The “Shared Stories: The New Global Luxury Storyteller” study revealed strong self-awareness, brand preferences and converging media behaviors, and identified a new consumer segment in the luxury space: the “global luxury citizen,” who is a global traveler, a new storyteller, a leader, creator and sharer of knowledge, style and trends and therefore an ideal brand advocate.
The research demonstrates how important for brands to think beyond the traditional methods of marketing and aim at understanding the parameters that motivate global luxury citizens.
“Shared Stories” was conducted in partnership with McCann London and Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design, polling data from over 1,000 luxury consumers across the UK, China, Russia and the Middle East, and overlaid with social media tracking from 65 countries.
Luxury is about stories
According to the study, luxury has always been about stories; stories of heritage, stories of desire, stories of beauty.
“These stories have remained in the hands of brands – narrated by them, to their consumers. Our study has set us on a new path, pointing to a clear disruption to this pattern,” UM says.
Storytelling is changing hands
UM points out that today, in order to successfully engage the global luxury storytellers, a brand must share the storytelling canvas with consumers – allowing them to customize it for their own needs, and make it their own.
“This is not simply about being on new platforms or becoming more ‘social.’ It is about co-creating stories, providing space and tools for this creation and understanding the delicate nuances between three distinct types of global luxury consumer,” UM said.
The “Shared Stories” study looks at the most dynamic segments of global luxury citizens – Russian, Chinese and Middle Eastern shoppers – as they move across key retail markets. It points at how brands can create, associate with and respond to cultural and personal moments that consumers want to share.
The new Traveling Storytellers
The essayists: China
The essayists want to know and tell everything about an experience or a brand. To the Essayist, luxury means understanding what it means to live like the locals in any city; embracing culture, knowledge and understanding what a brand truly stands for and where it comes from. They will take this information and craft their own stories. Essayists want authentic experiences that they cannot access at home and are hungry to share stories and opinions based on expertise and cultural relevance.
The autobiographers: Russia
The Russians are the worlds most effective self-promoters. They like to take control over their own stories and define their own destinies, placing design and modernity over heritage and quality, but with a romantic nod to the classics. The autobiographers love fame, beauty, newness – and use social media to carefully craft. To autobiographers, “luxury” means living the good life to perfection. It is imperative that brands help them to define their own destinies, whilst reflecting a new cultural identity – in which design and modernity are key. This group loves detail, but with a romantic nod to the classics and Russian past.
Also, Russians are not shy about promoting themselves, and recognition is the main driver behind their storytelling behavior. Societal signifiers are hugely important.
The freestyle poets: Middle East
The Middle Eastern consumer has been in the luxury space longer than any other, but has always had to navigate strong social and cultural norms. Now, the “coming-of-age” generation is eager to discover new and more experimental brands that allow them to express their unique identities, whilst remaining loyal to more established luxury houses and keeping that familial approval. Their parents are the traditional poets, and they still hold on to more classical values and tastes.
For the the Freestyle Poets, luxury is nothing new and has always been a part of their lives. Now there is a growing movement away from traditional social codes to new and emerging designs. However, they need to have a rationale for their iconoclasm as familial norms still dictate behaviors and purchase. Especially for the many formal events they must attend each month.
The entire study is available to download for free in PDF format.