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Cartier North America CEO stresses importance of carefully curated digital presence

November 8, 2013


NEW YORK – The North America chief of French jeweler Cartier at the L2 Forum 2013 said that while the brand is investing heavily in digital media, the house proceeds with caution when applying a new social media tactic, keeping in mind the brand image and long legacy.

While other brands jumped on Facebook and began posting a lot of content, Cartier decided to test the waters first, only posting one item a month out of worries that fans would tire of seeing multiple posts from them. During the "A Conversation with Prestige CEOs" session the Cartier executive said that the jewelry brand has since raised the frequency of its social media postings, but still keeps a tight hold on its presence online

“There is this notion of a challenge," said Emmanuel Perrin, CEO of Cartier North America.

"We don’t want to be the first ones out of the gate," he said. "We want to do it properly when we leave.

“So far, we’ve managed to translate the luxury stories of the Cartier line [into digital]."

Consumer content

The session included CEOs from Tumi Holdings and Kate Spade New York as well. The panelists discussed how having an online presence can give brands information they would not have had access to otherwise.

Cartier video still

Kate Spade decided to do an online-only launch of its Saturday line. Through customer feedback via its ecommerce site, the marketer was able to address fit and color concerns before it was available in stores.

“That brand is focused on a younger consumer, and she definitely lives and shops in that space, so we thought [an online launch] was important,” said Craig Leavitt, CEO of Kate Spade, also at the panel.

“First of all, it makes a statement about the importance of that channel of distribution to that consumer and, secondly, it allowed us to gain a lot of knowledge about the product, and the consumer’s reaction to it, and to be able to respond to it through that channel, because they’re very vocal,” Mr. Leavitt said.

One of the most important aspects of entering the digital space is finding people to run your online efforts. Kate Spade has chosen to empower its younger, more online-savvy employees to be decision makers when it comes to its digital presence.

It was that same group of employees that was influential in the strategy to make Kate Spade Saturday an ecommerce-only line in its beginning.

A streamlined approach

Other brands are focusing their online content in order to connect with their consumers.

French fashion label Christian Dior is giving enthusiasts a guided tour of the brand’s inner workings through a revamped Web site that stresses the importance of heritage rather than pushing ecommerce.

Unveiled on Oct. 31, the redesigned site allows consumers to “walk in the Dior world” by experiencing an array of images and content that tout the apparel label’s history in a magazine-like format. The increased focus on curated content let’s Dior connect and engage with consumers on a deeper level but does not necessarily drive sales (see story).

Italian fashion label Giorgio Armani is seeking to pull consumers to its ecommerce options with a new Web site that emphasizes simplicity.

The redesign allows consumers to easily navigate the world of Armani through enhanced search functions and cleaner categories. By making the Web site more functional, Armani is likely to see a boost in ecommerce (see story).

As brands expand and tweak their digital presence, one thing to keep in mind is quality over quantity.

“There’s so many avenues for consumer feedback, but it also creates higher levels of consumer engagement,” Mr. Leavitt said. “And so how do we make sure that we continue to feed her information about the brand, but in a way that’s actually consumable.

“Because I don’t think that tons of content is the most effective way to do that,” he said. “It has to be something that’s really edited and focused so she’s not overwhelmed with information.”

Final Take

Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York