As one of the first internationally specialised consulting firm in the world, The Bridge To Luxury assists companies that are active in markets for high-end products and services.
Luxury fascinates. In the limelight of public attention, on the advertising pages of high-gloss magazines or during product presentations in mono-brand boutiques, the management of brands from the world of luxury, premium and prestige may appear rather simple. Yet it is actually one of the most difficult businesses imaginable since the underlying conditions with demanding customers, temptations of product dilution, extremely differentiated markets, the high costs of communication, an ambivalent internet, interference through grey markets, volatile currencies and irritating plagiarism are very complex. And above all: How do we square the circle between addressing the identity of the customer (key word status) while communicating the quality of our proposal and determining the right price?
Meeting these challenges requires a strategic positioning, discipline in designing the offering, a precise definition of the target group, an integrated marketing mix, adequate structures and processes, budgeting and controlling tools, opportunities for financing growth and the courage to go international.
TBTL bridges the gap between the answers to these and other strategic as well as operative management challenges for existing and potential luxury brands.
Discover the philosophy, competencies, news and activities of TBTL on this Homepage. Or contact us. We will gladly get together with you for a personal discussion.
Brands are at the heart of the success of numerous companies from the world of high-end products and services. On the strategic and operative level, TBTL supports companies in many ways in a structured and analytical process. The starting points are the client’s problems. Internal workshops, international market research and desk research help in a preliminary phase to identify and evaluate these issues.
Solutions worked out jointly to strengthen the present and new positioning of the company leading to integrated business models: From the vision to concepts and their implementation including the assessment of the resulting success. The association with luxury, premium, prestige and prosumer brands must be clearly identifiable for the customer.
This is why TBTL has developed the Brand-Summit-Matrix that helps brands to position themselves strategically. Additionally, the brand personality needs to be translated into an attractive and lasting emotional story for the target group. On this basis TBTL is able to develop suitable and creative solutions for the marketing-mix with its client corresponding with the demands of high-end bands. If necessary, TBTL will accompany the client up to the successful implementation of the planned measures and provide him with a professional network of partners, whether for assistance in market research, classical advertising, product development, recruitment, event management, etc.
In some cases future success may even require the development and organisation of suitable cultures, procedures and structures.
As a partner in the overall success of its clients, TBTL is concerned not only with giving advise to develop integrative strategies, but also with the underlying solid business plans. Here the commercial goals and opportunities of a luxury brand must be clearly stated and accounted for. In recent years TBTL has also increasingly assisted its clients in their search for financing.
A special feature of the consulting approach of TBTL is its step-by-step procedure which enables a client to continually review the quality of the consulting process. With its consultancy services, TBTL is pursuing a success-oriented approach that enables its clients to control the intensity of the advice given over specified periods of time.
- Representative quantitative or qualitative retailer, customer or media surveys
- Target group analyses
- Analyses of advertising media
- Internal workshops
- Establishing the basic strategic direction of a top-end brand: Luxury, Prestige, Premium, Prosumer
- Target group definition
- Market-price-product definition
- Development of a concrete brand story (brand personality)
- Product and service development
- ATL and BLT corporate communication
- Sales and distribution strategy
- Identification of retailing partners, internationalisation
- Pricing, margins and currency management
Organisation: structures & procedures
- Change management
- Organisation and personnel identification
- Development of budget, controlling and audit instruments
- Arranging of competitions and pitches
Funding & profitability
- Assessment and preparation of business plans and efficiency programmes
- Identification of potential investors for external capital and / or equity
Frank Müller established The Bridge To Luxury in 2009. Since then he has supported a large number of companies from the world of luxury in their success. In the position of CEO and managing director Frank has formerly accompanied renowned and high quality brands such as A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original for many years. He was also a member of the extended group management board of the Swatch Group AG in Switzerland.
Before that he advised international companies in strategically directing and implementing measures in their communication policies focusing on corporate publishing. Frank studied business administration at the University of Mannheim and the ESCP Europe, and earned his PhD from the University of St. Gallen. He created the German initiative “Handmade in Germany”, and he is the author of books and articles on a variety of business-related topics including the management of luxury brands.
