Delivering experiences is increasingly challenging for luxury brands today. Luxury brands not only face high client expectations, but are also under pressure to create experiences that are unique, personal and emotionally engaging. Such experiences must be genuine and authentic — not gimmicky. They also need to be true to the brand — its values, culture and purpose — as well as delivered consistently and cohesively across all points of contact, both online and off.

Creating Luxury Experiences in a Digital Age

The question of how (and if) digital channels fit into the context of luxury has long been debated, particularly in regard to distribution and e-commerce[1]. Some brands have whole-heartedly embraced the Internet “challenge.” Burberry is one of the oft-quoted examples and was an early proponent of the Internet. But the British fashion house had the advantage of being on the edge of luxury vs. an ultra-luxury brand.

Luxury purchasers, however, are increasingly digital, mobile and social. They are influenced by digital on the purchase journey, whether or not they ultimately buy online[2]. With e-commerce increasing, particularly in certain markets — China and the U.S.[3] — the need for a digitally-enabled luxury shopping experience that respects the characteristics of luxury is also important.

The Power of Online Storytelling

Luxury brands are now more willingly embracing the digital challenge. They are exploring new and innovative ways to create luxury digital experiences that respect the brand’s strategy, sell the dream and create value. Specifically, the digital medium lends itself to storytelling — a key part of luxury communication — bringing the brand’s dream to life with beautifully created and often extravagant films, accessible through YouTube and other online channels.

Examples include “L’Odyssée de Cartier,” the Inside Chanel series and “Once upon a time” by Karl Lagerfeld, Louis Vuitton’s “L’Invitation au Voyage” and more recent films reflecting “The Spirit of Travel”;not to mention Hermès creative and often quirky communication[4], which is not limited to YouTube but extends across other social media. Other examples can be found within luxury hospitality, such as the films for the newly opened Ritz Paris, “Behind the Door” and “Mon Amour”; and Four Season’s campaign to “Experience the Extraordinary” and its “Culinary Discoveries” film, a new campaign for its private jet service.

Sharing through social media has also helped to bring the brand’s dream to a wider audience. Furthermore, digital provides opportunities for personalization and customization, for one-on-one engagement and relevant interaction along the path to purchase[5] — a journey that today includes new phases, such as sharing experiences and influencing others, as well as taking inspiration from new ideas.

“High-net-worths (HNWs) want cool, fun and they want experiences… We live in the culture of now… We want to create our own individual moments of joy, and be able to share those in-the moment experiences with our peers.”

Paul Vallois, Managing Partner, Luxury Society

We’ll hear more about the role of digital in luxury and delivering luxury experiences from industry experts during Glion’s upcoming Experiential Luxury Conference, held on 10 October 2017 in Bulle, Switzerland. This conference explores the meaning of experiences in luxury today, and the opportunities and challenges of delivering such luxury experiences in a more challenging global environment. Follow us to continue the discussion on current trends and the future of luxury experiences.


Dr. Suzanne Godfrey

Head of Luxury Marketing and Brand Management in Hospitality

[1] Kapferer, J-N. and V. Bastien. (2012). The Luxury Strategy. Kogan Page

[2] Remy, N., M Catena and B. Durand-Servoingt. (2015). Digital Inside: Get Wired for the Luxury Digital Experience. McKinsey & Company. July.

[3] D’Arpizio, C. et al. (2016). Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, Fall-Winter 2016. As Luxury Resets to a New Normal Strategy Becomes Paramount. Bain & Company. 23.

[4] See some examples:

Le temps de l’imaginaire (2014):

La Maison des Carrés (2014):

Apple Watch Hermès – Free Hands (2016):

[5] (2016). True-Luxury Global Consumer Insight. BCG – The Boston Consulting Group & Altagamma Fondatione, Milan. 48

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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