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From MIT Media Lab: Wireless Insights for Luxury Brands

NegroponteNicholas Negroponte stated that "The killer application in mobile service is decided by response time," going on to suggest that wireless handset manufacturers should embrace Swatch's concept of the second watch. (Swatch had decided to rethink the definition of a watch from the ground up, rather than bolting on additional functionality.)

Too many think that for luxury brands like Gucci to become more profitable they must invest in supply chain software and improve manufacturing efficiencies. This kind of lateral thinking is an example of trying to apply the lessons of Banana Republic to a Balenciaga. Unlike mass prestige brands like Banana Republic, brands like Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta are all about clientele marketing - which I define as "making sure you have local brand ambassadors that earn their way to becoming trusted confidantes of the most discerning customers."

In this context, luxury brands should be asking the wireless carriers how they can improve the ability of their local associates to respond more quickly to the needs of their clientele. How can retailers on Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive use this technology to provide VIP service to their very best customers?

It sure doesn't fit the classic model of trying to crank out as many handsets as possible from the same master mold, but it is a daring vision of what the world could be...and may ultimately pave the way for a more profitable relationship.

As T.S. Eliot once said, only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Link: Negroponte Interview in Telecoms Korea (subscription required)



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