Saturday, November 28, 2009

Did you know?

Okay, since my presentation last week at the IHT's Technoluxury conference, I've received numerous emails from participants (those physically present and the 'virtual' attendees who followed the event on blogs, Twitter and other social media) mainly asking for two things: a copy of 'the presentation' and a link to 'the videos'. To save my fingers from temporary disorder as a result of responding to so many emails, I've decided to share the key aspects of the presentation here.

But first let's see the opening video that I heard 'woke people up'. It's a striking rendition of the change our world is undergoing thanks to technology and I took it from from the Meeting in Rome on the progression of information and technology researched by by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Jeff Brenman. It was a relevant intro that had everyone hooked on the screen while the avid "Bloggers and Tweeters" sitting aptly on the 'front row' at the conference sent the video link through Tweeter and their blogs while I was still speaking! Tech is beautiful.. And the audience gave the video clip (not me) a resounding applause at its end. Sit tight, brace yourself and watch it and you'll not only be moved but you will become a different person afterwards.

The second video I shared was actually at the end of the presntation and I used it to visually demonstrate what would be 'next' in the near future of luxury in the context of technology. It's a video clip unveiling Miim, the cool  Japanese humanoid robot that is able to express human emotions and will likely be showing up on fashion runway shows and store windows in the near future (watch this space and keep an eye on Club e-Luxe). By the way Miim also happens to be one of my latest best friends...

And for the presentation itself, Suzy Menkes gave me a real challenge to ''shake things up'' so that luxury brands can see the beauty and opportunities of technology. I tried. Maybe I tried too hard because I was told by some execs that their hearts were in their throats as I spoke on how late and confused luxury appears to be online. When I asked why, I was told, "we were praying that you won't use our brand as an example of a worst practice...'' Hmmm...

Anyhow, I approached the talk from three main angles that I felt the varied crowd would easily relate with.
- To Know   
- To Know How
- To Know How to Be

''To Know'' has to do with moving beyond what luxury knows (creativity, craftsmanship, appeal, desire etc), to what luxury should know about the digital world (inclusion, participation, interactivity, personalization, connection etc), particularly since the internet has been around for twenty years.

Then I had to address the reason why luxury doesn't yet ''know how'' online and why the majority of luxury brands are still strugling with technology. The reasons range from the well-known apprehension of the past years to the current bandwagon trend and the lack of knowledge, orientation, organisation, skills and expertise in this new challenging area. Other reasons highlighted are the challenges of transiting from image to text communications and of selling a ''dream'' online; the speed of technology evolution; the excitement and misplaced focus on tools and applications; the lack of appropriate internal operational structures and the wrong focus on the small picture instead of the extensive picture of what luxury e-business really comprises of.

Suggesting how luxury ''should be'' in the digital world is quite a challenge especially if you're addressing a room full of smart and talented people. I had thirteen suggestions and as I went through them I couldn't help noticing the flash bulbs from people taking photos of the screen... good sign. My suggestions included having a clear-cut Strategy, focusing on 3-D Immersive website and e-boutique design, personalizing the e-shopping, the mobile applications content, integrating the three core channels (store, web, mobile), adopting Artificial Intelligence tools and evolving with Applied Technology.

I also presented Luxury Online and explained my reasons for writing the book and how I approached its contents. Club e-Luxe is another answer to ''de-confusing'' luxury in the digital context that I also highlighted, as cameras flashed on the screen.

One of the most interesting part of this presentqtion was the conclusion and the anticipation for the answer to the question, ''What next?'' Well take a look at the image below for a hint and you'll find the rest in Lxuury Online

And by the way I found so many other speeches and presentations interesting and inspiring and I'll like to share a few quotes that particularly moved me. Enjoy!

''Luxury needs vision to succeed in the world of technology'' - Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, Publisher, IHT 
''Luxury on the internet today is like a silent movie in the age of the talkies'' - Suzy Menkes
''Our team has great flexibility in marketing and digital initiatives'' - Claus-Dietrich Lars, CEO, Hugo Boss
''It's difficult to be different and better'' - Ross Lovegrove, Designer
"You don't win a race by looking over your shoulder but by looking ahead"- Nathalie Massenet, Net-A-Porter
''A generation has grown up with technology and without the aura of distance linked to luxury'' - Suzy Menkes
''Today's smart phones are as powerful as the PC was five years ago'' - Perry Oosting, President, Vertu
''We don't compete for attention on the web, we participate'' - Jefferson Hack, Founder, Dazed & Confused
''The economic crisis has exposed to us who we can trust (as in brands) and who we can't. All the masks are down'' - Maximilan Büsser, Founder MB&F SA
''What used to be a monologue has become a conversation'' - Suzy Menkes
''In the past, you were what you owned. Now, you're what you share'' - Jefferson Hack
''I'm not interested in working with people whose only interest is selling more and more'' - Ross Lovegrove, Designer
''Technology in the design world is a question of culture. It will take some time...'' - Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo, CEO, Charme Investment
''Men are more tech-savvy than women''  (?!?#!???) - Kim Jones & Jason Beckley, Dunhill

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