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Bentley, Cartier strive to keep top-of-mind with app updates

May 17, 2011

bentley-185Brands such as Bentley, Cartier and Hublot are realizing that the only way to keep themselves top-of-mind in the mobile space is to offer application updates with fresh content, features and interaction.

Cartier, Bentley and Hublot are taking advantage of the fact that their customers went out of the way to download the apps and are making sure that the apps do not get deleted or forgotten in the clutter of an app store. Apps are personal in a way that other marketing is not, and brands need to make sure that customers have a reason to have that special connection.

“Many apps get downloaded, used once and then either left unused on the phone or deleted,” said Doug Wick, director of product marketing at Digby, Austin, TX. “The difference between the applications that gain traction with users and those that don’t is the level of utility that those applications offer.

“In the context of a luxury brand, that utility is how well the app serves as the connection between the brand and the loyal shopper,” he said. “Every time a user sees an update, it gets them excited about what might be new, and this tells the user that the brand cares about deepening their connection over time.

“This is particularly important and valuable in luxury.”

Mr. Wick is not associated with Cartier, Bentley or Hublot, but agreed to comment as a third-party expert.

Watching out for the customer
The Cartier, Bentley and Hublot apps are for the iPad.

Luxury customers are most likely not going to buy these brands’ products via tablet, but the iPad is perfect for exploring the brand and merchandise.

For instance, French jeweler and watchmaker Cartier’s app update features an easier-to-navigate interface with the ability to watch the latest Calibre de Cartier Multiple Time Zone film.


Cartier app

Users can also share this app with friends.

Other brands, such as Volkswagen Group-owned Bentley Motors Ltd., have opted to completely relaunch their entire apps.

The “Pure Bentley” app is now available in eight different languages so that consumers worldwide can look at branded products and keep up-to-date with news and information.


Bentley’s “Pure Bentley” app

Pure Bentley features new models, designs, engineering and brand films.

The app includes the full story of the Bentley Ice Speed Record car used to promote the traction and stability of the automaker’s Continental Supersports convertible (see story).

Consumers can now also locate a nearest dealer, request a call-back from a local dealer and look at the latest Bentley imagery.

Swiss watchmaker Hublot’s updates unleash new content such as “world firsts.”


“World firsts” in the Hublot app

Users are treated to an array of special-edition, rarely-seen Hublot watches as well as all of the classics.

Consumers can use the Configurator to find a watch by imputing the case, materials, dials and complications.

App updates are no doubt a good idea, but brands should take moderation under consideration.

“An app should continue to offer the user more and updated content over time,” Mr. Wick said. “Luxury brand apps are content-heavy, as they have to project the brand experience in the highest fidelity possible.

“One of the big mistakes you see luxury brands making is that they try to put all of that content into the initial download,” he said. I’ve had luxury apps take more than half an hour to download over WiFi.”

Keeping customers excited
Brands choose to promote their app updates in different ways.

For instance, Hublot dedicated an entire Facebook note that highlights app updates. It gives visuals and explains the reasons for the changes.

“An app should continue to offer the user more utility over time,” Mr. Wick said. “A brand application should have a roadmap where popular features are enhanced and new features are added.”

Some brands choose to incorporate features that promote new content automatically.

For instance, apparel and accessories designer Donna Karan has integrated SMS push notifications into its mobile app to engage consumers even when they are not using the application (see story).

“Apps are personal in ways that Web sites aren’t,” Mr. Wick said. “The act of finding and downloading an app from a brand means you have at the minimum a strong interest in the brand, and the persistent presence of the app on the device acts as a window into the user’s life.

“Making sure that the app maintains and grows that connection is an opportunity that brands, especially luxury brands, should not ignore,” he said.

Final Take
Rachel Lamb, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

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