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Affluent conversation, Part I
Luxury is a “national obsession” in the UAE, say advertising industry analysts, adding that to push posh products, marketers must make consumers feel special. Part I
December 21, 2008 2:25 by Kareem Shaheen
Experience required. One way Patel says luxury brands can achieve this is through experiential marketing – marketing the experience that surrounds the brand rather than simply the product itself. “Most premium customers are looking for life-enriching experiences and lifestyle benefits,” Patel says. “They’re primarily driven by want versus need. They have the means to actually get what they want.”
What do they want? “Money-can’t-buy experiences,” says Patel, who recalls 30-year AmEx customers who tell him of their first experiences with the brand as if they happened yesterday. You “try and really instill these very strong experiences that people remember for many, many years,” a process that keeps the customers engaged with the brand, he says.
Nielsen also agrees that luxury is becoming mass-market, as social upstarts use it as a tool. “The luxury brand has become an integral part of UAE lifestyle,” says Piyush Mathur, regional managing director of UAE, North Africa and Pakistan for the Nielsen Company in a statement. “Consumers here are willing to pay high prices for quality products that they believe will provide instant social status.” Describing the lust for luxury as a “national obsession,” he adds that “there are many retail opportunities savvy marketers can take advantage of.”
And it is “new wealth,” says Mac McClelland, chairman of the Dubai chapter of the Luxury Marketing Council, an organization of marketing executives and CEOs of luxury goods and services companies. “They’re aspiring to be like the Rockefellers and Kennedys and all those established with old money.”