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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.

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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

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