Understanding the Luxury World: Tesla and Burberry’s Marketing Models

EHL Students - Bachelor | 9 Dec, 2016

Luxury plays an important role at EHL, as it is not only fully embedded in most of our Bachelor courses but also core to the school’s philosophy of excellence. Therefore, tackling the essence of the luxury world in order to discover and understand its complexity was central to a vivid discussion at the recent EHL Career Fair. Led by Grace Goni, visiting lecturer specializing in luxury marketing and brand management, the discussion featured Xavier Le Clerc, HR Manager of Burberry France and Northern Europe and Mathieu Lenglin, Manager for Tesla Geneva and Suisse Romande.

Tesla and Burberry: highways and runways; automotive innovation and fashion revolution... Two diametrically opposed concepts, but one can identify intrinsically similar marketing fundamentals: 

Defining luxury is not such an easy task. While the industry can be seen as snob and posh, its real identity remains in the culture of excellence, customer service and refinement. High promises lead luxury brands to focus their marketing on a niche clientele. These exclusive customers are the best marketing assets of big luxury brands. In fact loyal customers become trendsetters and active ambassadors, enabling a unique brand journey.

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Technology and innovation are key characteristics in the development of the luxury industry.  Perpetual innovation is a motto for iconic brands, in order to provide top-quality products and create memorable experiences. Also, the “wow effect” created in order to exceed guest expectations and unspoken wishes is an everyday goal. From haute-couture boutiques to sustainable innovative cars, excellence and dynamism are at the very heart of the customer journey.

Tesla and Burberry have opted for two different marketing models, allowing an analysis of the fundamentals of luxury marketing. Burberry transformed into a coveted luxury mega brand with a focus on digital innovation while preserving its British DNA and legacy at the core of the brand’s identity. The philosophy of the British maison instills great services in line with their tremendous products. Burberry’s operational excellence thus results in an emotional connection with clients and hence a valuable power of attraction. Tesla, on the other hand, is a pioneer in disruptive marketing. Social media engagement and geographic proximity with customers is their key to success. The brand identity is widely disseminated directly by their customers, who feel a sense of belonging to the “Tesla family”.  

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Overall, the essence of luxury marketing resides in subtlety and personalization. It’s all about sending flowers rather than placing huge billboard adverts, or providing handwritten letters to thank customers for their loyalty rather than e-mailing an impersonal newsletter. In a uniformed society, luxury thrives in valuing diversity, uniqueness and originality. Customization, mind-set and individuality thus contribute to the exclusivity of the luxury world. 

Author: Lina Zouhair, EHL Bachelor student
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