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How Digital Can Be a Luxury Brand's Best Friend or Worst Nightmare

Part 1: Advertising

During a presentation at the LUXURYLAB.BR Summit 2015, Brand Karma CTO and Co-founder George Mitchell shared insights on how luxury brands should utilize digital in their advertising, consumer experience, and brand advocacy efforts. If you weren’t able to attend the event, here is our Luxury Brand’s Guide of Digital DOs and DON’Ts for Advertising.

Since the first TV commercial debuted in 1941 by Bulova watches, luxury brands have often chosen to take advantage of advertising on new technology platforms. Why? The audience for a luxury brand in 1941 was the only audience to have a TV; today’s audience for a luxury brand is often an early adopter of new technologies.

Social media and digital advertising platforms are attractive to luxury brands because the new technologies’ psychographic and demographic data allow brands to target top consumers – key to achieving the highest ROI. But hindsight has illuminated pitfalls, too, for the luxury brand on the digital platforms of the 21st century.

As these platforms have matured, the early adopters become everyone, and the exclusivity that luxury brands demand has declined. In addition, online advertising began as cookie-cutter banner ads on portals like AOL and Yahoo! – no way for luxury to stand out. The response by many luxury brands was to create their own web sites rich in heavy graphics, animation and music. Unfortunately, the dial up connections of the 20th century meant that these sites took a long time to load. The good intentions backfired as internet users became frustrated by the hassle of broken plug-ins and wait times. They often gave up trying to connect.

So, based on the past frustrations and the unknowns associated with new technology platforms, luxury brands may opt not to participate. Failing to participate is failing to stay relevant and failing to build market share.

So what are the options for investing advertising dollars online?

  • Start with new technologies that afford the brand opportunities to shine.
  • Accept that some platforms may be wrong for luxury and/or the brand.
  • Stay true to brand voice, while exploring new content and advertising models.

Exploration comes with risk. Still, don’t allow competitors, who are willing to take a chance, reap the rewards because you want to avoid the potential problems.

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