We might be on our phones 99.9% of the time, but luxury brands increasingly have to think outside the box to have any chance of getting past that iPhone lock screen. Making connections between mobile strategy and other aspects of a customer’s journey – in-store experiences, social media platforms, and dedicated websites – are essential for a successful omnichannel strategy, but also for telling the kinds of stories that drive loyalty to brands.
Like a leggy late 90s Naomi Campbell, the undeniable ‘super’ of digital innovation is 158-year old brand Burberry. Headed by Angela Ahrendts (until she was poached by Apple last year), Burberry has dominated mobile engagement since launching its mobile site in 2011. Today, a third of Burberry’s online business is achieved through a mobile device. So why is Burberry’s strategy so damn good? A mix of an all-out digital-focussed strategy, plus one or two creative social media driven campaigns a year – last year’s Burberry Kisses, in partnership with Google, allowed users to send a virtual kiss around the world using their smartphone. Mobile engagement dictated the redesigned flagship Regent Street store in 2012 – including mobile apps, iPads for staff members, QR codes, digital labels, beacons and mobile payments to enhance the store experience.
One brand that has only more recently turned to mobile to enrich the in-store experience is Kenzo, whose tangible popularity amongst millennials makes smartphone engagement essential. Kenzo recently launched their first mobile app, in conjunction with its pop-up at French department store Printemps’ Haussmann flagship. ‘Kenzo loves Printemps’ lets consumers browse through the exclusive pieces created for the store, as well as enter a contest to win exclusive prizes through an interactive game. By gamifying the shopping experience, the brand are creating real incentive to download the app – Klever Kenzo. Massimiliano Pipolo, head of Visual Identity at Kenzo, will be revealing some of his secrets at our Milan event this month (more on that later).
This doesn’t mean luxury brands should jump to create apps – without real incentive to download, some will just end up floundering in the app store. The key is to know when (and when not) an app will add value to cohesive omnichannel storytelling. Mobile apps are platform specific, making it difficult for your brand content to flow freely across the digital ecosystem. For brands who don’t need super sophisticated graphics or access to a user’s camera or mic, a dedicated mobile website – such as Ralph Laurens’ m.ralphlauren.com – might just make a lot more sense.
Our Milan event, taking place on 22nd October in partnership with e-Pitti.com, will take such innovations in omnichannel strategy as its starting point. With expert speakers such as Barbara Corti, Paul Van Zyl and Juliet Warkentin due to appear, the day will aim to address the possibilities for mobile strategy looking forward: everywhere, everywhen, everyhow.
Reported by Claire Healy