The Bridge To Luxury works together with a wide network of experienced partners. On demand and on a specific case basis it provides clients with professional advice to specific questions. With the help of pitches and competitions the ideal partner is selected for assignments relating to everything from product design, communication, market research and distribution as well as numerous other areas.
In the last years The Bridge To Luxury has been involved in numerous projects in various industries and product categories, including:
The Bridge To Luxury respects confidentiality in its customer relations which is why we do not disclose any client names. However, we can inform you anonymously of the content of specific projects and their solutions.
Foundation, Hong Kong: Development of a global generic communication concept for diamonds
OEM and trading, Israel: market development
Lightening industry, innovative start-up of a premium brand, Germany: Search for investor & distribution partners
Bath luxury interior fittings, Germany: Market and brand analysis
Interior fittings yachts & villas, Germany:
Concept for business expansion
Audio prosuming brand, Germany: Strategic communication concept for a high-end product novelty
Luxury market, Germany: Definition of a concept for a luxury fair
City marketing, Germany: long-term positioning & marketing concept
Market research: the German luxury market
Constantly: training seminars in management of luxury and prestige brands
Switzerland: Support acquisition process on buyer’s side
Start-up, global: Concept and launch of new prestige watch brand
Germany: Repositioning of online brand & concepts multi-channel distribution
Switzerland/Germany: Repositioning & business plan of prestige brand
Switzerland/China: Repositioning & business plan for prestige brand
Switzerland/China: Brand acquisition
Switzerland/USA: Search for investors, repositioning, definition business plan
Germany: Repositioning & international press launch
Start-up, Russia: Concept for new watch brand
Germany: Internationalisation of distribution
Switzerland/Denmark: Search for investor & definition business model
Multi-prestige brand, Germany: Concept for business extension
Start-up: Concept mechanical smart watch
Start-up, United Kingdom: Internationalisation
Luxury jewellery, USA: Brand development and identification of investors
Luxury jewellery, Germany: Repositioning, product design & definition of a business plan
Start-up, Israel: Positioning new global brand
Premium jewellery brand, Germany: Funding
Luxury, multi-category, Germany: Repositioning & restructuring concepts
Gourmet restaurant, Germany: Positioning
Definition of business plan for German trading company of vintage cars
Constantly: Global trading of vintage cars
Start-up, Switzerland: Positioning & business plan for high-end lady bags
Start-up, Germany: Identification investors for a premium leather goods’ brand
News & Publications
Lanre Shonoiki: Mentioning of tbtl in the luxury society’s blog
In his recent article, Lanre Shonoiki, writer for the Luxury Society, elaborates upon the question whether artificial intelligence can create craft? He comes to the conclusion that so far it is not possible to replace the human genius. Among others, Shonoiki quotes Frank Müller from The Bridge To Luxury. For further reading: link.
Europe Star: the Germany watch market 2017
In the Europe Star’s January edition, The Bridge To Luxury shares its assessment on the German watch market in 2017. The eight biggest export destination for the Swiss watch industry showed an unspectacular performance. It contracted by 2% in value in an industry that globally grew by 3% mainly due to increased Chinese demand. Download
INSEAD Global Luxury Conference, Paris 2017: TBTL invited as speakers
At this year’s INSEAD Global Luxury Forum, TBTL was asked to share its assessment on the future luxury customers and the outlook’s implications on strategic brand management. The event was hold in the prestigious Le Grand Intercontinental and hosted some 40 speakers and more than 200 participants. TBTL takes pride in being regularly invited by the world’s most reputed business schools such as INSEAD, KELLOGG-WHU or University. St. Gallen to participate in international luxury related discussions.
Europe Star: the future of watch distribution
What is the future of watch watch distribution? The Europe Star and its authors follow that question in the magazine’s October issue. The Bridge To Luxury is contributing an overview about likely scenarios. Given an increasing complex market environment, it looks companies and brands will have to improve their business models not only regarding requirements of professional omni-channel management but also in terms of branding, customer segmentation, internal structures and procedures. Download
TBTL lecturing at SCAD, Hong Kong
The Bridge To Luxury is dedicated to regularly transmitting professional knowledge and experience to future generations of luxury leaders and managers. During a recent lecturing, Dr. Frank Müller was speaking to students of Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Hong Kong. Besides being a highly successful institution for training internationally and practical professional life orientated young talent, it offers a very unusual teaching setting: the former magistrate’s court room and detention cells. Discussing the future of luxury with very dedicated and curious students in such a particular environment was a specific pleasure.
