Luxury brands need to act “luxury” on social

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 16 April 2015
Image from Instagram @choupettesdiary

Choupette Lagerfeld – the cat owned by Chanel head designer and creative director Karl Lagerfeld – has a social media presence that would make most humans blush: 60,000 followers on Instagram and a byline that includes the email of her own press secretary. But, according to Tongue MD and executive creative director Jonathan Pease, Choupette's presence is compelling proof that all luxury brands have a place on social media, it just requires a specific “luxury” approach.

Pease is speaking at the deLux15 conference, a global luxury brand forum, next week where he intends to challenge perceptions luxury brands have of social media.

While most brands have long since taken the social media plunge, luxury brands have been by-passing the medium for it being the opposite of their values: low quality, disposable and free. But Pease said, in his opinion, “social media for luxury brands is actually the ultimate medium”.

“You can have a deeper ongoing conversation that you probably couldn't afford to do in another other medium,” he said. “Luxury brands have got this whole heritage and craftsmanship story to tell which they can do on a daily basis.”

Pease also said that luxury brands tend to be attached to a particular major city – England for Burberry, Paris for Chanel – and that gives them the opportunity to build that image to greater effect.

He also believes that using social is the ultimate way to put the customer first.

“To me the definition of luxury is not being treated “like a number”,” Pease said. “The conversation about luxury brands is happening on social media anyway, so brands need to be leading it, as opposed to playing catch up or not even being in the conversation at all.

“Social media is the ultimate medium for luxury brands, but they just haven't really embraced it yet.”

Pease said, contrary to popular opinion, he believes luxury brands can work on all elements of social media and that nothing is really “off limits”. He said Choupette Lagerfeld is the ultimate example of a luxury brand flipping what is seen as the very bottom of the social media pool – cat videos – and turning it into something “premium.”

He said the key to a luxury brand being successful on social is continuing to play by its own “luxury rules.”

“In simple terms, if you wouldn’t put it in Vogue magazine, don't put it on Instagram,” Pease said.

“Luxury brands have very, very strict guidelines and ways that they would perform in any other medium, but they seem to let that go and act more user-generated when it comes to social.

“There s a specific way to use social and that is by continuing to act like a luxury brand.”

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