The New Rules for Luxury | Zia Zareem-Slade, Customer Experience Director at Fortnum & Mason

“Ultimately, people are seeking reassurance, inspiration and help – so that’s what we’ve focused on; we think it’s fair to say that it’s brought comfort and joy to our customers in an otherwise unsettling time.”

Today’s ‘New Rules’ come courtesy of Zia Zareem-Slade, Customer Experience Director at Fortnum & Mason (and Director at 45 Jermyn St), who discusses how the iconic Piccadilly store has risen to the challenge of communicating with customers in a meaningful way, even when its famous doors have been closed. 

How has Fortnum’s approach to marketing and communications evolved following the Covid-19 outbreak? Or has it remained the same, and if so why?

We have always focused on being relevant, authentic and joy-giving; being over 300 years old, we’ve seen centuries of change and flux in the world and have had to continue to adapt, but those principles have always been there. The pandemic and subsequent closure of our restaurants and shops meant that we honed in on what we do best and what we’re most passionate about: serving quality, relevant content that shares our passion for extraordinary food, drink and joy-giving things as well as sharing our many stories past and present. Ultimately, people are seeking reassurance, inspiration and help – so that’s what we’ve focused on; we think it’s fair to say that it’s brought comfort and joy to our customers in an otherwise unsettling time.

Taking our Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards online for the first time, allowed us to celebrate all the great and good in the industry, this time with our wider community and of the winners. To celebrate achievements of chefs, writers, innovators and talent, at a hard time for the restaurant world, kept engagement up with our global community and gave us all a little moment of joy.

What, in your opinion, are the ‘new luxury marketing rules’ for the ‘new normal’?

I’m not convinced that there are new ‘luxury’ marketing rules. I believe that the perception of and definition of ‘Luxury’ was up for challenge prior to the pandemic and that’s been expedited as a result of it.  Thankfully, we’re placing higher value on the quality (and availability) of our food, there is a realisation that ‘less but better’ is a positive and more responsible way to shop and we value experience over ‘stuff.’ Ensuring your brand can be trusted, being authentic and knowing your purpose is as important now as it ever was.  Luxury is not the newest and shiniest – it’s that of the highest quality, of integrity and of goods-made-properly. Sustainability and quality go hand in hand, and should both be part of a brand’s DNA. Marketing should reflect this: focusing on products, stories and services to be enjoyed with loved ones, in a sustainable, decent way, for generations.

fortnumandmason.com
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If you are responsible for the marketing and communications function of a Walpole member brand and would like to share your thoughts, please contact Jenni Rayner.

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