Boucheron, the Gucci Group-owned jeweler, is leading the way amongst luxury brands in harnessing the influence, passion and talents of its online fans to help promote the Boucheron brand on the Internet.
Founded in 1858 by Frédéric Boucheron, The House of Boucheron is one of the most storied jewelers in Paris' sparkling Place Vendome. In the past, Boucheron has been a jeweler to international royalty, from the Indian Maharaja Bhupindar Singh of Patiala to Czar Alexander III and Queen Elizabeth II. More recently, Hollywood royalty like Eva Longoria, Nicole Kidman, and Penelope Cruz have also found themselves bejeweled in Boucheron.
With a luxury profile and brand positioning like this, it would be easy to dismiss the Internet as a sales channel and communication platform. But today, Boucheron is moving into the online space with as much prescience as Mr. Boucheron did when he was first jeweler to set up shop in the Place Vendome.
I spoke to Boucheron to find out more.
BoF: The Internet is an increasingly important channel for sales for luxury brands. Can you tell us a bit about Boucheron's experience with e-commerce? Is this sales channel of strategic importance going forward?
Yes, the Boucheron brand is willing to interact with the web surfers at every moment of their life. The whole communication has to be totally transparent regarding the offer (the products, the lines with all the prices and the know how of the House) and the institutional communication (history of the House and news). The website is a new shop which opened in September 2007.
BoF: Boucheron organised an event for French bloggers called "Delits d'initiés" or "Insider Trading". What was this event all about and did it achieve the results you expected?
This event aimed at letting bloggers enter the brand and understand its know-how, so that they could re-interpret the codes of Boucheron.This is also a will to build a long term relationship with the bloggers by giving them the latest news before the public.
BoF: And now, you are in the midst of a new web 2.0 initiative called "Quatre". Can you tell us more about how this will work?
This program aims to communicating on the symbolic value of the Quatre ring. The web surfers’ contributions are taken into consideration as seriously as the ones of celebrities. The jury is made of members of Boucheron and bloggers, who are completely linked with this operation.
BoF: What is the business rationale for engaging with the online community through these Web 2.0 initiatives? Are they marketing/brand building exercises, commercial exercises, or both?
We are convinced that bloggers are the best ambassadors for the brand online and offline. That is why we offer them the opportunity to enter the House of Boucheron in a very intimate way, so that they can help others to discover all its treasures.
BoF: What do Boucheron fans need to do in order to participate in the Quatre competition?
They need to go on www.boucheron.com/preciousmoments (www.boucheron.com/lesinstantsprecieux in French), and click on “Engrave your Precious Moment” and then write, in a few words, the most precious moment they have experienced and wish to share with online readers by engraving it in the Boucheron wall.
Submissions to the Boucheron Precious Moments writing competition will be accepted until 30 June, 2008. Any form of contribution will be accepted (song, poem, dialogue, short story, simple prose, haiku…) and can be submitted in English or French.