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The Value of Bespoke

What motivates a client to own a private theater?

What motivates a client to own a private theater? Is it a status symbol, a trend, the latest electronics product, or just another entertainment room in the house? Ideally what should motivate a client to acquire a private theater is desire.

How would we know if our clientele desire our products? A good sign would be if large numbers were seeking us out to design private theaters and were telling their architects to make sure to accommodate them in their homes. Or, if clientele were willing to invest more into design and performance, instead of looking for a better deal. Imagine that! It may come as a surprise, but there is a class of product and service that has just that type of demand. It is known as a Giffen Good. A Giffen Good is a “product” where a higher price causes an increase in demand.

Can a product or service that is designed to reach the masses attain this status? It is doubtful. There is much evidence to substantiate this in today’s luxury marketplace. Many products that were initially available only as bespoke or truly custom have been denigrated to a new category identified as mass-consumption luxury. Identifying characteristics include limiting selections, removing personalized service, and most telling, focusing on price. Removing the complexities of providing concierge-level attention to each client enables efficiencies that make it possible to offer these mass-consumption luxuries to a wider audience. The real danger to the market is a resulting sense of no improvement, or even possible disappointment. This can lead to a permanent downgrade in the product category.

To be successful, the private theater industry must have relationships with our clients built on truly serving their interests.
Photo: DSI and Paradise Theater

On the other hand, offering bespoke products and services puts the emphasis on customer satisfaction. This has a positive benefit on how the brand is perceived. If the brand is identified as uniquely capable of satisfying the particular needs of a discerning clientele, then it is positioned to command a price that will stand. The value is in the result and not the bargain. A very good example of such a product category would be luxury yachts. The shipbuilders who focus on individualized designs and uncompromised quality are leading the way in an industry where prices continue to increase and demand, worldwide, is steadily growing.

Another benefit of bespoke is the exclusivity principal. Rarity is the mainspring of a valued resource and authenticates its luxury status. This establishes exclusivity, which in turn serves to sustain a product or services market perception as luxury. A bespoke product cannot be a mass-market product. The personalized attention, care in production, select quality of materials, and extraordinary talent all point to the exceptional. If your company positions itself and performs accordingly, this exclusivity principal will have the effect of increasing your cachet in the eyes of your clientele. Subsequently, this will enhance the perceived value of your advice, products, and services you provide.

How can offering bespoke services increase the desire for private theaters? This is core to the concept of desirability. Let’s look at a market segment that is easily identifiable as well suited to private theater ownership: movie industry people. This type of client intimately know movies and the qualities that make them good, from sound to image, to many other details that most others would not be aware of. This sophistication makes it imperative that their theater team be the very best at what they do. There is a personal reason for this clientele to value quality. This is where a bespoke approach has the greatest advantage. Instead of attempting to appeal to pricing or other mass-market incentives, a bespoke designer or consultant will know how to discover the personal connection to the client. This is a skill that must be practiced and honed. It is not something that can be toggled between a mass-market mentality and concierge persona. A skilled consultant of this type will awaken desire in a client by helping them visualize their lives improved by the product they provide. In one such discovery interview, the client, when asked what their dream theater would be, answered, “a special place, that will draw our family together for many hours of enjoyment. And, I’m willing to spend a lot more to make sure we get it right!”

To be successful, the private theater industry must have relationships with our clients built on truly serving their interests. In this way, we will earn their trust. If we build our heritage on authentic value and desirable results, we will have a distinct advantage in today’s volatile market. Superyacht sales are not driven by runabouts. It’s the other way around. High water floats more big boats!