Today, in Waikiki, Hawaii, DFS Group unveiled its new retail brand, T Galleria, which will be rolled out progressively to all existing DFS Galleria stores in downtown locations across the company’s network over the next 18 months.
As previously reported, it was in August last year that DFS opened its third downtown Hong Kong Galleria at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay under the brand name, T Galleria. The new destination was the Group’s first on Hong Kong Island.
At today’s unveiling, which took place at the group’s Waikiki Galleria (one of DFS’ first downtown stores), Philippe Schaus, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DFS Group, told TRBusiness.com that the original T Galleria concept, applied to the Hysan Place store in Causeway bay, was a valuable experiment.
“The name came up two years ago; we had that store in Causeway Bay and we thought that we should try it out and we came up with some first logo designs. From that experience we tested a lot of things. We tested it from a consumer perspective, we tested the logo and the conclusion from that testing was that it was absolutely the right name for our downtown gallerias. But we had more work to do on the logo.”
To coincide with the launch of the new brand, DFS is launching two new websites; one for its corporate partners, www.dfsgroup.com and another for its end consumers, www.tgalleria.com (to be launched at 8pm Honolulu time). On its corporate site it will host the new brand’s official promotional video (see below), which explores the group’s history and legacy among travelling consumers and points to a new era of elevated shopping experiences and a sophisticated retail identity.
‘ELEGANT AND MINIMALIST’
Since the concept was first introduced last year, the logo has been refined and today the group was able to share it with international journalists at a press conference, which took place in the Waikiki Galleria store. “The first design wasn’t so easy to read so we decided to go with something that is much more elegant and minimalist,” said Schaus.
“It was great to benefit from that experiment and to be able to learn from it. A company does this once in a lifetime; launching a new brand is a huge investment and requires a great effort to bring about, so you have to be 100% certain with your decision.
[Left: Philippe Schaus, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DFS Group]
“We did a lot of qualitative research. I was personally sitting in some focus groups with customers, asking them about the logo and the name, to observe their reactions. We really wanted to understand how the consumer felt about the new brand.
“Our customers are travellers and in Causeway Bay they come from China, so they might see something completely different to what you and I see because they come from a different culture and their language works in a different way. So we had to conduct this experiment to ensure that we were certain about what we were doing and that it would be successful.”
DFS hosted a welcome dinner for members of the press on the evening of 6 September at the architecturally stunning Lijestrand house designed by Vladimir Ossipoff and built for Betty and Howard Liljestrand.
Earlier in the day, David Charles, Region President – Pacific, treated journalists to an exclusive tour of the Waikiki Galleria and its three floors of boutiques covering apparel, luggage and leathergoods, watches and jewellery and fine food.
Tonight, DFS will be hosting what can only be described as an uber-glamorous street party, complete with red carpet and entertainment from a range of performers, including the English Indie rock band, the Noisettes.
The extravaganza aims to promote the company’s new brand and celebrate the next phase of its development, not only with the media but also members of the general public who are invited to join the celebrations.
At the unveiling in Waikiki, the location of one of DFS’ first downtown stores, Schaus spoke about the importance of Hawaii as a historic location for the group: “This is a great moment in the history of DFS and we are very proud to be here today to unveil our new brand identity for our galleria stores.
[Left, DFS sheds its skin: DFS prepares for the big unveiling of its new brand identity at the Waikiki Galleria in Hawaii]
MORE THAN 50 YEARS OF HERITAGE
“We have been here with our Galleria in Hawaii for 40 years; 51 years here at Honolulu Airport and in our 52 years of history (the group’s total) this is truly a unique moment which we prepared for, years in advance.”
The name, T Galleria, pays homage to DFS group’s core business – serving travellers. DFS describes the new T Galleria logo as simple, accessible and pronounceable to all.
It is also inspired by the notion of flight and movement, resembling the wings of a modern aircraft. “These stores not only offer the ultimate assortment of luxury products but also deliver seamless shopping environments that travellers associate with their destinations,” added Schaus.
“Travel retail is the major growth engine driving the luxury retail sector today and we want our customers to visit DFS airport stores and DFS T Gallerias wherever they are in the world.”
[Left: A beauty corner at the Waikiki Galleria in Hawaii]
CHINA, ASIA AND OTHER EMERGING MARKETS
DFS was joined by its luxury brand partners and VIP guests for the rebranding events and celebrations this weekend. Antonio Belloni, Group Managing Director of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, emphasised DFS’ expertise with emerging market consumers:
“DFS curates its product selection for tomorrow’s customers from China, Asia and other emerging markets. These consumers are moving rapidly from their first overseas trips and first luxury purchases to become extremely sophisticated travellers and discerning consumers.”
Over the last several years DFS has invested several hundred million dollars in store upgrades [DFS invested $50m alone into upgrading the Waikiki Galleria store]. After unveiling the first rebranded T Galleria in Waikiki, the next stores to be rebranded this year will be the company’s three stores in Hong Kong and two in Macau.
By year’s end, almost half of the worldwide Gallerias will be using this new ‘bold brand identity’.
[below – DFS is proud of its new Beauty Concierge service it offers at its Waikiki Galleria store in Hawaii]
THE POINT OF DIFFERENCE
New design elements and features include beauty concierge services, members’ lounges, and Masters Series product exhibitions, which feature the rare, exclusive and limited editions from the well-known international brands.
“Each store also offers destination-themed products, many of which are tailored to the local market,” adds Schaus. “T Galleria Hawaii by DFS provides the best selection of luxury brands under one roof, with over 140 brands in 210,000 square feet of luxurious retail space.”
“Customers are served by over 470 multilingual sales associates trained across all categories and brands, and can also access special services such as the Beauty Concierge – helping customers select beauty products across the spectrum of brands and customised to their skin type.”
T Galleria will continue to offer the DFS 100% Worldwide Guarantee: once travellers return home, DFS will exchange, repair, or accept the return of all purchased merchandise.
Schaus concluded: “DFS was born out of a curiosity for the world, a passion for discovery and adventure, and a regard for luxury and quality. We hope to inspire travellers everywhere to enhance their journey with the world’s finest, expertly curated selection of exceptional products and unparalleled service. Our luxury travelling customers are at the heart of our business and are now reflected in the brand of our downtown stores: ‘T’ is for traveller.”
For the full length report on this event, the new DFS brand and an in-depth interview with Philippe Schaus, see the October issue of TRBusiness]