Exclusivity 101: How to market a luxury brand
When thinking of luxury, a few words come to mind: exclusive, expensive, exceptional. Luxury brands represent the best of their field whether that is high fashion or expensive cars. Seldom has one seen a Facebook ad for Gucci, or a TV commercial for Rolls-Royce, however. And this is no coincidence; marketing is not simply about generating sales. Instead, it’s about defining the personality of a brand, and for luxury products, this is precisely how feelings of exclusivity are evoked. Unlike other brands, luxury shopping is not just about the product, but also the experience. Setting a clear marketing strategy is essential to defining this very experience, making consumers feel a sense of belonging to the brand, and not just the product.
Distinguishing luxury brands from other players
The role of advertising in the luxury realm is not one of direct sales. What brands present is purely visual, instead of focusing on the functionalities of their product. Take Cartier for example, which released an advertisement displaying a panther laying down next to a single, red box. This is reflective of what luxury brands often do: they aim to sell a mood, not a product. Instead of advertising a specific product, they showcase an image to remind consumers of their dream and what they are chasing after. Unlike non-luxury brands, the aim is not to convince customers that their products are quality-made — that is already implied as a given fact. It’s all about establishing brand awareness, and constantly reminding consumers of its timeless value. For this reason, developing a marketing strategy for a luxury brand is the single-most important step. Without building an intentional brand image, the company ceases to be luxurious.
Why content marketing is key
Showcasing a luxury brand traditionally requires a restrained approach, oftentimes allowing its image to promote itself. Nowadays however, the game is changing. Content marketing is the fastest-growing strategy for luxury brands, where customers choose to engage. This new approach prioritises the value of content for entertainment or information purposes, while putting the brand second. In the digital age, such an integrated strategy is vital. Consumers have access to an infinite source of information and products, resulting in a higher market concentration. This forces luxury brands to take a more active approach in selling themselves, with a stronger focus on customer engagement. Social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram are being embraced by big-name brands, expanding their visual, written and video material as a means to communicate a more playful, appealing story. Most recently, Balenciaga collaborated with the television series The Simpsons in an animated short film for its SS22 Collection during Paris Fashion Week. A decade ago, such an alliance would have been virtually unthinkable. However, bold marketing strategies like these are precisely what sets a luxury brand apart from its competitors. Its purpose was not to make Balenciaga appear any less exclusive. Instead, this unexpected collaboration creates the opposite effect. Establishing exclusivity is reminding consumers that their brand is restricted to a certain demographic. This is done in part, by marketing to those who do not fit the customer profile, further reminding the public of its high value.
Content marketing for Gen Z
Generation Z is raising the bar for brands to develop close customer connections. For many years, luxury brands were hesitant to enter the social media space, fearful of losing control of their image of perfection. However, exclusivity no longer means rendering your brand inaccessible. In fact, it’s quite the opposite in the digital age. Luxury consumers seek out brands that foster intimate connections. Now, digital marketing requires a brand to spread themselves across the top media channels, producing creative content that tells a story, all while maintaining one’s image of luxury. We’ve compiled a list of ways in which luxury brands can build buyer relationships in the digital age:
Visual media is now being integrated into the shopping experience. Music videos, short stories and television series can all be integrated with new technologies which permit consumers to click on anything from one’s clothes, to the jewellery someone is wearing, and instantly purchase. An example of this is MCM’s shoppable Christmas video, “The Invitation” which showcases a couple who have been invited to a series of holiday parties going through a number of outfit changes.
The ‘stories’ feature introduced on Snapchat in 2013 was an event that sparked the boom of micro-content. Now, Instagram and Facebook have joined the bandwagon, allowing anyone to upload featured photos or videos for up to 20 seconds. This has become a prime opportunity for brands to release shorter, more accessible content to anyone. Fendi for example, partnered with the influencer Negin Mirsalehi to offer a behind-the-scenes Snapchat tour of the Fendi SS16 fashion show at Milan Fashion Week.
Interactive personalised content
As mentioned, the experience is the defining quality of luxury shopping. Brands are taking this to the next level by immersifying the content for buyers. Louis Vuitton’s “LV & Me” jewellery campaign allowed customers to input their names on the site, generating a personalised video for the user. This is a creative approach for customers to identify themselves with the brand on a more personal level.
Luxury has and will continue to be a symbol of exclusivity. As the digital marketing space grows however, the ways in which exclusive brands create this image is evolving. Nowadays, brand marketing rendered through visual, engaging content is the most effective approach to securing customer relationships. Even more importantly, it plays a key role in providing the immersive experience that luxury consumers seek.
Slava can help luxury brands reculture their organisation to embrace the digital era whilst retaining and protecting their image of exclusivity. If you would like to learn more about how Slava Communication can help your brand develop a successful content marketing strategy, get in touch with our team of experts here.