In 2014 when 80% of affluent customers prefer to do their research online and 47% prefer of buy products online, you’d think that luxury brands would be all over digital media. Not so. In fact, a surprising number of luxury brands still wary of digital media and online retail. They do so at their own peril.
Brands can be very protective of their image — they want to maintain an air of exclusivity that feels aspirational and not overly accessible. Done right, however, digital media and social media campaigns can increasing brand awareness and sales without sacrificing reputation. The key of course is finding the right platform and media brands to partner with.
Here are a few luxury brands that are truly at home in the digital media landscape:
It wasn’t that long ago that if women wanted to shop for Estee Lauder’s beauty products, they did so by going to a department store. But that wasn’t Estee Lauder’s fault. Estee actually launched its e-commerce site in 1996, well before most people had an email address. Estee Lauder has really embraced digital, leveraging the elegance and luxury of their print ads to create a personalized online experience that provides clients with the education and they’d find at the beauty counter as well as a simple way to make purchases.
When you think of Burberry, you probably think of words like “timeless” and “classic.” Which is why we love that the 158-year-old British brand was one of the first luxury fashion brands to truly embrace the idea of an online presence. The company’s website doesn’t just offer an e-commerce experience, it also live-streams fashion shows, and offers behind-the-scenes access to events and music. Burberry also has an impressive presence across all social media channels and is one of the most engaged and followed brands on Instagram. In fact, the brand openly admits that that it has become as much a media content company as a design company. In this day and age, it’s the best way to remain both relevant and aspirational. It’s also earned them the distinction of being the most popular luxury brand online.
Almost 13 million people like Gucci on Facebook. Over 1.3 million follow the brand on Instagram. Add to that 1.06 million Twitter followers and almost 7 million views on YouTube and it’s clear that Gucci has found success with their digital presence. You can even go inside Gucci stores using Google maps. Sure, maybe not all of the people following and interacting with Gucci online can afford a thousand dollar handbag right now, but by creating brand loyalty, you can be sure that’s something they’ll aspire to own, someday.
With over 8 million Facebook likes, 708K Twitter followers, and over 827K Instagram followers, you’d never know that Audi wasn’t always popular in the US. Audi is great at is creating content that people actually want to engage with and share, like their recent spot featuring Ricky Gervais and a handful of other celebrities reciting the lyrics to Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
Louis Vuitton understands that luxury is something all people want to experience. They also understand that their target audience still buys print and loves print magazines. So last year they released an app that brought those campaigns to life. What is most impressive however is that there is a completely seamless way to actually purchase the luxury items directly from the app. In a time where so many luxury brands insist that the customer actually go into the store, Louis Vuitton gets that just isn’t how the next generation shops.
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany is a brand that manages to be both aspirational and accessible, although they only focus on the former. The company’s From Out of the Blue Tumblr showcases stunning celebrities wearing their gems as well as perfectly-styled photos of jewelry every woman would love to find inside a little blue box. It’s a great use of the visual Web on a sharing platform like Tumblr.
Kate Spade is active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but it uses Tumblr to tell a more complete visual story that showcases their brand and appeals to customers. Posts are a mix of fashion and lifestyle, but all of them perfectly represent Kate Spade by being colorful, whimsical, and aspirational.
Which luxury brands do you think are doing a great job with digital media? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.