The first step in defining a luxury brand is about looking at the competition - or brands a customer would consider when making a decision. Who are they? Who does Google say they are? And most importantly - who do your potential customers think they are? We need to look at each of your main competitors and understand why their customers buy from them. This is key to a strong competitive advantage.
Brand benefits come in two forms: psychological benefits and functional. Let's use a fine jewellery brand as an example: a customer may buy from them because it makes them feel good to own a beautiful piece of luxury jewellery (psychological). But they may also buy because the jewellery is an investment and something they can hand down to their children (functional). This can be summed up in the line: 'I buy from XYZ because...'
Many luxury businesses go about defining their target customers with a broad brush - i.e. woman, 35-55, wealthy, etc. The problem with this approach is that it describes a lot of different people and dilutes your brand message. The key is to be specific - to have a laser focus on (ideally) just one individual. When you direct your message to just one person, you will turn them into a raving fan which will attract others in their circle.
Just like a person, a luxury brand has a personality. BMW Group is a great example of different brand personalities. Mini is fun, cute and quirky, BMW is cool and smart, Rolls Royce is powerful and statesmanlike. My job is to identify your brand's personality so that it's behaviour fits with it's characteristics. Brand values are also a key part of the mix - what your brand stands for and what it believes in. Sustainability is a good example of this.
Step three is about gaining insight from consumers. This normally involves interviewing various groups of people about your brand: people who have bought from you, people who did not buy from you, and people who have never bought from you. We need to ask questions like: why did they buy / didn't buy from you? What are the emotions they feel when they think about your brand? Who (in their mind) is the market leader?
Point of Difference
The final step is what I call your point of difference, also known as your USP (unique selling point / position / proposition) or discriminator. This is the thing (or things) that is / are totally unique to your brand. This can be based on anything, i.e. location (the only 5 star hotel in XYX town), or niche (a luxury holiday company focused on children). This can mostly be captured in the sentence: ‘Only XYZ brand gives you…’