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( by Stephen Weru )

COVID quarantine has changed the business landscape of many industries. Luxury brands are not exempt from those that have experienced massive negative impact due to the pandemic.

But you already know this.

As a luxury brand business owner or marketer, you’ve seen first-hand how the pandemic has affected your sales and profits.

You may have also  noticed that the pandemic has resulted in a shift in how other luxury brands market themselves. Some have moved to digital forms of marketing; while others have changed their marketing approach to a more customer-centred one.

But you still have questions. 

  • How exactly has COVID changed luxury marketing?
  • How have top luxury brands responded to the pandemic?
  • And how can your luxury brand respond to the pandemic?

All great questions, which we intend to answer here.

Let’s get into it.

Luxury Brands are Rethinking Lavish Events and Extravaganzas

COVID restrictions limiting large gatherings had a significant effect on luxury products marketing. In 2020, there were fewer fashion shows, very few trade shows and expos, and product launches were limited to a few people.

With no offline events to market, luxury brands were forced to market more heavily online.

Fashion houses hosted virtual fashion shows; product launches were conducted online, while some brands held live product demos on their social media pages.

And this shift in marketing has resulted in high-value brands questioning the return on investment of lavish offline marketing events.

According to Louis Monnet board member, Kurt Kupper, the pandemic has led to the luxury watchmaker experimenting with digital marketing initiatives that seem to be more effective.

Rather than hosting large offline events, high-end brands will soon switch to holding events, product demos, and launches online.

Luxury Brands Have Shifted to a More Customer-Centered Marketing Approach

In the past, luxury services have stuck with traditional marketing routes like print and broadcasting on TV or radio to retain that extra layer of aloofness those avenues offer. It goes against the classic “vibe” to be “among the masses”, like on social media.

This archaic mentality had to evolve like the rest of the industry, and COVID-19 might’ve been the catalyst to accelerate that change.

Across the board, luxury stays and vacation rentals are spending more money and energy on digital marketing, taking a much more directly customer-centered approach. Beyond being more present online, they’re able to make customers feel more seen and heard.

Swiss luxury watchmaker Eberhard is an example of a high-end brand that’s adopting a customer-centric marketing approach. According to the company general manager, the company has been working to streamline operations to make the customer feel appreciated.

Examples of practical implementation include:

  • Using social media channels to reassure customers of their safety when shopping
  • Building an online community with customers despite social distancing rules
  • Using social media to give customers one-on-one attention
  • Sending personalized messages to top customers

Post-COVID Luxury Marketing Will Look to Create More Emotional Bonds

Part of being successful on social media as a brand means becoming proficient at “sell without selling”. Luxury brands have always been good at guerrilla marketing, as, again, it goes agains the luxury “vibe” to address cost. In this area, higher end brands actually have an edge, and should be able to pull off this part of social media marketing well.

What they have slightly less experience with is appearing genuine and heartfelt. Appreciating the importance of this can be all the difference between your successful campaign and your less successful ones.

Brands such as Porsche and Louis Monnet are creating emotional connections by sharing live manufacturing updates of client masterpieces. Other luxury brands have switched to sharing environmental and socially conscious content. Pick your flavor, and be real about it.

It’s Time to Change Your Perspective

#lilac is the type of agency you’ll want to hire to get your footing right, but maintenance will fall into place easily. Before you know it, your marketing will be back on schedule with your in-house team handling it like pros.

Social media marketing works. Influencer marketing works. You’ve only to learn to do it right.

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