Complex Made Simple

Vertu: Cherishing the Middle East

Since the 1990s, Vertu has been catering to those who like the finer things in life with its high-end luxury phones.

Much like fine watchmaking, or any other time-honoured craft, creating a Vertu phone is all about attention to detail and creating unique pieces that reflect each client’s definition of luxury.

Massimiliano Pogliani, the brand’s global CEO, talks to Aficionado about Vertu’s latest offers to the Middle East and its iconic identity.

You recently launched a personalisation programme that is available online for UAE clients, but these customers, in particular, tend to visit the store to also have a real look and feel of the materials. How do you explain this move?
We launched the service – together with the configurator on the website – not because I believe we will sell a lot of phones through the website, but because it lets people look at and play around with the materials and colours from the comfort of their own homes. And then, they go to the store and conclude the sale.

How does Vertu provide the luxury experience that buyers demand?
Other phones are pure objects used for functionality. The way a Vertu phone is made, however – the materials used to create it – makes owning one a very sensorial experience. When you have it in your hands, you can feel its texture, you can even smell the leather, you see the different colours… It is very much an experience. It is a similar experience to the one you have with your bags, your shoes or when you choose the fabrics of your suits.

Tell us a little about the concierge services in the Middle East region?
We offer a number of services, including the concierge: an individual 24/7 service tailored for each customer. This is part of the experience that comes with Vertu.
Since our customers travel a lot, we need to be consistent in following up with them, wherever they are. We also have eight different languages for the concierge service, including Arabic.

On the other hand, there are certain needs that need to be localised or sourced locally. That is why we also have regional offices, one of which is in Dubai and covers the whole Middle East. The headquarters in London takes care of the global service, but the whole database of customers is there. This helps us better tailor the offer for our Dubai-based customers. According to the customer’s location and request, he or she can be rerouted to the New York, Paris or Milan office, among others.

The important thing is that there is one centralised office so we don’t lose the customer’s data, which we can track to provide a customised follow up.

The non-Smart phone, Vertu Signature, is still big in the region. How do you explain that?
There is always an exception to the rule. And it is not only big here; it is still almost 30 per cent of our sales worldwide. You cannot imagine how many high-net-worth individuals demand it. They don’t want to browse the internet; they just want a phone with a long battery life (more than one week for the Signature) to make phone calls and send SMS messages – like the good old days.

Vertu Signature’s design is timeless, its keypads can be decorated with precious stones and its technology has not changed in years. It is always the same and we have multiple collections of it.

Does it attract a certain age group?
Of course, it would attract an older generation: c-suite levels, etc. There are also people who want – and can afford – to have multiple phones, for different purposes and usage. For example, I use it when I’m going to the theatre or a restaurant because I don’t want to be bothered with notifications. Plus, it is very classy, so it goes well with my tuxedo. Then during the week, I use the Smartphone because it is an efficient work tool as well.