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Havas Media leads a life of luxury

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Havas Media Group recently announced the global launch of it's Italy-based LuxHub, a consulting business specialising in luxury brands. The new global unit is to be headed up by current Havas Media Group Italy CEO, and luxury fashion expert, Isabelle Harvie-Watt, and is based in Milan, with outposts initially in London (which will be run by global executive director Tammy Smulders, who is one of the founding partners of the Havas-owned agency SCB Partners), Paris, New York and Dubai. Later in 2015, it also hopes to open outposts in Shanghai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Moscow. This marks a bold and ambitious statement from the French multinational company, which appears to be going from strength to strength at the moment.

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Isabelle Harvie-Watt

The new network is far more ambitious in scope than the pre-existing Havas Luxe brand. The focus will be on helping luxury brands adapt to the changing needs of their audience, and the unit will also by working alongside luxury expert teams from the Havas Creative division to incorporate creative and experiential talents with projects in association with BETC Luxe (Paris) and Havas Luxe (New York). The first study on luxury and brands is expected later this month, and uses data from 1,000 people representing the top 10% of earners in China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, the US, UAE and the UK. The findings look at luxury trends across retail, travel, home furnishings, auto, jewellery and art.

The new network is far more ambitious in scope than the pre-existing Havas Luxe brand

Harvie-Watt has been CEO at HMG Italy, for nearly 4 years, and has spent that time working with the senior management team, leading plans for investment in a specialist luxury division, which has now come to fruition. She previously spent 14 years at Giorgio Armani and five years at Versace, before ending up at Tods Group as the leader of its global marketing and communications. All three are luxury brands with a significant history, so she seems like a natural fit for the job. She believes that “Luxury brands realise they need to change the way they communicate and start building stronger relationships with their consumers.”

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Isabelle Harvie-Watt spent 14 years at luxury fashion company Giorgio Armani

Harvie-Watt also says that “Digital transformation is no longer an option,” and that “Growing online distribution and strong content strategies are the new norm.” She feels that “LuxHub is a great step forward to further closing the gap in language between agencies and luxury clients and the way luxury audiences are evolving.” She underlines the findings of the survey, which she revealed has found that “In-store shopping is still the favoured purchasing method for half of luxury shoppers, while 24 per cent shop mainly online.” She says, however that the statistics show this online shift is “Not being matched by the brands ,with over half of consumers stating that luxury brands should engage more with their consumers in the online experience.” No doubt she'll attempt to rectify this with her clients during her time heading up the new unit.

The new global unit is to be headed up by current Havas Media Group Italy CEO, and luxury fashion expert, Isabelle Harvie-Watt

Dominique Delport, Havas Media Group global managing director, said that offering their clients “The ability to connect to the luxury sector in a meaningful way” has always been part of the Havas strategy, and he's delighted they are now able to deliver this specialist consulting service to our clients globally. He hopes that their existing credibility in the luxury sector, “Coupled with strong leadership from Harvie-Watt to drive specialist teams in all the key markets,” means they will be able to “Provide new insights and innovative strategies both for luxury brands and brands who want to interact with the luxury audience.”

Top Image: Kois Associated Architects

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