By Alice Jackson, The Dovetail Agency
Recent worldwide lockdowns and the resulting change in consumer behaviour have pushed luxury brands to re-evaluate commercial and communication strategies. Reaching and engaging with new (U)HNW audiences, particularly those who have accumulated spending power, is now considered paramount for brands to succeed.
It is no secret, today’s new ‘normal’ has seen a huge increase in digital activations to do just this. Last year’s ‘The Human Experience’ report by Accenture stated “the shift to virtual will affect ways of communicating across learning, working, transacting and consuming”. However, there are numerous other initiatives that aid audience growth, including diversifying sales channels, building a circle of trusted referral partners, networking through membership organisations and becoming a thought-leader and ‘source’ of industry expertise, together with generating integrated multi-media relations campaigns.
As an Account Manager at the Mayfair-based luxury PR, media relations and marketing agency, The Dovetail Agency, devising and implementing strategic strategies for luxury lifestyle and travel brands, is second nature. As a team, we are continuously looking beyond traditional industry boundaries to (re)position brands within the luxury sphere; inspiring them to satisfy ever-changing consumer expectations and ultimately, adding value and growth to their business.
As our name suggests, ‘dovetailing’ with other commercially aligned and synergetic businesses is key. We take a 360° approach to comms strategies, with pioneering partnerships recognised as fundamental. Deloitte’s ‘2021 Global Marketing Trends’ report also recognises the power of collaborations, or as it calls them, ‘fusions’. The study investigated how some of the world’s leading companies have “overcome challenges, created entirely new solutions and better helped the people they serve through cross-industry partnerships.”
There are now, more than ever, a large number of lifestyle brands exploring new markets and audiences. 2019 saw one of the world’s leading fitness brands, Equinox, move into the hotel arena through its first Equinox Hotel at New York’s Hudson Yard, with a second property launching in LA in 2022. Another example is, online dating app, Bumble, moving into the hospitality industry with the opening of its inaugural café and wine bar ‘Bumble Brew’ in New York any day now.
As the luxury travel industry continues to overcome the challenges of Covid-19, and the restrictions enforced during the last 18 months, hotels, private aviation operators and tour designers are actively employing creative partnerships and collaborations outside of their core businesses to target previously untouched consumers. These, can of course, be established in various forms – from creating co-branded products, hosting exciting pop-ups to developing newsworthy ‘in residence’ packages. Recent examples include:
- Commissioned Artists & Architects: Veuve Clicquot with iconic Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama
- Five-Star Family Attractions: The Goring with Teddy, The Shetland Pony
- Global Ambassadors: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts with Oscar-winning actress, Susan Sarandon
- Luxury Retailers: W Hotels with luxury e-commerce platform, Rent the Runway
- Michelin-Starred Chefs: British Airways with celebrated, British chef, Tom Kerridge
- Philanthropic Associations: Salcombe Gin with the UK’s leading marine charity, Marine Conservation Society
- Private Aviation Operators: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts with private aviation company, Wheels Up
- Progressive Tech Companies: Formula 1 with leading video communications provider, Zoom
- Renowned Health & Fitness Experts: The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort with celebrity personal trainer, Matt Roberts
- Worldwide Restaurant & Bar Pop-Ups: The Dorchester Rooftop with famed LA restaurant, The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel
As we emerge into the next phase of ‘normal’, one thing is for sure, carefully-selected partnerships can add a huge amount of value to brands. By introducing new collaborations, not only will they surpass their existing customers’ extremely high, ever-changing standards, but they will also have access to an entirely different customer base, within different market segments. Strategic partnerships have staying power – they can strengthen marketing positioning, increase brand awareness, cement competitor advantage and facilitate long-term growth.