The Relative Importance of the Different Relationship Platforms (Physical and Virtual) in the Consumer Experience of Luxury Brands: How Has It Changed from the Company Perspective?

The Relative Importance of the Different Relationship Platforms (Physical and Virtual) in the Consumer Experience of Luxury Brands: How Has It Changed from the Company Perspective?

Paola Peretti (IULM, Italy) and Mohanbir Sawhney (Northwestern University, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9958-8.ch007
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Abstract

Managing luxury brands nowadays is complex (Wiedmann & Hennigs, 2012). On the one hand, luxury brands built their development through a strategic use of physical relationship platforms, making the customer experience inside points of sale an indispensable element for their growth. On the other hand, over the past 10 years, we have seen leading global luxury brands embrace virtual platforms in various ways to re-imagining consumer experiences. Blending these new elements can present challenges. The purpose of this chapter is to understand the relative importance of the different relationship platforms (physical and virtual) in the consumer experience of luxury brands and how has it changed. Results are able on the one hand to expand the theory of luxury branding and on the other hand to highlight some key implications for luxury brand managers.
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Introduction

Today’s consumers, who can still spend quite a bit on luxury brands, no longer require formal attire or attitudes; immediacy and flexibility are necessary to establish links with their loved brands, but it’s difficult to offer a unique and integrated experience (offline and online) if there’s no control on the brand tone of voice and image. The challenge is how to find the right balance of awareness, engagement and purchase between the different platforms. (Marketing Manager of a Luxury Brand)

This is just one of the quotes gathered in the questionnaire that interviewed 35 marketing managers of luxury brands, based in Italy, who belonged to a sample of luxury companies identified by the Fondazione Altagamma and Pambianco. The ambition of this chapter is to look further into these challenges and answer one key research question: What is the relative importance of the different relationship platforms in the consumer experience of luxury brands, and how has it changed, from the company perspective?

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