Jourdan on #WineWednesday : True Luxury as it was in the 19th century…


(This post is the Executive Summary of the report “True Luxury in the Wold of Fine Wines” published in January 2016 by VitaBella Luxury Wine).

An article in Le Figaro on the world of fine watchmaking recently attracted my attention, and particularly the comments by Michael Burke, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton: “What is the point of showing our creations six months before they are available in the shops? In a world in which immediacy rules supreme, our customers cannot bear to wait. Those six months seem longer to them now than they did ten years ago, as the relation to time is different; and the demand is for instant gratification. Our aim is to reduce this gap, ideally to try to get closer to true luxury as it existed in the 19th century, when articles were made solely to order.” This is a vision I share and which is a good illustration of just how the world of Luxury goods is changing, both in fine watchmaking and in fine wines.

But what is true Luxury as it existed in the 19th century? Here we are referring to a time when Luxury was the prerogative of the elite, when the Luxury experience was one to one, with a relationship that was created in private, in an ultra-personalised manner. Getting back to true Luxury means getting back to that special relationship between brand and customer – each individual customer. The digital revolution has given us a multitude of ways in which to rebuild this relationship, notably with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) programmes and targeted Social Media campaigns. Getting close to true Luxury is, in a way, like getting Back to the Future.

CRM is the basis of the relationship, with personalised experiences that drive preference, advocacy and sales. These are basic principles that have always been at the heart of a Luxury brand’s success. Yes, times have changed. Consumers have changed too. But what is desired in a Luxury brand remains unchanged. The personalised experience – intuitive and interactive – must always be at the heart of a Luxury brand. Luxury brands have to get back to their roots in customer relations, that very relationship which built their reputation and made them a success from one generation to the next. Getting close to true Luxury also means examining how to re-conquer yesterday’s special customer relationships using today’s technology.

Today, getting close to true Luxury as it was in the 19th century is more than ever possible for the world’s great wines, just as for fine watchmaking. The connected experience allows technology and data to be used to reproduce the ultra-personalised ‘connected’ experience of historic Luxury when relationships were forged one to one, in a specific place. In 2016 the challenge facing the producers of fine wines is that of forging links with customers using a new approach to sales and customer relations. To do that, a different view has to be adopted. But it is not always easy to see things in a different light and change habits…

(*Since 2003, Guillaume Jourdan has been advising more than 200 prestigious wine estates for their international marketing & communication strategy incl. Chapoutier, Hugel, Dr Loosen, Famille Perrin, Cos d’Estournel, Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie’s Miraval…Write to