Tiffany & Co should not be on Facebook

Steve Rubel’s recent post on the ubiquity of social networking, and how all luxury brands need to figure it out NOW misses two fundamental issues. One about social and the other about luxury.

He starts out by talking some very common ideas about how social is taking over the web. If you read Steve for any amount of time, then you’ll know his thoughts on Facebook swallowing the web whole. He talked about how the social web started out as “things” but will soon become “everything” and this is where he runs astray.

Things on the web are Social Objects. It is the stuff that we talk about online. These social objects become the currency for the online ecosystem. Sometimes it is an event we all know about and we get a sense of shared experience; sometimes it is an event that only you know about and you get a sense of being “in the know.”

Either way, the technology is not what is important here, the social dynamics are and the web is just facilitating those NOT creating them. It’s like we just met other human beings once Facebook arrived.

Second issue is luxury. This is economics 101 – supply and demand. If everyone can get a piece of Tiffany & Co, then guess what? It’s called Zales or “every kiss begins with K.” It will lose its cache and all of its brand power will flit out the window.

His screenshot of Tiffany’s fan page is shameful. I don’t know who at Tiffany thought that everyone needed to Fan them, but that is NOT a “Fan-able” brand. Starbucks is. Tiffany is not. Oh sure, they’ll have loads of fans, but none of that will translate into sales. And it is worse than just allowing window shopping. They have given their brand over to a co-promotion with Facebook.

If your brand does not fit with Facebook, then you should not be on Facebook. It’s a bad idea. Figure out another way to make luxury social. Take a note or two from the Sartorialist...oh, nevermind. He’s on there, too. Somebody make it stop.

Comments (4):

  1. David Kuo

    May 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Really smart and completely spot on.

  2. David Kuo

    May 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Really smart and completely spot on.

  3. roberts3

    May 19, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Article conclusion is wrong. Tiffany HAS figured out how to make luxury affordable and they should be on fb.
    Coach, for example, is considered in many communities to be a luxury brand. Yet its more affordable than LV or Prada/Gucci…
    Will you tell Ferrari that they should not be there either? or Harry Winston?
    Beauty of fb is that its a tempted system so all brands have equal opportunity for success – and ultimately their ability to communicate/interact w/ their community is what makes or breaks a brand…

  4. Anonymous

    October 1, 2010 at 1:22 am

    I agree 100%. with 500 million plus, Facebook is becoming the next major network. It’s commodity heaven and with 80% of the brands there using it incorrectly (like broadcast advertising in the ’50s and ’60s,) it’s like having your wedding at Six Flags without closing the park.

    Sean’s calling out a classical marketing tenet that will never change, even if various channels always do. Luxury brands remain luxurious by steering clear of the mainstream. He’s also right on about content leading media context. Too bad so many of today’s “shiny penny” marketers don’t get that.

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