Cape Town - Quality, craftsmanship, prestige and "one-of-a-kind" - these are the cornerstones of the decision making process when consumers purchase luxury brands, according to Paolo Fra, brand and business manager for Bentley South Africa.
He explains that luxury brands need to remain abreast of changes in consumer spending, focusing on a "new, better, best" approach to marketing to merge the heritage and excellence which is associated with the product, while continuing to move the "dial" and secure love brand status with new and existing customers.
It is with this in mind that partnership marketing in the luxury sector continues to gain momentum globally as brands see value both in the strategic partnership, but also the value it creates for consumers.
"Clever brand partnerships are a key part of the luxury marketing mix. Internationally, innovative co-creation activity among brands have become commonplace. Brands have recognised the importance of partnerships as an important marketing tool to attract and retain clients," explains Fra.
An example is the partnership between Breitling and Bentley. In his view this partnership unites the best of two worlds: Elegance and expertise - British chic and Swiss tradition.
"Brands are partnering both from a product and service perspective. In South Africa, co-branded partnerships remain an emerging concept," says Fra. In his view a recent joint marketing initiative between Bentley SA and Cruises International - a representative for the 6-star Crystal Cruises - is heralding in this trend in South Africa.
Bentley and Cruises International are offering luxury enthusiasts the opportunity to translate the high-end experience from land to sea. With the purchase of a select Bentley until February 2016 purchasers will receive a 6-star cruise experience with Crystal Cruises to the value of R220 000.
George Argyropoulos, managing director of Cruises International, said the alliance with Bentley allows his company to not only trade customer bases, but also to share the luxury cruise experience with more South Africans.
"Luxury cruising is relatively unknown in our market and we grow our base through word of mouth. The partnership with Bentley allows us to share this VIP experience with a select few who in turn will share the cruise experience with their networks,” said Argyropoulos.
The partnership between the brands reinforces the ability to "surprise and delight" consumers in his view.
Fra adds that the company's well-travelled clientele are seeking carefully curated experiences.
"The partnership marketing promotion offers value to Bentley aficionados. We already have loyal support in South Africa, but we constantly need to look at new ways of marketing, attracting and retaining clientele," says Fra.
“This strategic partnership helps build our brands and enables both Bentley and Cruises International to connect to a new target audience, offer unique competitive advantages, gain new distribution and benefit from a positive brand imagery halo”.
In his opinion the positive side of luxury brand collaborations include shared resources, where both brands can take advantage of each other’s strengths and maximise the benefit. It can also create shared loyalty with the opportunity to build emotional connections with customers - they can associate brands they love working together.
Such partnerships can also bring increased visibility and market exposure.
"Creating partner brand relationships allows for accessing new markets and audiences previously not reached," said Fra.
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