The world’s fastest-growing economic region, Asia has become a driving force in global trends, especially in the luxury market. Thanks to a burgeoning population of ultra-high net worth individuals, Asia has become the global heavyweight in the luxury market. According to Euromonitor, luxury consumers in Asia are now looking for the rare, unique and unexpected more than ever, signalling a sea change in the way brands approach marketing and events.
Auditoire gets it. The global brand experience agency—with a long-standing home base in Paris—has put APAC at the crux of its expansion. Out of their base in Shanghai, as well as new offices in Hong Kong and Singapore, they’re building off the lessons they have learned from over a decade of work in China and ramping up efforts to revolutionise experiential events across the region.
A wealth of experience
For the past 12 years, Auditoire has developed its brand in Asia out of its Shanghai office. According to Antoine Gouin, managing director of Auditoire Asia, Chinese media has become increasingly demanding over the years, compelling their brand to produce more original work.
“12 years ago, doing an event was about making it beautiful and fun,” Gouin says. “Now, it needs to be relevant, purposeful, connected and tailored to reach individuals rather than groups.”
To keep on top of such a competitive landscape, Auditoire has continually pushed the boundaries of its creative process, producing pop-up events for the likes of Hennessy, large-scale activations for brands such as Adidas, major corporate events and more that revolve around their #experientiALL slogan—a concept that drives the brand to go beyond conventional approaches and exceed expectations.
In 2017, the agency took the next step when it introduced its Luxury Makers brand to Asia.
Launched in 2006 to provide events strategy and communications services for luxury clients, Luxury Makers (by Auditoire) combines Auditoire’s international expertise with its regional knowledge to create experiences that stand out globally. Take its work with luxury fashion brand Fendi, for example. When Fendi launched its exclusive #FFreloaded capsule collection in Shanghai, Luxury Makers (by Auditoire) helped organise a party that would not only give Chinese Millennials a once-in-a-lifetime experience to remember Fendi by, but would make waves internationally as well.
Held at famed underground club Arkham, the party became a fusion of fluorescent, Fendi-driven performance art, interactive digital activities for guests and bumping nightlife. Luxury Makers (by Auditoire) decorated the club in neon lights, graffiti and vivid FF logo visuals; set up a photo wall, where guests could snap selfies and immediately receive animated GIFs of themselves on their phones; and arranged live performances from Asian celebrities, dancers, DJs and rappers.
The #FFreloaded party attracted over 1,800 people, including Fendi’s creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi, several influential celebrities and, importantly, legions of guests representing the next generation of Asian luxury consumers. The party paid dividends for the agency as well.
“Existing luxury clients have demonstrated even greater loyalty from our work with Luxury Makers, and we’ve acquired many new clients as well, such as Vacheron Constantin, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Cartier,” says Gouin. “Luxury Makers (by Auditoire) brings creativity and innovation to the table, and the quality of its events is so high that they have become a model for the whole agency to follow.”
Setting up shop in Hong Kong and Singapore
Auditoire isn’t limiting Luxury Makers to Shanghai, it’s a core part of the agency’s evolution and investment across the region. So far, the brand has broken ground in Tokyo with Dior and Perrier-Jouët; in Beijing with Chaumet and Longines; across China with Vacheron Constantin; and in Singapore with Cartier. And now, says Gouin, Auditoire is linking their work across continents.
“Our Asian and European offices work hand in hand, providing support for Europe-based clients to enter Asia and for Asia-based clients to expand in Europe,” he says. Auditoire has helped Volvo, for one, break into Asia with the Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong Stopover—a sailing event spanning six continents and 12 landmark host cities, including Hong Kong.
“We aim to elevate all of Asia as creative leaders in experiential marketing worldwide,” says Gouin. “We want to turn this region from a local production provider into a global innovation creator.”
Perhaps no event better represents the brand’s broad goals than the Singapore Night Festival 2017. For its tenth anniversary, the festival turned to Auditoire to deliver an event befitting the occasion. The festival brought Bras Basah.Bugis, the island’s arts and heritage district, to another dimension, with installations that ran for nine nights straight, 60 programs, three art trails and numerous live performances. The Singapore Night Festival 2017 attracted more than 700,000 attendees from around the world, a record for the event, and one of the reasons why Auditoire was hired as lead agency for the 2018 edition (Auditoire provided a Night Light installation this year as well).
The agency has also been able to piggyback off its success, landing other major events in Singapore. So far, the Auditoire has also held the Cartier Women Initiative Awards 2018, Danone’s Eve Program 2018 and the annual appointment with Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in Singapore.
Connecting global players with a new generation of consumers
As needs change, Auditoire has also retooled itself internally to better serve clients and consumers. Last year, the agency reshaped its creative department, building a team of what Gouin calls “hybrid talent.” “In order to grow, we needed to change,” he says. “We’ve not only increased opportunities for internal improvement, but also noticed greater efficiency in the way we deliver our events.”
Complementing its creative development, Auditoire brought its startup TRO brand to Asia as well.
“Traditional retail tends to initiate consumer interest and then end the engagement with the action of purchasing,” notes Stella Chiu, executive director TRO China. “But with changes in purchasing behaviour and the sheer variety of products available today, consumers tend to look for more before making purchases. New retail brand experiences will have to engage consumers through creative interaction, as well as sharing through word-of-mouth or online postings.”
That’s where TRO comes in. TRO focuses on end-to-end services, from initial strategic planning to creative development, production and evaluation, to create unique consumer engagement activations. TRO doesn’t just provide live and retail experiential events, such as pop-up stores, multi-city roadshows or launch campaigns, they can also enhance retail brand experiences by using creative technologies, such as in-store installations and interactive windows.
For example, working with Michelin to broadcast its brand message of safety on Children’s Day, when many young families would be travelling, TRO created interactive poster displays across the Bund in Shanghai.
“We like to think of this as a complementary union, where Auditoire is the point of reference for large-scale events that attract audiences and TRO as a follow-up that interacts with consumers on a more intimate level,” Gouin explains.
Rich experiences in the ever-evolving Chinese market have given Auditoire a sort of litmus test for its growth across APAC. Now, as the agency reinforces its expertise, expands its talent force and brings together a wider global network, its projects are becoming more and more innovative. In an increasingly connected world with changing needs, Auditoire continues to break new ground.