LUXURY BRANDING IN A “LOW” TIME
Posted by Steve Kleber on Apr 10, 2008
Despite some popular beliefs amid the barrage of negative media reports, the luxury housing market remains strong. The majority of todayâ€™s high-end consumers arenâ€™t in danger of losing their homes. In fact, luxury homes, and the products installed in them, continue to buck the bleak housing trend. The wealthy are relatively unaffected by the housing slump as they remain unscathed from sub-prime mortgage issues and interest rate fluctuations. In Manhattan, for example, the housing recession shows few signs of plaguing the cityâ€™s elite.
From a similar perspective, a recent article in Business WeekÂ reported that todayâ€™s well-known luxury brands are experiencing steady growth. Some of the most popular luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Gucci, all reported 2007 sales increases and expect the 2008 market for luxury goods to continue to surpass historic global growth trends.
Despite a sunny outlook, continuous negative media reports surrounding the condition of the U.S. economy and overall housing market, have todayâ€™s luxury consumers putting away their credit cards. This calls for adaptive marketing tactics to boost consumer confidence.
In my last blog, I discussed the idea of â€˜perceivedâ€™ versus â€˜realâ€™ value. With the nervous condition of todayâ€™s luxury consumers, focusing on â€˜realâ€™ value is more important than ever in the high-end market. This makes for all the more reason to appeal to consumersâ€™ emotional side.
Below are some key marketing tactics essential to maintaining a luxury brand in todayâ€™s state of affairs.
– Relevant emotional connections –
The key word here is relevant. Design ads with the consumersâ€™ emotional and lifestyle aspirations at the forefront. Tell a story that resonates with your target audience. Advertising isnâ€™t just crucial to enhanced brand awareness, but also allows consumers to connect with your product on a higher, more personal level.
– Evolve the brand –
The luxury brands that have succeeded for decades are constantly re-inventing themselves. (Burberry, Cadillac, Tiffany, Channel, etc.) To appeal to luxury consumers, itâ€™s not just about creating a price point or clever brand name, but instead, you must fit into consumersâ€™ ever-evolving lifestyles. High-end consumers will pay a premium for any number of product benefits. Remember, itâ€™s all about appealing to their expansive lifestyle views that allows the product and brand to adapt to change and style preferences of your audience. Again, relevance here is key.
– Know what makes consumers buy –
Price/value relationship, product and brand reputation, and store/dealer reputation are essential in creating and maintaining a luxury brand. Additionally, word-of-mouth (especially of those within oneâ€™s social circle), articles and reviews in magazines and newspapers, advertisements, the Internet and the overall impression will be key influencers.
– Develop a strong brand relationship with consumers –
Consumers must feel connected to the brand itself. A generic prescription drug may work better than a known name brand, but if itâ€™s relatively unknown throughout the marketplace, consumers will purchase one that remains fresh in their mind and one they may have a pre-established relationship with. Having a consumer connection via customer testimonials, strong media reviews, compelling advertisements, and a well-designed and user-friendly Web site, will enhance the relationship among the brand and the luxury consumers its targeting.
– Balance performance andÂ the way the product makes the consumerÂ expience luxury –
Every consumer â€˜experiences luxuryâ€™ differently. There must be equilibrium between uniqueness and exclusivity. The bulk of luxury consumers do not buy a product because others donâ€™t have it or canâ€™t afford it. They buy it because of the way it makes them feel–special and unique. Even if a product has a wealth of performance peaks, it must convey a customizable experience that connects with the consumer in order to sell. For example, a high-performance kitchen faucet may create the feeling of being a professional chef while preparing a family meal. A luxury steam shower may create the feeling of basking in oneâ€™s own personal sanctuary or create an intersection with holistic healing. Whatever the story, the brand must tell it.
– Luxury brands stand strong –
This fact remains. Despite the negative reports, there is a large luxury consumer base in which to tap. Todayâ€™s nervous consumers need to feel a â€œnew comfortâ€ connection with their luxury brands. The most important aspect of marketing to todayâ€™s luxury consumers is to keep their emotions at the forefront of all marketing and branding initiatives.
Looking for more tips on luxury branding? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.