According to Deloitte, luxury goods is a trillion-dollar market.
From watches to condos, business is booming. Even discount retailers like Target partner with couture designers like Missoni to attract customers shopping for high fashion at affordable prices.
Today we’ll discuss what a luxury brand is and how it’s different from others. Next, we’ll provide insight into how to build and market a new luxury brand.
Let’s get started, shall we?
What is a luxury brand?
The definition of a luxury brand changes depending on the type of brand you’re describing.
In consumer goods, it’s Louis Vuitton and expensive couture fashion. Everything from handbags to handkerchiefs sport logos from Burberry, Christian Dior and Chanel.
According to THAT Agency, five factors clearly define a luxury brand:
The Journal of Business Research takes a more scientific approach to defining a luxury brand. They published a paper to “provide a new and usable definition of ‘luxury brand,’” as well as summarize all the published research on luxury brands to date.
What makes luxury brands different
The tricky part about what makes a luxury brand different from other brands is that it ties directly back to the definition. We’ve already discussed that the definition of a luxury brand changes from market to market.
In the realm of consumer goods, what separates Louis Vuitton from Walmart is obvious. However, the difference between Louis Vuitton and Hermès is subtle (hint: the more expensive brand isn’t always the most luxurious).
Keeping with our example of Louis Vuitton vs. Hermès, there are many reasons why LV is a better example of luxury branding at its finest:
The company invests in collaboration with a variety of artists without diluting the brand.
Regardless of the artist collaboration or Creative Director at the helm, LV maintains a consistent brand identity.
The parent company of Louis Vuitton, LVMH, also owns a slew of other luxury brands, so they have a ton of experience in this area.
On the surface, one luxury consumer goods brand may seem to be very similar to the other.
But what got Louis Vuitton to the place it is today is that the company carefully measured everything related to the brand. The company also kept a long-term brand building strategy in mind the entire time.
Hermès is a leading luxury brand in its own right. It’s fascinating how the French fashion company built its business without a marketing department. While this may seem crazy, Hermes has a specific brand strategy in place based on 181 years of tradition.
Getting started with luxury brand building
Are you trying to figure out how to create a luxury brand from scratch? We’ve got you covered.
The brand leadership experts at Martin Roll suggest a five-step framework to build a strong luxury brand that includes:
1. Get specific about who you’re targeting. There’s a niche market that cares about what your brand is about. Figure out exactly who they are, and focus on one persona when you’re getting started. After your brand is well-established, broaden your definition of an ideal customer.
2. Do things differently. Differentiation is a key focus for emerging brands. Companies like LUSH Cosmetics focus on handmade makeup to get noticed. This sets LUSH miles apart from big box retailers like Sephora.
3. Become a status symbol. Focus on how influencers in a specific niche are using your product or service. By creating the perception that only the most discerning buy into your brand, everyone in your target market will, too.
4. Create exclusivity. New luxury brands can tap into exclusivity by offering special perks to existing customers. High price tags and scarcity are other ways to employ this strategy. Aston Martin combined a high price tag with scarcity when it created the Aston Martin One-77. The British car maker made a whopping total of 77 cars and sold them at $1.8M dollars each.
5. Consistently delivery on your brand promises. The bar for luxury brands is high. You’ll need to raise your game and keep your brand promises in every single customer interaction.
Marketing tips for your new luxury brand
Create a consistent brand from day one.
Start with a company style guides that gives marketing teams technical details about your brand’s look including appropriate colors, fonts and styles (minimalist, etc.). Keep in mind this is a living document that will evolve with your brand.
Make branded templates to protect brand identity.
Avoid a brand identity crisis by using brand management software like Lucidpress. Create locked templates that keep logos from getting stretched and colors from being changed, no matter who’s working on your materials.
Engage in cause marketing and brand activism.
Cause marketing (aka brand activism) is a great way to get customers to connect to you on an emotional level. Ben & Jerry’s Pecan Resist Ice Cream raises money to “peacefully resist the Trump administration’s regressive and discriminatory policies and build a future that values inclusivity, equality, and justice for people.” There’s even a petition on the landing page and a list of charities sales support.
Go all-in on SEO.
No matter how luxurious your brand is, no one will know about it if they can’t find it on Google. Invest in SEO to increase visibility for your brand in the long-term.
A note about brand identity protection
Lucidpress understands how critical brand identity is to building and marketing a luxury brand.
That’s why we’ve created the best brand templating platform available. It’s easy to protect your brand with the right tools.
Create a brand-new document from within Lucidpress, or import your InDesign files to create lockable templates that don’t change from user to user. This protects your branded templates, no matter who’s working on them. No more stretched logos or color issues.
Building a luxury brand isn’t for the faint-hearted. With a detailed strategy and proper brand building techniques, you’re well on your way to becoming the next big thing on the luxury scene.