Technology aspects

The 70 Billionaires at Davos

By Robert Frank at The Wall Street Journal

Davos is often criticized as a cabal of the global elite. But maybe it’s time they got some populist credit: Only 70 of the 2,500 attendees are actual billionaire. The rest are merely powerful or millionaires.

According to an article by Matt Miller of Bloomberg, the U.S. is sending the largest contingent of billionaires, with 20. The roster includes hedge-funders Steve Cohen, Ray Dalio, and George Soros.

India is sending 16 billionaires – nearly a third of the country’s total billionaire population. Russia is sending 12.

There are so many billionaires attending that a social-networking company is using the occasion to launch a new “Facebook for world leaders” Indian-born businessman Vivek Ranadivé is introducing TopCom, “a private social network that combines Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, texting, and Skype.”

Oh, and you have to be among the 200 richest people in the world to join.

Yet the billionaires at Davos are mindful of the times. So they’re highlighting all the social good that can come of their Alpine pow-wow. It’s not about doing deals, partying with the powerful and expanding their networks and fortunes, they told Miller. It’s about trying to make the world a better place.

Buffett-like, they say inequality is a real problem – even though they’re perceived as the cause and Davos is short on inequality discussions.

“We have seen in 2011 what ignoring this aspect can result in,” Azim Premji, the Indian software tycoon, wrote to Miller. “If we don’t take cognizance of it and try to solve this problem, it can create a chaotic upheaval globally.”

Soros was more dire. He told Newsweek that he’s predicting “riots on the streets that will lead to a brutal clampdown that will dramatically curtail civil liberties. The global economic system could even collapse altogether.”

Should be a fun party.

bonus video : Five things to know about the World Economic Forum 2012 NDTV

How did Steve Jobs affect the luxury industry?

By Rachel Lamb at Luxury Daily

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs left a mark on the luxury industry not just in the mobile space, but in the way that executives think about design, retail experience, presentation and innovation.

The first step that luxury brands usually take into mobile is through iPhone or iPad applications, using the platform as a way to engage consumers and immerse them into a branded world. Despite the obvious mark that Mr. Jobs left on the industry, his innovations have helped to sculpt the way that luxury products are viewed by the world.

“Steve Jobs’ innovations were not just about being expensive, although many Apple products are considerably more expensive than the competition,” said Al Ries, chairman of marketing consultancy Ries & Ries, Roswell, GA. “Jobs’ innovations were about being different.

“The way to build a brand today is by being different, not just by being better,” he said.

Mr. Jobs passed away Oct. 5 presumably due to complications from pancreatic cancer.

Industry and marketing experts weigh in on Mr. Jobs’ and Apple’s impact on the luxury world:

Michael Becker, managing director for North America, Mobile Marketing Association
The term “revolutionary” is applied too often, but in the case of Steve Jobs, it simply doesn’t go far enough to account for his influence and impact. Informed by a personal vision of ‘what could be,’ as opposed to one driven by market research, Steve Jobs imagined devices that were more than the sum of their parts and programs, and which became an extension of the user’s needs, desires and aspirations. He not only changed the face of the mobile channel, [but] his devices and those created to compete with Apple’s offerings are creating a new world based on his vision. While Steve Jobs’ loss leaves the world a poorer place, it is a world that he helped reimagine and re-engineer. That world will be his legacy.

Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, Stephens, PA
Besides the obvious fact that Jobs’ Apple brand is the luxury brand for techies, I think Jobs’ greatest contribution is the example he set to all businesses for innovation. He wasn’t afraid to shake up his industry’s ‘conventional wisdom.’ Coming from the tech world, he recognized that design and style are just as important as gigabytes and RAM. He understood the importance of delivering an ultimate experience to his customers, both when using his products and when visiting his stores. He understood the need for the Apple brand to successfully manage all touch points with his customers.

Steven DeLuca, publisher of American Express Publishing’s Departures magazine, New York
For the luxury consumer who wants the newest and best products available, Steve Jobs was among the most innovative of trailblazers. His vision and contributions enhanced the lives of luxury consumers. For these affluent individuals and the marketers who want to reach them, his work was game changing.

Nancy Hubbell, prestige communications manager at Lexus, Torrance, CA
Steve Jobs and Apple have changed the way people think and use technology in their cars. By setting the bar for intuitive functionality and incredible design, Jobs has influenced what technology luxury automakers integrate into their cars, as well as how intuitive that technolgy needs to be. His ability to provide customers with what they want, before they even knew they wanted it, is a lesson to all manufacturers.

