Luxury Brand Strategy
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Luxury brand strategy is both an art and a science. It starts off as an abstract concept and ends up turning into a fully-fledged luxury brand with a life of it's own. The word 'luxury' can also be seen as meaningless. Everything that is 'premium' can also be labelled as luxury, so it is crucial to make this key distinction between premium and luxury at an early stage. As much as we enjoy creating new luxury brands, we often need to work with luxury businesses that are already established and re-engineer some of the work that has already been done . Or using the the analogy of wallpapering a room - sometimes we will need to remove a section of wallpaper rather than papering over what's already there. Below is our unique six stage process to building a luxury brand...
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, 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 brand advocate and attract others in their close circle of trust.
Brand Values & Personality
Just like a person, a luxury brand has a personality and values. BMW Group is a great example of different brand personalities. Mini is fun, cute and quirky, BMW is cool and smart, and Rolls Royce is powerful and statesmanlike. Our job is to identify your luxury 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.
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 emotions do they feel when they think about your brand? Who do they think is the market leader?
Brand Promise & Position
What do Harley Davidson sell? Motorcycles? No. Freedom. That's their brand promise - what they promise to deliver to their customers every-time they interact with them. A brand position (also know as a USP, discriminator, or point of difference) is the thing (or things) that set you apart from your competitors in the eyes of your consumers. This can often be captured in the sentence: ‘Only XYZ brand gives me…’