My name is Adam Stokes and I am currently pursuing my MBA in Fashion Business at IFA Paris. I was invited to the INSEAD Global Luxury Forum in Paris and here is a run-down of my wonderful day.

What is the INSEAD Global Luxury Forum you might ask? It is a new event that is hosted by INSEAD, one of the leading business schools in the world. It is a very prestigious event where executives of well-known companies such as S.T. DuPont, FarFetch, Maison Margiela and Condé Nast to name a few will speak on the current state of the luxury business industry. Here they come together in front of a few hundred people in the luxury field and give there insights on the market today. It is truly a priceless event as a majority of what is being said, you can definitely use to your advantage.

As I arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel where the event was located, I was astonished as the hotel was absolutely spectacular with the marble INSEAD Global Luxury Forum 2017floors and an enclosed glass courtyard - it was really a lot to take in. As I arrived I was waiting to be checked in to receive all my materials provided by INSEAD. After checking in, there was a very delicious light breakfast set up for all of the guests.

As the event kicked off, we were welcomed by Katie Kachan, one of the INSEAD Business School alumni and she was one of the main orchestrators for the event. We quickly moved into the key note speakers portion of the day. Federico Barbieri from Maison Margiela, David Amselliem from John Paul and Julien Hawari of Arab Luxury World to name a few all graced the stage. Federico spoke about leadership in the digital era and touched on points such as how to evolve your company into a leading one in this digital world we live in. He gave key pieces of advice for brands wanting to move into a leading role in the luxury market. Number one was to create a level of curiosity, this can be with new innovative products or simply a different approach of advertising. Set yourself apart from the rest. Secondly, research in detail and find out why you may have consumers that are not buying into the brand. Although this advice may seem simple, it really stuck with me.

Adam Stokes on stageDavid Amselliem spoke about the key elements in order for a consumer to have a great experience; some important points from him were personalization at every touch point and data collection to make each and every time the consumer interacts with the brand a consistent flow of communication. We are now entering an era where people want to stand out instead of fit in and personalization is one way to do that. Everyone wants to feel like the items they purchase are especially made for them and this is really driving some brands today. He also stated that CRM also known as Customer Relation Management is not so important anymore, but instead VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) is becoming increasingly important. This is a form of business activity using software to allow consumers independence from vendors and also better means of communication with vendors.

Julien Hawari continued on with the stance of the butterfly effect on the luxury market. He then went on to speak about the importance of transparency when it comes to price points with your consumer, as consumers are connected globally now more than ever. They are traveling more and are much more tech savvy now more than in previous years. If a consumer wants an item that may be high in price, they do not mind doing some research to find it elsewhere at a lower price point. This is a sure way to lose business if your’re not being transparent with your different price points around the world.

All the key note speakers were truly outstanding and gave us all relative insights from their experiences with the companies they work for. As the key note speakers finished up the first half of the day I was mind blown. With all the things that were said it had sparked something within me and I was INSEAD Global Luxury Forum 2017eager to hear more and see what else was in store for my day.

After the closing of the key note speakers we were all escorted to the main dining room. Here is where we had a delicious and most certainly filling lunch. I felt honored to be sitting next to Jean-Baptiste, the Managing Director of IFA Paris.

Next on the agenda was smaller workshop from other speakers which was held in a different location from the morning. These workshops were more informal and gave the opportunity to ask questions, deep dive and really pick the brains of the speakers. I was able to hear Alain Crevet the CEO of S.T. DuPont, which was one of the highlights of my day. Alain expressed the importance of brand heritage and keeping it, yet still moving forward with innovation, which I think is key in today's luxury market. It was a pleasure to get his intake on how to do so and also learn about the amazing history of S.T. DuPont.

It was an absolute pleasure to be able to attend this year’s INSEAD Global Luxury Forum, especially being invited by my fashion school IFA Paris. The knowledge I received and the tools I was given by all of the event’s forty-one guest speakers will certainly follow me in the future as I move forward in my career.

Adam Stokes

For more information on Adam's course at IFA Paris, please visit MBA in Fashion Business