Tiffany & Co Analysis: More experiential, less design-focused rebrand
While Tiffany is unlikely to make drastic changes to its brand design, Wong Mei Wai, founder, CEO and chief change catalyst of APAC Global Advisory and former jewellery marketer at Aspial Corporation, said a refresh through a refinement of its visual identity, brand language and brand voice to appeal to the customers could benefit the brand.
With the refresh, "the innovativeness and storytelling of its collection should build greater aspiration for the brand” to appeal and better connect with the young, global and Asian consumers, without losing its relevance to current Tiffany adorers, Wong said.
According to Wong, this change is needed as the brand’s recent collections and engagements have begun to feel more predictable, aside from the male collection which she said pushed the boundary of traditional masculinity to a new level.
"Its brand language and engagements do not appear to be as innovative as other luxury houses, perhaps due to its roots in the traditional American retail luxury house," she said, adding that globally, some of Tiffany's followers may have also stopped seeing the brand as the beacon of innovation through design leadership.
As a result, the opportunity in the refresh lies in the ability to strengthen holistically from design to the storytelling, ensuring that its collections are timeless with the right appeal on price, recruitment and connecting to the cherished and relevant life moments.
What can we expect with LVMH as the driving force of change?
LVMH, as many would know, has been strengthening its digital offering over the years to keep up its edge. This transformation journey started with the hire of Apple’s top talent Ian Rogers as its new chief digital officer in 2015, which at that time was a huge signal of the world’s largest luxury conglomerate finally embracing digital. But late last year, Rogers was reported to be swapping out the glitzy world of luxury to join a fintech start-up.
Meanwhile LVMH decided to fill the gap with a chief omnichannel officer title, according to reports by Reuters. The role is helmed by Michael David who was previously in charge of online retail at the brand. He held the role of global head, digital retail and client development for Louis Vuitton.
With all of these changes in place, it would come as no surprise to Wong if Tiffany's brand refresh came in the form of innovating its brand experiences and experiential marketing to evoke an emotional connection with its legacy through a combination of luxury, design and art, and technology. It could also create a more innovative offline shopping experience to resonate with the young generation through concept pop-up stores and exclusive collaborations, she added.
Since technology and eCommerce platforms will likely be a continued focus for the brand, Wong is of the view that LVMH will likely look at digitally innovative ways of creating brand experience, through ways such as collaborations with live streamers or key opinion leaders for the occasions where luxury jewellery is needed.
Meanwhile, Hitchmough also speculates that the “younger shoppers and Asian consumers” LVMH would target are most probably consumers aged 25 to 35 years old in China, which he views is the first major global market that saw a “post-pandemic” bounce-back in consumer demand.
One strategy that Hitchmough sees LVMH doing for its Tiffany brand is selling provenance. “In the same way that Bvlgari has glorified the romance and drama of its Roman roots, with Tiffany, LVMH can double-down on the brand’s New York origins,” he explained While this would not be an entirely new approach, Hitchmough said it could be executed with more of an “Asian” interpretation of the allure of the Big Apple.
To better connect with Asian consumers, it is imperative for LVMH to select the right brand ambassadors for Asian audiences as well. “Brand ambassadors are key to global luxury branding and getting the right mix that works seamlessly across geographies can be a huge success factor,” Hitchmough said. He raised the example of Bvlgari’s 2020 campaign which featured Zendaya, Naomi Scott, Lily Aldridge, and Kris Wu. This combination demonstrated a shrewd mix of age, attitude and ethnicity to appeal across the board without appearing tokenistic, he added.
Another key strategy that LVMH would have to take note of is getting the right product mix for its international markets. In China and other Asia luxury markets this often means focused marketing and distribution of iconic collections combined with some products designed or adapted specifically for local markets with bespoke, locally sourced or prized materials. "Assuming LVMH follows a similar formula for Tiffany in Asia, and that this converges with a successful rejuvenation of the brand image and product line-up and a post-COVID uplift, then the brand’s future should be bright," he added.
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