In luxury Apple Watch tech branding, every second counts

I am, of course, talking about iPhone, iPad and Mac maker Apple introducing the Apple Watch – a foray into the wearables world by blending technology and jewellery.

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However, it must be in a way that not only demonstrates a sense of chic and class, but that you have the products, and most importantly, intimate luxury market understanding to be credible to customers flying First Class as well as Business Class.

In no particular order, the tools for the job includes (in no particular order):

  • A suitably groomed public designer face for the brand.
  • A retail line-up led by someone with experience of turning around the image of a luxury brand.
  • A convincing design team, admired by those with the means to splash out on Bond Street labels, as well as those who simply take the London Underground tube to Bond Street on the way to their admin jobs.
  • A range whose top tier goods are out of the price reach of most, but includes a middle-tier range to appease the general plebs that they are part of an exclusive clan – if only as ‘associate members’.
  • A strong retail online and high street retail presence.

Chic and class comes in Apple’s design chief, the charismatic 48-year-old Sir Jonathan Ive. The ‘Sir’ serves to strengthen the image for the essential US and Asia markets.  Add to this, in the lead up to the formal launch of your luxury range implement a crafted PR strategy to the style-sector press such as New Yorker and US Vogue is set into action – featuring profiles of your handsome design guru.

Next, make the CEO of a luxury brand that lost its way – but got it back on track, an offer she can’t refuse. Enter Angela Ahrendts from Burberry who joined Apple in 2014. Then make Former Yves Saint Laurent chief Paul Deneve president of special projects.

Appealing to broader demographics wanting believe they are ‘street cool’, comes in the guise of hiring Nike’s former head of social media, Musa Tariq, as its digital marketing director, who has can even double-up as a brand advocate of Apple Watch’s importance in the Internet of Things.

Marc Newson CBE an industrial designer working in product design, furniture design, jewellery, and clothing has a suitably esoteric design style known as ‘biomorphism’. (The perfect straight man to Ives).

A ‘darling’ of the fashion industry Charlotte Stockdale – Newson’s wife – is also a Fendi and Victoria’s Secret stylist. Newson directed the inaugural unveiling of the Apple Watch for fashion designers and editors during Paris fashion week.

Now the line up is really looking special…

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For good measure, throw a red-carpet celebrity-packed dinner in Paris hosted by Azzedine Alaïa, the couturier who dresses ladies including Madonna, Carla Bruni and Michelle Obama. Then, in the name of civilised mutual admiration and respect, invite the one per cent’s favourite fashion labels to offer their own design variations for the watch that will sweetly match their boutique shoes and other accessories.

Just to underscore the fashion connection on fashion branding, Gainsbury & Whiting, the people behind an  immensely successful Alexander McQueen show, will choreograph the watch launch staging in California.

From the sales targeting angle, a crucial part of the Apple’s luxury strategy is to appeal to the one market most obsessed with Western luxury: China. It is likely to account for just over half of global luxury goods sales by 2025. (Apple’s astonishing $18bn profit on $75bn of revenue reported in January, was to a great part credited for a 70 per cent increase in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan). In fact, Apple is now most successful smartphone maker in China.

Finally comes a range and price points.  To offer a sense of individuality, there will be six band designs: two face sizes, eleven face designs, six metal choices – notably including two types of gold, 18-carat yellow and 18-carat rose, including one model supposedly costing over $10,000. 

Put it all together and you have (in brand-theory) the perfect luxury brand launch.  (Although batteries are still not included).

Jonathan Gabay is the author of Brand Psychology: Consumer perceptions, corporate reputations.

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