Vertu seeks to broaden appeal with marketing

Luxury mobile phone brand Vertu is widening its marketing mix to target to a broader base of consumers as it looks to appeal for “share of wallet” not only amongst rival smartphone makers but the entire luxury sector.

Vertu Extraordinary campaign

Advertising behind its latest handmade Android smartphone – the Constellation – will be less product focused than previous campaigns and will instead use high-end imagery to depict an “extraordinary’ dream-like world, designed to depict the brand and the experiences it provides for consumers.

Massimiliano Pogliani, who was recently promoted from being Vertu’s CMO to becoming CEO, told Marketing Week the activity demonstrates the lifestyle of the company’s customers.

“Our customers never just go for the ordinary in anything they do in their lives. If they have a mobile phone, why should they settle for a mass produced product? They go for an exceptional one,” he added.

Pogliani said the product choices of Vertu’s target high net worth individual customers in their wider lives mean it is important for the brand to take a more “outward” and less product focused approach.

He added: “Being the benchmark is important for us and we think of that not just in mobile phones. We think of experiences like an exotic holiday, a fantastic hotel or a three star Michellin meal: we are all competiting for a share of wallet. These people are very rich but they are certainly not stupid and they make [careful] decisions about what they buy.”

All future marketing – including this campaign – will include a ”Handmade in the England” tagline as the brand seeks further differentiation from the rest of the smartphone sector.

The Vertu Constellation global campaign, shot by fashion photographer Kristian Schuller and created by CHI & Partners, will appear across its usual channels such as luxury magazines, financial newspapers and outdoor.

Pogliani has also recently hired a head of retail experience to build out its in-store service proposition and marketing across its 70 boutique stores and additional concessions to further enhance the Vertu brand experience.

Additionally, Vertu will be stepping up its use of digital having recently appointed AKQA as its lead digital agency. CHI Group social media agency The Social Practice has already helped to increase its number of Twitter followers tenfold.

Digital activity for the Constellation includes a microsite and behind the scenes images and videos across Vertu’s social channels, depicting its unique product and service offerings, such as the London Symphony Orchestra recording some of the phone’s ringtones.

The phone itself is also targeted at a broader – if still niche – base of consumers, with Pogliani admitting previous handsets had been more “masculine” in their appeal.

The device comes in a range of colours, at £4,100 is cheaper than previous devices, and the Vertu Life app has been enhanced. The app now targets customers with tailored offers and it also now includes complimentary entry to some of the world’s most exclusive private members’ club, plus access to invitation-only events and closed-door shopping experiences. Such updates have been designed to boost Vertu’s appeal not only to women, but also consumers in different geographic regions beyond its core target markets of Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Vertu currently has around 350,000-380,000 customers worldwide and while it is unlikely it is ever to be a brand that will appeal to the mass market, Pogliani says there is a possibility it could extend its reach into different categories.

Pogiliani adds: “Vertu could move beyond the phone. If the proposition is right for the customer there could be an opportunity to extend into other categories…the Vertu brand is a reference brand more than it is a preference brand.”

The CMO role at Vertu is currently vacant, with Pogiliani handling marketing responsibility until a replacement is found.

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