Linda Passaro, global vice president of sales and marketing for McIntosh Laboratory, New York
Steve Jobs had a huge influence on the luxury industry, one that is being played out today on many levels. Luxury brands are all about providing customers with experiences that generate enhanced feelings for the products they purchase. In this way, the products become relevant to their lives. Steve Jobs and Apple brought the world a variety of products that create exactly these types of enhanced life experiences. He was also a visionary branding expert who set new standards that inspire all luxury brands and he tapped into the youth culture in a huge way. It is that culture that is in many respects driving today’s luxury market. Our McIntosh actually sold Steve Jobs the rights to use the name Mac in the 1980s, and everyone here is very sad with his passing. But his legacy will help shape the future of luxury brands to come.

Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Industry, New York
He changed the world in various ways. First of all, he helped the luxury industry think through how critical design is in every single product and service that you deliver. I think that it influenced the luxury automobile industry and probably the luxury home products in the design way. And I think that he probably influenced fashion designers and how to think about design and functionality. You have to use the left and right brain for any product whether it is apparel or a handbag. I know that every time I speak to a luxury CEO and ask them, “What’s the benchmark for you in luxury?” invariably they would point to Apple as the benchmark in terms of product, retail experience and innovation. I think that luxury executives have a wonderful affinity for Steve Jobs and what he has done to influence them, especially the younger luxury executive. He most likely influenced them to be better and set a very high benchmark for the luxury industry.

Many people and visionaries and CEOs and designers can learn from Steve Jobs and the way he lived his life and how he created luxury and premium products, because that’s what they are. I think he created products that helped the world and made people better. Luxury can learn from that, too. Its not just about a product, its about the emotion and the empowerment and the inspiration that a product, luxury or not, can provide to a human being.

Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami
Steve Jobs is the primary reason technology brands entered the luxury segment. He is my generation’s Walt Disney. He integrated design into everything he did, and touched the luxury world by doing so.

Al Ries, chairman of marketing consultancy Ries & Ries, Roswell, GA
I’m not sure that Steve Jobs has had much effect on the luxury industry because the industry tends not to pay attention to what happens elsewhere. But they sure could have learned from Mr. Jobs. Typically, the luxury industry is focused on being expensive.That can be very effective if you already have built a powerful brand such as Prada, Chanel [and] Louis Vuitton. But Steve Jobs’ innovations were not just about being expensive, although many Apple products are considerably more expensive than the competition. Steve Jobs’ innovations were about being different.

The Apple personal computer was the first “packaged” PC and the Macintosh was the first 32-bit personal computer. Just as the iPod was the first high-capacity MP3 player, the iPhone was the first touch-screen smartphone [and] the iPad was the first tablet computer. The way to build a brand today is by being different, not just by being better.

bonus video : Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address by

view online the Nature of Luxury magazine

A Day made of Glass – Luxury in the Future… by Corning

Luxury in the future… by Corning

The 12 Best Fashion Industry Brand Blogs

by Macala Wright at Fashionably

Last week was a big week for my Mashable column.  I launched a two-part series on the subject of branded content and the fashion industry. The original piece was over 4,000 words long and took my dear editors (Josh and Matt:  I love you both) a week to sift through.

What you didn’t read there will be integrated into several posts on FMM over the course of this week, starting with the best brand blogs. On Mashable, I started with Nowness and I’m going to start with it here, as it was my top pick for best branded blogs, too.

#1: Louis Vuitton – NOWNESS

Since consumers were able to shop designer collections online, the brands that were most successful with e-commerce haven been those who have distinguished themselves with experiential stories. Those stories are crafted through packaging and signage, highly stylized display advertising photography for print, radio and television ads, translated then translated to the web, social networks and now mobile platforms.

Experiential storytellers keep their stories consistent across all medium, building upon their history while keeping a trained eye on the future. Fashion brand storytellers curating content around their brand’s story give consumers a way to participate and define themselves through the brands they chose to read and the experience they choose to participate in. In 2010, no one did this better than Louis Vuitton with the creation of NOWNESS. NOWNESS was the best piece of branded content produced by a fashion brand or retailer in 2010.


