Lorre White, "The Luxuru Guru" In Monaco
Blogger Spotlight: Lorre White, The Luxury Guru
Behind every great luxury blog, you will find a great story. Luxury bloggers are real people, not machines, and to successfully work with them, we recommend you get to know them a little better. Through our years at LuxeInACity, our luxury travel magazine, we have talked, collaborated and exchanged ideas with dozens of great bloggers from around the world.
Since bloggers rarely talk about themselves – they tend to talk about everyone else instead – we hope to showcase their skills, expertises and opinions in this blog series.
Today’s blogger is Lorre White, often nicknamed The Luxury Guru. As you will read below, Lorre is considered an expert in luxury among her peers. She is often asked to share her opinion on TV, radio, and everywhere in digital media. Apart from rubbing shoulders with UHNWI, Lorre blogs on a regular basis to share her insider knowledge with those who seek valuable advice on how to attract and connect with luxury consumers. The Luxury Guru also provides a range of service such as consulting and marketing through White Light Consulting, her luxury consulting company.
Get to know Lorre White The Luxury Guru, learn from her and hopefully, you will find an innovative way to collaborate with her.
Every blogger has a different story on how they got started blogging. What is yours?
“I started blogging in 2004/05 when I was on consulting project for NetJets/Marquis Jets as the head of their global marketing and sales for their BBJ (Boeing Business Jet) program. (At the time, their BBJ, which commercially seats 200, was configured for 18 with 3 marble bathrooms with showers, two bedrooms, etc. Back then, just fuel was $19,000 an hour for this jet. That is not including use of the jet itself, catering, regulatory fees, taxes etc.) These were NetJets wealthiest clients. Although they had great financial resources, they often asked me where to go, where did I like to stay, my favorite restaurants, what international events like Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Ball, Grand Prix, Art Basel, etc., were most fun, and where were the insiders hot parties. Basically they wanted the inside scoop, as they do not like to travel as tourists. They need to know they will be on the right side of the velvet rope.
These are people that can afford every luxury, and have an insatiable desire for more information regarding all aspects of the luxury sector. Luxury is fun ,and these people can afford to live fully exhilarated lives. As a luxury marketing consultant, I get information about the newest luxury products, where to buy them first, etc., and so I just start blogging as a way to better serve my NetJets clients and stay in touch with them after my project was completed. From there it just grew by word of mouth to their peers, and through my new consulting clients, and international media work.
I also share luxury industry articles from other sources that are of interest to my fan base. They know that I weed through the junk and post only those articles that actually have something relevant to say. This saves them time. Because of my luxury marketing training I know how to reach the UHNW and I know what they want, so it is not really surprising that it has grown organically. As Forbes say “Lorre’s followers include Billionaires and Royals”
When a company contacts me and asks how many subscribers…..I know immediately I am dealing with someone that is not experienced in the elite end of the luxury sector! In Luxury Marketing it is about WHO, not How MANY. One person that can afford your product or service is more valuable than a million that cannot. I do not seek the aspirational follower. If they want to follow me, it does not hurt me, but it does not help me either. My content stays true to my specific demographic and has now for a decade. But everyone wants to keep up with the Jones, (or in this case the Buffetts, Gates, Pinaults, Arnaults) and so not surprisingly, others started to follow. These people maybe cannot own a jet, but can afford a jet card with hours of flying time, or to charter a jet on occasion, or lower down still, only fly first class commercially. They can participate in some of the products and services and are aiming to increase their wealth to afford them all.
Also, trust is a very important factor in reaching the UHNW. Many of them know me personally, or I was recommended by one of their peers. My consistency of blogging material has proven reliable. The TRUST factor really goes back to the time factor. They do not want to waste their time on travel, stay in a hotel, eating in a restaurant, shopping at stores that were recommended by someone who perception of luxury may not match their own. I have worked extensively in the luxury sector for over two decades as an international luxury marketing expert. My followers TRUST me not to waste their TIME. Also, I have had several luxury brand recommend that their employees follow my work, as it serves as an educational source for them to learn from, and see what is relevant to their potential clients.
As the media became aware of who many of my followers were, they started wanting me to appear on TV, radio and such to speak about different luxuries to their audience. The financial means is much lower for the TV audience, so I cover lower priced luxuries that the “aspirationals” can afford, like fashion, foods, wines, some travel. As this aspect of my media work grew, the networks need a place to have information about items I covered posted, so I added it to my luxury blog that shares my name “Lorre White, “The Luxury Guru”. I was dubbed this by the media, “The Luxury Guru”, because they needed a title to flash on screen under my name, and each time I was at the network, it was on a different subject, one time yachts, the next time perfumes, next travel. This somewhat humorous name was all encompassing in the luxury sector, and it just stuck.”
