What are the specific skills a manager needs in order to work in the luxury sector?
I believe you need a balanced right/left brain. In a environment where creativity is key to success, it is important to never stop dreaming, but also manage the dreaming. I believe culture and vision need to be paired with a strong business mindset, particularly to be able to manage the complexity of a faster and more global environment.
What is the recipe for a successful luxury manager in the contemporary economic scenario?
Broad vision and fast decision making are key today to keep your strategy evolving with the economic scenario. Profitable markets are getting farther away from traditional comfort zones, which demand us to do things differently: be open to learning new ways to be in tune with the consumer.
What are the qualifications/specific skills of emerging leaders in the luxury goods business?
Today, I will say to learn Chinese, considering that 30% of global luxury sales are coming from those consumers! Beyond that, I believe that selling luxury goes beyond the product itself, and it is about creating a compelling culture which connects well with your target. Be open minded, eager to learn and updated on novelties, as even tradition needs to embrace innovation to stay current and relevant.
What are the emerging trends in the luxury industry?
The world of luxury is radically changing as today's consumers are different from the past. They are definitely getting younger - as well as more Asian - and the way they expect to interact with brands is different. They are seeking for more connectivity, interaction and uniqueness. Having abundance does not justify waste: sustainability and integrity are incredibility meaningful for new generations. Even if they do not expect their products and services to be any less luxurious, they demand that resources to be wisely used, and technology to come in and help. There is a good space for premiumization on different fields. And in a world where there is so much of everything offered, I believe rarity will give a novel meaning to exclusivity: this can be interpreted in different ways. The human touch from the artisan, ingredients and raw materials with little supply in order to make, preserve and inherit luxury products.
How is the international luxury goods market evolving?
Luxury is changing from product centered to human and lifestyle connected, so the way that the brand is positioned in different markets, and how it connects with local consumers in a variety of age spectrums, makes the whole difference in its relevance. Which means that brand powerhouses can extend their product territory, without diluting their value. Art is becoming an important vehicle to deliver memorable experience, and elevate brands from purely commercial to iconic and timeless. Glocalization is becoming a key word, creating meaningful local storytelling, always interpreting the brand spirit with authenticity. Every country has a different story and cultural point of reference, and I see more brands seeking the desire to create a bridge among their own terroir and their consumer culture.
What are the challenges a luxury manager will face?
Speed and volatility require us to be exceptionally alert. Every product, brand and company can be vulnerable to disruption in different markets. The high level of complexity requires us to develop a strong sense of urgency, able to respond with speed and agility on market changes. Be able to anticipate the future, dream about it, and make it today.