Oren John, of Product People and Product World, sat down with DNN Editor in Chief, Courtney Porter to discuss the future of luxury branding, radical experiential marketing and why your furniture company may become a media company. Click play on the video below to watch or read on for highlights from the discussion.
5 Takeaways from DNN’s Conversation with Product People’s Oren John:
1. Your furniture company is now a media company
Get ready to make video – a whole lot more of it. Video content is king and will continue to be. All of this content is as much marketing as it is a company’s R&D because never before have we been so close to getting user-tested feedback in real time. Oren suggests brands create sets of videos highlighting individual products and making sure those live on your social media channels as well as product detail pages on your website. In the very near future (now, actually) the most successful companies will have an internal culture shift to prioritize media as their primary output, especially sellers and makers of luxury products. That means stepping up the video quality as well as becoming your own 24 hours on-demand media machine.
2. Your showrooms are now a small chain of regional coffee shops
When it comes to experiential branding, don’t be surprised if you see companies buying up seemingly unrelated brick and mortar businesses. Currently, there is a boom in products opening up coffee shops and having that be the primary draw, showcasing the product the brand is known for is more like the theme of the coffee shop. Oren attributes this to luxury’s biggest competition being boutique mom and pop brands/stores. So your coffee shop has a furniture theme, it’s indie, not Starbucks – which gives it a mom and pop facade.
3. Luxury concierge services are free and going digital
Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn offer in-house design services and more lines are joining suit and taking an omnichannel approach: That means in-store design services that transition seamlessly to on-line and on-demand. The lifetime loyalty of the customer more than justifies the cost of the free concierge design service. Aesop cosmetics are the example we explore in the video.
4. The pathway to becoming a luxury brand is shorter than previously
Building upon the previous point of mom-and-pop brands posing a threat to luxury brands: luxury, especially quiet luxury, is less about the brand name and more about the elegance and simplicity in design and the quality of materials being used. Consumers are better researched on what makes a product good and sustainable and plenty of brands without the clout of hundred-year-old heritage are making quality products for a fraction of the price, thus the pathway to becoming a known luxury brand is shorter than in the past. Flamingo Estate is the example we discuss in the video.
With that said, there is no shortcut to being a true heritage brand. Heritage is valued and true heritage brands would be wise to lean into that as a means of differentiating themselves from the newer luxury competition. By contrast, heritage-washing is a real thing and consumers are catching on. “Heritage” has become the new “aspirational” – luxury branding’s previous favorite buzzword. We explore the rebrands of heritage brands J. Crew and Banana Republic in our discussion.
5. Wellness will be the biggest trend in luxury
Wellness is the way of bringing sustainability into the American mainstream. It is a means of centering humans and their lifestyles in the sustainability movement. It is another element short-cutting some emerging brands’ presence into the luxury marketplace as well: traditionally, heritage brands have not focused on sustainability and wellness so a new market has emerged. Crypton and Kravet are leading this trend in home furnishings and textiles with their new Celliant line. Hermes dipping their toe into yoga-athelesiure is the example we explore in the video.