International brands today face a myriad of challenges to stay relevant to their customers and be at the cutting edge of fashion and design. As competition heats up, an increasing number of brands are turning to proprietary events to drive business to a captive audience.
These events create opportunities for brands to share multiple layers of content with their captive audience. Traditionally, international brands have launched their global marketing campaigns in the West, but are now launching them in Asia because of flexibility, international reach and impressive ROI numbers.
Today, Chanel, Hermès and Louis Vuitton are some of the luxury brands at the forefront of creating milestone events that deliver an iconic experience. From showcasing its products, engaging customers and networking to garnering publicity – these proprietary events are leading the change towards brand building inside out. Creative minds behind each brand thrive on unveiling the next big thing, including revolutionary ideas, unique venues and the latest in interactive media. Over the last five years, Asia, with its thriving economy and attractive destinations, has become the go-to place for the next wave in fashion trends. Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taiwan are just some of many Asian cities that have captured the eye of luxury brands given their growing number of high net worth individuals who are willing to spend.
From high profile fashion shows by Chanel or Fendi in-store events to traveling exhibitions like “Cartier Time Art, Mechanics of Passion,” luxury brands share the same goal of captivating imagination. For instance, the Hugo Boss Winter 2013 fashion show was held at the Shanghai Power Station of Art museum (previously an electric light factory), and the Hermès Gift of Time Exhibition was housed within Singapore’s now-defunct Tanjong Pagar railway station. Others aim to create such an experience on-the-go with luxury yacht, like Diageo’s Johnnie Walker & Sons Voyager making its way through Asia and Europe to promote newly created premium brands.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the experience. More often than not, the selection of space and venue sets the tone for the event. Designers behind single-brand events are thus willing to adapt their concept to accommodate or pay tribute to that unique space. Designer Tokujin Yoshioka adapted the Cartier Time Art exhibition design to suit the spherical ArtScience Museum in Singapore while the Hugo Boss Winter 2013 fashion show paid homage to its venue’s history with a lightning shaped 200-foot runway. Chanel chose to present two Cruise Collections in Singapore – one at the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, transforming the sky-high venue into a stunning fashion show using the city skyline and 150m infinity pool as a backdrop, and another at secluded preserved heritage site the Loewen Cluster. Yet others like Audi selected prime locations like the Marina Bay Financial Centre to erect a spectacular 27,000 square-foot pavilion for the unveiling of the Audi A8 while Volkswagen launched its 7th generation Volkswagen Passat on Sentosa Island with exciting 3D projection mapping and video displays.
Behind the scenes of single-brand events lies the challenge of producing something different each time.
Melissa Ho, director of integrated communications services at brand activation specialist, Kingsmen Ooh-media Pte Ltd, shares that “venue sourcing and obtaining the right licenses are some of the biggest challenges. Brands often look for unconventional venues that have not been used before for similar events, and at times events require many different licenses depending on the concept. ”
Thus, planning ahead is crucial as approvals from the relevant authorities can take a fortnight or even months. Despite such challenges, the results are rewarding for both attendees and organizers.
Proprietary events continue to grow exponentially in 2013. Technology as an enabler will pave the way, allowing brands to address virtual audiences via live streaming and recording of events. The possibilities are endless for these events as the only constant variables are the show, venue and idea. An ever-increasing array of technology tools, such as digital signage, LED screens, immersive projection and tactile technology, are offering brands new ways of expanding their multi-channel retail strategy to draw customers. This uptrend in events definitely looks set to stay as client expectations continue to rise.
The contributor is the Sales & Marketing Director of Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd, a leading communication design and production group in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.