Karoline Huber, Brand Director, Middle East & India, IWC Schaffhausen, talks heritage, Dubai’s Expo drive and choosing the right time to leverage your luxury brand.
What is your view on the luxury market in Dubai?
The luxury market in Dubai offers incredible opportunities for brands in three different aspects. Aspect number one is turn over wise, the potential of Dubai is incredibly high given the local money that we have, number two is that it is a laboratory for brands as the target audience in here is incredibly diverse which gives us the opportunity to experiment with different target audience, and number three is that it is a gateway to the region and the Arab World.
What are the latest trends in the region?
I think again we have to differentiate between Dubai and the region. The latest trend, I feel, with the Expo2020 new dynamics are entering into Dubai. It feels like the city is trying to make an effort to open itself to the world, become even more relevant to the world, and become known, not only for luxury and luxury experiences be it in terms of rewards or retail, but also all for the level of innovation that is in the region, for the level of design and fashion and creation in the region that they are looking to showcase at Expo2020. Of course this event, which is yet seven years from now, leads to new investments, leads to new infrastructure, new housing, and even new malls. So I can see the dynamics of the city and its population is changing so dramatically.
How are you planning to seize the opportunities that Expo 2020 is offering?
I think we should be careful in choosing the opportunities that arrived for the brand, because one thing is for sure, Dubai doesn’t have a lack of opportunities, and I think you are foolish if you feel that you need to leverage every opportunity at hand, I think you need to carefully choose the opportunities that are meaningful for your brand, and are meaningful for your potential customers and help you to sustainably build brand turnover in the future.
What do you think are the element s of luxury?
I think there are a lot of different elements that you have to take in consideration. Number one is what you are really made of. I like to refer to brands as people, because people grow up with different values, and these values translate into behavior, and this behavior translates into a career or lifestyle if you wish. It is exactly the same with brands, we have heritage and this heritage gives us our DNA which translates into values, which translates into products which translates into the way we communicate, which translates into the way we approach our customers, that we create experiences which gives us this unique point of differentiation eventually, that helps us to really to have a distinguished and distinctive brand universe and product universe, that eventually appeal to a very specific target audience.
How do you keep the balance between heritage and looking to the future?
It is not rocket science or open heart surgery, and referring to my earlier reference of people, I think we are withdrawn to people with very true character, you know you might love them or you might hate them, but you certainly don’t say “that is an interesting person”. With brands it is very much the same; you love them or you hate them, you don’t say it is interesting. Interesting means regardless, it doesn’t matter. I think what makes this loved or hated person is their character and the fact that they decide to be this one person, and take into account that they might be loved by some or hated by some. But that is ok, and I think as long as you can establish that with your brand and ensure that you will maintain and stick to this, and then you can be very relaxed when it comes to the future because unless you lose your relevance, you are perfectly safe with whatever is coming.
(First published in TRENDS, AMEinfo’s sister publication)