Launched in 2019, Rolls-Royce’s ‘Whispers’ app has evolved into a chatroom for the super-rich.
Rolls-Royce chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös has said that when members of ‘Whispers’, the luxury brand’s app-based private members’ club, connect with and talk to one another, business deals are “100%” being done that can even change an economy.
He was talking during select gathering in Austria of Rolls-Royce-owning high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals about what the company says is the world’s most exclusive connected car app.
When launched in 2019, Whispers was all about luxury lifestyle: concierge support, exclusive luxury goods previews, shopping and events.
Initially curated by a tight senior Rolls-Royce team – including Müller-Ötvös – the app has developed and taken on a momentum, more so following its most recent evolutions. While the luxury lifestyle elements remain, there’s a developing inter-member introduction, communication and chat function used for both leisure and, increasingly, business purposes.
Whispers members must own a Rolls-Royce built after 2003 and they only get full features access if they own a 2018 or later model.
There are fewer than 20,000 Whispers members globally. LinkedIn has 930 million, and Facebook 2.98 billion users.
Questions to Müller-Ötvös’s senior colleagues about the security of the app are met with a very Rolls-Royce response: silence and a smile.
Alexander Steinbrueck, Whispers operations manager at Rolls-Royce, said: “We are a facilitator. [Clients] talk to each other. Whispers is not a corporate communications channel.
“[Clients] meet on Whispers. They go on vacation together. It just shows how homogeneous this group of people is. In the business aspect, I know of a customer in the financial industry who I had a phone call with. For him, it’s a great source of making business connections with other like-minded people. He says it couldn’t be a better filter or selection of people, and he uses it very often.”
Müller-Ötvös says ultra-high-net-worth clients know and understand one another’s mindsets and the issues and challenges they face. Chats about personal security measures and professional advisers are common, as are recommendations between them about, for instance, exclusive holiday destinations.
Rolls-Royce and its customers are becoming a family, according to Müller-Ötvös. He said: “We invited 20 clients to be with us [at an event]. They didn’t know each other before, and after that weekend they are newfound friends, and then they stay in contact, forge new relationships.”
He outlined a call he received from one of those guests, who described how two of them later met in mutually convenient Istanbul, Turkey, to discuss a deal. Rolls-Royce’s discretion prevented him from sharing further details.