10 minutes with Nicky Eaton, Christie’s Head of Communications & Content EMEA

Do you think the role of the comms / marketing director is changing?

Communications leads are finally being seen as a valued strategic business adviser. Sitting at its heart and joining the dots, troubled times such as we’ve just experienced always shine a light onto what’s important within a company, and comms increasingly is being recognised as far more than media relations or PR, focusing on the opportunities (digital or otherwise) to create value, and to help actively grow business in a meaningful and engaging way.

Do you think the concept of luxury has changed since the Pandemic?

So subjective as a concept, however personally luxury hasn’t changed, remaining as something which delivers joy, affords an element of the dream, or is precious (such as time or wellbeing).

What has changed is that luxury will now face ever greater competition, as purchasing decisions also factor in an individuals’ personal values, function, and what that decision says about them as an individual to themselves, more than to others. It may now be more about the experience too.

Some luxury brands will emerge stronger from the trials of 2020, having reconnected with their local customers in lieu of tourist driven trade – these renewed relationships, valued experiences and insights will offer advantages that will likely continue even as international travel resumes.

What changes are you seeing in what HNWI are looking for?

HNWIs remain motivated by trust, confidence and longstanding relationships, so successfully integrating technology as part of an effective client engagement strategy as we emerge from this strangest of times will need to retain and encompass these tenets. Purpose and sustainability appear to be increasingly driving desirability.

What have been your greatest learnings as a result of the Pandemic?

How much I took social interactions for granted. Never again…

What is coming up next for Christie’s?

The demand for works of art and for luxury goods remains very strong globally, at every price point. Whether via the auction room, online or with private sales, following very successful sales in New York this month, June (20/21) and July (Classic Week) marquee sales in London are looking extremely strong.

From a corporate perspective our sustainability strategy is a key focus among others. Christie’s has a responsibility in terms of protecting our environment and building a more sustainable business for now and for the future, and so we’ve committed to defined targets and transparent communication of our progress, while supporting collaboration across the industry. This sustainability strategy is comprised of 3 pillars: Commit: committing to become net zero by 2030, reducing our emissions by 50%; Communicate: pledging transparency and reporting on our progress and insights; Collaborate: Christie’s will work with others to achieve our targets and help drive systemic change.

Are there particular luxury / consumer trends that you are harnessing?

We continue to explore the intersection of art and technology, as evidenced with our livestream auctions, the recent sales of NFTs including Beeple, and innovative ways of connecting clients with art virtually among other examples. Storytelling of the beautiful works under our stewardship remains at the heart.

What brand do you most admire for their comms / marketing initiates and why?

So many creative campaigns from brands across fashion and luxury to admire, so this is a tough call. However, when Claridge’s closed their doors for the first time in 164 years, together with the other Maybourne Hotel Group institutions the Berkeley and the Connaught, their purpose driven campaign through the pandemic together with the related storytelling was tone and pitch perfect – smart and altruistic.

What is luxury to you? (ie. Cocktails at Hotel de Russie, hot bath…)

Right now (it’s raining as I type), getting on a plane to somewhere hot, with a bag full of books and no phone.