The two brands explained how they were seeking to use social to include audiences – rather than exclude them – during a panel at Social Media Week in London today (25 September).
Speaking from the stage, panellists agreed that for luxury brands, using social as a means of seeding popular ideas, which also appeal to high net worth individuals (HNWI), was the best use of the medium.
Matt Smith, Bentley’s digital strategy manager, said: “While ultra high net worth individuals (HNWIs) may be much wealthier than you and I, their media consumption is similar to ours.
“While someone might have the money to go out and buy a £150,000 car they are still motivated by social acceptance. People don’t need to buy Bentleys, they do so because they want to and because of the craftsmanship. Tapping into that is about personality [which can come across via social media].”
Hin-Yan Wong, head of research and strategy at luxury-specialist agency Connect Group, said: “A lot of HNWIs want to be accepted and it’s through things like social media [where they connect with more mainstream audiences] that they gain that reference point for acceptance.
“While social media may not directly help you reach this audience [HNWIs], it can help you set up the reference platform.”
Smith added: “There’s social value versus commercial value – and what we try to do is separate the two. For instance, we try to see how the 15 year-old kid who says: ‘Look at how great that Jaguar is,’ and then we [the marketers] see how we can generate a lead out of that [over a longer term].”
During the session, Steve Cobelli, Jaguar’s global digital marketing manager, explained how premium brands also have to strike a fine balance between being open while also maintaining their aspirational status.
“Maintaining that quality control on social is really difficult and the reality is, there is very little you can do to control it when operating outside of an official brand channel,” he added.
“However, it is important to show you appreciate it when fans take photos of your brand and share it with their networks.”
It’s of paramount importance that marketers educate their colleagues internally on how best to use social to maintain this fine balancing act, said Cobelli.
“There is a real job there for us to do in terms of education. There are cases when someone may have posted something on Facebook that you shouldn’t have.”