'The Business of...' event series kicks around in Melbourne, sashays into Sydney

Thursday, 26 May 2011  Features

'The Business of...' , a new Australian School of Business Alumni event series, puts the spotlight on topical industry sectors for analysis and conversation. Launching the series for 2011, a panel of expert speakers discussed sport in Melbourne and the business of luxury goods in Sydney.

The Business of Sport, May 3, Melbourne

Over 60 alumni and guests gathered at the exclusive Melbourne Cricket Club Members' dining room for a panel discussion covering all facets of the multi-billion dollar sporting industry. The expert panel lead by James Turner, Melbourne Alumni Branch President examined all areas of the industry ranging from betting and branding to player management and business models.

Former Olympian Nick Green was joined on the panel by Stephen Gough, CEO of the Melbourne Cricket Club; Cormac Barry, CEO of Sportbest and Craig Kelly, CEO, Elite Sports Properties.

There is much to analyse in this fascinating and prosperous industry and although the panel discussion continued well past the allocated time, it was clear there was still plenty more for the panellists to talk about.

The Business of Luxury, May 11, Sydney

Alumni and guests enjoyed a night of networking and fine food at the Porsche Centre, Sydney South.

Guests were treated to canapés designed by Celebrity Chef Sean Connelly while a professional panel discussed the industry of luxury goods covering marketing, customer service, and the impact of the global financial crisis.

The panel consisted of Kevin Nicholls, Director of Sales and Marketing, Porsche Cars Australia; Dr Rebecca Huntely of Ipsos Mackay Research and Melinda Stewart, Finance Director, Louis Vuitton Oceania was led by Professor of Marketing, Murali Chandrashekaran.

Dr Huntely shared research that revealed a 'sales fatigue' among consumers for whom a blanket focus on price and discounting no longer appeals. Consumers are driven by emotion and it is not uncommon to find 'affluent urbanites' shopping at Aldi and ultra-discount chains for everyday items, while still choosing to fly business class when travelling.

As Melinda Stewart explained, what set luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton apart during the GFC was its refusal to offer knee-jerk discounts. While other luxury brands discounted heavily during the crisis, Louis Vuitton stuck to its policy of never discounting under any circumstances. The assurance that one's luxury product will never devalue is important to the loyal LV customer.

Consistency of brand was a recurring theme of the discussion. Louis Vuitton products are sold only through the company's own stores and all products are manufactured in a single exclusive factory. Marketing is done at an international level so that advertising campaigns and store window displays are uniform in every country.

Similarly, Kevin Nicholls of Porsche Cars Australia said consistency of customer experience is important to Porsche, whose showrooms around the world are carefully constructed to set company standards, even down to the floor tiles.

Ticket and raffle sales for the Business of Luxury event raised over $10 000 for the Australian School of Business Scholarship Appeal fund.

Alumnus Alex Bont won the top raffle prize of a Porsche driving training experience at Mount Cotton, Sean Anderson won the Roses Only Luxury Hamper while Louisa Robertson and Amelia Chu took home the Louis Vuitton prizes.