All Columns in Alphabetical Order

Monday, March 2, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Greg Furman, Founder of the Luxury Marketing Council!

President of Furman Communications & Marketing and Founder & Chairman of The Luxury Marketing Council, Greg Furman has held a number of senior level positions in different industry groups. He served as policy advisor and speech writer to the Ontario Minister of Education; head of public affairs and issues management for Sun Oil's Canadian Subsidiary, Suncor; Managing Director of Advertising and Sales Promotion for the New York Stock Exchange, and head of J. Walter Thompson's corporate image public relations business. During his three-year association with Bergdorf Goodman his responsibilities included marketing strategy, advertising, public relations, interactive initiatives, direct mail and the store's $20 million catalogue business. In November 1994 Greg started his own consulting business and founded The Luxury Marketing Council.

His clients have included SmithKline Beecham, Bay Banks, Andersen Consulting, Business Publications Audit International (BPA), MBIA, The International Trademark Association, Deloitte & Touche, Pennwell Publishing - Oil & Gas Journal, Signet Bank, American Express, InterPost (a subsidiary of Dutch KLM and The Dutch Post Office), American Business Press, Sotheby's International Realty, CCH Legal Information Services, Miller Freeman - The Couture Conference and Collection, Departures Magazine, Via Way Travel, New York City Opera, Palmeto Travel, Historic Charleston, Godiva, Nymphenburg Porcelain, Meigher Communications, Capital Publishing, Atlantic Mutual. ADP (Automatic Data Processing, Inc.), GQ, Street & Smith's, Harper's Bazaar, Magazine Publishers of America, Orient Express, Leo Burnett, Zicccardi & Partners, Kirschenbaum & Bond, Bill Communications/VNU, Fortune, Publicis, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, FlightTime, and Steinway & Sons.

In November of 1994 Greg founded The Luxury Marketing Council, now a group of some 1,700 CEO's and top marketing executives of 700 luxury firms in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Dubai, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Mumbai, New Dehli, Palm Beach, Orange County, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, and Sao Paolo. Included among them are American Express, Baccarat, Bang & Olufsen, Bentley, Bergdorf Goodman, Blue Star Jets, Cartier, Cunard Line Ltd., David Yurman, Departures Magazine, Escada, Forbes, Frette, Ghurka, Godiva, Judith Ripka, La Mer, Leading Hotels of the World, Luxury SpaFinder, Mandarin Oriental, Maybach, Mercedes Benz, Merrill Lynch, Motorola, NASDAQ, Neiman Marcus, Rolls Royce, Samsonite Black Label, Sea Dream Yacht Club, SHVO, Sony Cierge, Sotheby’s, and Swiss Air.

His strategy consulting practice focuses on helping his clients define their missions and corporate positioning, develop strategic plans and grow their businesses by taking a more creative, "out of the box" approach to all facets of the marketing mix: public relations, advertising, direct mail, special events, and, especially, innovative partnerships and collaborations. Highlights of his educational experience include studying with Marshall McLuhan (1970 - 1977) at the University of Toronto, "Strategic Marketing" at Harvard, and "Managing Critical Resources" at University of Virginia's Colgate Darden School of Business. Peachy Deegan supports the Luxury Marketing Council and in the past, she has volunteered for Greg at his events.

Peachy Deegan: What inspired you to start the LMC?
Greg Furman: Fear of unemployment and having been in three industry groups - the oil industry (ran public affairs for sun oil in canada - suncor), financial services (marketing for the nyse) and luxury (marketing and catalog business for bergdorf goodman), I saw that they could do a better job of marketing from a classic 'packaged goods point of view' - I saw clearly the void/gap in the market and the opportunity.

How has it evolved over the years?
From 32 luxury brands in nyc to 875 luxury brands in 32 cities with some 3,000 ceos and cmos world wide - to hit 45 cities this year

What surprises you most about the luxury industry?
That there's still lots of room for them to grow by employing classic 'packaged goods' techniques to win greater share of wallet and loyalty of very best customers and many luxury brands still 'don't get it.'

How is the luxury industry weathering the current economy?
Like everyone else having a tough time - being driven like everyone else to be more creative and innovative in marketing.

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
Other than my home at the metropolitan museum of art in the impressionist galleries or listening to jazz there over a nice glass of wine in the upper gallery watching life go by.

What is your favorite shop?
Bergdorf goodman and rizzoli

What is your favorite drink?
A real dry manhattan with a lemon twist and two maraschino cherries straight up

What is your favorite restaurant?
Le bernardin and Il Mulino tied for first

What is your favorite NYC book?
The poetry of Frank O'Hara

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
Live live live

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
I can't over-rate new york enough - it is the imperial city - underrated are those 'discoveries' that the city constantly gives us if we keep our eyes open - like the red tails in central park or the migrations of the birds - 200+ species in central part - or looking down on the great lawn in fall from belvedere castle - as leaves fall.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I paint (have had three shows of my work) and sculpt and write poetry (a book a year.)

To contact Greg for more information:

212 517 4614 - e-mail me

Back to TOP