In the world of luxury mobile devices, Vertu knew exactly what the affluent desire in a product – the sensation of "exclusivity" and "elegance." This case study delves into the strategies and approaches that have made Vertu a renowned brand among the wealthy.
The Genesis of Vertu
Vertu, formerly a subsidiary of Nokia, has established itself as a prestigious brand in the mobile industry. It was founded in 1998 with headquarters in the UK and multiple offices worldwide, including Paris, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
The driving idea behind Vertu was to create a piece of technology that would never go out of style, just like luxury fashion items such as watches, pens, or wallets. While tech gadgets tend to lose their value rapidly with the constant release of new products, Vertu aimed to transform the concept of a mobile device into a symbol of prestige and class.
Crafting the Marketing Strategy
To cater to the affluent, Vertu meticulously designed its marketing strategy around two core principles: exclusivity and luxury.
Exquisite Craftsmanship and Durability
Much like the high-end Swiss watches crafted by renowned artisans, Vertu phones are meticulously hand-assembled by individual engineers, each leaving their mark through engraved signatures on the device's body. The exclusivity lies in the fact that every Vertu phone is assembled by a single engineer, and customers often request the same engineer to build their new phones, adding a personal touch that only Vertu owners can enjoy. These phones are genuinely unique, with no mass production involved.
For instance, the Vertu Signature model, an intricately complex phone, consists of over 400 mechanical components. Highly experienced craftsmen spend years mastering the art of assembling a single Vertu phone, and only a select few in the world possess this skill.
The materials used for crafting these exquisite devices include high-grade stainless steel, premium Italian leather, gold, rubies, diamonds, and sapphire glass for the screen. Besides their stunning appearance, Vertu phones boast exceptional durability. Before being released for sale, each phone undergoes nearly 100 quality checks and rigorous testing under extreme conditions of heat and humidity.
An astonishing demonstration of the phone's durability was seen when a Vertu Ascent Motosport (a relatively "budget" Vertu model) was placed under a Porsche Boxster weighing 1,270 kg and crushed repeatedly. Surprisingly, the Vertu phone remained fully functional, making a bold statement about the brand's commitment to quality.
Exclusive Privileges for Vertu Owners
Owning a Vertu phone grants its owner access to an elite world of exclusive services. For example, Vertu Life provides a service dedicated to all Vertu mobile devices, offering access to the most luxurious and extravagant clubs, top-tier global events, major sports events, and high-profile concerts. On the other hand, Vertu Concierge is exclusively available to Signature and Vertu Ti owners.
In addition to these services, Vertu users can also access a network of the world's finest restaurants, hotels, and airlines. However, it's essential to note that while these services are complimentary for the first year, subsequent years require users to pay close to $800 for continued access.
Upscale Shopping Experience
Instead of showcasing at tech exhibitions like other electronic products, Vertu chooses to make its presence felt in the world of high-end fashion, often participating in events like Paris Fashion Week.
Moreover, Vertu stores are strategically located in high-end fashion shopping districts, positioning the brand alongside other luxurious names, creating a halo effect. The stores are meticulously designed as showcases, featuring architectural glass cabinets, limestone flooring, and warm lighting, immersing customers in a premium shopping atmosphere.
Selective Distribution Channels
Becoming a part of Vertu's distribution channels is no easy feat. Only stores catering to an international clientele with global recognition for product quality, knowledge, and outstanding personalized services make the cut.
One clever approach Vertu employed was to collaborate with the renowned jewelry store King Fook in Hong Kong. By displaying Vertu Signature phones alongside precious metals such as gold and platinum, the attention of wealthy customers was captured, inviting them to consider Vertu phones as luxury jewelry items rather than just tech gadgets.
Lessons from Vertu's Success
Vertu's triumphant position in the luxury market can be attributed to several key factors: product quality, distribution strategies, marketing efforts, operations, and customer relations. Let's take a closer look at these elements.
Pursuit of Excellence: The foremost lesson is that the product itself must be of extraordinary quality, and accompanying services must be exceptional. Advertising plays a role in generating product awareness, but without a remarkable product and outstanding post-purchase services, success remains elusive. As Vertu's business philosophy suggests, always strive for excellence and perfection in every product.
The Power of Uniqueness: Differentiation is crucial, and Vertu mastered this by creating exclusive devices that no one else can replicate. The aura of rarity surrounding each Vertu phone made them highly sought-after among the affluent.
Crafting an Experiential Shopping Journey: By creating a luxurious and captivating in-store experience, Vertu succeeded in evoking a sense of grandeur and indulgence during the purchasing process. Every customer felt like royalty, receiving exceptional post-purchase service akin to that of esteemed dignitaries.
In conclusion, Vertu's ascent to the epitome of luxury for the wealthy can be credited to its five essential elements: product quality, distribution strategy, marketing prowess, operational efficiency, and customer-focused approach.