Monday, October 13, 2014

Vertu's Strategy Tweak: "Understated Luxury"

Remember the original Vertu cell phones, dripping in diamonds and looking like the status symbols that they're meant to be? Vertu has been sold (it used to belong to Nokia) and the new owners have tweaked its strategy and switched technology.

Now that smartphones have taken over, old-style "brick" handsets are out. Vertu's phones have to not just look smart, they have to be smart. The new Vertu wants to be known for "understated luxury" with a high price that puts an exclamation point in exclusivity.

Above, the Vertu Aster, which features a leather case on the outside and inside, Android KitKat OS. Details like Dolby digital sound and three different network connectivity methods (GSM, 3G, 4G) add to the functionality. In ostrich leather, handcrafted by an artisan, the Aster is priced about $9,500. Precious stones are extra.

The CEO says Vertu is "taking a more understated luxury approach to match what the consumer is today...The world has changed in terms of phones and in terms of customers."

Women's Wear Daily observes that Vertu is targeting a younger customer (particularly in emerging markets) with high-end fashion touches. It operates 70 Vertu-only stores worldwide to control the ambiance and service in which its top-end phones are sold.

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