The way of engaging the new luxury consumer has been discussed many times as a combination of two distinct needs – personalization and experience. But these elements have now become new standards expected in any luxury travel retail offering.
That being said, this can create great opportunities for brands to develop stronger, more targeted niche markets. Burberry is a great example of a luxury brand that has reinvented itself without alienating their traditional consumer base.
Because of its prominent popularity in Asia, Burberry has engaged in a global collaboration with social media platform LINE to specifically target Asian luxury consumers in a format that they not only understand, but also use and interact with every day. Burberry is the first fashion brand to engage with LINE in this way, using it to stream their Fashion Week content in real time with a set of LINE Friends dressed in Burberry clothing and trench coats.
There are also additional special characters of Burberry’s key players such as Christopher Bailey and Cara Delevingne who feature in an animated film with LINE’s top characters – Cony, the female white rabbit with her partner Brown the bear who embark on a romantic trip to London. This aspect of travel – of anchoring Burberry as a British brand but to Asian consumers – gives LINE users an insight and in itself, a mini-trip to London.
LINE provides a social media chat platform used on cell phones that allow people to message and voice and video call for free (with wi-fi/4G connection). LINE has all the amenities of a Facebook timeline feed, the format of Whatsapp and the content facilities of Snapchat’s Discover.
The key thing is their LINE Friends sub-brand – a collection of stickers (almost like animated emoji characters) that they have named and built stories around. Their large database of stickers allows users to message each in a more emotive way without using words and have also become mascots for the brand and personalities that users interact with. This has worked particularly well in Asia. LINE has 50 million users and out of the 10 billion messages sent every day 1.8 billion are stickers.
Burberry’s capacity for attracting new consumers with a holistic but digitally connected approach is particularly poignant when considering that the global luxury consumer base will reach 500 million by 2030. Of that potential 500 million, Burberry has already taken clever measures to make sure they are a brand that is as diverse in its essence of luxury as its multiple consumer types.
The global luxury market exceeded €850bn (US$952bn) in 2014 but the fundamental point that brands and retailers must understand is that the luxury landscape is becoming far more complex than ever before. They must stop thinking about the luxury consumer and think about multiple consumers, multi-faceted people who constantly weave in and out of different modes. Whether for work or play, learning or relaxing, luxury has many different identities and will come in many different forms.
So, when thinking about luxury within the constraints of a travel environment – be like Burberry and think like a media brand so that consumers can engage with your brand before, during and after purchase regardless of whatever location they are traveling to and from.