Social elites and celebrities have always had signature accessories that others could not afford. However, the internet has started to change that law of the universe. Social elites are no longer limited to those bolstered up by industries like Hollywood and the modelling world – they can now be anyone with a command of their personal brand and a will to promote themselves.
I sat down with Carlo Cisco, founder of SELECT, the luxury perks and privileges community that’s been attracting a growing number of celebrities, from lingerie models to athletes, – but also a large contingent of the new, socially mobile – about what he’s noticed people are picking up on.
Cisco has made a career of catering to these types, and here’s what he’s noticed about what they spend their money on, and what they’ll focus on in 2017:
“There’s a strong shift towards experiences.” says Cisco. “If you look back at 2006, you saw a greater emphasis on products and “glam,” that’s in part because when we saw the upwardly mobile people, it was through magazines and television. Social media hadn’t taken off yet, so it was always just about what someone was wearing when the paparazzi arrived, or what was written about them, or what you saw of people in person. Social media changed all that.”
It’s true, social media has not only given us much more personal and casual insight into the everyday lives those around us, but a whole new class of social elites who have no affiliation with Hollywood, Fashion Week or big brands in general, but have made a reputation for themselves by cultivating their online and thereby in-person brand.
Celebrities, like the upwardly mobile, attain and keep their status through their everyday lives now – which means the best accessory for impressing your fans is having new experiences and sharing them through pictures and videos.
“SELECT was built to provide the kind of VIP experiences and treatment that most people never get to experience. That’s a big part of why we’re taking off, ” says Cisco.
“They’re looking for more than just the knowledge of the good spots in their neighborhood. People join our community so that they can have VIP access, and to experience some of the finer parts of life in ways many simply can’t, they instantly become the ultimate insider and receive special pricing and benefits at thousands of premier restaurants, hotels, etc. We introduce them to a whole world of luxury, one that is not only local, but also global in scope.”
In a world of social mobility defined by the shareable image, it’s no big surprise that visiting top destinations is among the most sought after of experiences.
Says Cisco, “Travel is one of the top interests we see among our Members. There’s a bit of a show-me-or-it-never-happened mentality going around, and if you can establish yourself at a premium destination through social media or the like, you can take on a bit of its social cache.”
He continues: “That’s part of why hotel bookings are among the most utilized benefits we offer Members. We get them the top destinations at dramatically reduced rates, allowing people to stay at properties they otherwise couldn’t or travel far more frequently. Our benefits allow our members to experience the best hotels and resorts in the world. And it doesn’t stop at hotels, we also have members-only rates and perks at hundreds of premier restaurants and nightlife venues and on thousands of unique experiences ranging from jet-skiing to wine tours. Our benefits allow Members to create stories, memories, videos, and yes, social-media-worthy content”
So what does he see for the future? “I expect these trends to continue. As our experiences become more commoditized, there will be more of a desire to upgrade them. This means more interest in VIP dining, nightlife, networking, and travel, as well as, but especially more than, the older status symbols we are used to seeing.”
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see whether his words are prophetic or fail to come true.