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The Luxury-Tech Content Equation
FSW thinks about the luxury-tech paradigm in the face of digital innovation and the challenges of identifying problems and finding the right solutions.
Innovation and luxury are not necessarily natural bedfellows.
Luxury brands were purposefully late to the table when it came to digital strategy and, in turn, digital content; and in general, many brands still seem to struggle with it, adopting a reactionary, tactical approach rather than a strategic, purposeful one. If you expand the discussion to include omnichannel physical and digital content in our expansive IRL+ definition, then the technology equation becomes increasingly complex, with brands struggling to meet today’s always-on, always-evolving state of content and the ever-changing needs and pain points of consumers across channels.
In a very real sense, the traditional universe of broadcast brand marketing is disappearing. Brands will quickly become irrelevant in the face of the creator economy if they do not adopt a holistic, integrated content strategy across platforms that links corporate vision to the needs and preferences of their actual consumers.
Building Meaningful Luxury-Tech Connections
How do you forge a better bridge between tech providers and luxury brands that allows brands to approach innovation in a way that is authentic and appropriate for their story, market, and target audiences?
This was a question Laurence Stefani directly addressed in her introductory session to her event “Luxury Retail Powered by Tech,” held at the Microsoft Garage in Soho, New York in October 11. The purpose of the event was ostensibly to showcase innovative tech solutions that answer problems brands are actively trying to solve.
The “why” of technology in luxury is a balancing act between brand story and consumer needs. Ideally, you need both to deliver seamless, consistent experiences across channels. But too often a brand’s desire to communicate or market a product or to tell a specific story wins over user needs, producing top-down marketing experiences that do not truly connect with modern consumers. Even innovation-focused activations that purport to focus on content co-creation can miss out on consumers if they do not focus on producing meaningful, consumer-focused experiences, as opposed to brand-centric ones.
As we have explored at length, luxury brands have unique needs when it comes to content. The same goes for innovation. Luxury consumers expect refined, highly personalized, elite experiences that seamlessly blend quality, story, and customer service. This puts increased pressure on technology tools to deliver high-end solutions for luxury brands that allow them to meet the demands of picky high-net-worth consumers.
Top-of-the-line luxury tech solutions risk becoming a one-off or, worse, a gimmick, if they are not properly contextualized and integrated into a brand’s existing tech stack and overall brand marketing strategy in a meaningful way. A few months ago, we argued that the metaverse and gaming activations need to educate users about these nascent tools and build guided experiences that both educate and delight. There are many tech innovators like Exclusible, Journee, DressX, and others producing beautifully rendered metaverse, gaming, and web3 experiences. But these activations only “work” if they link to a brand’s wider corporate strategic vision and are clearly aligned to the journeys of actual consumers in a way that allows brands to gather data, test, and learn from it.
Luxury and Tech Need Content Strategy
What is the ideal luxury-tech equation to bring operational efficiencies, meet brand goals, move products toward the right consumers, and, in turn, offer consumers more personalized, targeted experiences?
At FSW, we see the function taking this shape:
Connected, Meaningful Luxury Brand CX = f(Data-Driven Content Strategy, Brand Story, Technology)
Understanding who your consumers are and the what, why, and how of their shopping journeys can help your brand identify, understand, and anticipate changing consumer needs and then find the right tech solution to deliver these experiences.
As a last word on the buzzword none of us can escape: Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI has the potential to make the work of luxury brands faster, more efficient, and more consistent and process-driven across platforms.
Our approach to AI is simple: AI cannot solve your content problems; content strategy can. It is all about building an integrated architecture, framework, and timeline for content across channels, then building innovative approaches to business automatically becomes easier because it is part of your timeline.
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