An archetype is defined as, ‘A very typical example of a certain person or thing’. Wealth-X, who conduct research and intelligence in the ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) sphere, has developed a new strategy to gain a more comprehensive understanding of this sector. In an exclusive interview with SuperyachtNews, Winston Chesterfield, director of custom research for Wealth X, explains why this new tool will become a fundamental part of any strategy for companies working in the luxury sphere.
“Archetyping is essentially designed for an audience that is inaccessible through direct contact by lots of businesses,” he begins. “You can’t understand groups of ultra-wealthy people because they won’t answer surveys, they won’t do focus groups or interviews or anything like that. You can’t segment them.” It is a consummate issue for the superyacht market that UHNWIs, those with genuine power to positively or negatively effect the superyacht industry, are often the most difficult to communicate with.
“You can’t understand groups of ultra-wealthy people because they won’t answer surveys, they won’t do focus groups or interviews or anything like that. You can’t segment them.”
Arguing that the ultra-wealthy sector has been primarily divided into the restrictive, binary segments of ‘old money’ and ‘new money’, Wealth-X has devised a system that creates ‘typologies’ around those in their database. Developing these further, Wealth-X then create dossiers on individuals, outlining their profiles, likes, dislikes and much more. By collating the data and cross-referencing it, Chesterfield explains that these individuals can then be grouped together. “You can see things like liquidity and other interests,” he says. “You might have on there something where you say, ‘I didn’t know 35 per cent of my clientele actually were collectors of contemporary art’ or, ‘I didn’t know that 12 per cent had a helicopter on land’.” This data means a broader understanding of a variety of UHNW demographics.
Luxury businesses can put this information into practice in order to engage with the individuals. As Chesterfield explains, using a yacht charter company as an example: “If you have 35 per cent of people who collect contemporary art, and you have got some 60m+ vessels that you want to charter, it is probably worthwhile putting a few contemporary pictures up inside, rather than 19th century pictures of sailing boats.” This, he argues, is a practice that luxury concierge companies have been implementing for years, simply understanding the passions and interests of their clients in order to better understand - and ultimately serve - them.
Chesterfield highlights the problem that faces many companies and individuals in our market (and the wider luxury sector): the failure to intrinsically understand the clients themselves. Although it is safe to say that each individual owner of a superyacht is unique, they do have common themes or interests when you analyse their habits, lifestyles and preferences. “The problem is that these people are the one group of people on earth, who can take their business elsewhere like that,” he says, clicking his fingers. “If you don’t get them right, if you don’t talk to them in the right way, if you don’t approach them properly, if you don’t have the courtesy to speak to them in their own language or their own preferred way of talking, if you don’t sell them the right product or if you come off too salesy.”
Wealth-X have an ongoing collaboration with Camper & Nicholsons, and produced the State of Wealth, Luxury & Yachting Report in 2016. This exemplifies the rise in luxury companies seeking out data in order to continue growth and stability within the UHNW market. “I think it’s been a big trend and a big interest point for lots of businesses, because they’ve come unstuck on those issues,” adds Chesterfield. “They’ve come unstuck on the understanding that the ultra-wealthy are different from one another. It’s not just about ‘old money’ and ‘new money’; one ‘old money’ person is different from the next.” The dossiers that are produced by Wealth-X and their clients not only serve those working on an individual basis, but can also drive marketing initiatives and wider communications.
Furthermore, by the company having an innate knowledge of each client on hand, it negates the possibilities of a brand losing business with any loss of a team member. Chesterfield uses the examples of private bankers: “At the moment a lot of relationships are held by individuals. In the wealth industry, it has been absolutely catastrophic for organisations, because the relationships are owned by individuals. Most private bankers become very powerful people, because they have a few key clients who want to speak to them and only them.” What happens, however, if that banker leaves the organisation, is that the client will follow them to their new pastures, rather than staying loyal to the organisation itself. This situation can be mirrored in the yachting world, with brokers having excellent relationships with clients at one firm, to then leave and the clients follow the individual, rather than staying loyal to the brokerage house.
The intelligence produced by archetyping the wealthiest segment of the market is a comprehensive and effective way to better understand the interests and predispositions of clients.
The intelligence produced by archetyping the wealthiest segment of the market is a comprehensive and effective way to better understand the interests and predispositions of clients. “At the moment, they exist up there as this ‘glut’, a very, very economically powerful people with a huge amount of personal resources, but they are kind of put - a lot of the time - all together,” concludes Chesterfield. The ongoing research by Wealth-X will bring about a broader awareness of those who move our industry forward, as well as ensuring our market continues to serve owners to the best of our ability.