In 2015, when the Apple Watch was making its début in the market, I questioned Apple's capability to cross over from a premium tech business to a luxury service company. This article never was one of the most read of the hundreds of articles we wrote with Stéphanie. Still, it's the one that created the most customers and generated quite a significant part of our business in the very tight and close luxury market (from high-end hospitality to watchmaking and beauty products). Not that I could forecast this. This is only a sporadic perk of consistent writing about a long tail of innovation topics.
Since the article was in French, I took a bit of time to translate its key ideas and main takeaways. Most of them are still standing, I believe.
Premium and luxury are in a boat
Let's first talk about the difference between luxury and premium.
A premium business embodies state of the art in a given market or category. There is no difference between product or service, hardware or software, in that regard. It's all about building a leading platform of excellence.
The split-off of DS Automotive in 2009 from the PSA Group (Peugeot and Citroën, now Stellantis) as a cutting-edge brand exactly fits this strategy. The "Spirit of Avant-Guarde" tagline they kept for quite a few years was quite telling.
"We are curious; we take the risks... we lead the way, but never, ever follow the way." - 2009, DS brand launch campaign.