Like most successful blogger, you probably received hundreds of emails per month from luxury brands who want you to share their story. What makes you decide to work with a brand over the other?
“I simply ask myself, “Is this a match to my target UHNW followers? Is this information appropriate and of interest to my fan base, or will this seem frivolous and a waste of their time to read?” I started this blog with personal knowledge of the readers and what they requested. I just stay true to what their luxury market interests are.
Only 200,000 people control over 50% of the global wealth and there are really very few sources the serve this group. There are thousands of media sources that use the word luxury, but they target an aspirational group. The tastemakers are not interested in the lipstick du jour, how to finagle discounts, or how to dress like a celebrity. Celebrities follow these people. The motivations of the truly rich are very different than the masses. The aspirational will spend time waiting in line, cutting coupons, changing dates to try and experience things beyond their means. They are willing to spend time for money, but the uber-rich are the opposite. To them time is the single rarest commodity and they are happy to pay three times the price if they can get it fast, when and where they want. Convenience and good service is really built around saving them time. Sites that carry celebrity gossip, and the hand bag of the month, just waste the precious time of the UHNW and thus they won’t follow. What they can afford to do differs from the masses, and what is only a dream for others, is their reality.”
What is your take on press releases? Do you like receiving them or do you simply discard them?
“It really depends. Companies that do not understand the luxury market and are really targeting aspirational are the biggest waste of my time. But concise releases from the private, jets, yachts, and elite car industry, I do find beneficial.”
What would make you choose to work with a brand on a giveaway campaign on your site?
“Lorre: Appropriateness to my UHNW client base and blog following. Does it offer something this my readers want, and distinguish me as offering something special to my base that they can’t get anywhere else.”
If a brand wants to reach you, what channel should they use? Do you prefer email, social media or another means of communication?
“I prefer email. I want something more than going to their website that everyone can do. Email is the most efficient way to get information; that amount of information does not fit in 140 characters tweet.”
In your mind, what makes a successful blogger outreach program? Is it the incentive, the brand itself or the relationship you already have with the brand?
“Well with brands I already a good relationship with , it is easier to reach me. For brands that do not have a relationship they need to create one, and thus incentive. I have at least two full time jobs in the luxury sector besides blogging, and they need to get my attention and give me a reason to focus in their direction. They need to build the trust with me.
I think one of the largest limiting factors that luxury brands have, is that the location of the bloggers is global, and bloggers have neither the time, nor often the resources, to fly to every brands headquarters to get educated more extensively on a brand and build relationships. The smarter brands will have to learn a way around this and host cross promotional events for the bloggers much like they do for the clients, where several non-competitive brands can access specific bloggers with a particular following. If they do not, they will be stuck with the same regional bloggers over and over again. Their reach is really limited. If a brand is in Paris but wants to reach the US or UAE markets, they may need a farther blogger reach then the greater Paris area allows.”
Of all the social media channels you engage on, which one do you prefer and why? Which social media channels does your audience interact with the most?
“Research shows that statistically the social media that is most active with the UHNW is FaceBook. I think that I enjoy this one the most because it is the one the does not have to stay on point. I do post my articles and blog postings there too, but it is only part of the content. My brand is a person and so those that follow me on FaceBook feel that they know me because of the more social aspects and non-business interaction that happens there. On my other social media I tend to stay on point of pure work related topics.”
In your opinion, what does it take to become successful on social media?
“As a marketing consultant and blogger, I say it is consistency of content for a specific audience. Do not try to be all things to all people or you will wind up with nobody. Pick and audience and be true to them. If you are consistent you will develop a following. Be knowledgeable and trustworthy, or just entertaining depending, on the subject of the blog, and offer something different. For me there are very few sources that have a reach to this UHNW group and my competitors use a company name, there is no personality. Readers do not fall in love/trust with a building, but they do the right person. My brand is a person and so my readers feel that they know me, which cannot be said of just a magazine or newspaper name. As I said before many of my original blog followers were private jet clients that knew me. It does require the right person, I have seen some luxury brands try to adopt this, but have does so unsuccessfully. I have a proven track record of success.”
Do you monitor your Klout score on a daily/weekly basis? Do you think this social ranking is of any real value to luxury brands?
