Why Wedgwood hopes to break the rules of style with its rebrand

After 260 years, Wedgwood has undertaken a rebrand and will tap social media and influencers to help meet the new definition of luxury

After 260 years as the very epitome of luxury brands used by royalty, Wedgwood has undertaken a rebrand to better represent what luxury means for a modern consumer.

‘Welcome to Wedgwood’ aims to merge the traditional with the new in a way that appeals to the new without alienating the traditional.

Wedgwood admits the way customers perceive luxury and want to interact with it has significantly changed since the brand’s inception. With this in mind, it has created new designs, while still maintaining the traditional styles, so consumers can layer and combine to create their own eclectic creation. It is hoped the rebrand and an expansion across Asia will create double digit growth over the next three years.

Head of sales, marketing and operations for Fiskars Group A/NZ, the company which owns Wedgwood, Jim Lukacs, said for today’s consumer, luxury is a form of self expression.

“The brand is now evolving as the changing nature of luxury continues to evolve," he told CMO. "Yes, we are a premium luxury lifestyle brand when it comes to Wedgwood but we're trying to break all the boundaries of traditionalisation. For us, minimalism is out and maximalism is in. For now, luxury is a form of self expression. 

“I think back to the days when luxury was quite autocratic and traditional, and then we went through the contemporary minimalist stage. Today, it’s about self expression. So it's all about people curating their own style, and matching their own perception of what luxury is for them.

“And really, that's very much the target audience we have, that hedonistic design creator.”

Wedgwood didn’t arrive at this rebrand without thought. It sought feedback from customers to develop a profile of customers, and surveyed them to find out what they want. Generally, its audience is women between the ages of 30 and 49, who follow the latest trends, particularly around design and the home.

Lukacs told CMO Wedgwood is very excited about the rebrand and hopes to be around for another 260 years. 

“We want to be a part of a brand that lives on, and offers that self expression compared to a collective sort of view. We really want people to break out of their comfort zone and really explore mixing and matching, mixing the old with the new, with interesting use of colours and textures,” he said.

Influencer and social twist

The rebrand campaign launched in January across digital, social and print. Lukacs said offering consumer experiences, where they can interact with the products, is also very important to its new marketing strategy.

And for the first time the brand will use influencers across social in its campaign, as well as direct shopping from social sites, such as Instagram and Pinterest. Three emerging ‘Tastemakers’ from the design and interiors world lead the campaign narrative, each embodying the spirit of Wedgwood's eclectic new look. Through their curated creative eye and aesthetic, each Tastemaker brings to life the ‘Art of Code Mixing' - a breaking down of traditional luxury codes and expectations by celebrating individualism and embracing a sense of personal style, Lukacs said. 

The campaign showcases familiar designs in fresh contexts, reframing the brand's rich British heritage to encourage experimentation and creativity with tableware and interior styling choices. 

“Our communication strategy is mostly digitally driven rather than in print, but we will execute both. And we're now using some ‘tastemakers’ we have in Europe, and on a local level as well," he continued. “We look for people that do like to self express and curate experiences, so we can change the perception of us being a very old and traditional brand, but still buy into something that's very rich in heritage and timelessness. 

“We have a lot of great designs that have been around for many, many years. We never would have thought that you could mix and match these very formal, traditional designs in with some very bold, expressive colours, but it just seemed to work. It resonated with that design creator in all of us.

“And what's important for us is that we don't walk away from the core designs with our experimentation and innovation because we have that 260 years of heritage. But we now really want the brand to break some of the old boundaries, like the idea that this kind of luxury brand should only be used on formal occasions or occasionally.” 

Wedgwood has undertaken consumer research across Europe and the Americas, in Japan and Australia, to ensure the rebrand is on the mark. Lukacs said making sure the existing collections that have been there for 70 years stand the test of time and still remain relevant today was important to customers as well as innovation.

"We see the portfolio evolving into what we call layering. It's very expressive," he said. “We want to expose a lot of these designs offline as well, particularly here in Australia."

With widespread distribution through very large retailers, Lukacs said he also wanted people to not only see mixing online, be experience it in-store.

"Perhaps in the past there were boundaries before, but the floodgates are open, and we want the consumer to resonate with their own style. The message that we're trying to get out there is to make the everyday extraordinary,” he said.

To measure success, the brand will continue to interact and survey consumers, to check it’s on the right track.

“We will consistently stay close to our consumer. The more involvement we have with them with experiences, whether it's offline or online, we will continue to measure the performance of the product,” Lukacs added.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

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