First Management Workshops in Luxury

The first management workshops of the Competence Center for Luxury Management about the topics “Differentiating Experiences in Luxury” and „Millennial Luxury Customers“ took place at the executive campus of HSG, the WBZ Holzweid in St. Gallen, on November 14th and 15th. The participants consisted of managers of our partner company as well as selected guests, which brought different sets of expertise and perspectives to our management workshop. For the workshop, we invited several guest speakers to share their expertise and perspective on the topic and actively engage with the participants.

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The first day was dedicated to the topic “Differentiating Experiences in Luxury”, where our guest speakers from Enea, frog Design and Musta Experience shared their interesting perspectives on experience management in the luxury industry with our partners and guests.

In his talk, Enzo Enea, CEO of Enea, presented much more than the entrepreneurial case of his high-end landscape architecture company on Lake Zurich. Mr.
Enea provided an insight to the family heritage of this company and to his personal philosophy on providing authenticity, competence, and composition in his projects, always yielding to the genius loci – the inherent spirit of each and every garden – that guides the creative process when developing each of the projects that are being planned, implemented and maintained for private customers and businesses as part of larger real estate projects. From our perspective, Enea represents a traditional example for a boutique- and highly specialized provider of high-end services in the luxury segment of the real-estate market.

Layla Keramat and Oliver Beisel provided a brief introduction to one of the world’s iconic cradles for great design: frog. However, Layla and Oliver went much further to include an insight into the thought and working process that has helped numerous businesses in the past to not only generate well-designed products, but also services and customer experiences. Furthermore, we jointly engaged in a workshop on the basis of the presented approaches. In three groups, we engaged one megatrend and one technological trend each, focusing our collaborative efforts on the opportunities of virtual reality technologies, sharing, hyper customization, and the creation of experience ecosystems through an increased focus on partnerships among brands.

Elaborating on their extensive professional expertise in experience management, Dr. Tiia Mäkinen and Tanya Greiner, managing directors of Musta Experience, presented their six key trends of luxury experience that provided numerous examples for the breadth of change that the market is undergoing currently: from the redefinition and democratization of luxury and the resulting shifting meaning of luxury to the increasing role of data in managing customer relationships. Furthermore, Tiia and Tanya introduced their model focusing on story, substance, style, and service as the key elements of an experience strategy. With the rise of immediate interactions between brands and their customers in own retail environments, steering customer experiences encountered in these contexts have become discussed commonplace.

From the workshop about “Differentiating Experiences in Luxury”, we took away five key learnings:

  1. Listen to your customers
  2. Keep experiences relevant to your target group
  3. Keep it simple, beware of complexity
  4. Go deeper, not broader in providing experiences…
  5. … but consider all touch-points in the ecosystem.

During the second day, we focused on the topic „Millennial Luxury Customers“, again exchanging experiences and expectations in the beginning and then listening to three interesting guest lectures from Google, Sinus Institut and the Institute for Customer Insight at HSG.

Few brands have become as central to the modern digital lifestyle as Google. Thus, it does not surprise that Martin Rigg, Industry Manager for Luxury, provided ample insight into the role of digital media in marketing luxury to a younger demographic. He highlighted three distinct topics above and beyond his other insights: mobile access, video content, and social media. Luxury consumption, today, is prepared not only online, but mobile; here, video content provided by brands and by influencers plays a distinct role; finally, focusing on the Millennial customer group, Mr. Rigg highlighted the distinct role of social media networks that younger customers are often reluctant to leave.

Matthias Arnold of the Sinus Institute shared insight from his organization’s latest studies on luxury consumption and predominantly identified the milieus of the established, the intellectuals, the performers, the digital avant-garde, and the sensation oriented as relevant for luxury consumption. He illustrated the key perspectives of each consumer segment and went beyond this evaluation to illustrate the difference in perspectives with regard to the individual milieus. As a conclusion, he provided a first glimpse at the results of a related study undertaken in the coastal and metropolitan regions of China, focusing on tier-1 and tier-2 cities.

As the closing contribution, Martin Faltl introduced the marketing concept of influencer marketing in a particularly pointed discussion of this technique’s “what”, the “why”, and the “how”. Martin Faltl illustrated the role of subtlety when integrating offers into web celebrities’ content and elaborated on the beneficial aspects of integrating campaigns into social media ecosystems, connecting the activities of multiple key influencers with each other. Our speaker highlighted, among other advantages, the impressive performance of key influencer media spending vs. more traditional formats and pointed to a range of particularly successful campaigns in the context of luxury.

Three key learnings emerged during the workshop about “Millennial Luxury Customers”:

  1. Focusing on Millennials in luxury has shifted from “alibi” to “must”
  2. Consider the substantial differences among sub-segments of Millennials
  3. Seeding the Millennial market segment for your brand is crucial

If you would like to find out more about our past and upcoming management workshops in the field of luxury please contact Sophie Schüller via Email: sophie.schueller@unisg.ch