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January 2009

"Elite of the elite still spending" - The Australian

Aus In the midst of the financial crisis this fall, menswear company Brioni launched it's most expensive made-to-measure line ever, with the price for a man's suit topping out at $43,000.  They've sold 30 so far, and the outlook for 2009 is good.

In the 'Elite of the elite' still spending The Australian reports that the top 1-2% of global consumers are still spending:

"The outlook for high-end labels, it turns out, depends on where in the luxury hierarchy they are located. Retailers took a holiday beating in December, and consulting firm Bain & Co expects demand for luxury goods this year to fall by 3-7 per cent overall.  But at the market's upper-most crust - which Bain defines as 70 brands including Loro Piana and Harry Winston, as well as Hermès, Van Cleef and Brioni - sales for 2009 are expected to hold steady or grow moderately, following growth in 2008 of 8 per cent..." 

Other choice quotes:

While middle-income consumers have cut spending because of their income, "that's not the case with the wealthy," says Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte LLP. The wealthy are "constrained by guilt, and that's the hurdle high-end brands have to overcome."

Very wealthy people may not be buying as much as they used to, but they aren't reducing their standard of living...

View the article

LinkedIn Tip: using groups and tweaking your settings to facilitate networking


If you are a Member of The Institute and you are on LinkedIn, you'll want to join our group.

Once you have joined any group on LinkedIn, you can go to the group page and you'll see something like the screen above.

  • The OVERVIEW tab gives you an overview of the recent group activity.
  • The DISCUSSIONS tabs shows you all of the discussions taking place within the group.
  • The NEWS tab shows news items that have been posted for discussion.
  • The UPDATES tab gives you a weekly summary of all the activity within the group.
  • The MEMBERS tab provides a list of the group members.
  • The SETTINGS tab allows you to set your preferences for the group, and that's what we'll be exploring here.

The SETTINGS tab give you control over a number of things that are quite useful, and understanding how they work can help you get the most from your participation on LinkedIn groups.

As you can see above, the first setting is the VISIBILITY SETTINGS.  There is only one option here, and it allows you to choose whether you want to display the group logo on your personal LinkedIn profile page.  This is self-explanatory, but it is nice to know that you have the option.  Kind of like a lapel pin--you can choose to wear it or take it off.  Do you want to "broadcast" your membership or not?

The second group of settings is CONTACT SETTINGS.  The first two setting are email related.  You can specify which email address you want to use for any group communications. 

You can also choose whether or not you want to receive a "DIGEST EMAIL" which is a summary of all of the group activity.  You can choose a daily or a weekly summary email.  If you are busy like most of us and don't spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, this can be a really useful feature and a huge time saver

I have my account set to send me a daily digest email.  This gives me a quick and easy way to see what's happening in the group without having to remember to look or take the time to login!

MEMBER MESSAGES is the last contact setting, and it simply allows you to specify whether or not members of the group can send you messages on LinkedIn.  As simple as this is, it is really powerful.

I've always found LinkedIn to be a bit confusing in terms of how they let you communicate with other users.  As you probably know, you can only send messages to your "friends."  If another LinkedIn user is not in your network as a direct, first-level connection (e.g. a friend, not a friend-of-a-friend), you can't send them a message.  To contact that person you have three options:

  • Add them to your network.  Once they are in your network you can send them a message.
  • Ask a contact that you have in common for an "introduction" The catch here is that free accounts on LinkedIn only get 5 such "introductions."
  • Use an "InMail."  This is a paid feature that allows you to contact any user.

Luckily the MEMBER MESSAGES setting gives you another option!

When you check the box next to "Allow members of this group to send me messages via LinkedIn" it allows all of the members of the group to contact you as if you were already in their network.  This is a powerful thing.  It gives you a way to communicate privately and directly with other group members without having to add them to your network (or spend lots of money for InMail credits).

For example, Ted Dundie started a group discussion about way to connect with European buyers.  Ted isn't yet a personal connection of mine, but because he has enabled group members to send him messages, when I click on his name and view his profile I have the option to send him a message:


As a fellow group member, this gives me a quick and easy way to contact Ted directly, start a conversation, and build a relationship. 

It's a nice "trick" to know about LinkedIn and a powerful networking tool.

Survey: Luxury Agents and Social Networking

Survey Results

Over the holidays we conducted a survey of members on online networking and referrals.  We wanted to better understand how luxury agents--specifically our members--are using social media... 

A highlight of the results:

  • More than 80% of respondents are using social networks in some way.
  • About 20% report having given or received a referral or otherwise generated business via social networks.
  • 58% of respondents are on LinkedIn, Facebook, or both—making them the two most popular networks by far, with an almost even split of respondents on each.
  • Very few real estate specific social networks were mentioned, though Active Rain was by far the most frequently cited with 3.4% indicating usage.
  • Among respondents who indicated that they have generated business via social networks there was a preference for LinkedIn when faced with the choice of a single network for our Member networking group (49% LinkedIn vs. 37.7% Facebook).

Survey Results: Online Networking and Referrals (2009) (PDF 400k)

The survey prompted lots of questions about social networking in general.  Watch for links to some additional resources in upcoming posts.  If you have some you'd like to share, feel free to do so in the comments.

We have idea-sharing and networking groups for Institute Members on both Facebook and LinkedIn.  Members--if you are not already part of the groups, you can find more information as well as links to join on the Networking page in the members-only section of our website.