“NO, I think Klout is a very poor measure. Firstly, they include only one page on a site, they do not include fan pages and/or group pages, or second profile pages on FaceBook or LinkedIn. They limit the number of social media sites that can be included in the score. They do not include the many private social media networks. They do not include your following on other sources of media. For example I had a monthly column under my name, in Portugal’s number 1 rated luxury magazine with over 1.2 million subscribers, and this is not included in in Klout scores. I make TV appearances or web shows and that is not included. It does not include the number of subscribers that use RSS feed on my blog and get it sent directly to their in box. There is more, but I think your probably starting to see how very incomplete and thus irrelevant Klout is. I think it is a toy for non-professionals.”
What is the main reason you blog on a daily basis? Is it for pleasure, for business or for both?
“Business, but I love the luxury business.”
Do you sometime receive compensation from luxury brands, whether it’s in the form of cash or incentives, to blog about them?
“Yes, appropriate brands can purchase a feature story/interview. This is something much more in-depth. Not every business/product/service/person qualifies for a feature. I maintains a very exclusive fan base by never abusing their time. If a subject is not deemed of interest to my readers, a posting will not be made.
As the only internationally recognized luxury media personality, my work is also followed by the global luxury media. Often my posts and features article get republished into luxury magazines globally. For example when Rolls-Royce chose me to do their first personal (not just cars) interview with their global CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, it got republished both in print magazines and web based ones, multiple times in many countries! When I wrote a feature on Steve Case’s (founder of AOL) Virginia Winery, it got picked up and reprinted in a UK Luxury magazine giving the Virginia wine industry their first international media exposure. That is bang for your buck! I do not just have individuals that follow my work, but a whole host of global business and luxury media that does too.”
Apart from blogging, do you offer additional services to luxury brands who choose to work with you?
“Lorre: I am an internationally recognized luxury marketing expert. I own White Light Consulting. I work with luxury brands that need to reach the world’s wealthiest because of the price point of their product or service, companies that sell yachts, jets, racehorses, elite properties, jewelry, watches, 5 star hotels and private banks.
I have frequently written articles about problems that I find in companies. Luxury Marketing is very different than mass marketing taught at most universities. The use of mass marketing is the number 1 cause of failure in luxury businesses. There is even a separate LUXURY MBA offered at many international Universities. There are very few real luxury marketers. I get letters all the time from people thanking me for these articles and how my luxury industry articles helped them change their way of thinking and greatly improved their business. It gives potential new consulting clients the chance to see the type of work I have done. The UHNW like to read about themselves and they enjoy it, not to mention many are investors in luxury businesses and they are looking for information both as an investor, as well as a consumer.
I also am an international keynote speaker for luxury industry events, and the only internationally recognized luxury media personality with a following of the world’s wealthiest consumers. I have a recognized name in the industry, with both inside the luxury industry professionals and outside the industry to the end user. I bring credibility to brands and events through my attendance. As one journalist wrote, “If you don’t know of Lorre White, you’re probably not UHNW.” I am also the ONLY internationally recognized luxury media personality (TV, Web, radio, magazines etc.,) and a keynote speaker for the luxury industry. It allows fans to know where I will be speaking and helps to promote those events/shows/magazines all of these are other ways I work with brands besides the obvious benefit is that when I cover luxury items that it goes out to a group of people that are very hard and expensive to reach. It I write about my personal experience with the hotel, jet, designer etc. that bring credibility to whatever I cover, because I have built trust with the UHNW. It is more important who says it, as what is said in reporting to this group because they know that their standards exceed what is the reality for most individuals. Unless someone has been trained, they are probably bring their more middle class perspectives into play. The WSJ is a trusted source, but an article written by a regular journalist, will lack the trust and not have the influence, and will cost a whole lot more.”
Do you think luxury brands should understand that blogging is also a business for some?
“Absolutely, everybody has to eat, and the brands that realize that they need to help put food on the table, in order for the source to not dry up, will be the ones that more successfully move forward in the ever advancing social media world. Some bloggers rely entirely on their blogging as a means to support themselves.”
What would you say is the best thing about being a luxury blogger?
“Always having a podium, a worldwide platform from which to speak, and in my particular case….to a very powerful global group that are the shapers of the globe.”
Do you rub shoulders with the rich and famous through your work as a luxury blogger?
“I have often “rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous” but that is mostly through my other work. Unless, you count that daily, many of this rich and famous globally, get a direct email from me with my daily luxury blog updates.”
Co-Founder at AgenceLuxury