Top 10 luxury e-Commerce Sites of 2010

 By Rachel Lamb at Luxury Daily

 Ecommerce is one of the most important ways for a brand to get customers and revenue. Ecommerce is one of the most important ways for a brand to get customers and revenue.

 The luxury sector’s digital strategy stretches from Web sites to social media marketing and online advertising. However, the ecommerce site is the one that brings home the bacon. Ecommerce sites account for a huge portion of the brand’s revenue, while connecting users with luxury companies in a way that hasn’t been done before.

“Luxury retailers need to keep their brand promise to their loyalists,” said Danielle Savin, vice president of multichannel retail and marketing at FitForCommerce, Short Hills, NJ, a best practices ecommerce consulting firm.  

“The sites need to be more innovative, to show and somehow emulate design and create excitement about the product and the brand,” she said. “Luxury retailers will never be about price but having an ecommerce site allows them to create the ultimate show room of 100 percent of their merchandise, including exclusives.” 

Here are the top 10 ecommerce sites of 2010:

 swarovskilead185Swarovski – This ecommerce Web site opens with a bright and colorful digital display that draws the consumers in. The images are constantly changing depending on holidays or time of year. The online shop separates by categories and pieces on a side menu, but also has organized rows in the middle of the screen with images of best-selling pieces and new products.

Clicking on a product brings users to its individual page where they can zoom to intricately see the item and also click on different views.

Below, recommended items are shown that complement the item the user is looking at. The user can opt to recommend the product by sending it through email, and the user can put the item in their shopping cart whenever possible. Swarovski saw a 1,167 percent increase in Web traffic on its ecommerce site during the holiday season (see story). The ecommerce site is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing and minimizes the amount of clicks it takes to buy a product.

bonus video : Luxury brands crash the Web – France24

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Top 20 Trends in 2011

2011 Consumer Trends Forecast by Trend Hunter

Projected Publicity, Tweetonomics and Rockstar Self-Expression Today we hunt Trends in 2011

20. Projected Publicity – Marketers turning to large-scale, low-cost and ultra viral mediums like these projected billboards. From Pac-Man projections to giant pinball displays, this form of advertising is grabbing the attention pedestrians in dense urban cities.

19. Interactive Retail – Interactive shopping bags, dinosaur-themed malls and iPad menus are all examples of how retail stores are striving to differentiate themselves from other industry competitors. These brands have turned positive in-store experiences into loyal customer relationships.


Bulgari uses mobile apps as Glorified Product Catalogs

By Rachel Lamb at Luxury Daily

Bulgari's apps are expanding to offer products to individual consumer groups   Bulgari’s apps are expanding to offer products to individual consumer groups. Bulgari is expanding its mobile strategy to target different consumer groups with its specific applications for various products.  

 The applications focus on fragrance, watches and jewelry and allow consumers to visualize the brand’s newest products. Interactive games, 360-degree exploration and life-size close-up views of products are some of the characteristics that the applications employ.  

 “The applications are glorified product catalogs,” said Ryan Peterson, manager of business development and marketing at Ubermind, Seattle. “Once the application is downloaded, anyone who wants to see it can look at it anytime they want for free. “It’s a much easier and more productive way to view products than print ads.”

Ubermind is a technology firm focused on the development of implementation of custom desktop, Web and mobile phone applications. Ubermind is not affiliated with Bulgari and Mr. Peterson agreed to comment as a third-party expert. 
Bulgari has been around for more than 125 years and specializes in watches, jewelry, fragrance, skincare and leather goods. The brand was not able to comment by press deadline.
 The world of Bulgari
Each application focuses on one sector of the Bulgari brand which targets a consumer group interested specifically in that category. Depending on the features of the application, each is optimized for either the iPhone or iPad. “The point of these applications is allowing the consumer to fully explore the products,” Mr. Peterson said. “The close-ups and 360 tours are what makes luxury brands’ [use of mobile apps] different from other mobile applications.  

“Consumers want to be as close to the product as possible, and something like an iPad app has a large screen where you can see a product’s intricacies,” he said. The fragrance iPhone application B.Man incorporates a game where the consumer completes a puzzle, and in return receives more information about the Bulgari Man fragrance (see story).  

