Call me naive, or indeed a marketer who’s every marketers dream, but I love luxury. Since I was a kid I’ve always had a fascination with the luxurious, particularly in the area of cars and watches.
I love the story of their brands’ heritages, their engineering ethos and the subtle idiosyncrasies that may never be spotted by the average punter. Of course, it has always been a window shopping hobby due to budgetary constraints.
I recently took a look at some of the ultra-exclusive brands in these categories to see why they had got such a hold on me and to see if the rest of us marketing to a broader market could indeed take anything from their approach using the traditional four Ps approach.
– Luxury equals expensive. Higher prices create the position of those who own the items are wealthy
– Secondary position of connoisseur through high prices. Those who spend that amount on an item must really know their stuff and both understand/enjoy the ‘finer things’ in life
– Quality with particular focus on craftsmanship. When you think about it, a €20 Casio will keep far better time than a Rolex, but it’s the fascination with moving parts, and elegant finish/aesthetics that these brands push
– The perception that the brand itself creates can have one of two distinct desired affects: 1) the end-user will be recognised for wearing thee brand in a particular area i.e. the most well-known brand in that luxury category that can be recognised by the masses, again Rolex being an example.
The flipside is a different brand e.g. Patek Philippe which is not recognised by the masses and is even more exclusive – the desired affect being that it is recognised only by fellow connoisseurs. The dichotomy of mass recognition through exclusivity or niche elitism, again through exclusivity.
– Through recognised dealers only usually in capital cities only such as Dublin, Prague, Paris, Berlin
– Beautifully presented behind a shop window or on a dealers forecourt. Customers must almost approach such items with a sense of trepidation
– Most promotion is done through sponsorship, POS and brand placement in films
So what does this all mean? What really strikes me about this industry is that a lot of luxury brands create their barriers to entice people. Much like telling a child they must not push that big shiny red button, it creates a sense of want, curiosity and most importantly plays upon consumers aspirations. There is no doubting that the luxury industry is full of incredibly high-quality products that require decades of innovation. Equally it has its fair share of well-packaged cowboys.
What I have taken from the luxury industry is this – don’t move from your mission statement; be wary of pricing your product too low; place your product appropriately using ambassadors, not just traditional channels and most importantly know your audience.
A blanket bomb approach to promotion on a low-cost product can cost you your competitive advantage – stop thinking about the competition and actually think about what’s unique with your product. Your offering could create a devout customer base rather than a fickle following waiting to be hunted!
What’s unique about your offering? Is a theme carry this USP throughout your marketing approach? Let me know your thoughts!