Círculo Fortuny, the association representing Spanish companies and high-end industries, has celebrated for the first time in Barcelona its annual conference: Fortuny Day. An event where the influence of the Internet and social networks in the world of high-end firms has been discussed.
A day to think about the future of the sector and the risks and opportunities that big brands have to face as they enter into the digital experience. One world, the high-end, which represents the 4% of the European GDP and 17% of the continent’s exports, cannot be left out of technological advances, especially given the dimensions of the web phenomenon both in sales and in their role as main information source.
Exceptional speakers, who are part of the teams of some of the most successful European luxury brands with an important presence in the fashion world, have debated on the present and future of the high-end industry.
For Ian Rogers, Chief Digital Officer of LVMH Group:
“The Internet is changing consumers’ daily life, what they value, how they experience culture and, therefore, the way they perceive and buy luxury. We have to adapt to the times and be where the customers are.“
Similarly, Sébastien Badault, MD France & Global BD Leader for Luxury Brands Category of Alibaba Group, pointed out the importance of digital transformation, and opened new horizons providing the point of view from another continent:
“The changes that are reshaping the industry are very visible in a market as important as China, where digital transformation is at the heart of the daily lifes and the pace of innovation that affects the luxury sector is incredible.”
Look to the future, adapt to the current way of life, but without losing the brand essence. That is the idea that Mr. Carlos Falcó, as Executive President of Círculo Fortuny, wanted to underline:
“The main challenge for the industry is to take advantage of digital technology without compromising the core values of the brand.”
Because when we think of European icon luxury firms we also think about creativity, design and craftsmanship. But do these qualities fit into the digital framework? For Ian Rogers yes. The expert insists that all of them also work online.
“Developing software is craftsmanship,” he says. “When you buy a product, you buy a culture. For this reason, digital helps to tell a story, reinforces the brand culture – which gives it an added value – and reconnects humans “
Consumers buy stories. An idea that also supported Sébastien Badault and that highlights the change that digital marketing is producing in the way of relating brands with their customers.
In this regard, José Mª Folache, CEO of TOUS, said that:
“The most important challenge for the future of affordable luxury retail is to manage the dialogue we create and maintain with our consumers.”
While Borja González del Regueral, Deputy Dean of IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, added:
“High-end companies must think of themselves as technology companies and redefine their competitive environment by attracting the younger consumer through the generation of experience with the brand to redefine their competitive environment.”
The Internet opens, without a doubt, new paths of development that also affect the luxury sector in a very important way. It brings the sector closer to the public and offers them new possibilities of connecting to products. Now it will be necessary to see if the brands are able to manage these possibilities without compromising their essence.