Luxury Brands Must Innovate to Appeal to Millennials

Heritage brands will need to look forward while still retaining their roots to appeal to American consumers.

It is this mix of innovation and tradition-keeping that will keep heritage brands relevant as shopping habits change, according to speakers at the French-American Chamber of Commerce Luxury Symposium in New York, Luxury Daily reported.

A poll conducted at the event found that 81 percent of attendees believe that millennials have a significantly different attitude toward heritage brands than older generations, the site noted. Panelists like Trent Fraser, vice president of Dom Perigon, LVMH Wines & Spirits, expressed that heritage brands need to be aware of whether the ways they share the histories of their products come off as “old and stodgy” or fresh and forward-thinking.

“Telling that story today is quite difficult but we really need to bring it to life,” he said at the event.

According to the site, panelists urged heritage brand leaders to keep their marketing strategies focused on highlighting a tradition of quality, rather than past achievements.

While millennials have different consumer attitudes toward luxury heritage items, there is large potential in the market. According to CNBC, the high-end retail market was valued at $390 billion in 2012. Millennials for their part have around $200 billion in direct purchasing power, and are looking to spend it on high-end experiences and brands that offer creative marketing approaches.

For example, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff implemented smart dressing rooms at retail locations and lives-streamed runway shows online. Other luxury brands are recruiting younger brand ambassadors to appeal to millennials, such as watchmaker Hublot, who recently hired supermodel Bar Refaeli to advertise its products, CNBC reported.

“Every generation brings its own trend, its own taste, its own way of living,” said Jean-Claude Biver, chairman Hublot at New York Fashion Week. “The younger generation is more disruptive.”