Cartier receives student brain gain

Isaac Mostovicz writes that student collaboration creates a win-win situation...

3206038085_f72b32387cLuxury brands such as Cartier, Christian Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Lalique have all participated in a programme orchestrated by Colombia Business School and Parsons the School of Design. The programme, which is part of a joint interdisciplinary course in Design and Marketing of Luxury Goods, allows students to evaluate brands and present suggestions to top executives. Students also learn about the competitive landscape and customers’ experiences.

Cartier in particular has been keenly absorbing new suggestions from students. It’s paying attention to the future even as it celebrates its 100th birthday this year.

“We have to follow the client, and yes, the client is changing. We’re also trying to pick up future clients.” Frederic de Narp, president and CEO of Cartier North America said in the Washington Times. He added: “We always want to be part of the culture.”

There were indeed several interesting ideas surfacing from the project, and this type of collaboration offers good opportunities to everyone involved: companies access free ‘brain gain’ from fresh minds, whilst students get high-profile experience.

Courtnay Thomas, who participated in the programme, recommended that Cartier create a bridal experience as a way of solidifying its relationship with younger customers. This would involve devoting a specific area in stores to wedding-related jewelry, hosting brunches for couples and even supporting concierge services. All this could encourage customer retention and loyalty. Perhaps not surprising in the current climate, ‘loyalty’ was the general buzzword amongst students.

Student Eloise Kordaris looked at Cartier’s flagship store, suggesting it needs some modernization. Her solution was a spa-like, Zen environment featuring a ‘watch bar’ in the style of a sushi bar. Kordaris found that customers often do research on the internet before coming in to the shop, and therefore often already know what they want to buy – therefore they do not want to spend an afternoon browsing jewelry cases. The watch bar is therefore designed to give customers a more streamlined experience, where they can walk up to the bar and order.

I think it’s interesting that customers want to spend less time in store – in the past, many took great pleasure in the meandering and discovery surrounding a purchase. Stores can control customers’ experiences with the brand when they are in a store in ways that are difficult to do online.

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