MILAN — Creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi held a press conference here Thursday to present the results of its new research on the luxury business.
“We are seeing a change in perspective: years ago, premium quality brands with fast moving consumer goods drew inspiration from luxury brands to be more appealing to customers,” noted Saatchi & Saatchi Italy and France chief executive officer Giuseppe Caiazza. “But nowadays, premium quality brands, which welcomed the shift from an ‘attention economy’ to a ‘participation economy,’ could actually inspire those luxury brands that want to keep growing.”
Saatchi & Saatchi global planning director Jane Cantellow conducted research in nine countries using the company’s signature Xploring method, which aims to interactively measure real behavior and expectations. The results, she found, pointed to a necessary shift in the way luxury firms operate. Unveiling her findings, Cantellow said the gap between the luxury and the mass market sectors is closing, and there are fewer geographical gaps overall, as these have been reduced by new technology.
She isolated five luxury business “myths,” which companies should abandon in favor of fresh inspiration from premium quality brand strategies.
Namely, Cantellow said luxury brands should drop their “exclusive ideal” approach, instead embracing an “inclusive human” one, celebrating values people consider essential to their humanity. To avoid a predictable communication approach, luxury brands should also stop focusing on their history and being overly self-referential. A more effective strategy focuses on innovation, Cantellow said, as well as technology and clean design.
Cantellow also suggested that these brands should opt for a “one on one” rather than a “one-off” approach.
“Premium quality brands encourage self-expression and they put creativity in the hands of customers,” she said, noting that by contrast, luxury brands tend to operate in very controlled environments. Instead of talking about themselves, Cantellow said luxury labels should “create relationships” with customers, putting themselves in the role of “curators providing platforms for their audience.” They should also exchange their “serious” image for a “playful” one, thereby giving consumers a more relaxing, rewarding experience.