As digital platforms play an increasingly influential role in China’s luxury market, the country’s major industry players are exploring ways to incorporate it into wider consumer experiences. That’s one goal media company Modern Dazed had in mind when it acquired a majority stake in Nowness, a digital media platform that has been shaping consumer culture since LVMH founded it in 2010.
Modern Dazed, a new joint venture between Dazed Media and Modern Media, which publishes Modern Weeky, Bloomberg Businessweek, and several other titles, will be working with K11 art mall founder and chairman of Chow Tai Fook, Adrian Cheng, who has been named vice chairman and creative advisor of Nowness in the new venture.
Dazed Media and LVMH had previously been operating Nowness under a joint venture, but now LVMH has a minority stake in the company, while Modern Dazed has big plans for it in China. According to Modern Media, this starts with an official Nowness China launch and more localized content planned for September.
Chinese luxury consumers and creatives have already had exposure to Nowness since it first launched its official WeChat and Weibo accounts in 2012. Modern Media representatives told Jing Daily that this has already formed a foundation for success as it plans to embark on creating a “videozine” concept, leveraging Nowness’s well-established expertise in creative video content.
“From the number of re-posts [on social media], it’s clear that Nowness films have been very popular in China, so when we shared the news of this new collaboration, it excited many luxury brands and many of our loyal readers,” they said.
Cheng told Jing Daily that Nowness has a “clear edge” in creating China-focused content in a luxury industry that’s influenced heavily by video and image-sharing.
“Nowness is a breath of fresh air in the congested content industry in China,” he said. “With its creative, art-driven content, it differentiates itself from the pack and that’s exactly what a lot of luxury brands look for.”
In keeping with the growing experiential luxury trend, Modern Dazed also has plans to take Nowness offline through a project with K11.
“As e-commerce continues to grow, brick and mortar shops, as we’ll see, will become a means to provide experiences, and not just shopping experiences, but cultural and educational journeys,” Cheng said. “It is envisioned that Nowness will be more than a multimedia platform, but a channel that offers seamless online and offline content that brings customers closer to different brand experiences. I believe personalized O2O experiences are the future of retail.”
Meanwhile, LVMH turned heads in the industry when it announced in May it was taking retail further online by launching a major, multi-brand e-commerce venture, called Sevres. Modern Media said that they are also exploring ways to link its multi-media creative platform to e-commerce in the future.
For now though, the collaboration opens up possibilities for shaping the consumer before they even think about making purchases—especially China’s millennial generation as they increasingly seek out stories and meaning behind the products they consider buying.
“Although China is the fastest growing market in luxury consumption, it is still at an early stage in terms of its exposure to luxury goods,” Cheng said. “I see Nowness as a bridge between online and offline experiences that can also educate Chinese luxury consumers on brand stories, concepts, and heritage. It is China’s window to the etiquette and culture of foreign luxury.”