In the coming weeks Vertu is introducing a “made to order” service, similar to Motorola’s Moto Maker, that will allow customers to customise the design and colour of their smartphones.
A transactional website is also on its way. To date, consumers can only purchase Vertu handsets across its 70 boutique physical stores and concessions inside department stores.
Vertu is also making digital channels the focus of the launch campaign for its latest handset, the Signature Touch. The £6,750 phone features Bang & Olufsen speakers, Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and Hasselblad certification on the rear 13-megapixel camera and is described as having a “masculine” design.
Massimiliano Pogliani, Vertu CEO, told Marketing Week that digital’s share of the brand’s marketing budget has increased from 0 per cent when he first arrived at the company – then as CMO – in November 2012 to 15 per cent now.
He added: “Digital and social media helps us show the evolution of the brand. Luxury is all about storytelling. We had been doing a lot of story doing before, but it’s important the customers know about it. Things like the perfection of craftmanship and the fact that our products are handmade in Britain are stories our customers like to know and talk about.”
Marketing efforts are being led by recently appointed CMO Michelle Crossan, who joined the company in April from P&G where she held the role of team leader of brand operations for the global prestige division.
In the same month Vertu also appointed Eva Pederzini as brand and marketing director. She joined from Nespresso Italy, where she was commercial director for the b2c division.
Last year Vertu stated an intention to broaden the appeal of its brand to a wider audience as it looked to appeal for a “share of wallet” not only amongst rival smartphone makers but the entire luxury sector.
Vertu led this charge with the Constellation smartphone, which was slightly cheaper than the other handsets in its catalogue. It was launched with a marketing push that was less product-focused than previous campaigns, with advertising designed to depict the “dream-like” experiences the Vertu brand can offer.
The change of tack appears to have paid off, according to Pogliani, who said 50 per cent of Constellation owners were new to the Vertu brand and 30 per cent were female.