Europe Star: The mid-price watch segment
In its recent edition the Swiss Europe Star inquires about the future of the mid-price segment of the watch industry. The Bridge To Luxury contributes an analysis on the German market. Download
Rough & Polished: Quoting TBTL’s work
In an interview with Russian internet magazine Rough & Polished Alex Popov, president of the World Diamond Mark (WDM), gives credit to consultancy support provided by The Bridge To Luxury. WDM is a global initiative of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) to promote recognition and image of diamands among consumers, retailers, and media. Link
TBTL outlook watch industry 2017
TBTL’s CEO Frank Müller on the watch industry’s outlook 2017. The article was published at Deployant and is accessible here.
TBTL interview in Austrian news magazine Profil
In its recent issue the Austrian news magazine Profil focuses on the watch industry. TBTL’s Frank Müller was asked to provide his assessment on the industry’s current status. The interview is available for download (German language only): Download
In his newest edition, the Europe Star analyses the phenomenon smartwatch. Author Frank Müller from TBTL asks what impacts this new product category will have on the established watch industry? Severe ones, that is his conclusion in warning brands not to come to late to miss the trend. The article can be downloaded here: Link
Entrepreneur’s Excellence: Learning from successful benchmarks
Dr Frank Müller has become member of the Entrepreneurs Excellence. This initiative invites as a platform companies to take advantage of successful business professionals who share their experience and knowledge as brand consultants, speakers and trainers being experts on specific markets or important industry topics. Frank Müller provides insights of high-end brands and answers the question about what can be learnt from successful companies in the world of luxury and prestige.
The Bridge To Luxury European List 2015 2nd semester
As a new and innovative service, TBTL will from now on publish regularly an overview on actual European research luxury projects. Such a list has not been provided yet and creates a new bridge for companies and brands to the academic world. Their advantage: Access to new research results, contacts to potential future managers with a high qualification, possibilities to venture into cooperations with the science community. An expansion of the TBTL Luxury Research List regarding research projects outside of Europe is planned. Download.
German or Swiss watches: Which is best?
Who does the best watches in the world: the Swiss or Germans? Since German reunification took place in 1990 and with local brands like A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original or Nomos, the small town of Glashütte has re-emerging on the radar of global collectors and fans of luxury timepieces. This provokes the question about who is creating the best watches? One answer is provided by Frank Müller in the recent issue of the Geneva based magazine Europe Star. Download.
TBTL Luxury Newsletter T1 2015 & Outlook
The luxury industry is currently facing various challenges. For this year TBTL anticipates a global growth of less than 7%. Although it can be assumed that luxury consumption remains important over the very long run, its nature and therefore entrepreneurial activities of brands in terms of strategic positioning, customer targeting, defining marketing-mixes, funding and so on will change strongly. The current status of the industry regarding numbers and hot topics is summed up in TBTL’s recent newsletter. Download.
Diamanten: 2015 President’s Meeting in Tel Aviv
The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) biennial Presidents’ Meeting toke place in Tel Aviv from June 14th to 16th. Hosted by Mr Ernie Blom and Mr Maxim Shkadov the congress assessed the industry’s current status and outlook.
As invited keynote speakers the CEOs of two of the most important diamand producers. Mr Andrey Zharkov (Alrosa) and Mr Philippe Mellier (De Beers), outlined their views on the diamonds’ industry potentials. TBTL’s founder, Dr Frank Müller, spoke about diamonds and their challenges as future image factor for consumers of high-end products.
Meissen porcelain manufactory: advisory board initiated: Beirat iniziiert
The State of Saxony, owner of 1710 founded porcelain manufactory Meissen, has initiated an advisory board to support the company in strategic questions and in its further development.
