Six finalists from the first Global Luxury Student Competition curated by Arab Luxury World flew into Dubai this week, to present their cutting-edge dissertations on the future of luxury, and take part in a panel discussion. Helmed by Buro 24/7 Middle East's Editor-in-Chief, Shannon Wylie, the six global millennials – Lama Balaghi from INSEAD, Vivien So from SAD Hong Kong, Theresa Osugba from Bologna Business School, Rafael Cortes from ESSEC and Karen Fahmy and Marta Cuenca from Columbia Business School – explored the vital aspects of how luxury brands can connect with this new generation of informed consumers discussing personalisation, immediacy and experiences.

"The most important trend for millennials is that we look for experiences rather than just products but when we do make a purchase, we want things that are customised and personalised," started Karen Fahmy. "Being digitally-native, we expect brands to communicate with us in that way and we've seen brands respond to these characteristics through unprecedented innovations, including virtual reality and chat boxes."

Burberry

Fahmy's sentiments were echoed by Marta Cuenca who added, "We don't want technology to be an impediment to our shopping behaviour. The issue with the luxury industry currently is that they've been very slow to implement available technologies."

Emphasising the need for further innovation, Rafael Cortes said, "We do not accept traditional pushy marketing campaigns anymore. The most successful advertising would be based on which brand invites me to join their story." Lama Balaghi reiterated the point, saying, "There is so much digital data that there is an opportunity for the brands to pull me in. This points to the brands that speak to me and show up at the right place at the right time. This might be invasive to some but as a millennial, this is what it has become and is expected of brands now; to know and be there and be accessible to me whenever I need them."

For Vivien So, the right marketing techniques have to integrate two main principles: authenticity and relevancy. "For our generation, it's all about brands telling compelling stories. We want to learn about their history and heritage but at the same time, it must be relevant to us."

Theresa Osugba then spoke about immediacy, highlighting the rise of the see-now, buy-now concept. "Millennials want things instantly," she said. "But brands need to go through with the see-now, buy-now concept and not just trial it for one season. It has to be a sustainable activity."

The 2017 Arab Luxury World runs until May 23 at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina. Now, read about another Buro 24/7 Middle East panel session with MB&F Founder Maximilian Busser during Arab Luxury World '17.