When you think of a luxury brand, what is the first one that comes to mind? Dior? Lamborghini? Rolex? Take a look at any number of reputable brands and you’ll begin to notice patterns in their success. But with competition stronger than ever, how do you stand out from the crowd and build a name for yourself in the luxury market?
What is a luxury brand?
Before we dive into the fundamentals of creating a luxury brand, what exactly constitutes as ‘luxurious’? Luxury has always been intrinsically tied to status – those who could afford extravagant garments and possessions did so to demonstrate their wealth and power in society.
Nowadays, it is not only the wealthy that can indulge in luxury brands, as they have become more accessible. But, the status that comes with these names is still very much prevalent and often overshadows the price associated with them. So, how do luxury brands thrive in today’s climate?
Find a niche… and get really good at it
To build a memorable brand, it’s vital to find an area to specialise in. It’s also crucial to find an audience that can afford what you’re offering in that area. While luxury brands are more attainable than ever before, affluent customers will be the crux of your market.
What sets luxury brands apart from others is their reputation for quality and craftsmanship. It’s not enough just to find a niche, you must set the standards for it. Luxury brands are often known for the time, effort, care and detail they put into their products, particularly if they are handmade. If done right, brands can become a part of culture itself, for instance Burberry has become quintessentially British.
Embrace your heritage
All luxury brands have a story to tell. They often pride themselves in using knowledge passed down through generations, which emphasises the promise of quality and reliability. Embracing their heritage helps to position brands as elite. It is also a good way to connect with their audience, particularly if it is a rags-to-riches story like Ralph Lauren who epitomises the American Dream.
With heritage comes the responsibility to deliver on brand promises. Once your brand is known for a set of standards, it is crucial to meet these at all times. Consistency is key to ensuring your customers become, and remain, loyal.
Differentiate yourself from others
Once you’ve found your niche, it’s vital to stand out from others who may already provide a similar offering. Luxury brands also have to differentiate themselves from other brands to give the perception of exclusivity. Take Emirates Airline, for example. Their most recent advert differentiates them from the majority of existing airlines by highlighting that luxurious features, or ‘upgrades’, come as standard.
Creating a sense of exclusivity is important for luxury brands, as not everyone should be able to afford what they offer. They have a reputation for being elite, which adds to their perceived value. Offering limited editions also creates an impression of rarity, which is why some people will happily wait on a list to snap up the next big thing before it’s gone for good.
Create a strong brand identity
A luxury brand’s identity should embody its values, personality and excellence seamlessly. Using famous figures to represent your brand is one of the best ways to create an identity people will remember. Aston Martin is a fantastic example of using a famous icon to represent their brand, as they have become synonymous with James Bond.
Perfume adverts are another example of using celebrities to endorse your brand, as they are guaranteed to draw attention to it. These have gotten more ambitious over the years, such as Chanel No.5’s mini-film starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Baz Luhrmann. In this case, Kidman embodies the glamour, beauty and elegance that Chanel want to be known for.
Resonate with your audience
Creating an emotional connection with your audience is key to building a brand people want to associate with. More recently, luxury brands have begun to understand the importance of resonating with millennials, as attitudes continue to change and evolve in society.
Louis Vuitton is a great example of a brand trying something new to make an impact with their audience, as they unveiled the face of their Spring/Summer 2016 womenswear campaign to be Jaden Smith. This challenged traditional, and now outdated, constraints on what men and women should wear and garnered the brand attention in the process.
Provide an exceptional in-store experience
The final step of building a luxury brand is to translate the image into a physical experience. This is best exemplified by department stores like Harrods and Harvey Nichols, who not only stock luxury brands, but are reputable brands in themselves.
Shopping in these stores is designed to be memorable, nurturing the consumer into making a purchase. They have doormen to welcome you, personal shoppers to hire, spa treatments, expert tailoring, and exquisite food available, as well as unique experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
The process of building a luxury brand is a journey. While it may seem like certain high-end names have been around since the beginning of time, they all had to start somewhere. From honing their craft in an affluent niche to differentiating themselves with a strong identity and sense of exclusivity, these are crucial steps to take to transform Primark into Primani.