Members of the board are Dr. Gerhard Heinrich, descendant of a porcelain dynasty of the town of Selb. In his professional career Heinrich has mostly been active in the world of banking e.g. as managing director of UBS Germany. Also member of the board is Dr. Frank Löschmann. He did initially work for DaimlerChrysler and later for Volkswagen AG. Dr. Frank Müller, founder of The Bridge To Luxury, who will assist Meissen in its long-term and strategic brand development, completes the advisory board.
Luxury Business Report 2015: Die Luxury Experience
Luxury experience, as an additional customer benefit and a brand distinguishing feature in tough competition, has gained in importance. Nevertheless, the strategic and operational aspects of luxury experience are much more complex than many brand managers believe. In the Luxury Business Report recent issue TBTL analysis reasons and indicats some solutions. Please download here.
German Manufactory Guide 2015 published
With some 300 portraits of manufactories, the German Manufactory Guide of the Cologne-based specialist publisher Deutsche Standards provides a comprehensive overview of the vibrant landscape of German manufactories for the very first time. Contents: A compilation of German manufactories for the first time in a book; manufactory as a worthwhile travel destination (immediately visible and easily recognizable factory outlets, museums and demonstration workshops); user-friendly (merchandise information about, inter alia, materials such as glass, porcelain, silver and wood as well as a regional classification of the manufactories at a glance). Frank Müller of TBTL provides an easy to read foreward to introduce into the fascinating world of German manufactories – download (German language only).
Goldschmiede Zeitung: end of Swiss franz – euro cap
In its latest issue the German Goldschmiede Zeitung focuses on the recent decision of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to end the Swiss franc – euro cap. Frank Müller of TBTL analyses in an interview potential consequences for the watch and jewellery industry – here (German language only).
LBD – Luxury Business Day 2015
The Luxury Business Day (LBD) is Germany’s only conference to provide a platform for brands, service providers and interested managers to gain knowledge and to network. The annually event is organised by Inlux and Journal International and takes place on June 18th in Munich for its 2015 edition. Found out more here.
Travel Guide German Manufactories 2015 planned
„Travel Guide Germany’s Manufactories 2015 – visit Germany’s most beautiful manufacturing sites.” With more than 400 portraits the specialist publishing house Deutsche Standards provides for a very first time an overview of Germany’s lively manufacturing landscape. Frank Müller was asked to join the project’s advisory board and supports the publication with his long-lasting experience.
Brands and manufacturers intending to be mentioned in the book are kindly asked to contact the editor Deutsche Standards in Cologne. The guide will be available in the book trade in spring 2015.
w&v 29/2014: where luxury watches shine
In its recent edition w&v focuses on media spending of luxury watch brands. Against all general trends expenditures increase for print communication. Amongst others TBTL explains the reasons. The German interview with Frank Müller is available here.
Luxury Business Report 2014: Pricing – a fine art
The 2014 edition of Journal International’s and Inlux’ Luxury Business Report (LBR) focuses on internationalisation. The magazine presents the actual and illuminating global study “Top 20 Luxury Markets”. Also, it allows insights into the fine worlds of Steinway & Sons, Mykita or the Dresdner Werkstätten Hellerau. TBTL describes solutions for the challenging task of international pricing for high-end goods and services. The article can be downloaded using the following link: “Luxury Business Report”. For those who wish to receive a complete copy of the magazine please have a look here.
CP MONITOR: Luxury and Consumer Magazines
The number of prestigious consumer magazines of luxury brands has decreased in recent years. Exciting launches do occur seldom. What are the reasons? Which particular strategic and operational challenges exist and how can they be tackled? These questions are answered by Frank Müller in the recent issue of the CP MONITOR. The article is available here.
Special edition “Dresden de Luxe” in Architectural Digest
Dresden used to be a historical centre of European luxury. In a special edition of Art Corporates, the city presents itself in new grandeur and informs about companies that continue to devote their efforts to exclusive products and services. In an interview Frank Müller of TBTL explains Dresden’s current status as a luxury hot spot. (The article is available in German language only.)
New: TBTL workshops in cooperation with the INLUX Institute
In cooperation with the INLUX Institute in Munich TBTL is now offering company workshops and seminars in luxury management related topics. The contents are tailor-made to the company’s needs and range from introductions into strategic brand development to operational aspects such as international pricing. The workshops target manufactories, small enterprises and retailers of high-end products and services. Please contact us if you wish to know more.
