- Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, the luxury brand owned by BMW, unveiled a mobile app that sells high-end goods and acts like a social network for new car owners. The Whispers app targets an exclusive group of "individuals untethered by common constraints such as time and money," according to a company announcement.
- Whispers features a curated collection of luxury goods and experiences including backstage passes to the Grammy Awards, front-row seats at Fashion Week events, red carpet access at the Academy Awards and VIP previews of Art Basel. Whispers users can get access to meetings with artists at Coachella, players at Wimbledon or athletes at the Olympics, per the announcement.
- Whispers also lets people securely contact and privately communicate with other app users, who Rolls-Royce describes as "some of the world's greatest minds." Whispers is available in the U.S., U.K., Europe and the Middle East following a test that started two years ago among a select group.
Rolls-Royce's Whispers app aims to extend the luxury car brand into the market for products and experiences that appeal to people who can easily spend exorbitant amounts of money on cars.
The company seeks to leverage owners' affinities toward the brand with the mobile equivalent of a custom social network, content publication and catalog. The app aims to support a community around the brand and appeal to consumers who increasingly are looking for authentic experiences they can share with peers in a more exclusive setting than standard social networks. The so-called experience economy has grown as consumers at large increasingly demand quick delivery of products and services, as well as memorable experiences that exceed their expectations.
Rolls-Royce has seen healthy growth in recent years. The carmaker's sales rose 25% to a record 5,152 vehicles last year on the strength of its Cullinan sport utility vehicle. The three-ton SUV starts at $330,000 and typically sells for more than $400,000 after being loaded with additional features, CNBC reported. North America is the company's strongest market with about one third of sales, ahead of China and Europe, the company said last month. The record sales suggests there is a growing group of potential car buyers that may want to interact with the brand via Whispers.
Rolls-Royce is among the luxury brands that have incorporated mobile platforms into their customer experience marketing. Among the more recent examples, luxury clothing brand Burberry created an invitation-only mobile chat service called "R Message" that lets store employees connect directly with key customers. Created with the help of Apple, the app lets shoppers book in-store appointments, receive personalized product advice and make direct purchases. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts also lets customers chat with its employees through a variety of messaging channels, including Apple Business Chat, in an effort to deepen engagement and nurture long-term loyalty.