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The past few months have turned the business world upside down. Everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak which has subsequently caused a drastic change to consumer lifestyles. Naturally, brands, particularly luxury ones, must adapt to stay relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic where new and innovative strategies need to be facilitated.

With lockdowns in place in the majority of countries around the world, luxury brands are no longer able to rely on their in-store experiences to help engage with customers and form lasting relationships. Luxury brands rely on heritage and a brand identity that has sometimes taken decades to form, however, the current situation means that it is necessary for them to incorporate new methods of marketing in order to build upon previous success. With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at just how luxury brands are adapting and adjusting to the lockdowns.

What Luxury Brands Need To Be Doing

The COVID-19 outbreak has turned everything on its head. For luxury brands, where in-store experiences are key to differentiating themselves from both competitors and non-luxury brands, this is no longer a viable option. Lockdowns around the world mean that people are now forced to stay inside for the foreseeable future meaning that luxury brands in particular need to alter their approach to catering to customers. With in-store experiences not being available to them, luxury brands need to start taking different approaches to their traditional methods in order to stay successful during these turbulent times. Here are some of the ways they can do so:

1. Adapt Your Messaging

Shifting the majority of focus onto online and digital channels should be a main priority. However this needs to be done with the right tone and with sincere, empathetic feelings. People are not prioritising luxury goods given the current situation and if you are continuing on as if everything is normal, it will alienate them, potentially on a permanent basis. As more people are staying inside, social media use is skyrocketing. Developing content specifically designed for your different social media channels is a key way to engage and interact with your customer base, especially as you are not able to currently do this in store.

2. Help Where Possible

While it’s likely that you may not be selling as many products as would typically be the case, in some instances they have dropped by 70%, it will also be the same for your competitors. However, this shouldn’t mean you just write off this period of time and wait for everything to blow over. Now is the time you should be helping in your community, supporting the people who need it, and truly embodying the essence of being a company who cares. LVMH has shifted from producing perfume to hand sanitizer, Monica Vinader held giveaways for hospital workers and many others are donating significant amounts of money to support growing efforts. People will remember the companies who helped during the COVID-19 outbreak, they will also remember those who stood idly by and did nothing.

3. Prepare For Future Purchase Surges

Right now, the majority of consumers are looking to save money and are not considering buying anything other than what might be defined as essential products. However, this will likely lead them to having saved finances that they might be looking to spend as a reward or treat for themselves once the world gets back to normal. With holidays abroad set to be an unlikely purchase, consumers will probably choose to buy goods instead.

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Luxury brands should therefore be expecting busy summer or autumn months, especially in relation to online sales. This is a wave of optimism that you should reflect in your brand’s messaging, whilst obviously not being oblivious to the greater global situation. Using this time to prepare for future sales is something that is highly advisable.

What Some Luxury Brands Have Already Done

In light of current global circumstances, many luxury brands have already begun changing the ways they operate and engage with their customer base. This has led to some creative and innovative new methods for garnering success that you can take inspiration from such as:

Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo has launched an initiative that invites fans to engage with their brand by sketching their dream pair of shoes. Each week a new inspiration will be posted on their social media platforms and five successful contestants will have their own designs made into a real life pair for part of a capsule collection available later this year. All proceeds of which will be going to charity but Jimmy Choo are now engaging with their audience in a collaborative way that gets their customers to be truly invested in the brand as a whole.

Alexander McQueen

The luxury fashion brand Alexander McQueen have begun launching weekly activities that encourage their followers and customers to display their creativity whilst stuck inside during lockdown. These have included inviting followers to sketch key pieces from recent collections and create 3D flowers using materials they find at home. As well as this they have released curated playlists from recent runway shows for customers to enjoy and, with many more initiatives still to come, Alexander McQueen are showing that engaging with customers in interactive ways is crucial to staying relevant.

Mulberry

Mulberry saw great success last year with their ingenious ‘My Local’ initiative that saw them take over pubs and bars with live music and events. With the lockdown in the UK firmly set to remain in place for several more weeks, it would seem that a similar approach is now impossible. However, Mulberry has displayed the success that reworking and reinventing an old idea can have. The brand has taken this physical initiative and repurposed it into a digital one on their social media feeds. With live performances and events set to run throughout the month, Mulberry are turning a successful piece of physical marketing into a digital one.

Dior

Self-isolation can be a lonely place for some people, which is why Dior has launched a new podcast with the goal of entertaining their audience as well as reinforcing their brand identity. Focusing on art, fashion and feminism, Dior is directly appealing to their target audience, giving them content that they would immediately be interested in. Featuring the likes of Tracy Emin, Penny Slinger and Paola Ugolini, Dior is finding ways to emphasise the core elements of what they stand for as a company, while still offering an avenue of entertainment for their audience.

Aspinal

The luxury lifestyle brand Aspinal has recently launched their #AspinalHeroes campaign on Instagram. This is an interactive initiative that allows the company to give something back to those on the frontlines fighting off the COVID-19 outbreak. Users can nominate people they know are working heroically in emergency sectors whereby 100 winners each week will be chosen to receive personalised Aspinal gifts, as just a small way to show appreciation for the tireless work they are currently doing.

*NOMINATIONS NOW CLOSED* Nominate your #AspinalHeroes Aspinal of London is proud to announce the launch of #AspinalHeroes to show our appreciation to those at the forefront of the current COVID-19 crisis we are currently facing as a nation. Every week for the next 4 weeks Aspinal will be rewarding 100 #AspinalHeroes with a personalised surprise gift to brighten up their week and say thank you for the amazing work they have done. Heroes can be of all ages, they sometimes wear a uniform but they can also be ordinary people doing extraordinary things – whether its working on the front line as part of the NHS or going above and beyond to help their local community we want to recognise and celebrate their remarkable acts of kindness. Please show your love by nominating your hero by naming or tagging them in the comments below and telling us why they are an #aspinalheroes

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Burberry

Burberry are one of the many brands who are pivoting from creating luxury goods to making surgical masks for the NHS. They are looking to fast-track 100 000 masks to NHS staff and are repurposing some of their factories to instead make gowns and face masks for hospital patients. As well as funding vaccine research and donating to a number of other charities, Burberry displays how offering positive actions carries far more weight than simply just offering positive messaging.

Final Thoughts

It may seem like a confusing and difficult time right now in relation to adapting a business to deal with the lockdowns but there are things you can do to have a positive effect now, and to set yourself up for future successes. As a luxury brand, it is likely that you pride yourself on the premium level of in-store service and experience you can offer your customers. However, it’s not about just putting that on hold until the world goes back to normal, but rather it’s about taking that premium service and repurposing it for new channels. Offering great online services, finding innovative and creative ways to stay engaged with customers on social media and through digital channels should be the main priority for you right now.

However, if you would like further help and support, please reach out to us at Appnova, we have experience working with luxury brands in particular and will be able to offer advice during this trying time. Above all, stay positive and stay safe.

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