Today, in marketing luxury real estate, being tech-savvy involves much more than just optimizing your website to rank highly on search engines. It encompasses the art of building an audience of raving fans not just through blogging or having a Facebook page, but also through the latest social media practice of creating a “curated” online experience. In this final post in our series, So You Want to Be a Market Leader, we discuss how Tiffany & Company, the leading American luxury jewelry brand, has preempted their domestic and European competitors with this cutting edge, indirect or “peripheral” marketing and branding strategy.
We understand that building an audience was never part of the job description of a real estate agent. We understand that it is time consuming, not to mention a long term strategy. But, it is swiftly becoming a requirement if you want to gain or sustain market leadership. Every incumbent luxury real estate market leader who does not fully embrace the new media is potentially vulnerable to local challengers who are willing to do so.
Leveraging social media and mobile apps was certainly not an aspect of the jewelry marketing play-book either. But, Tiffany & Company is intent on attracting a younger audience and they know that they cannot rely solely on the tradition of their blue gift boxes or the half-century old Breakfast at Tiffany’s movie to win this new business. They are also intent on keeping ahead of their European counterparts, such as Cartier, who is challenging Tiffany’s dominance in the US when it comes to purchasing engagement rings by young affluent customers.
Tiffany has an iPhone and iPad mobile app where you can customize your own engagement ring and design and change the carat size of the diamond. When you place one of the rings that you already own on the screen it will tell you your ring size. But, soon every major jeweler will have their own app and this “feature” will no longer be unique. That is why we say that you cannot count on features as a way to differentiate your brand from your competitors’. Competing on features is not a brand strategy because brand strategy is all about seizing and holding on to top-of-mind status.
Recently, Tiffany & Company launched a new “curated” website called What Makes Love True. Their brand strategy is to “own” the word LOVE in the minds of their target market. If you want to sell engagement rings as your core product that would be an excellent word to own.
Tiffany takes on the role of “curator” of this online exhibition listing romantic places and restaurants to “pop the question”, lists of love songs and romantic movies that you can buy via iTunes, and also videos of customers of all ages who discuss the romantic courtships that lead to their engagements. You can also interact with the site by placing your initials (and your mate’s initials) on a map with your own story of why this location is romantic.
Staking a claim on “true love” as their brand position preempts any other competing jeweler to do so without looking ridiculous as a copycat. Can you imagine Cartier saying, “We stand for true love, too”? Provided that Tiffany continues to develop this site in interesting ways, we believe that this peripheral branding strategy is nothing less than brilliant! It is emotional branding at its best.
As a luxury real estate marketing professional who is bent on gaining or sustaining market leadership, what can you stand for, what word can you own? And, how do you go about executing a strategy to successfully achieve top-of-mind status with this brand position?
In our luxury real estate marketing consulting practice we work exclusively with incumbent market leaders or their challengers. We do not work with direct competitors within the same marketplace. Our ideal clients are those who realize just how much is at stake in terms of market share and revenue at this level, when you achieve top-of-mind status. If you have the heart of a champion and are keen on “the unabashed pursuit of market leadership”, give us a call for a complimentary consultation! 805.684.8180
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