Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Luxury Clients Change the Digital Luxury Game at the Club e-Luxe Summit

“The Luxury Cyber-Resident”. This was the theme chosen by Luxe Corp for the 5th edition of its now renowned Club e-Luxe International Summit, held on Tuesday 31st May at the Ritz Hotel, Paris.  

In its now familiar tradition of marrying luxury with the latest offerings from digital media, new technologies and innovation, Club e-Luxe once again gathered some of the brightest digital innovators, conceptors, inventors, developers and thinkers of our times to provide luxury brands with an entrée into the “now and here” of digital media and innovation today.
Through a full-day packed with presentations, debates, conversations, DEMOs and workshops, peppered by “Spotlights” like raffle draws; and “Highlights” like gifts galore, not to forget the three-course lunch and cocktail party, the Club e-Luxe summit raised the bar for digital luxury excellence once again.  

Though connected by a central theme, the topics and their impact were far-ranging, from Optical Illusions and Virtual Reality DEMOs to, 3-D Movie Making techniques, Olfactive Technology presentations, Virtual World simulations, Social Media metrics, Consumer Psychoanalysis in key markets (Europe, North America, China, Brazil and Latin America), Liquid Fabric technology, E-commerce applets, Branded Content techniques and so much more! It was one of those days that could qualify as “full immersive days”.
Luxe Corp began by giving an overview of the ‘real’ cyber-resident and their current post economic and social crisis psyche, as well as how digital media has permeated every fabric if their lives and is re-shaping their expectations from luxury brands, both online and offline. Then Electronic Shadow, blew the audience away by showing how technology could transform physical spaces into immersive environments through optical illusions, virtual reality and the fusion of conception and perception. The audience understood how digital technology could turn a physical setting in Paris into anything from New York’s Fifth Avenue to Brazil’s Amazon forest in a matter of a few clicks and a few seconds. Above all the associated sensory experience could be completely “distance-protocolled” from the web. Talk of magic! This is not for the faint hearted.

Electronic Shadow also showed another dimension of virtual reality, which enables people or brands define their personalities and then transform into a shape to be admired on the screen or to be printed on paper or as a crystal object from a 3D printer. Yes, it means that you will be able to hold the inner you in your hands or place it in your home as an “object d’art” or even wear it as a pendant around your next. Who says technology is not fun?
Following Electronic Shadow was Magic Lab, the experts of 3D movies and animations. They showed the magic of movie making in the context of 3D and computer graphics generation and rendering. Through video clips and narratives of the “ground work” in movie-making, from concept development to storyboards creation, dialogue, animatic, shooting, animatic, modelling, texturing, shading, lighting, rendering, composing, music and sound effects, the audience was able to get an insider eye in the magic of movies.

Elite Market, the London based creators of the immersive online platform, then took the stage to show a live demonstration of what digital luxury ought to be and how luxury websites should look like. The immersive website was used to demonstrate to luxury brands that they need to take absolute control of their online world particularly in the current context where internet traffic is also being driven by mobile traffic. Elitemarket’s website indicated that customers need a frame of reference where the web should provide a continuity of the physical experience, through 360° immersive online environments.

Signature Olfactive made the next presentation and showed their innovative and impressive Olfactive Spirits System©, a digital device that enables the programming of scent diffusion through an intelligence system. They brought a sensory dimension to the luxury experience through revealing the benefits and opportunities of scent-based marketing. The impact of scent on the physical retail environment was assessed as well as its influence in the decision-making process. It was revealed that the atmosphere of a luxury store is more important to customers than the price tags on the products. A demo of the system showed how the solid scent capsules that drive the diffusion could be pre-programmed and pre-installed in physical spaces to work in line with the ambience and mood luxury brands seek to evoke in their stores.
Following the three-course meal and raffle draw during which two lucky participants won special edition laptops from HP, and one lucky participant won a Spa package from Villa Thalgo, the audience were ushered into a Roundtable Debate session on the topic of the “Economics of Social Media doe Luxury”. For the first time, the discussion around social media was not only on the existing tools and applications but on the results, returns, regrets and resources and their impact on the luxury business in the recent past. The participants dove into passionate exchanges on areas like the metrics of measuring the success of social media presence; the age-old qualitative vs quantitative results paradigm; the best and worst practices in the recent past; and the real expectations of online users of social media. We also got a first-hand DEMO of the cool applet that enables micro-shopping within social media platforms through embedded “social e-stores”. Developed by Next Widgets, the tool basically means that luxury brands could give their clients direct access to product pages that enable them shop while conversations are still taking place on social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube! This DEMO was a real moment of “wow”. We also learnt from The Luxe Chronicles that consumers need rapid response and more interaction from brands while the Digital Luxury Group indicated that although the number of “fans” may not directly equate to the success level of brands on social media, it may be their only way to reach that particular client. 1.618 Sustainable Luxury also revealed that the quality and authenticity of the message matters more to luxury clients on social media platforms than the number of “tweets” a brand can generate in one hour. A real lesson that can’t be over-emphasized.
Next up was a series of highly illuminating sessions where the audience got first-hand insider knowledge on the Luxury Cyber-Residents in three key market regions: China & Asia, North America and Latin America & Brazil. First, Jim Taylor took us on an informative and assessment ride of the American luxury client and their behaviour both online and offline. Through pointers and indicators, the audience got a true picture of who the American luxury client has become post-recession and how they are relating to luxury in their evolved state of mind.

Catherine Aymard-Yu then took the stage to enlighten the audience on the explosive Chinese luxury market and how digital media is coming into its own in among Chinese consumers. We learnt that China has not only become the largest internet market in the world, but is also redefining standard rules in search engines and social media. It is now imperative for luxury brands to be found on Chinese search engines and social media platforms; as a luxury brand without a Chinese version of its website is “invisible” to Chinese consumers on the web!

Carlos Ferreinhinha then gave an enlightening portrait of the Brazilian luxury consumers and how they are interacting with luxury both online and offline. It was revealed that the Latin American luxury market is the opposite of the American market in several ways, particularly in the context of the perpetual crisis that has shaped the Brazilian consumer psyche for such a long time. We also got insights into the key Latin American economies particularly Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Argentina. It was revealed that Brazil is producing new money for the first time and that the speed of producing millionaires has been higher than any European country in the last five years. Brazilian luxury shoppers are having such an “I” moment in both domestic luxury shopping and tourist shopping outside Brazil. For example, they make up almost 13% of the entire consumers of the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris!

The final presentation was made by Fabrican, who literally made the eyes of the audience pop-out during the DEMO of their innovative liquid-based textile technology. The patented technology produces fabric through a specially formulated liquid composition that is sprayed directly on the body from an aerosol can. The liquid then solidifies in a matter of seconds and perfectly turns into real textile. Apart from fitting the body to a tee, the styles, fabrics, colours and designs could vary. Talk of bespoke fashion in the digital age!

By the end of the day, it was sure that the participants could go home with a sound understanding of where luxury should be today to ensure its future in the current consumer society ruled by the cyber-resident.  

One word that could sum up the day is “excitement”. The enthusiasm and fervour that filled the air at the venue was the final confirmation that the digital luxury sector has indeed arrived. This far cry from the early days of Club e-Luxe when brands would have rather preferred to take a day off than discuss digital media, confirmed the difference that five years could make in an industry. The luxury sector is now officially pro-digital. Halleluiah! 

For more information on Club e-Luxe, visit the Luxe Corp website:

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