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Luxury brands and charity partnerships

Isaac Mostovicz writes that that charity partnerships can form a positive part of a luxury brand's CSR strategy...

British luxury designers, including Mulberry, Erdem and Giles Deacon, are creating limited-time teddy bears for this year’s BBC Children in Need auction reports Luxury Daily.

Luxury brand Mulberry create bear for BBC Children in Need

Luxury brand Mulberry create bear for BBC Children in Need

Children in Need is a BBC-owned charity that gives grants to local projects in Britain that focus on helping disadvantaged children.

Emma Hill, creative director of Mulberry, said of the project:

“When we were approached to design the fashion bear, we thought it would be a great opportunity for us to use our resources and create something genuine, loveable and close to our hears to support the cause.”

I found this interesting, because I have been recently thinking about the role that Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, plays for luxury brands.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can be defined as “a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model”. In the past, CSR has been seen as an ‘extra’ that is nice to do but not necessary, and that may well leave the company out of pocket. However, this view is rapidly changing, with brands that are not undertaking CSR initiatives and reporting on these finding themselves scrutinized.

It is not accidental that brands such as Mulberry have chosen to partner with the BBC Children in Need. The cause is one which resonates with the consumers of those British luxury brands – in fact, the article states that many luxury brands have chosen children-focused charities recently to connect with their customers. This does not weaken their brand identity, but rather strengthens it, positioning their brand as socially responsible whilst resonating with customer’s wishes to ‘give something back’.

Kahro, a jewelry stores Raleigh NC store which I run, has teamed up with Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a Raleigh NC based charity that work to fight female cancers. The charity is close to the heart of Kahro’s clientele, which creates a link between the way the customers wish to act and the way the company behaves. Giving to charity is seen as an aspect that Kahro shares with its customers; just as they spend extra, Kahro spends extra. This charitable giving builds self-esteem for all the Kahro employees, as they know that their workplace gives something back to the local community. In turn, this raises productivity and staff commitment.

For me, the key to successful charity partnerships is to ensure that they are aligned to employees, brand values and customers, and that they feel authentic rather than driven by profit.

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Hotels set the benchmark in luxury living

Isaac Mostovicz writes that that hotels remain a potent symbol of luxury and aspiration...

A recent BBC documentary “Time Shift: Hotel Deluxe” set out how luxury hotels meet the needs of all forms of wealth, from aristocrats to rock stars, through impeccable service and remaining at the cutting edge. Luxury hotels are a breeding ground of innovation; for example, they were the first places to have en-suite bathrooms, a trend which rapidly caught on in the private property sector.

The programme suggests that to understand luxury, we need look no further than luxury hotels, such as the Savoy, the Ritz, the Dorchester, which are synonymous with wealth and style around the globe. Even during the recession, new hotels were springing up – six in London – providing a case-in-point of their durability and continued relevance to luxury lifestyles.

When these hotels were first launched in their current incarnation, 150 years ago, these were for the few rather than the masses. Most people could not afford to visit them, and so they remained a symbol of aspiration. Although luxury hotels are now more accessible, as more people possess disposable incomes, the pull of what the programme dubs “clubability”, or meeting like-minded people, remains substantial; “your hotel says more about you than your cash ever can.”

But now that luxury hotels are de rigueur, what is next? The new super hotels, such as those in Dubai and the US which charge up to £20,000 a night provide a playground for the super rich, and these new hotels are just as exclusive as luxury hotels were in their beginnings.

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