According to McKinsey & Company, nearly 50% of luxury goods buying decisions are influenced by what consumers hear or see online. That means your brand needs to get smart and strategic about your digital marketing strategy—and fast.
Unlike mass marketing, luxury brands do not rely solely on capturing all available market share. Instead, they have to foster an atmosphere of aspiration; to create the desire for (and vision of) a luxury lifestyle.
You may use the same multi-channel tools—print, advertising, email, online, and social media—but you’ll wield them in more creative, specific ways to foster that prestige persona.
Guidelines for building a luxury brand
1. Make your website as functional as it is gorgeous
It’s tempting, when working with luxury brands, to focus on site design—its look and feel—as your top priority. But you need to make sure your navigation is intuitive and that it’s designed with user experience in mind. It should be easy to find products and to buy them.
For Diamonds in Glass, we created a curated gift section that narrowed down a multitude of choices so that the customer could find something appropriate, quickly and easily.
2. Don’t routinely offer off-price sales
Instead, save them for the times of year that you know are important to your bottom line. A luxury line contains the promise of exclusivity, and a high price is a status indicator. As much as everyone loves a bargain, the luxury marketplace is a place to highlight a product’s story—how it’s designed and made, and a demonstration of why it’s worth every penny.
3. Scarcity can be a good thing
Think of Hermès and the Birkin bag–even after decades in production, the customer who acquires one after being on a waiting list for, well, years, is very, very, happy. Could Hermès make a bag for every woman who can afford one? Probably. But they don’t need to, and they increase their desirability as a luxury brand by controlling availability.
This doesn’t mean that a luxury brand shouldn’t offer something easier to acquire and more affordable–for Hermès, a small accessory such as a key ring might be just the right starter product and the first step in a lifetime brand collection.
4. Celebrities inspire aspiration
Nearly every luxury brand has a celebrity spokesperson. They are the face of your product in advertising–after all, who doesn’t want to see their product on a celebrity social media account? Celebrities increase the aspirational value of a luxury product, and word of mouth is always a selling point. Brands recruit the celebrities they work with in order to appeal to their audiences, and more increasingly, that means the celebrity should have a massive, passionate following on social media. Consumers have become much more reliant on word of mouth and crowds to determine what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out’. Celebrities play a big role in this.
Not quite ready for celebrity marketing? Consider the trend for influencers, people who already love your product and let their followers know it. Offer hashtags for your products in your own social media campaigns so that influencers can easily amplify their impact.
This goes beyond embroidering initials on sheets and towels, nice as that is. It’s a commitment to get to know your customers, their buying patterns, their preferences, and even special events such as birthdays and anniversaries. The more you understand about your customer, the more able you are to offer a sense of luxury in your brand communications.
For example, a personalized email (perhaps including a special offer) in the month approaching a special event could well be the trigger that brings someone into your store or to your website. Even better, an invitation from a top exec to an exclusive store event, as we did for La Perla, or a hand-signed direct mail.
6. Brick & mortar stores reflect the lux brand experience
Your sales associates are, of course, fully trained to provide the ultimate in customer service, but that’s not enough anymore.
Your stores should be temples to your brand, fully integrated into the multi-channel marketing that robustly and precisely communicates luxury. From the moment a customer steps into a store, surround them with consistent messaging that lets them know exactly why yours is the product they’ve been looking for.
Here at Hagopian Ink, we specialize in multi-channel luxury brand marketing. To see how Hagopian Ink creates integrated, multi-channel campaigns, take a look at how we helped to drive sales for Frette.
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