Luxury Spotlight: Ali Mirza of Affluential.com
As the managing director of Affluential.com, the World’s First DIY online survey platform for brands to reach affluent consumers, Ali Mirza gets a rare insight and a lot of privileged information on the habits and behavior of the affluent community. This is probably why his personal definition of luxury is spot on – ““Luxury is the ability to make choices and the time to enjoy them.”
Although we haven’t had the opportunity to try Affluential’s services as of yet, we strongly believe that we will eventually opt in. Affluential’s offering is unique, targeted and can be adapted to any level of budget. Why pay for more than what you truly need.
To educate our readers, and to learn more about the services ourselves, we asked Ali to answer a few questions. If you are curious about how to best start your own luxury research, read below to find out if Affluential is what you have been waiting for.
Can you give us a brief overview of the different services offered by Agility?
“Agility is a full service research and consulting firm that provides a suite of solutions to help brands and marketers gain insights into their consumers, increase marketshare and compete effectively. We offer both qualitative solutions such as Mystery shopping, Focus Groups and quant based solutions such as customer satisfaction, market entry and positioning studies, brand studies etc. In addition we have a full range of syndicated research reports that we produce called the Agility Affluent Insights Service as well as a dedicated social media practice that studies how consumers engage with luxury brands through various platforms.”
“Affluential.com is the World’s First DIY online survey platform for brands to reach affluent consumers. We have a panel of 38 million respondents across 20 markets and growing. This is a great tool for marketers to get fast results ( less than a week) at a low price point as we bring the entire reach within fingertips of our extensive panel for quick dip stick research. We build our panel through partnering and sourcing opt ins from top tier credit card holders, frequent flyer programs, country club memberships, CEO databases to name a few. Our panel members are incentivized through rewards, cash vouchers, donations to their causes and invitations to unique events held by Agility. We have a large panel quality team that screens and verifies our database through various means such as finger print technology, address and home verification, car ownership to ensure our Affluent respondents are truly Affluent.”
What are the most promising markets for Affluential and why do you think this is?
“Many markets in Asia are fast growing with a large population in the age group of 18-35, we call this Generation AAA, Affluent, Ambitious and Aspiring. They are increasingly educated, upwardly mobile and with a large propensity to consume. As such China, India, Indonesia, the US, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam all fall under high growth markets.”
In your own terms, what is the definition of Affluent?
“Here we have different income levels that define Affluent by household income. Typically we look at the top 25% of household income for Affluent and establish various income levels by country. We also look at the Mass Affluent which is top 40% of household income.”
In terms of purchasing behaviors, how does an Affluent consumer differ from the Middle Class consumer?
“An Affluent consumer generally has higher discretionary spend and as such is more prone to making emotional decisions on purchasing than a Middle Class Consumer. The research is extensive and their path to purchase is very different, especially if you add cultural differences to the mix. For example the Affluent consumer in China wants to “show off” with their purchases more than say the Dutch Affluent consumer. We have developed a unique framework called the Six Dimensions of Luxury through which we look at purchasing against factors such as willingness to reward oneself and looking for uniqueness.”
How has the demands of Affluent consumer towards luxury brands changed in the last twelve months?
“Affluent Consumers have a large choice of brands and products to choose from. Given their interaction with various media and engagement channels, these consumers are more discerning in their purchase behaviour. They work hard so they demand the best whether it be in their hotel, their choice of shoes or watches. There is also an increasing move towards uniqueness and customization in their choice of brand. The Lady Boss in Shanghai doesn’t want the same bag as her secretary who already has saved up for the latest brand for example.”
If you had to give one piece of advice to an emerging luxury brand on how to reach to the Affluent, what would it be?
“Do your homework, too many times brands, especially luxury brands who feel they know everything about their consumer get burnt in new markets. The landscape is changing drastically with social media and new platforms, brands need to know who their consumers are today and who are likely to be their consumers tomorrow. These many be very different from the current view they have. Insights that are timely and relevant will be critical for them to grow share of wallet.”
Can you give us a tip on what will be on the Affluent WishlistTM for the 2014 Holiday season?
“Based on our research, handbags, watches, spa vouchers, premium alcohol brands and gadgets/tablets will figure high on affluent shopping wish lists.”
Tell us a little more about the Generation AAA and why luxury brands should take notice?
“Agility we have studied in great detail the new Generation to dominate the Asian landscape, Generation AAA. They are young – aged between 18 to 34. They dominate markets like China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. They have the financial power and the ‘attitudinal and behavioural propensity’ tobuy mid- to premium-priced brands. They are the super lucrative segment of the middle class – now and in the years to come.
They aspire for brands that represent who they are and their achievements in life
They know what they want from life and from brands. They have ambition and drive to succeed and taste the best life has to offer
They are driven to acquire and achieve– this segment will form the new affluent consumer group in the near future”
Is social media important for Agility? If so, what is the most effective content to engage your users?
“This is extremely important for Agility and also for the brands we cover. Given the large number of consumers especially in Asia who are on mobile devices and tablets. These consumers are engaging heavily through social media platforms, twitter,Instagram, facebook, Wechat and customized Chinese and local language platforms. A one size fits all will never work in a varied markets where different strategies need to be in place to capture a local market audience. For Agility we need to do research on research, as such our latest insights need to get a large distribution curve. Social media helps us gaining a larger geographic footprint than say local media would achieve.”
In your opinion, which social media channel does the Affluent audience interact with the most?
“At present this would be still be print magazines focussed on Affluent brands, luxury websites and platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
What is your take on press releases? Do you find them effective to spread your news?
“If the research is truly unique and the findings relevant and timely, yes they do work and have worked for us in the past.”
What about bloggers? Do you consider them influential in the eyes of the Affluent marketplace? If so, how do you establish relationships with them to make sure they spread your news?
“Absolutely, as more people tune into social media and opinion leaders, these bloggers are extremely useful to get noticed in a crowded digital market. We share our latest research pieces with these bloggers who in turn use the content in their own blogs citing us as a source.”
Anything else you want to share with us?
“An important aspect that is sometimes forgotten and overlooked is that luxury consumption should also be viewed with Corporate Social responsibility and environmental impact evaluation. Consumers need to be the voice that shape how brands and companies interact with their environment and society. Luxury has to have a social benefit too for the many underprivileged who still lack basic amenities such as water and shelter. For them these are luxuries.”
If you need any more information about Agility or Affluential, don’t hesitate to reach out to Ali Mirza of Affluential.com via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (U.S) +1 408 520 9406 , (U.K) +44 20 3289 6213 or (SG) +65 6396 6832 or through us. We are more than happy to make the introduction.
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