On graduating from Cambridge University,
Piers Schmidt joined Charles Barker, the world’s leading Public Relations agency.
In 1993, Piers joined Interbrand Newell and Sorrell as a brand consultant where he progressed to Board Director and
Head of Strategy, responsible for clients including Barclays Bank, British Airways, and Selfridges.
For British Airways, Piers developed the brand strategy for the airline that became known as ‘go’, the ‘oneworld’ name for the Group’s global alliance with American Airlines and the strategy behind the airline’s corporate rebranding of 1995.
In 1998, Piers co-founded The Fourth Room, a pioneering brand consulting firm, which attracted a blue-chip client list and was sold to US Interactive in 2002, a NASDAQ-quoted e-commerce integrator, for whom he became Vice President, Europe.
In 2002, Piers formed Luxury Branding, an international luxury consulting firm after serving Kerzner International as Strategic Marketing Director for One&Only Resorts. Piers Schmidt was responsible for directing the $16m roll-out of this now globally-garlanded luxury resort brand.
In 2005, Luxury Branding advised Dorchester Group Hotels on the development of a new luxury hotel brand – Dorchester Collection – and in 2006, Piers worked closely with the CEO of Armani Hotels & Resorts to extend this eponymous fashion brand into hospitality and the experience economy.
Relocating from London to Cape Town in 2008, Piers co-founded the Southern Africa Luxury Association (SALA) to help foster the growth of the nascent luxury sector in South Africa. He continued to advise regional clients including Queensgate Hotels & Leisure, Seeff and investment banking group Imara Holdings.
During 2011, Piers masterminded the brand-led turnaround strategy of Naïade Resorts and its hugely successful reincarnation as LUX* Resorts and Hotels. This was preceded by the warmly received rebranding of Harel Frères – one of the most venerable sugar companies of Mauritius – as ‘Terra’.
In 2012, Piers returned to the UK and Luxury Branding was appointed Agency of Record for Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces – India and the world’s oldest luxury hotel group.
In recent years, Luxury Branding has orchestrated the unification and rebranding of SWAN, the oldest insurance company in Mauritius, the development of an innovative new ‘Home’ proposition for Shinsegae, South Korea’s most prestigious department store group, and defined a new brand positioning as well as signature guest programming for Belmond.
Luxury Branding is currently advising the UK’s leading, independent hotel group and helping to conceptualise the translation of one of the world’s best-loved entertainment brands into the hospitality space. Piers is also advising global family offices and property developers on concept creation and destination branding for landmark, mixed-use projects in Florence, Tuscany, Veneto, Portugal and Northern Europe. Luxury Branding’s name and identity for La Selva Chiara, a golf, residential and hotel development in northern Tuscany, was unveiled in mid 2017.
Piers Schmidt is a respected writer and commentator on business and branding whose opinion on luxury markets is frequently reported by international media. He is a frequent contributor to Hotels for whom he blogs on hotel branding and is also a regular speaker on global conference platforms as well as a visiting lecturer at EHL, the renowned hospitality management school in Lausanne.
In 2019, in partnership with Ian R Douglas, founder of Phoenix Global, Piers Schmidt co-founded Kingham Leigh, an unorthodox enterprise that creates, develops and operates Maverick Hospitality concepts worldwide.