When it comes to marketing to ultra-high net worth consumers, the game is changing. Particularly seen in the demographical melting-pot that is Singapore, never before has there been such a diversity of background, culture, ethics, social class, and methods of media and information consumption.
Whether you are wanting to sell watches, high-end bags, jewelry, dinner in a top-class restaurant, or luxury commercial real estate, in the new wealth world order you must make sure you deliver a unique luxury value-added product and experience.
This is the cornerstone to the next era of luxury marketing in Singapore, which curates world-class luxury brands in a densely populated market. We identify a few key factors and macro-trends that are coming into play in the future of marketing to this important group:
1. The integrated digital luxury experience
The rise of digital marketing in this mobile era means it is imperative for luxury brands to understand and use digital media to engage consumers with content, start conversations, and develop reach through peer network-sharing. This trend is already gaining traction in Asia, with technology-forward countries such as Japan and Korea leading the digital marketing front.
Particularly in a developed smartphone market such as Singapore, digital integration is the hottest strategy which luxury brands must undertake to gain access to millennials, who are the second largest and growing group of visitors to luxury brand sites.
Some movers-and-shakers have already marked luxury marketing’s foray into digital integration. Johnnie Walker Blue’s short film “The Gentleman’s Wager” starring Jude Law captured thousands via YouTube, and Burberry’s crowdsourcing campaign “Art of the Trench” weaved the brand into engaged consumers’ lives on Facebook.
In Singapore, luxury brand retailer Reebonz earned its place in luxury goods purely through online means.
Various social channels enable brands to target diverse consumer tastes for an engaging brand experience; Facebook and YouTube are platforms to put out bespoke long-form content, and Pinterest and Instagram curates digestible, striking multimedia to point consumers in the way of increasingly rich site experiences.
Digital integration is the factor which will shape the luxury industry’s marketing efforts going forward in years to come.
2. Personalisation – no more one-size fits all
Ever-increasing demands of consumers and elevated standards of appeal amount to expectations of a service that caters for individual needs, rather than a flat product for the masses. This year will see this phenomenon becoming a new normal for the industry, rather than a company’s unique value proposition.
Burberry’s Smart Personalisation technology gives the consumers exclusivity and personalised service, and Fendi and American Express offer one-of-a-kind products to each of their customers.
To stay relevant and on the top of people’s minds more than ever this year, luxury brands will have to deliver and look for ways to tailor their marketing efforts to each consumer’s need for individuality.
3. Growth by geography: Targeting the Asian market
Asia is predicted to be the region that will see the fastest growth in UHNW wealth, overtaking Europe in terms of UHNW wealth in the next ten years. The combined wealth of Singapore’s UHNW population increased 12.5 percent in 2015.
Furthermore, Asia’s rapidly rising middle class will represent 66 percent of the global middle-class population by 2030. We will see western luxury brands re-focusing their efforts to tap into this growth with some early movers already making waves.
Our target market has always been Asia, because this is the new growth frontier for luxury tourism and hospitality. Other brands wising up include British luxury brand Mulberry, which introduced a special Chinese New Year engraving service at their Selfridges store in London, and Scottish whisky brand Haig, which tapped into football hero David Beckham’s star power to launch their product in South East Asia last year.
It will be particularly interesting to see how leading players in the luxury industry tailor their marketing efforts to navigate China's recent crackdown on excessive luxury spending, potentially broadening their efforts well across Asia as China’s millionaires look to spend their money beyond their borders to avoid the attention of officials.
To conclude, there is more wealth around us being created than ever before. A recent report by luxury intelligence firm WealthX noted the growing middle class boom is set to grow by 5.2 percent this year adding a whopping $80 billion of UHNW wealth in China alone.
With Singapore being the hub which luxury brands are flocking to, market players are well positioned to take advantage of the growing wealthy in the region.
For the savvy luxury marketer amongst us, you had better be ahead of the game in order to ensure that you maintain sustainable success in the new wealth world order.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Chris Comer joined Singapore-based Castlewood Group as CEO in 2007. Prior to this, he was a founding board member of Dubai real estate developer The First Group. Chris' strengths within the real estate investment business saw him accept key leadership roles in China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan, and the UK. He brings with him over 20 years of international business experience.