Deconstructed Luxury

‘The new done thing, is there is no done thing’
— Sommelier, London 5* Hotel.

The one thing that is certain in the new world of luxury is uncertainty. There has been much comment recently on how the traditions of luxury have been deconstructed leading to the need for a fresh approach to marketing to high net worth individuals (HNWI). We have pretty firm views on this subject. For the last 4 years our agency Keko London has exclusively focused on marketing to, and influencing, the behaviours of wealthy consumers.

Traditional luxury is a decreasing segment, not just because many of the individuals are dying but both in the US and Europe millennial attitudes have changed views from ownership to experiencing the trappings of wealth. We are also seeing economic power shifting to new economies, with new values. We are also seeing the decrease in the extrovert luxury segment. A number of factors are at play here from the effects of the post 1990’s recessional behaviours, maturing of previously emerging economies and the changing nature of displays of wealth, not least social media fueled corruption crack downs. The luxury watch market in china was a particular noted victim of online social shaming.

This has all lead to the rise of what we call ‘Modern Luxury’ a progressive, internationalist segment, a mixture of old and new money, but one that is well aware of the transparency and accountability that social media has made the new normal. These are sophisticated consumers with an unconventional approach to the traditions of luxury. It is this group who embrace the new world of ‘Deconstructed Luxury’

Johnathan Hall, Head of Economic Research at Uber co-authored a report last year looking at

‘Inconspicuous conspicuous consumption’ in which the new wealthy are engaging in conspicuous consumption to simultaneously signal wealth and social capital.

In early 2017 Euromoniter picked up on this theme in their ‘Luxury Trends Report’ saying ‘Conspicuous consumption of luxury goods is giving way to more meaningful luxury experiences. The merging of digital and real world consumption experiences.’

Today’s HNWI shopper seeks goods and experiences that project positive statements about who they are and who they desire to be. Consumer- centricity is more important than ever, as the consumer’s own brand is just as crucial as the brands those consumers buy and wear.

Multi device use for even the simplest of actions mean the idea of a luxury brand just focusing on one channel in the way luxury watches or jewellery used to own press have long gone. But having an integrated social strategy is only really a hygiene factor. The role of social influencers is now a primary factor amongst individuals who prioritise personal time and cultivated protected, close groups of social contacts.

We see this a lot in the hospitality and luxury beverage sector, where the cultivation of brand stories are told within immersive one of a kind experiences. This are as much about the product features as they are about cultivating the relationship with the ideals of a consumers own personal brand. Wealthy shoppers are growing to expect beautiful complexity, hyperreal experiences in retail environments, where personal experience is prized over product demonstration.

The new world of Deconstructed Luxury demands a new creative approach and a flexible attitude to media planning. The social capitol HNWI seek can’t be delivered with a single execution rather it takes an imaginative harnessing of multiple channels across multiple devices with a story that is both personalised and contextually relevant for that individual’s moment in time.

This personal element is no longer simply getting someone’s name right. Two new factors come into play here. One, innovations within print and production technologies mean we can produce truly one of one collateral at reasonable costs. Two, the vast ocean of data we have available and the ability to cross reference online behaviours, mean we can truly be personal, contextual and relevant. Which in our experience is the only way to break into and influence behaviours in this new world of luxury