Personalities

Business Talk: Lars Schmidt, Swarovski Managing Director of Southeast Asia and India

We speak to the man on the helm of Swarovski in the Southeast Asia and India region to talk about the rise of the Swarovski brand in the market.
Reading time 6 minutes

A household named in the world of jewellery and fashion, Swarovski plays an important role in various sectors - from consumer jewellery and costume fashion to film production and lifestyle products.

Within the Southeast Asia region, especially Malaysia, Swarovski is on the rise as a leading jewellery house that has continuously amaze the market with its various innovative and trailblazing efforts including starring Malaysian multi-hyphenate Neelofa as the face of its first-ever Ramadhan campaign in Southeast Asia.

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Lars Schmidt, Managing Director of Swarovski’s Consumer Goods Business (CGB), Southeast Asia and India.

And more recently, the brand has also launched its first Crystal Studio in Malaysia (the first in the region) at the prestigious Mid Valley Megamall and in celebration of that, we spoke to the man on the helm of it all - Lars Schmidt, Managing Director of Swarovski’s Consumer Goods Business (CGB), Southeast Asia and India.

Having joined the Swarovski family in August 2019, he has been responsible for many accomplishments for the brand and here, he shares with us his vision for the brand, the Malaysian consumer market, the digital era of Swarovski and more.

 

Scroll down to read all about his insights:

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Swarovski 125th Anniversary Collection.

Before Swarovski, you have worked across various luxury fashion and lifestyle sectors, what do you think makes Swarovski stand out amongst its competitors in Malaysian and the SEA region?

Swarovski is a brand with 125 years of heritage mastering in innovation and craftmanship. We have cemented our position as a world leader in crystal creations thanks to cutting-edge techniques. In Malaysia and the Southeast Asia region, we managed to develop strong brand equity with a continuous localized marketing approach that has been put in place over the years.

 

As the Managing Director in Consumer Goods Business for Swarovski in Southeast Asia and India market, what is your vision for the brand in the region?

To transform Swarovski as a unified and culturally relevant brand with a desirable cross-category product offering. We aim to position Swarovski as No. 1 lifestyle brand in Southeast Asia and India Region with consistent 360-degree marketing efforts targeting locals and a broad omnichannel distribution.

Apart from that, we also continuously strengthen our digitalization initiatives by accelerating our capabilities to engage with consumers and market products digitally.

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Lars Schmidt, Managing Director of Swarovski’s Consumer Goods Business (CGB), Southeast Asia and India.

How do you define the Malaysian consumer market as a whole, especially since the rise of the pandemic?

Malaysia is one of the key focus markets among Southeast Asia and India giving an opportunity in its dynamic and diversified consumer market. Despite challenges the region and business were facing over the past months, we still see high growth opportunities here.

Besides keeping our people, teams, partners and customers safe and healthy during these challenging times our key priorities in 2020 areto strengthen local consumption by enhancing communication approaches targeting them and to be less dependent on tourists flows.

Also, we recently launched our eCom platform in Malaysia (in June 2020) with a strategic Digital Marketing plan to drive online traffic and conversions.

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Neelofa for Swarovski's Ramadan Campaign.

Malaysia is one of the few countries to have its very own local campaigns like the Raya campaign with Neelofa, how important is it to localise content for Swarovski?

Majority of the market is the Malay community which has contributed over 60% of the total population. As an international brand, it is very crucial to build awareness and fuel consideration during the most important local festive season within the Muslim community.

This helps ensure absolute local relevancy through relevant product and talent selection. Talent to style, present and deliver Ramadan messages in an on-brand yet locally relevant manner to build specific and compelling product story to tap into Muslim customers’ emotions that are intertwined with Ramadan. For the years to come, we will further unleash potentials of Ramadan.

 

As the digital era continues to take centre stage, how does Swarovski plan to grow its audience in Malaysia?

Increased Internet usage has positively impacted Malaysia’s e-commerce industry. Swarovski Malaysia has launched eCom in June this year. Going online and expanding the online operations is the most ideal situation especially during this pandemic.

Before this, our partnership with 3rd party eCom platform in the local market has been helpful. Digital platforms continue to grow in importance, in Swarovski we are practising a digital-first approach to lead lower-funnel objectives focus on strengthening brand/product communication and steer it to be more consumer-centric.

The brand has been 100% digital in media planning and advertising through programmatic buys such as social media, influencer campaigns, and digital content marketing.

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Swarovski Crystal Studio in Mid Valley, Malaysia.

There’s also the new Crystal Studio in Malaysia, which is the first in the region, why do you think Malaysia is chosen to be the pioneer for this concept in SEA?

Midvalley Megamall is an ideal store for this exciting concept as it is located strategically in Klang Valley and we do see growth opportunity in the market.

The new store highlights product interaction with its open concept presentation as well as numerous digital touchpoints to generate engagement with consumers and drive conversions.

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Swarovski's first ever collaboration with Bollywood's leading actress Bhumi Pednekar for 2020 Diwali campaign.

Swarovski is also known for its many collaborations with designers, artists and celebrities. Do you think personalities and influencers play a big role in Swarovski's growth?

Together with Swarovski, from costume design and technical innovations to fashion collections - external designers/personalities use the transformative power of turning light into delight for their creations. Technology progress, social trends, and improving economic situation which are the factors changing consumer’s behaviour.

Personalities, opinion leaders and influencers now play a pivotal role in marketing. By working and collaborating with key opinion leaders, it can say to be one of the fastest-growing tools in reaching new consumers with the help of online media.

Adherence to our master brand character, we position ourselves as a magnetic appeal that leaves everyone mesmerized and hypnotized by the magic of sparkle. It has the power to attract, engage and inspire.

Each of them can influence another group of people, and each of them is also able to attract, engage and inspire others, they could be celebrities, designer, stylist, or just ordinary mothers.

Discover more and shop now on www.swarovski.com right now.

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swarovski
interview
business-of-fashion

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