Hakan Ozel, General Manager, Shangri-la Hotel Dubai
Luxury companies are in continuous search of excellence in terms of quality, style, creativity, and innovation to serve the needs and desires of the customers of today and tomorrow while retaining their patronage through loyalty.
The brand reputation and image are strongly linked with intangible assets, sociological and psychological factors while anticipating and managing the financial and economic factors. Furthermore, competition is fierce; continuous development of global brand players and distribution networks are adjusting their needs for global integration through instant responsiveness. In order to manage the above as best as possible, luxury enterprises naturally need qualified talent, train, develop and retain them in this competitive environment.
Luxury brands need to attract and develop talents with the highest level of attitude, creativity, retail, and commercial mind. It is inevitable that the generations which have been leading the luxury products and business development will always be close to retirement for any reason in decades ahead.
Therefore, the luxury industry finds new talent to replace them. Creative, innovative, and driven talent is the person who knows that new and thoughtfully designed products and services to cater the desires and needs of a variety of customers will make sensation, sell, and make difference in marketplace. Their design thinking focusses on long lasting memory as per the customers’ recent experiences and concerns.
The luxury environment demands from them a great deal of obsession over customer experience and perfection regarding products and services. Talent must have flair for style, strong attention to detail and pragmatic business sense to make their efforts a commercial success. She or he travels extensively; visits fairs, exhibitions and luxury venues and places continuously to be inspired; see and experience enormous number of products and services, follows the trends and new developments to develop his/her global brand vision and allow to interpret the brands’ aesthetics heritage.
It is obviously and certainly impossible to expect everyone in the group or team to have such admirable qualities; it is many times sufficient to have one person to inspire and motivate the whole team or group through these qualities: they are the luxury leaders.
The foundation of quality is its durability! The luxury products are generally made to remain a long time and might even be transferred to the next generations. In luxury companies where the vision and the heritage of the brand of the owning institution are carefully and uncompromisingly followed and managed.
In most cases these institutions are families and the key elements and philosophies must be passed on from generation to generation to foster the brand DNA. This effort must be made to build strong relationships with people who are in-charge of the historic and fundamental knowledge and experience that they have learnt from their peers and mentors along the years.
To build a pleasant and productive place to work that inspires passion and trust in those that have to foster, grow and revitalize the brand DNA, luxury brands have to face the major issue of attracting the talent who are able to create and innovate new products and services that are expected by the customers.
New products that must be both distinctive and in-line with the expectations of today’s experienced, educated and sophisticated customers and discerning travelers. The leadership should be continuously trained and developed in the areas of corporate culture and ever-evolving luxury business insights that enable them to be professional and behave as the brand representative.
It is extremely important to retain the key competencies, particularly those who have grown-up with the brand in the areas of production, service, and sales. Providing a wide range of services that build strong and personalized relationships with the customers is extremely crucial; delivering the highest level of service and telling memorable experiences while pioneering the new horizons with the brand keep customers loyal all the time.
Luxury brands are all about creativity and innovation, business, overall customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is the customer who will eventually decide which brands meet their needs, expectations, and unlimited desires. Luxury brands therefore need talent that has competencies which are specific to the industry. Brands must ensure to hire, develop, and retain the talent who has the essence of luxury industry, embrace the business flair and heritage of the company, and eventually pass onto next generations to grow them within the company and business.
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