In a recent report, Luxury Daily observed how brands have used Instagram and other social media sites to forge connections with influencers (users who hold sway over a large audience), and stressed the importance of developing organic partnerships with influencers and other brands. We took notice because Luxury Daily’s findings reflect EmpireCLS’s own philosophy about brand partnerships.

From the start, the Luxury Daily report asserts that consumers can tell if a brand partnership or sponsorship—say, an influencer being gifted a product and asked to share it on social media—is gimmicky. With the proliferation of information available to consumers these days, the majority are able to spot a forced placement right away. This kind of contrivance is directly opposed to what today’s consumers want from brands: Real relationships, authenticity, and products that are tailored to their lifestyles.

On the other hand, several successful brands have earned their loyal customer base through fresh, genuine engagement with influencers who are also real customers. For example, denim brand Frame grew out of a niche that its founders, Jens Grede and Eric Torstensson, identified in the denim market—the perfect skinny jeans. By emerging from the very real desires of grateful customers and reworking the line around organic customer feedback (from Karlie Kloss, no less), Frame established itself as a responsive brand that closely engages with customer needs. The brand’s unpretentiousness, too, has hit a note with customers: “A lot of big brands analyze things to death,” says Grede, “and there’s something to be said for old-school gut feel.”

The core philosophy of brands like Frame and other successful luxury providers is that they focus less on profits and more on the actual product. The bottom line is, inarguably, an essential consideration, but the success of these engagement-driven brands clearly indicates that more than ever, consumers are most likely to become loyal buyers of products that are tailored to their specific needs and reflect their lifestyles. Luxury Daily notes that this experience-based philosophy of luxury has also expanded to brand flagship stores, which are reducing their supersize grandeur to reflect a more affordable, experienced-based, accessible version of luxury.

At EmpireCLS, we have long held the viewpoint that alliances with our hotel and airline partners must reflect a genuine relationship. Each of our partnerships has come about because of a shared understanding of what constitutes luxury and a strict adherence to the industry’s highest standards. We choose partners that we know will serve our customers well, and brands like Four Seasons know that our car service provides the same five-star accommodation that guests expect from their hotel stay.

To learn about all of our luxury brand partners, visit http://www/empirecls.com/partners.

Photo: flickr