Ahead of the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities, many luxury brands are embracing the cultural significance and immense consumer enthusiasm surrounding this year’s well-known occasion through their creative energies translated into campaigns. For these brands, such types of campaigns not only aim to resonate with Chinese traditions, values, and aspirations but also aim to capture the attention and loyalty of affluent consumers during this pivotal time of festivity and renewal.

For MARKETECH APAC’s latest What’s NEXT Interview, we spoke with Nausicaa Charrier, Marketing Director for Moët Hennessy Singapore & Malaysia to learn more about how luxury brands can create authentic campaigns for the Chinese New Year, and what outlook can the luxury marketing industry in Asia-Pacific expect this year.

For Charrier, creating engaging campaigns is not all about who’s making the most out of new marketing mediums to execute their stunts but rather using these mediums as a way to create narratives that resonate with audiences. Recently, Moët Hennessy created a drone show with 500 drones painting the sky, symbolising the brand’s unique alchemy obtained from the art of blending singular eaux-de-vie to create cognac masterpieces.

Moët Hennessy recently did a 500-drone show in the Marina Bay as part of the brand’s Chinese New Year activations

“Technology isn’t just a tool; it is a platform that allows us to reimagine traditions and elevate how we are telling our brand stories,” she said.

She also added that they firmly believe that luxury is not just about opulence but also about showcasing authenticity and that this principle is particularly crucial when integrating cutting-edge technology into their branded experiences. 

“Rather than using technology for the sake of using it, we strategically utilise it to complement and amplify our narratives in an innovative way. It will always go back to our Maison DNA and the story we want to tell. Technology is a mean, not an end. Ensuring authenticity means that each technological endeavour seamlessly aligns with our partnerships, reflects our cultural essence, and reinforces the genuine connections we foster,” Charrier explained.

When asked about the key trends for luxury marketing in Asia-Pacific, she notes three things: a rising demand for immersive, personalized experiences, driven by a quest for exclusivity; sustainability taking centre stage, emphasising eco-conscious practices and responsible event management; and the use of advanced technology, including virtual and augmented reality, as a way to revolutionise event boundaries.

“To stay ahead, our brands adopt a versatile approach. We focus on innovation and curating personalised experiences that highlight customisation and exclusivity. Sustainability takes a central role, emphasising ethical practices and minimising environmental impact. Our commitment extends to engaging with our communities, both fans and consumers,” she explained.

Charrier also highlighted the importance of advanced technology for future luxury brand campaigns, adding, “The integration of advanced technologies is strategically woven into our events, ensuring a seamless blend of tradition and innovation. In alignment with emerging trends, our brands strive to deliver unmatched luxury experiences that resonate with the evolving preferences of our discerning audience.”

In terms of advice brands should take note in executing their future marketing campaigns, she states that navigating the luxury brand industry in APAC will bring a mix of challenges and opportunities. In Moët Hennessy’s case, the challenge is maintaining the brand allure across diverse markets with unique preferences. However, she offers an actionable insight despite this challenge.

“To address this, we focus on authentic collaborations that go beyond typical endorsements. Our strategy involves integrating seamlessly with local cultures, creating genuine connections that resonate with our discerning audience. This ensures our brands align with the nuances of each market, enhancing desirability in the ever-evolving APAC luxury scene,” she said.

Charrier also added, “Moreover, the industry faces the challenge of adapting to changing consumer expectations. However, this challenge offers an exciting opportunity for our brands to lead through innovation. Embracing technology is crucial to enhance customer experiences. Our commitment is to stay agile, addressing evolving trends in the region and keeping our brands at the forefront of the dynamic APAC luxury landscape. This approach positions us not just to meet but to exceed the expectations of our discerning audience, driving continued success in the coming year.”

Singapore – Recommerce platform Carousell has announced the launch of its ‘Certified Luxury’ feature which aims at spotlighting second-hand luxury items on their platform, and convince users to make secondhand items first on their mind.

In the launch event for said feature, Gijs Verheijke, head of luxury at Carousell said that ‘Certified Luxury’ aims at making luxury items accessible to everyone, adding that by making secondhand an easy and trusted choice, they are allowing consumers to make the sustainable choice and practise circular consumption by choosing secondhand.

