Erica Kerner, VP Marketing & Communications - Asia Pacific, Tiffany & Co., explains how celebrations are the key to the jewellery brand's Asian success.
Our purpose is to provide beautifully crafted products that help consumers celebrate all of life’s happy and joyful moments. That could be a birthday, a special anniversary, a graduation, an engagement or simply the fact that it’s Tuesday.
We are a luxury brand with products at every price point. From a sterling silver charm that costs $100 to an internally flawless, colourless diamond necklace for $10 million.
We need to speak to consumers at both ends of that spectrum and at every point in between in a way that’s relevant to them. We need to make it clear that our signature blue box can contain something for everyone.
It’s a challenge that spans demographics and countries. We know that there’s no such thing as an APAC or Pan-Asian consumer—consumers don’t think and behave that way. That’s why we truly need to know who our consumers are and the occasions that we market around.
A global language
Fortunately, just as sport is a global language, so too is love. Feelings of love run across borders but what changes are the cultural codes for how we externally show that emotion, be it a diamond or a band or something else entirely.
What this means for us is that our marketing message can be very similar in different markets. However, the interpretation or the tactics our marketing teams use in different countries can vary.
Our recent engagement campaign, for example, focused on two facets: 'Will You' and 'I Will'. 'Will You' is all about the pure emotion of modern love, be it a young, mature or same-sex couple. This is essentially targeted at women and runs in fashion and women’s titles, promoting the brand.
'I Will' is more targeted at men, with content aimed at grooms. It’s more detailed, explaining what makes a Tiffany diamond different to allow that USP to be part of the customer’s purchase journey.
Across Asia, and in fact globally, we find that the biggest challenge is demographic, not geographic. Millennials are significantly different from other segments of customers, which means that we need different approaches. Millennial customers demand that we move away from using marketing as a one-way conversation—brand to consumer—they want to be fully engaged and have a voice that echoes back to the brand.
Power of social
Being relevant on social media and being present where our core customer converses with his or her friends is very important.
As a sector, luxury has been resistant to using social as a marketing channel as you have less control, but that has to change. To be successful in the future, luxury brands are going to have to carefully walk that balance between controlling their brand image on social media and letting customers shape the conversation.
One of best things about working at Tiffany is that our consumers are some of the most engaged of any brand. That’s a lucky place to be although knowing that consumers want to engage puts a lot of pressure on us as a team.
Last year, we ran a Valentine’s Day campaign, 'Love is…' that encouraged customers to write down what love is for them on social media. We have also been sending out behind-the-scenes photo shoot images via our photographers or getting influencers to take pictures with their mobile phones and share them on their social channels with great effect.
You have to take that leap of faith as marketers that you know your customers and that your messaging is compelling enough because today’s consumer demands to be part of the conversation. Social platforms will become more and more important as younger consumers gain in spending power.
We take this approach in local markets as well. Tiffany has WeChat, Weibo and Line pages to reach consumers in China, Korea and Japan, in order to reach them where they want to be.
Luxury consumers in Asian markets want global content too and the majority of our content meets this need. At the same time, all our markets engage local influencers so we can geo-target.
Love is constant, CMOs change
All of these changes inevitably transform the role of the marketer. CMOs of today need to be digitally led and digital first. Technology is changing so fast that they need to have the knowledge and expertise either within their team or work with agency partners that have them.
What’s stayed the same, however, is the need for relentless curiosity that should be part of every modern marketer’s DNA. Because as the world becomes smaller and smaller it’s important that we find a way to think bigger and bigger.
Erica Kerner VP Marketing & Communications - Asia Pacific
Tiffany & Co.