Technology has transformed the way people communicate and companies are starting to adapt their strategies accordingly. In every sector, businesses are shaking off inertia. And they’re meeting customers where they are to build relationships, protect reputation and ultimately increase sales. However, some industries are slow in embracing the opportunities created by digital.

The Swiss luxury watch industry is one example. Rich in heritage and history, they worry about losing their sense of exclusivity. However, exclusivity doesn’t mean that brands cannot use digital to deepen customer relationships. On the contrary, it means that brands have an opportunity to stand out in the digital world by providing first-class brand experiences.

We analyzed the strategies of 37 Swiss luxury watch brands to understand how companies use digital communication to engage customers. To do this, we looked at 55 different aspects of online presence and five different categories of luxury. Here’s what we learned.

Product-driven communication will not speak to the fastest growing consumer group: millennials. Luxury watch brands tend to focus on their products, without explaining their brand heritage and sustainability efforts. This holistic approach to brand communication is not simply a “nice to have”. It’s a key consideration for any digital strategy that involves millennial customers. It’s also worth highlighting that millennials have a fundamentally different concept of luxury than previous generations. Without brand authenticity and experiences, millennials will find it difficult to understand the price of a luxury watch. However, the opposite is true as well. Brands who can communicate beyond their product will be in a better position to create meaningful relationships with millennial customers.

Luxury brands thrive on Instagram, but only seamless brand experiences can revive them. While Facebook is a great entry point for community building, Instagram is the digital engagement star. The magic phrase here is visual storytelling. The brain understand visuals in a special way and Instagram has become the monthly pit stop for more than one billion people. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by luxury brands who have done fine work in showcasing their products through high-quality imagery. But to our surprise, many digital platforms remain unexplored, underutilized and unaligned. Among the brands analyzed, only 11 per cent had a Facebook Messenger Chatbot and only 32 per cent had an e-commerce platform. We also observed that a customer’s journey, from research to purchase, was far from consistent and seamless.

What should be the industry’s next steps towards digital transformation? In our study, we identified seven golden opportunities to help luxury watch brands move from engagement to a first-class brand experience:

  1. Create a consistent brand identity and brand voice across all online channels
  2. Enhance the online presence to one that is not product dominated
  3. Promote the brand heritage and history in digital campaigns
  4. Showcase CSR activities and commitment to sustainability
  5. Develop seamless brand “experiences” that bridge online and offline activities
  6. Adopt new digital tools for sales, customer relationship management and engagement
  7. Establish growth goals and measurement frameworks that support business objectives

To learn more, download the Leidar luxury study.

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