Interactive puzzle game on the B.Man application

Interactive puzzle game on the B.Man application

 The application also features product information about the fragrance and offers a chance to compete with friends through email and the Bulgari Web site.  Another application, B.Magsonic, focuses on watches and is made for the iPad. The consumer watches a short video of a watch being taken out of its box and then offers a 360-degree exploration of the product with close-up views and a feature where the consumer can wind the watch.

360-degree view on the B.Magsonic application

360-degree view on the B.Magsonic application


There is also a close-up diagram of the watch’s intricacies and explanations of the watch’s functions. A third iPad application, Bulgari Collective, serves as a catalog for Bulgari’s vintage and modern jewelry products. The home screen focuses on eight tap-through graphics that go through to each collection. Viewers can learn about the different collections while looking at images. Clicking on a graphic will bring a close-up view to an individual product.

bulgari-individual Individual product page on the Collections application


The final Bulgari application is B.zero1. Its camera functions are adapted for the iPhone letting users take distorted pictures of friends to share on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. This application also allows consumers a chance to browse the B.zero1 ring collection. 

bulgari-zero Consumers can look at the ring collection in the iPhone app

  Logistics of the mobile strategy
Mr. Peterson believes that the Bulgari applications serve well in raising brand awareness, as well as opting for the smart choice of an iPad application. He says that iPads are an upscale product, so Bulgari is already targeting the audience that is most likely to buy its items. Despite offering almost all of its products through mobile marketing, none of the applications are commerce enabled, nor do they offer a store locator so consumers can find stores nearest to them. 

A store locator is necessary because consumers are most likely not going to buy Bulgari products from the applications, nor do they have the ability to, per Mr. Peterson. “Luxury brands can get away with not allowing customers to buy on their apps because the entire novelty of buying a luxury product is going to the store and holding it, being emotionally connected to it and deciding that you want to buy it after seeing it in person,” Mr. Peterson said.

Similar articles in theUltimateLuxuryCommunity :  Louis Vuitton launches Luxury City Guides , the future of Shopping , Ralph Lauren Interactive ,  Window display allows Consumers to virtually wear watches , Prada Will Open Its US E-Store July 1 , NeuroFocus Tracks Perception of Luxury , Stella McCartney extends ecommerce to Britain with Web site redesign , Dior Launches New Beauty Site, Offers E-Commerce and Interactive Features (Directed by Sofia Coppola!) , Speaking about Technology, Karl Lagerfeld says Facebook is a “Flawless Object”

Speaking about Technology, Karl Lagerfeld says Facebook is a “Flawless Object”

by The Luxury Channel


Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Director of CHANEL interviewed by Imran Amed – The Business of Fashion, at the 2010 International Herald Tribune Luxury conference in London for The Luxury Channel.

“I think they are very beautiful objects. There is no touch of what is considered bad taste or bad design [with technology], because bad design is bad taste today. They are flawless in a way. Facebook is a flawless object…it’s for me like a Brancusi”

Dior Launches New Beauty Site, Offers E-Commerce and Interactive Features (Directed by Sofia Coppola!)

 By Cheryl Wischhover at Fashionista’s beauty section just got a high tech make-over. It’s slicker, more interactive, and you can now purchase Dior products there (gift set, anyone?)  Some highlights?

Coppola Direction: There’s an interactive pop-up book, and you can watch the Sofia Coppola-directed Miss Dior Cherie commercial. The “making of” clip is arguably cuter than the actual commercial–though the commercial is pretty darn cute.

Auction: Dior is holding an auction on site now through December 15 with some truly over the top prizes including a Dior-inspired trip to Paris (whatever that means it can’t be bad), a private makeover by a Dior show artist, and a trip to St. Maarten to visit the Dior institute. 100% of proceeds benefit Look Good…Feel Better, a charity that helps people who are undergoing treatment for cancer, and the American Cancer Society.

Make-up Tutorials: There are how-to videos for many of the products and tips for how to choose colors. There’s even a feature in the Dior Addict lip gloss tab under “What’s New” that allows you to upload a picture of your outfit and it will help you choose what color to wear. (I’ve been wearing Black-Tie Plum a lot lately).

bonus video : Dior Inspired makeup tutorial

For History Buffs:
If you’re into fashion history or love your juice, there’s tons of information about the House of Dior in general and the making of the various fragrances. You can also find some gorgeous runway and backstage shots.

The whole site just oozes a chic, hip, French vibe, with a fun soundtrack to boot.

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