Can luxury brands hack their own growth in 2016?
In this article references have been made only to international Luxury Brands which are still the baine of luxury products worldwide.
The 2015 Mercedes Benz AMG GT S Superbowl spot “fable” commercial: 60 (You need to see this).
Hits: 12,488,678 views on YouTube
One would have thought that with the advent of digital media, storytelling especially for luxury brands would graduate from the confines of video and print and luxury brands would rush to seduce customers with its impeccable and classy folktales giving them opportunity to weave the fabric of their fables in an interactive, immersive and compelling way. Archives would be opened, books would be dusted and dreams unleashed across all consumer touchpoints. They would participate in a larger cultural conversation and provide their audiences with references, inspiration and lifestyle ammunition unmatched by any other industry.
There are only few industries that pride themselves with dreams, imagination, history and heritage like luxury. But why is the category so bad at telling its own stories? Matter of fact 2015 was nothing to write home about (well except for Mercedes Benz though).
Venerable Alber Elbaz, former creative director at Centennial luxury fashion house Lanvin, recently said in an interview that and i quote “maybe we are no longer the industry of newness, because that was taken by technology, but we’re still an industry of a man and a woman, of a thread and a needle, and of fabric, and a dream.”
“This hasn’t happened”.
-“Instead of a brand spirit speaking the language of modern audience, we got content strategy.
-Instead of a brand point of view expressed through enduring aesthetics, we got temporary campaigns shot by the latest photographer du jour.
-Instead of being inspired to tell their own stories, we got influencer marketing programmes”.
Content strategy is not your brand story (Loius Vuitton/LVMH-a case study). It cannot replace the ethos and the defining point of view of your brand.
Luxury brands were by default created by founders with vision, spirit and passion that attracted their first audiences and made them fall in love. Early luxury houses were arbiters of taste that worked with taste-savvy connoisseurs of culture who came to ateliers for the lush vibe and the stories as much as they did for the goods.
Today’s luxury stories aile in comparison to their own past. Often squeezed under the “brand world” links on company websites, given a nod in the company’s logo, haphazardly translated into product imagery on brands’ social channels or not acknowledged at all in retail boutiques, they feel as irrelevant as a fibular bone.
Amazon author and American business man Jeff Boz once said: “If your customer base is aging with you, then eventually you are going to become obsolete or irrelevant. You need to be constantly figuring out who are your new customers and what are you doing to stay forever young”.
There are exceptions. St Laurent’s Hedi Slimane mastered the art of cultural reference, perfectly echoing Yves’ partner Pierre Berge’s recent observation in the New York Times that “fashion is so very fragile, you see. Really, what it is is a moment between the past and future, and it has to encapsulate the present.” Olivier Rousteing of Balmain entered an Instagram dialogue – a direct, special relationship with his audience – by giving it both daily inspiration and something to talk about. Christopher Bailey rooted Burberry’s Britishness into this country’s vibrant indie music scene and married it with his mastery of digital culture. The list is short. Today, greater cultural influence comes from companies who do not belong to traditional luxury. Unburdened with the way that the business is done, they look at storytelling with the fresh eyes of the modern luxury consumer.
Skincare company Aesop roots its brand story in the philosophy of balanced life. “We value all human endeavours undertaken with intellectual rigour and vision-a nod to the whimsical,” is Aesop’s philosophy , and its stores, website and bi-monthly literary gesture.
Farfetch thinks of itself as the world’s largest luxury fashion marketplace – for products and cultural ideas alike. Just like any vibrant shopping bazaar, Farfetch’s brand rests on cultural diversity, serendipity and surprise. The local tales coming from its community of boutiques are as important as the products by the latest undiscovered designer.
Modern brands succeed because, just like the luxury houses of old, they build their business on the cultural language and direct relationship with their customer. They use their ethos and relevant stories attuned to the zeitgeist to fight off digital commodification.
To successfully compete with these newcomers.
Enters Mercedes Benz Autonopod
dubbed (Green car concept-Luxury in motion).
Mercedes-Benz’s slogan is, “The best or nothing.”
When it comes to its advertising, a TV and video analytics company agrees.
Ace Metrix announced that Mercedes-Benz is the most effective luxury automotive brand of 2015. While its scoring, so far, is from January to Oct. 31, Ace Metrix is confident Mercedes will hold onto the title in the last two months of 2015.
Mercedes received an “ace score” of 599, up from 592 in 2014, when the company also was named most effective automotive brand in advertising coming in second, and moving up one spot from 2014.
The ace score works like this: Ace Metrix scores every national TV ad, and the majority of digital video ads, across 96 categories, creating a comparative database.
Then, a unique panel of at least 500 consumers, representative of the U.S. TV- and Internet-viewing audience, scores each ad in the exact same manner. The results are presented on a scale of 1 to 950, which represents scoring on creative attributes such as persuasion, likeability, information, attention, change, relevance, desire and watchability.
Ace Metrix applies a natural language processing algorithm to the hundreds of qualitative verbatim responses collected for each ad, deriving a score that indicates positive, negative or neutral emotional impact and represents the ad’s position on an Emotional Sentiment Index from 1 to 100.
“We’re trying to help brands understand their ads,” said Skip Street, vice president of strategy for Ace Metrix.
Street credited Mercedes’ success to the automaker’s wide approach — it appeals to everybody.
“They’re good at what they’re doing,” he said.
For example, Mercedes aired its lighthearted Super Bowl spot called “Fable,” in which a tortoise beats a hare in a race thanks to an AMG GT S. Watch video at the top.
On the other side of the spectrum was “Crashworthy,” which included a montage of Mercedes vehicles going through crash tests.Through 10 months of 2015, Mercedes has sold 301,913 vehicles. Street noted that luxury car advertising is a competitive marketplace. Ace Metrix’s results show just that, especially with a close finish by Buick.
“Buick’s largest focus is on perception change, reinserting themselves in the luxury market,” Street said.But Buick is far from being the only close challenger to Mercedes. Street mentioned BMW, Audi, Acura, Infiniti and Volvo all as worthy opponents for Ace Metrix’s top ranking.“It’s a crowded space,” Street said. Advertising during the Super Bowl offers companies the largest, and most expensive, TV audience of the year.
Despite Mercedes’ success with its Super Bowl ad in 2015, the company announced earlier this week that it will not advertise next year during the 2016 Super Bowl.
Street called the Super Bowl an interesting event in the ad world but acknowledged that it’s not as big of a deal for a company such as Mercedes compared with a company that is trying to get into the raw audience.
While the landscape for advertising is changing with the rise of digital media, Street sees it working together with TV.
“TV is a great vehicle for that mass reach,” he said. “Digital is very specific.”
As for luxury automotive ads, Street doesn’t think there’s any limit for them to get better.“The bar continues to move up in products and in ads he said.
Luxury brands need to summon the spirit and passion of their founders and turn them into modern culture just like old luxury connoisseurs, modern taste-aware audiences that consume a strong point of view, convincing beliefs and compelling values. If they fall in love with a luxury item in the process nothing can change their perception.
Check out the VFX BREAKDOWN by MPC.
WATCH THE MAKING AND VFX BREAKDOWN OF THE MERCEDES BENZ AMG GT S:
Thanks for watching and reading.
Compiled, rewritten and edited by: jimmyadesanya (Facebook.com/LinkedIn)
Posted by: thebrandradio blog
Additional credits: Wolf Oilins, Ana Andjelic, ace metric, street cred. rankings, American Superbowl.