Branding yourself and your services as a luxury brand can seem intimidating. Luxury often means a higher price point, and there’s a lot of pressure to explain the value and the quality behind it. But it’s not only possible—it’s a great strategy. Here’s a look at what works and what doesn’t when it comes to branding and marketing luxury brands.
The Power of an Origin Story: Using Brand Heritage
Just as every great superhero has an epic origin story, every luxury brand has a well-known genesis that emphasizes its quality.
Your origin story should highlight experience in the industry, expertise, your brand’s philosophy, and the reasons to choose your luxury brand over the competitors.’ Aston Martin is a great example of a luxury brand that emphasizes the role of their origin story across their advertisements and products – the brand’s elite origin is so influential that it has become the reason to purchase an Aston Martin.
Hesitancy amongst consumers to purchase luxury goods is largely due to higher prices. It’s important for luxury brands to remind their consumers that they’re not only paying for a name but the premium quality associated with that name as well. An origin story may help them do just that.
Shifting Focus From Utility to Uniqueness
With the branding of luxury goods, distinguishing yourself from competitors can feel more complicated. Omnicom’s Miles R. Brickley suggests “focus[ing] on creating implicit value with your personal branding techniques,” to set yourself apart from competitors.
Ask yourself why your luxury brand is worth it:
- Does your brand offer a unique level of prestige for consumers?
- How does your brand’s quality set it apart from the rest?
- Is notoriety a marketing point?
- What about brand-specific style?
Figuring out what makes your brand unique, why your consumers should choose your brand over other luxury competitors, and why your brand is worth paying a luxury premium are all important topics to cover.
Walking Along the Cutting Edge
Innovation can be a key indicator of your brand’s individuality, right from the start. When you look at the past year for Gucci, it’s clear that they were tuned in to what their consumers wanted—trend.
Florine Eppe Beauloye writes that “Gucci remains one of the industry’s best in class digital performers, by leveraging digital storytelling, elevated e-commerce, and a constant drive to experiment and innovate online. From digital gifting with split payments to AR-powered try-on features on the Gucci App, the brand is constantly experimenting online.”
And then there’s Burberry. This digital luxury pioneer dropped four spots in 2021 after failing to anticipate the loungewear boom that took over amidst Covid-19.
Not only is prestige and exclusivity essential for luxury brands, but staying on top of trends can make all the difference. This is especially true when it comes to maintaining your reputation and presence.
Telling the Story Your Audience Needs to Hear
Understanding your audience is vital in any marketing plan, but when it comes to selling luxury products, it’s the engine that keeps your brand running. Creating a concept in line with your consumer’s desires and tastes is how you sell luxury products. The European Business Review writes that “luxury is as much a concept as it is a physical product.”
Everything from where you market your product (i.e., magazines, social media platforms, etc.) to what your specific advertisements look like should be based on catching your customer’s eye.
- Is your customer someone that wants to stay ahead of trends?
- Are they prestigious in their respective fields?
- Are they looking for indulgence?
Knowing what your customer wants and fulfilling that deficiency is what makes a luxury brand successful.
Creating “Aspirational Content” Online
What is aspirational content? It’s actually something luxury brands have been creating since the dawn of indulgent product marketing. At its core, aspirational content caters to desire. It’s the underlying message that asks consumers: “Don’t you wish this was you?”
The second most popular luxury brand online in 2021 was Chanel, with its best-selling products being luxury bags and luxury perfume. But you’ll notice that the content that sells these products has very little to do with the actual products. Instead, it focuses on beauty and sex appeal.
Their content is created with famous models and actors known for their looks, and this alone is enough to create that sense of longing and need.
Another example is a Ferrari ad that shows a luxury car driving along a picturesque European coastline. Yes, the car is the focal point, but the content as a whole is making you crave a drive in a Ferrari along the coast.
Optimizing Your Content
When you type the name of any successful luxury brand into your search engine, it’ll always be at the top of the list. There are three things to keep in mind when it comes to managing SEO with luxury brands:
A Distinct Name
The name of your luxury brand should be distinct, stylish, and easy to distinguish from competitors. In Luxe Digital’s list of 15 most popular luxury brands online in 2021, only one brand had a name with more than one word, and it was Louis Vuitton. Name is everything in luxury branding.
Managing your SEO with external agencies like Rankjacker is something that’ll benefit your business. While it might seem like an unwelcome expense, SEO is an absolute must when it comes to establishing yourself as a luxury brand.
Pinterest is surprisingly essential to a luxury brand’s image. The platform’s visual nature is a great way to market your aesthetic. Chanel’s presence on Pinterest exemplifies this sentiment completely, having over 1,200 pins per day without even having their own Pinterest account. This means that Chanel’s Pinterest presence is completely driven by the brand’s advocates.
Finding a Balance Between Functionality and Style on Your Website
Dom Perignon’s website is a prime example of what not to do with a luxury brand’s website. It’s slow to load, hard to read, and difficult to use. In this case, Dom Perignon’s website sacrifices functionality for style.
No matter who the customer is, nobody likes slow websites that are unintuitive. In contrast with Dom Perignon’s website, Taylor uses Aston Martin and Versace as examples of luxury brands that find the necessary balance between functionality and style.
By 2025, 30% of luxury sales will be made online, so making your website a priority is more relevant now than ever before.
Are You Conscious of Your Brand Placement?
Of course, raising brand awareness is the main priority for lux brands. But it’s the allure of an exclusive, high-quality product that separates an extravagant product from the rest. Exclusivity is the key to marketing luxury brands. You have to be aware of who’s seen publicly repping your brand, where your brand is found, what consumers are associated with it, and who your brand connects with.
There’s a common fear connecting many luxury brands right now. They’re concerned that transitioning to online sales will make their products too accessible, decreasing that untouchable quality. If anyone can purchase their products, brands assume the inherent value of their product will fall. Much of the perceived value in luxury goods is in their rarity, right?
Well, Marcus Taylor argues that this is flawed logic. He says, “for luxury brands, the Internet does not represent wider distribution of actual products. It’s a wider distribution of the content that evokes the desire to buy luxury products.”
This shifted perspective on content is a crucial point to focus on when creating and maintaining your brand’s social media presence.
The Unboxing Phenomenon
Brands need to make sure customers have a “luxury experience” from beginning to end regardless of their purchase online. That means that everything, from your website’s functionality and appearance to the final product unboxing, should remind the consumer why they decided to choose your luxury brand.
Over the past couple of years, a major online trend has been the “unboxing” video, where celebrities and social media influencers unbox products that they’ve purchased or received as PR. This is a great marketing tool for luxury brands because it shows the consumer the previous aspirational content and creates excitement surrounding the literal experience of unboxing your product.
Your consumer will see someone influential and view these celebrities’ comments on the brand-specific packaging and branded materials. In short, the world gets to see just how much they love your product.
What was earlier just opening a box is now an entire experience unique to your brand and the product. Customers will feel the impact of the product. They purchase the item from your brand through a recommendation by someone they trust and look up to.
Luxury is an Experience, Not a Product
When people decide to shop for luxury brands, they have certain expectations about their experience. Whether it’s online or in-store, both the browsing and purchasing experiences should be memorable and aligned with your brand’s luxury image. If you want your brand or service to be labeled as “Luxury,” you need to give them that luxury experience from beginning to end.