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Operational opinion

In Insiders Insights this month, we asked two experienced operational practitioners working in the luxury watch sector some questions about the current market and consumer attitudes. New government policies in terms of gifting are said to have had a major effect on the sector, and we wanted to find out what effect they have actually had.

It has been important for all luxury brands to differentiate themselves in the eyes of the consumer over the past year, what do you think are the best ways they can do this?


Rick Lei: Domestic consumers get less excited about history and royal attributes of a brand these days. I think brands need to be more practical, such as the innovation of product design. Take Richard Mille for example, it is a very young brand but differentiates itself from other Swiss brands with unique materials and design style. However, it maintains the high quality of the mechanism and polish of a Swiss luxury watch, which frees it from the homogeneous competition in the industry.

We need to understand customer needs to provide real customer-centric products and service. Everyone in the watch industry is focusing on increasing sales, but I feel that they ought to attach the same importance to after sales service, which provides more opportunities to communicate with customers and broadcast brand values. As far as I am aware, the majority of brands are not doing well in this respect.

Cindy Xie: The retail store is a very important platform to deliver the brand values to customers in a direct way through the decorative design, and functional areas, that express the brand culture and deliver service, the value of all of which needs to be used effectively. What’s more important is that sales staff are brand ambassador and the service they deliver must embody the brand DNA and values. Therefore, the brand needs to make efforts to improve the understanding and communication of the brand culture by the staff.

Compared to fashion brands, advertisements for the watch industry still concentrate on product images due to the professionalism and complexity of the product. However, no matter which sector, the point is to appeal to and build and align with the affection and emotion of the reader, hence the ads need to integrate the brand DNA, culture, and lifestyle that the brand wants to express, rather than purely just the product.

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