Traditionally, data gathered via individuals’ philanthropic activities is used by non-profit organisations as a prospecting tool, but such insights are also beneficial to for-profit organisations. Using such data, organisations can set benchmarks for prospecting high-net-worth and ultra-high net worth. The initial benefit of leveraging this data is that it helps luxury brands to determine the net worth and purchasing power of ultra-wealthy clients, to better identify prospective clients. While marketing to the mass-luxury consumer, typically achieved through leveraging generalizations in the hope that a marketing message will resonate with a substantial segment of an audience, marketers can instead understand the interests of high-profile consumers prior to engaging with them through data captured from their philanthropic interests and activities.
BENEFIT #1: DETERMINING NET WORTH AND CAPACITY TO SPEND
Philanthropic data is useful when determining the net worth of a wealthy prospective client, while also offering insights into a prospective client’s capacity to spend on goods and services. Luxury brands may hold on to this information, along with the total amount of donations an individual gives throughout the year, and the percentage of net worth an individual invests in philanthropic pursuits, to adjust their marketing strategies to better position themselves when prospecting HNW and UHNW clients.
BENEFIT #2: UNDERSTANDING CLIENTS’ DESIRES
A powerful tool, philanthropic data can be instrumental in not only determining net worth but in building brand loyalty and remaining relevant in the eyes of HNW and UHNW clientele. A thorough understanding of clients’ interests provides brands with the opportunity to customise offerings precisely targeting clients’ needs. Brands may, for instance, design bespoke privileges and events, which act as key marketing offerings in today’s competitive luxury environment. Experiential retail activations, exclusive membership programs and special VIP opportunities are but a few examples of how philanthropic data may be utilised.
One high-end jewellery brand chose not to focus on the theme of sustainability when adding narrative to its campaigns. New executives recently questioned the brand’s strategy, asking why this was the case. A greater conversation and questions emerged…What did sustainability mean to the brand and how could it appear? How could the brand approach sustainability without excluding key segments of its target audience? For instance, utilising ‘greener’ facilities may qualify as sustainability for one consumer, whereas another insists on the use of recycled materials.
These questions led the brand to extensive qualitative research, including analysing philanthropic data and statistics. The organisation determined how much sustainability mattered to existing clientele, and whether bringing sustainability to the forefront would encourage or discourage consumer support. Similarly, the right data informs businesses whether clients will forego support because their products or services are not considered sustainable.
BENEFIT #3: DESIGNING CUSTOM-TAILORED, SEGMENTED COMMUNICATIONS
Similar questions arise for brands grappling between fur vs. faux fur, diamonds vs. lab-grown diamonds and other controversial and increasingly relevant dichotomies. For brands, the goal is to successfully cater to one group without alienating the other. Many luxury brands are faced with the challenge of speaking to young adult consumers and long-devoted clientele (Baby Boomers and The Silent Generation), cohorts with interests, values and consumer behaviour that are, at times, entirely at odds.
Dual messaging can complicate a strategy for multi-generational marketing tactics. In order to avoid contradictory communications, brands are encouraged to deliver consistent, compatible messaging, such as highlighting one set of benefits and desires to one cohort while bringing up a different set of benefits and desires to another. Maintaining authenticity is a primary objective – even when addressing specific custom segments. The philanthropic causes themselves may also be incorporated into the marketing mix. A firm may choose to donate a portion of proceeds to a specific charitable organisation; in lieu of assuming the causes near and dear to clientele, businesses may leverage data to know which organisations receive support from wealthy donors in their target audiences. The same principle applies to charitable causes.
A brand may determine the most important causes for its intended audience, whether disaster relief, animal or flora conservation, sustainability, fair trade or human rights. The brand may then go further by partnering with an organisation under their chosen cause, designing custom marketing campaigns and materials in the process.
In today’s climate, however, brands are advised to proceed with caution. Choosing to place sustainable missions at the forefront of a campaign attracts a particular type of scrutiny from savvy consumers. Many HNW and UHNW clientele will observe organisations’ actions to determine authenticity. Missteps are quickly detected and brought into the public forum with far greater intensity than missteps made by businesses lacking cause-based positioning.
Finally, a wealth of philanthropic data may be used to develop profiles of consumer behaviour, lookalike audiences and referrals.
Every luxury brand has unique strengths, weaknesses, clients, threats and opportunities. Each business is advised to identify what works best for its needs by leveraging HNW and UHNW philanthropic data prior to planning and executing bespoke, measurable marketing and sales initiatives tailored to generation or interest-specific consumer segments.