The Challenge of Making a Customer Feel Special: Tips for Luxury Brands Moving Online

Emily Dorotheou in Advertising

in Advertising

Last week ADTEKR looked at the challenges faced by luxury brands as they strive to remain relevant to their target audience by embracing technology whilst maintaining the exclusivity which makes their products so desirable.

This time we suggest practical tips for solutions which luxury brands could employ to meet this challenge, both from an advertising perspective but also wider consumer experience; as discussed in the previous article, portraying a particular lifestyle is as (if not, more) important for luxury brands than traditional advertising campaigns.

Not all brands are alike – be appropriate but try something different

A brand’s advertising touch points are likely to be different depending on its place within the industry and product line. A high end make up retailer is more likely to rely on YouTube demonstration videos for advertising its new make up range, than a ready to wear fashion house. Chanel consistently delivers high end videos featuring its classic icons (perfume, make up and jackets), and its videos have amassed over 211,000,000 views. Chanel’s “The One that I Want” advert, featuring Gisele Bundchen, has been viewed over 11 million times and has been carefully tailored to portray a specific idea of the Chanel lifestyle.

At the same time, be fearless. Hermes used an arcade game inspired mobile app (“Hermes’ Tie Break”) to give its consumers a unique interactive way to browse its product line. The app provided tutorials on how to tie a range of knots, videos showing how Hermes ties are made and funny stories about pattern creation. The app created an immersive experience for consumers and went beyond simply showing a selection of its accessories line.

Take the best and apply it online and offline

Luxury brands have a rich and extensive heritage. They should utilise this to provide a united and seamless message between their stores and websites. Burberry has succeeded in consistently conveying its spirit across its website, advertising and shops. Burberry’s make up range, packaging and how it’s presented on the website, are in reflected through a similar colour theme and presentation within its stores:

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Burberry’s store in Covent Garden, London

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Burberry’s online store-front

Be clear with your information

Make your brand message clear, attainable and immersive. In 2013, Google found that 78% of luxury shoppers researched goods online before purchasing. These shoppers are adept online users, sophisticated in their use of social media, and with high expectations of brands’ digital campaigns and presence.  Present your information in a way that feels comfortable to you, yet gets your message across. Appreciate that luxury shoppers use an average of three connected devices, and create a website that works well on mobiles, tablets and laptops.

Try and balance creativity with clarity. Luxury brands need to present their offerings in simple way, but this should not be at sacrifice of originality. Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin, two exciting and imaginative shoe designers, present their product ranges in a disappointingly safe  way:

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Online store-fronts of Manolo Blahnik (left) and Christian Louboutin (right)

The above, unfortunately for dedicated shoe shoppers, are a generic way of presenting products and do not convey the experience that comes with buying such shoes in stores. Although clean and easy to navigate, the exclusivity associated with these brands is not reflected in the design – it is difficult to differentiate these from any other online shoe store.

 Keep in mind your brand message

Brands should identify the vision they want to portray to consumers.  Burberry’s vision, back in 2006 before it arguably became the champion of luxury digital advertising, was to be the first company “to build a social enterprise”. Its regular experiments with advertising have contributed to its image as an innovative brand, and Goldman Sachs recently credited Burberry’s digital leadership for its recent “buy rated stock” status. It has created its “social enterprise”, by having a range of “Burberry Acoustic” music videos featuring upcoming British artists on its YouTube channel.  These same “Burberry Acoustic” videos also exist on its website, with some singers featuring in its editorial campaigns, reinforcing its message across all advertising points.

Chanel and Dior, brands which are consistently ranked as two of the top luxury brands in the world, are known for sophistication and subtly. They both reserve certain items for in store sale only, meaning that customers have the pleasure of enjoying the in store shopping experience. Chanel’s website, along with Chanel’s iconic shopping bags, is also monotone, consistently reinforcing its branding across all possible touch points.

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Chanel’s online store – consistent branding adds to the exclusive feel of the site.

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Dior’s online store – attempting to replicate the physical store experience online.

Authentic messaging

Your website and advertising should be consistent with your image. Kenzo, known for its quirky and cool kids clothing, has mimicked Imdb’s homepage for its online campaign, to coincide with the release of its “Snowbird” film, featuring its Spring/Summer collection. The entire film was captured on an iPhone, and Kenzo’s designers believe that the clothes, website and film unite to provide a consistent fun message and campaign:

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Kenzo’s homepage showing its feature film for its new collection

Take control of your social media

Luxury brands should integrate their social media channels into their websites. This reinforces the idea that the website isn’t just a means for shopping; it’s part of a larger experience. Christian Louboutin and Marc Jacobs have links to their Twitter and Instagram accounts. These feeds are full of beautiful curated photographs, which are mini editorial campaigns in their own right. These help to create a feeling of luxury, exclusivity and desire around products.

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Marc Jacobs’ carefully curated Instagram page

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Christian Louboutin using Twitter to reinforce the feeling of luxury surrounding the brand.

Summary

Luxury brands clearly can succeed online, despite the challenges they face. As the world increasingly becomes online-first, brands will need to adapt to remain relevant to their key consumers. Advertising is important to reinforce their lifestyle messaging but consistent branding and careful design to replicate the offline experience of feeling “special” that customers associate with these brands is just as vital to online success.

The Challenge of Making a Customer Feel Special: Tips for Luxury Brands Moving Online was last modified: February 19th, 2016 by Emily Dorotheou