Learnings from the ‘Luxury and Web 2.0″ Conference held 15 December 2010 by Benchmark Group in Paris, France

I thought I would share these highlights here, rapidly translated from the attached piece (in French 😉  )

Luxury brands are now definitely engaging onine. However there is a big difference between those focusing on Brand awareness and Image, those who advertise and those who have initiated Direct Sales/E-Commerce businesses.

(1) About Web Advertising – Are Luxury Brands advertising?

In the past, only counterfeit or “grey market” products were advertised. Now Brands do advertise but in different ways.. preferring Social Media increasingly.

Current situation:

➢ Web advertisement does not replace traditional spend, it complements it and targets different ‘tribes’ (ie those who do not watch Tv as much anymore for example)
➢ Display advertisement has disappointed many brands – BEAUTE PRESTIGE INTERNATIONAL explained they are not investing much on Web Display ad vs other media
➢ Formats are key – Luxury Brands must offer Innovation and novelty
➢ Search in general – SEM and PPC however are seen as KEY – BAUME & MERCIER stressed the importance of Search
➢ NATURAL search and SEO are still the first priority, a foundation on which you can build your user experience

(2) what is the right investment in Social Media and Web 20.0

➢ belonging to the network of a Luxury Brand in a social media appears is a true value.. a sign of taste and almos exclusivity (perception)
➢ for VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS – If you are not on Facebook you do not exist on the Internet
➢ you can try and build your own social network (LANCOME in China or Thierry MUGLER in France) and then integrate it into mainstream networks
➢ Careful to pick the right media in China (ren ren), Brazil (orkut) etc..

(3) Why Web 2.0?

➢ Manage an active community and be where your customers are vs your site (LVMH for Hennessy, Belevedere of LVMH)
➢ Lead Generation – conversion rates are higher on this traffic source
➢ Create special events, exclusive surprises
➢ Engage in a conversation to receive feedback and enrich brand equity on the net whilst developing product knowledge
➢ Objection handling – the biggest protection is the community itself
➢ VAN CLEEF uses an agency to moderate the discussions

(4) Interesting Data

Out of a poll over 558 consumers in Luxury

8% of consumers follow a luxury brand on the internet (social media)
9% follow several
89% find brand sites properly represent brands and their values
83% find magazines present brands well
59% for blogs
31% on social networks

I hope this helps you!

[Source: Journal du Net http://www.journaldunet.com/ebusiness/le-net/luxe-et-web-2-0/?f_id_newsletter=4106 ]