MARKENARTIKEL 12/2013: Luxury against resistance
The edition 12/2013 of the German trade magazine MARKENARTIKEL is dedicated to the topic of Luxury Marketing. The articles focus various important questions on strategic and operative level for instance with regard to the right definition of target groups or how luxury can be presented in the web? There are also contributions on the future of online shopping of luxury goods. TBTL assesses how luxury can be implemented in resistant markets due to cultural or religious barriers. This article can be downloaded in English language here.
Advertising with VIPs
VIPs are increasingly used as testimonials to represent brands. There are good reasons to do so – and bad ones. Find out more in the recent German issue of L’Art de Vivre.
Top-Magazin winter edition 2013: hand & heart crafted luxury
Handmade – most people associate many attributes with this expression: seldom, precious, expensive, exclusive. Manufactories fascinate – because we search for the particular. The Top-Magazine spoke with experts for luxury goods about the myth of manufactories. Find out more here (article available in German language only).
DIE PRESSE (Vienna): Supplement “Luxury Times”
Upon invitation of the known daily newspaper DIE PRESSE of Vienna, Frank Müller reflects on the relationship of Christmas, watches and timekeeping. More to be found here (article in German language only).
New: Certificate of Advanced Studies Luxury Management & Marketing
The School of Management and Law at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) is launching an advanced study programme in Luxury Management & Marketing. It is designed to provide knowledge and experience that enable participants to successfully develop and implement luxury strategies in their business environment. The programme is taught in 9 blocks and starts on February 28th, 2014. Further information can be found here. In the context of the programme TBTL will contribute insights into the luxury watch industry.
HORIZONT Report Luxus & Lifestyle
On October 31st the marketing and communication journal HORIZONT published its 44th edition. The publication focuses extensively on the topics luxury and lifestyle. The online version is available here. In two articles TBTL was questioned regarding the market developments in distribution in the watch industry. These can be downloaded (German language only):article 1 und article 2.
Event: Masterpieces 2013
On October 26th and 27th, Germany’s experts of bespoked offerings will present a thrilling weekend with selected manufacturers, interesting lectures and delicious food at Hamburg’s Golfclub Gut Kaden. The weekend will be completed by a “Bespoked Dinner” in the Hotel Atlantic on October 26th. Find out more here.
New: The Watch Industry Report 2013 is published
On 50 pages the Watch Industry Report (WIR) offers important information on the global watch market as an up-to-date and compact overview about one of the lead industries for lifestyle consumer goods. The WIR is published annually and provides a factual access to business related knowledge. Target groups of the report are managers of the watch industry, journalists, advertising and media agencies as well as readers who search for information on structures, trends and challenges of this fascinating industry.
As co-author TBTL has contributed to the concept and content of this report, publishers are the market research institute Responsio and the advertising agency LWP. The WIR is available online.
Market research: Watch Monitor Germany 2013
The marketing research institutes Sinus and Responsio have published the Watch Monitor 2013 Germany. This survey has researched the watch market in all price categories from the perspective of more than 5,000 German consumers for the first time ever. With more than 220 prompted watch brands and more than 100 advertisements of brand manufacturers, the survey provides the most comprehensive and representative survey about the purchasing behaviour and the preferences of watch buyers in Germany ever. For those who wish to succeed in the demanding German market, the Watch Monitor 2013 is an indispensable source of information.
TBTL is pleased to have played a part in conceiving the Watch Monitor.
More information on the Watch Monitor is available here.
Publication TBTL on the Fascination of Luxury Watches
Why do people purchase luxury watches which may even cost more money than a spacious single-family home? Frank Müller looks at this question in the latest Online issue of L’Art de Vivre. More information is available here(German language only).
Starhill Watch of the Year (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Frank Müller has been appointed a juror in this year’s Starhill Gallery Watch of the Year Awards. Malaysia, with its capital Kuala Lumpur, is one of the major countries in the high quality watch market. Of special significance here is Starhill Gallery which features more single brand boutiques of international watch manufacturers than any other country. Each year a top ranking jury of experts from the watch industry will select the watch of the year in various categories.