DIGITAL - joes[a]fiend was invited to the breakfast launch of Dunhill's new DAY 8 iPad app [iTunes link] recently. Over a delicious/insightful breakfast at Bourdon House we took the opportunity to ask Richard Ascott [Head of digital] of Dunhill a few questions about the new digital launch and how luxury experiences translates online. Here's what he had to say...
Why the iPad?
We chose to launch DAY 8 as an iPad app because it is the best screen in the world and we wanted to pay our content justice. With the iPad you know precisely the size and resolution of the end users' device, so it can be optimised in a way never before possible.
How will the iPad content be different from the 'traditional' digital offering?
Content will be shared across both the app and the DAY 8 site. The app also has the added functionality of caching content, allowing DAY 8 to be a truly mobile experience – a lot of Dunhill customers are time poor, being able to access DAY 8 during a flight for example allows us to work around our client's timetable and lifestyle.
What is the biggest challenge for a luxury brand going online?
It’s a balancing act - heritage vs contemporary / exclusivity vs. accessibility and convenience. Ultimately the most important thing is to use technology only in a way that adds to the end user experience, not just to tick a box or because everyone else is doing it. There is an element of temptation with all of the accessible platforms and technologies out there; being a luxury should be as much as showing restraint as adopting these.
What is the biggest opportunity for a luxury brand going online?
To be able to engage. To provide a joined up world where all communication touch points lead wherever you are in the world. You are also able to know your customer like never before. A live streamed fashion show, for example, is not for everyone. If what you are doing does not improve the experience for your customer, do not do it.
Who aside from Dunhill is leading the digital landscape in terms of brands and why?
Net-a-porter: They have a joined up approach where experience, commerce and customer service are seamlessly integrated.
Nike+ : Have created an elegant solution to a problem that we didn’t know we had and have given it without asking for anything in return.
Why is the content relevant to the digital Dunhill offering?
To play in the digital world you have to be relevant and engaging to your target audience. Everything that makes it onto DAY 8 is aligned with the Dunhill brand pillars; Creativity, Intelligence, Culture, Travel & Elegance. Many pieces of content fall into more than one of these categories.
We can never let our editorial standards slip because, along with product, it’s the content that shows our customer we understand the values that they share with us.
What should luxury brands avoid when going online?
Becoming a ‘me too’ brand. Just because an online strategy works for one brand it does not mean that it will work for another – however similar the brands may be. There must be honesty when communicating online, the online customer is incredibly savvy and is only two clicks away from being able to share their opinion with the world.
What is the most experiential part of the Dunhill online offering and why?
Our aim is to create the perfect experience for Dunhill customers online. DAY 8 is showing that people want to spend time there and we see it as one of the services that adds value to our online user.
In addition we have spent a lot of time on the e-shop to create the simplest, easiest and most efficient shopping experience, BUT, this is always a work in progress. With digital if you ever think you have it completely solved or finished you might as well quit.
What is the most experiential part of the Dunhill offline offering and why?
The Homes of Alfred Dunhill - the pinnacle of male luxury. Services are at the forefront of the Homes concept, whether it be the Spa & Barber’s and Private Screening Room of Bourdon in the heart of Mayfair, or the fine wine reserve and restaurant of Prince’s Building, Hong Kong. Each Home is a totally immersive experience – a journey into the Dunhill world whilst also reflecting the city in which it stands. From the perfectly restored 1920’s neoclassical style of the Twin Villas, Shanghai to Ginza Tokyo with a façade designed by leading robot designer Mr. Tatsuya Matsu.
We view Dunhill.com & DAY 8 as the global brand Homes for Dunhill. They embody the brand and are ideals everywhere.
What is your favourite iPad app and why?
One app we love is the Guardian eyewitness, it is widely thought of as one of the best photographic experiences on the iPad. We wanted to use this as a starting point for the way we presented imagery, to see if there were any areas we can improve and add in video and copy.