“Because second hand luxury is so much more affordable, it is often most people’s first interaction with, or entrance into buying luxury. We want to make that encounter with [second-hand] luxury easy and safe for anyone. And these are the ways we are doing that, with the launch of Certified Luxury,” he said.

He also added that in the same way, Carousell is about good deals, they also believe in providing access to luxury for all.

“With Certified Luxury, you get real luxury at a fraction of the cost, with trust and with the same quality assured. In this way, we allow for [second-hand] deals, with a first-rate experience’, giving our consumers the best of both worlds,” Verheijke said.

Carousell’s launch of ‘Certified Luxury’ builds on the platform’s continued mission of promoting second-hand items in the name of sustainability.

Bricks-and-mortar has taken a nosedive in recent months all over the world, and luxury is undoubtedly one of the hardest-hit sectors. But with lockdown measures easing up, the economy is starting to show signs of recovery via ‘Revenge Shopping’, a phenomenon that sees luxury stores opening their doors to shopping-starved consumers looking to avenge their months spent holed up at home during lockdowns. 

This is especially prevalent in China, whose shoppers make up one-third of global luxury sales. Hermes is said to have generated $2.7 million in sales on the day that their flagship store in Guangzhou, China reopened in April, marking this as one of the biggest single-day shopping sprees at a luxury outlet in the entire country.

Will discounts hurt the image of luxury brands?

In order to encourage shoppers to step out of their homes and shop outside, shopping malls and retail brands are incentivising consumers with vouchers and massive discounts to encourage this phenomenon. 

Luxury fashion brands, that were once perceived as unattainable, out of reach and reserved for a privileged few, have diversified their customer base in order to access the new breed of Gen-Z consumers as they reach shopping maturity and begin to demonstrate significant purchase potential. 

According to South China Morning Post, local governments are further fuelling the return of bricks-and-mortar shopping by issuing prepaid coupons, with at least 30 cities across APAC reportedly having issued residents over US$706 million worth of shopping vouchers.

Shoppers now have a vast spread of luxury options to splurge on, as luxury brands redefine their brand values and make them more accessible to the masses. But not all agree that discounting is the right strategy for luxury brands. 

“Having your products be more coveted is often something that can drive higher earnings,” said Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst with Forrester Research. “That’s what makes the luxury sector unique.”

Is revenge shopping truly for everyone?

Despite its success thus far, qualms remain about the longevity of the revenge shopping phenomenon. Revenge shopping applies mainly to the happy few who can afford high-price-point items, keeping the wider population at arm’s length. According to a recent survey reported in Quartz, 41% of respondents would reduce spending to prepare for future crises. Only 8% expressed willingness to do more shopping after the outbreak. 

In another survey 68% of people say they expected their income this year to be lower. With many having been put on furlough, having had their salary decreased or having had lost their job altogether, the main consensus will be of wariness and care.

On the flipside, a recent study by Rakuten Advertising reports that Asian consumers are more likely to increase their shopping spend, especially when it comes to big holidays such as Christmas and Lunar New Year, compared to their Western counterparts.

The downsides of a swift economic recovery

While stores may be relieved about increased revenue after months of economic downturn, they would still face the issue of excess inventory. It might not be such good news for the planet, and scientists warn that returning to business-as-usual at an accelerated pace could bring about negative impacts to the environment. 

The fashion industry, already contributing 10% of global carbon emissions, is also a major driver of waste, unsustainable agricultural production and water contamination causing major harms to wildlife. With revenge shopping on the rise, it is likely that the bounce back in demand for fashion will reignite these environmentally destructive practices that make future pandemics more likely. 

As brands face the pressure of recovery and clearing stock to make way for new collections, e-commerce and affiliate marketing may help with targeting newer and a wider range of audiences.

A few weeks after the reopening of the economy post-pandemic, almost 80% of shopping mall merchants observed customer foot traffic at levels more than half of what it was before the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the China Commerce Association for General Merchandise. Looking back, during the financial crisis of 2008-2009, luxury was also one of the categories to recover the quickest. 

If history is any indication, the luxury economy may be forecasted to experience a healthy and speedy return to normality, thanks to revenge shoppers. However whether this phenomenon is sustainable for luxury brands themselves and the environment, that answer is yet to be discovered.

The author is Stella Berry, Regional Business Director of Adludio, a premier advertising platform for delivering brilliant creative on mobile devices.

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