Engaging The Elusive Luxury Consumer In a Digital World: Advertising Week

By Vittoria Pellicano, Senior Associate, Digital Investment and Gabrielle Mineo, Associate, Planning & Digital Investment

Not only has the media landscape become increasingly fragmented, but the meaning of “luxury” and its consumers have also evolved. With that, MIQ hosted an event, moderated by The Wall Street Journal’s Sahil Patel wherein he and a panel of luxury marketing leadership explored the changing audience, their perception of luxury and some triumphs for brands.

For one, the panelists agreed that many affluent consumers are skewing more female and getting much younger. For example, according to Rolls-Royce’s Dr. Alexander Steinbrueck,  ten years ago, the average age of a Rolls-Royce consumer was 54, while just four years ago, it decreased to 43.

While the affluent audience may be changing, many luxury brands are very firm in their brand narrative, values, and story. Their heritage and core values have been long ingrained in the brand’s identity and should not be compromised. Instead, these brands are adjusting their messaging and the channels to keep them relevant to new audiences. Dr. Steinbrueck introduced the Whispers app. To maintain the brand’s relevance, Rolls-Royce has created a lifestyle app to engage younger luxury consumers and provide recommendations in a variety of categories. They maintain the heritage of the brand by using the “Whispers” naming to denote their first figurine.

Then there was the discussion of what programmatic means for the luxury space. MiQ CEO Gurman Hundal talked about  running small PMP, high impact campaigns, such as HPTOs (similar to what you’d buy directly) but activating them programmatically. He touted the benefit of doing such would be insightful audience reporting, which would not be accessible if working directly. But when questioned on the success of running such campaigns, he admitted the biggest challenge would be scale and reach. Mindshare’s Ritu Trivedi, Executive Director and Client Lead for CHANEL, mentioned that the term “programmatic” can often be very polarizing to different types of clients. To her, it always comes back to understanding the problem that the brand is facing and deciding on the best solution. While programmatic is best for mass reach and specific targeting, this is not exactly the goal of all luxury brands. And yet, if you’re looking to do more with retargeting, as a luxury brand, it’s very much worth considering.

The panel also talked about the most interesting media investments and opportunities in the space, where Trivedi highlighted the opportunities in audio. While currently audio and the podcasting space may be dominated by DTC brands, for luxury there is a big opportunity to leverage the “theater of the mind” and tell a story that will resonate with listeners. At Mindshare, our own research into audio has shown the potential and effectiveness with consumers.