Marian Salzman whom I used to work with when I was a junior planner running around Sydney.  There’s alot of stuff she covers which relate closely to Gen C which I often write about. It also ties into an article about the iGeneration’s need for ‘instantaneous’ information  I posted recently. Here are her thoughts on some of the trends impacting 20 somethings globally sourced from a Global Youth Study she conducted in the lead up to OYW.  She also has a great post on the Real Time Generation.  There’s some good stuff here:

Herewith, are Marians top 10 trends of 20-somethings:

1. Real-time expectations

Virtually no one in his or her 20s in a developed country has known life without instant communication. Twenty-somethings connect with friends in real time — no waiting for snail mail or even e-mail. They get the latest news (whether world events or their friends’ status) as it happens, with a live feed of texts, tweets and Facebook updates from where it’s happening. Whenever they need information, it’s online in abundance. Reference books? What are those?

2. More intensely local lives

A paradox of borderless real-time technology is the way it reinforces local connections. With mobile devices, young adults make plans on the fly. With location-based apps on their phones, they find friends who happen to be nearby and get alerts from companies in the vicinity offering deals. Local is the new global, as I explained in my most recent post here, and nowhere is that more true than among 20-somethings.

3. Radical transparency

Twenty-somethings grew up with reality TV and radical celebrity culture — media poking into every corner of people’s lives, from Hollywood A-listers to Nadya Suleman, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, and Richard “Balloon Boy’s Dad” Heene. They’ve lived their whole lives in a culture of information “leaks” at the highest level, a world where even the great confess mistakes and show emotion to millions. They constantly use technologies that let them bare all — sometimes literally — to their friends. They’re aware that nothing online is confidential, but so what? This generation is more transparent about its thoughts, feelings and actions than any generation before it.

4. Expecting cheap or free everything

Globalization has made many essentials very cheap. Twenty-somethings can fill their stomachs and clothe themselves at unbelievably low cost. Budget air travel is normal. The Internet brings music, software, TV shows and all sorts of content for free. One of the biggest, most powerful brands on the planet, Google, offers a huge range of powerful services at no cost to the user.

5. Demanding entertainment

In some parts of the world, particularly the West, entertainment has long been an essential part of education. Young adults grew up with Sesame Street and edutainment based on fun, interactive graphics in the classroom and museums, an approach that has been endorsed by researchers. Even in places where more traditional education models prevail, fun and games have become a staple activity of young people. In the recent Global Youth Study, 59 percent of respondents said they regularly play video or computer games in their spare time; gaming is the second-most popular activity after socializing.

6. Worrying about the planet

Twenty-somethings came of age amid increasingly troubling reports about what’s going wrong with the planet. Inconvenient truths about climate change, disappearing species, habitat destruction and water shortages have been daily fare for them. In the survey, 64 percent of respondents saw climate change affecting them seriously, and 82 percent saw it affecting future generations seriously; 64 percent said only immediate radical changes can prevent the most serious impacts of climate change.

7. Seeing luxuries as standard

The basic tools of 20-something life are actually luxuries by historical standards. Whether they pay for them themselves or have help from their parents, most young adults in developed countries have:

⢠A smartphone costing well above $100, plus monthly fees
⢠A computer costing at least $300, with monthly broadband fees on top
⢠A wide-screen TV costing at least $300, plus cable or satellite fees
⢠Higher education as far as they can go

8. Pro-business, anti-multinational stance

Today’s 20-somethings don’t share the countercultural ideologies that fired up young baby boomers. They were raised in an environment in which free markets were revered and delivered plenty of consumer goodies. People in their 20s aren’t anti-business; some of them even founded megabrands (Google again). But they aren’t so fond of multinational corporations. In the survey, two-thirds of respondents said global corporations have too much power. But instead of trying to take down corporate giants by force like earlier generations did, now 20-somethings aspire to out-business them.

9. Regulate the heck out of media bias

Media in 2010 is vastly bigger than it was in 2000. Increasingly diverse news sources are available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. No wonder 70 percent of survey respondents get their news over the Internet. All this choice, plus growing educational levels and media savvy, makes 20-somethings acutely aware of media bias; 70 percent of respondents said all news media should be regulated so that they’re clearly independent of state and corporate bias.

10. Naturally Me but aspiring to We

Young adults are used to self-expression, self-esteem, personal computers, personal profiles, personalized settings and personal branding. Whether the culture is highly individualistic (e.g., the United States) or more collectivist (e.g., China), businesses have thrived by enabling people to express themselves, to be more Me. Culturally and commercially, 20-somethings have been encouraged to be more selfish than their predecessors. Yet they’re all too aware that everyone pursuing selfish interests creates planetary problems. Members of this generation are caught between the impulse to do their own thing and the desire to do the right thing together. Or as the pithy observation has it, “Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.”