Friday, April 11, 2008

Plug-in luxury

Labeling a brand as a "luxury" product is too generic and narrow. True luxury brands have a specific point of view on the type of luxury they provide. Laid back and casual? Old world pedigree? Exclusive and indulgent? Modern and savvy?

Hyatt is not a luxury brand by any traditional definition. But I was extremely impressed on a recent stay in the chain's Hyatt Place brand by their choice to feature a "Plug Panel" that enables guests to connect their laptop, iPod or digital camera to the 42" flat-panel TV.

This tech concierge is a form of luxury. It makes the stay more comfortable and personal. It also shows keen customer insight and thoughtfulness.

The car companies are increasingly using technology as a form of luxury. Lexus has been on the leading edge of this for years. And, finally, marques like Jaguar (a past client) are using technology instead of wood and leather as a way to convey a premium brand image. Check out Jag's new XF to witness what I mean.

Airlines are following suit. United Airlines, a client of BD'M, is rolling out a brand new international first and business class service featuring widescreen TVs and ports for iPods.

Technology was meant to boost productivity and offer convenience. But for most of us our personal technologies offer escape, relaxation and a way to express ourselves. This is plug-in luxury.

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