How can concepts that make luxury and fashion stand out, such as exclusivity, sensualism and elitism, be transferred to digital channels to create the perfect customer experience?
When we talk about the digital “presence” of luxury brands, we know it is content that creates interaction with the target audience. Such content must be able to convey a unique experience to the users who benefit from it. But, to make it “work”, it must be able to make them feel special, offering them a “tailor-made” relationship.
In this case, Content Intelligence, the term used to describe Artificial Intelligence’s ability to monitor user approaches to content and gather information on user interests from their behavior, can come to the aid of the luxury brands’ marketing teams. It can do so by providing a continuously updated data set that can be used to personalize editorial strategies. It is an approach that has already been chosen by well-known brands such as Valentino and Furla, which turn to THRON, the Intelligent DAM.
Let’s look into the topic of luxury digital experience in more depth with Andrea Pittana, professor of fashion marketing (since 2009) and fashion psychology (since 2018) at international fashion institutes.
Q: Luxury 2.0: Please would you give us a brief overview of which strategies are the most effective in obtaining and maintaining luxury customers in the digital age?
A: I recently carried out a specific study related to the concept of luxury (you can find the full study here: https://psicofashion.com/research/). I developed an innovative model to explain the complexity of this world, which has a portfolio of very specific products, from small accessories even to hotels.
In fact, the luxury industry can be divided into two macro-areas that I, in accordance with my background in fashion psychology, wanted to combine with two different concepts, uniqueness and belonging.
Uniqueness can be linked with a more discreet way of experiencing luxury, which I like to call “Savoy” in honor of my birthplace (Turin). It means that it is not showy but searches for the best experience.
On the other hand, the concept of belonging can be identified with an ostentatious luxury, which requires visibility and appearance in order to give status to those who use it.
From a theoretical point of view, we can pair these two different ways of experiencing luxury with the sociology described by Zygmunt Bauman in his book “Culture in a Liquid Modern World”: the fear of losing one’s identity is linked to the concept of uniqueness, while the fear of being different is linked to that of belonging.
These two macro-areas show us two different directions that brands belonging to the luxury industry and the “modus operandi” head in: ostentatious luxury, for example, is very logo centric in its approach to the product because the brand concept becomes fundamental. It must be visible to everyone as it signifies a certain status. This ostentatious luxury model coincides with the redistribution of wealth in new emerging economies, and with the appearance of a much wider and more flexible social class that uses these products to communicate its success.
Instead, on the contrary, discreet luxury is based on the importance of creating a unique and unrepeatable experience that comes with the value of luxury craftsmanship. This focuses on the manufacturing processes that occur with extreme care and precision, also in terms of environmental sustainability.
The new concept of luxury has the digital world as its cornerstone, which also represents its breakthrough. For this reason, both in terms of uniqueness and in terms of belonging, the experience is the fundamental factor. To give an example, a luxury brand that sells shoes for those belonging to the discreet luxury industry develops the experience at the workshop with the craftsman who makes tailor-made shoes. For those belonging to the ostentatious luxury industry, it happens by making others see that you are having a unique and unrepeatable experience (e.g., going into a store in the well-known Milanese shopping street of Via Montenapoleone, where the purchase is highly visible). These experiences are mediated via digital channels.
Q: What is content marketing’s role in the process of retaining customers? Do you think the possibilities offered by AI to measure content ROI could represent an advantage?
A: This process has already begun and is proving itself to be increasingly strategic. Content is essential in narrating and enabling unique experiences. If I sell shoes and I want to communicate the unique experience linked to the product’s artisanal nature, I can tell a story like the one told by Salvatore Ferragamo: welcoming movie stars into its Florence headquarters to take accurate measurements and create a unique and customized shoe. In other words, I have to convey content that cements the idea in the customers’ minds of a unique experience, while guaranteeing the purchase of a “special” product that not just anyone can have.
Instead, in the case of ostentatious luxury, it is important to portray the product as being extremely fashionable, and which can only be purchased in the best fashion district stores. For this reason, it is essential to make the right content reach the right person with Content Intelligence’s support.