Covid Response Centre

How Can Luxury Create Meaning During Crisis?

At a time when consumers are facing an unimagined disruption to their immediate future, how can luxury goods fit in to this new, uncertain world?


As Pure 360 points out, in the first weeks of lockdown consumers across the world re-focused their priorities on protecting their health and procuring basic household goods and food, sliding “back down to the basic stages of the pyramid” of Abraham Maslow’s famed hierarchy of needs. But, as the article points out, once people move beyond the immediate panic to a new equilibrium, “the desire to find true happiness occurs and we move quickly to the other stages [of the pyramid].” These are love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

We at Auverture had already seen our clients seeking out the more meaningful aspects of luxury that help to fulfill those abstract, emotional needs. We believe that the coronavirus crisis has, in an undoubtedly unexpected way, amplified this.

So what role can luxury goods houses play amidst this new normal?  

INSPIRE

People are cut off from human connection, and the inspiration that they might find in seeking out art, nature, and culture. In this situation, we believe a judiciously captioned Instagram post or a newsletter that resonates can play a role in bringing joy and escapism, away from the relentlessness of the news cycle. An image of a beautiful piece of jewelry, clothing, or design can lift the spirits. And, provided that the message isn’t overtly commercial, it could provide inspiration today, and be a piece that lingers in the customer’s memory that they recall when the situation has improved. Indeed, when Hermès opened its flagship store in Guangzhou, China after the country lifted it lockdown earlier this month, it recorded sales of $2.7 million on its first day, WWD reported.


KEEP COMMUNITY IN MIND

In this time of collective crisis, consumers expect luxury houses to show a sense of concern, with “the altruistic spirit evident everywhere,” Luxury Daily writes. Indeed, luxury companies both large and small have stepped up to look outside themselves, from LVMH to Burberry, to independent designers pivoting to craft much-needed protective hospital gowns and surgical masks. At Auverture, we wanted to channel our focus into providing support for the independent designers who make up our community. Without them, there would be no Auverture. So we created the Auverture Designer Fund, which sees all our proceeds for the three months from March go towards helping independent designers whose businesses have been affected by the crisis. Already, the page has seen over 4000 unique visitors. We also launched a series of limited-edition bracelets, all proceeds from which will go towards the fund. In the bracelets’ first week of launch, sales exceeded our expectations, with our clients feeling motivated by a beautiful purchase that would directly benefit independent designers. This creates a sense of purpose that goes beyond commerce.


BE AUTHENTIC

Our clients are seeking out content that recognizes where they are emotionally right now. Again, keeping our mission to amplify the work of independent designers in mind, we turned to our designer community to ask them how they’re coping and maintaining their creative spirit during the lockdown. This turned into a series of interviews that gives an insight into how designers are adapting to this time.

While consumers still want to engage with brands, any content that comes off as tone deaf to the crisis is likely to turn them off. As Rohit Bhargava, author of the business forecasting report Non-Obvious Megatrends tells Time, “to not even acknowledge [the crisis] is a disconnect. It’s a missed opportunity to demonstrate that you’re listening and that you’re human...which is what we’re looking for from companies anyway.”

We believe that through forging a genuine, emotional connection with our clients during these tough times, that relationship will remain when the recovery begins.

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