Vol. I, Issue 1
Learning From Luxury
What Can the Luxury Brands Teach Your Business?
by Chris Farmer
All suits are not Armani. All cars not Maserati. And all Champaign is not Krug. But what can brands like these, the luxury brands, bring to our businesses?
Luxury brands operate from the perspective of exclusivity. There are high barriers to sales in the form of high pricing, small production, exclusive distribution, and minimal communication. The luxury brands exist to tempt us, they fuel our desire to be part of an elite tribe – the Happy Few – who can afford them and who can appreciate their value.
On the surface of things, it would seem that luxury brands operate in an almost exactly opp
osite way from “ordinary” brands. Normally, if you have a brand, your basic idea is that people should love it and buy it. If it is an athletic shoe, everyone should have access to it and get a pair. If it is a gourmet coffee, we should all be able to sip it.
On a very basic level, brands exist to facilitate the sale. They help us choose, they distinguish products from the competitors, they make us feel good about buying them, and they inspire loyalty and trust. In many cases, brands provide a kind of social credential, allowing the consumer to be part of group that appeals to him or her.
This is an important point to bear in mind. Acceptance in social context is one of our basic human needs. If everyone is wearing Reeboks and you have a pair of Doc Martens, you are making a clear social statement. Or you might feel a little left out. Conformity is a strong element in tribal behavior.
With luxury brands, the same is true – only the tribe is much smaller. They are the ruling class, the tribal elders. The brands they choose reflect their status in society. In this way, it can be seen as a kind of conformity but on a scale. We ALL wear suits, for example, but only a few of us wear Ermenegildo Zegna suits. It is a vertical distinction.
How does this way of thinking apply to ordinary brands? Luxury teaches us that rarity and high price spark desire – so why not add a very high end product to your range? If you are selling ice-creams at an average price of EUR 3, you could introduce a Gold Range that costs EUR 13 or 23. While these prices are not outlandishly expensive, they will give us pause.
“Why so much?” we ask ourselves. The high price implies high value. Something is much better about this expensive ice-cream. We might have to try it to see. In the meantime, however, I will take my usual, less expensive version. By adding an anomalous upper-end price, you have instantly added value to the whole brand.
Another way to add this value is to make your Gold Range scarce. You may advertise it in many places, but it is only available at, say, two shops in the city. People have to make an effort to access the brand. This is a luxury reflex, but it can work for ordinary, mortal brands as well.
On the other hand, if you do take this approach, make sure your upper end product has something special about it. A rare ingredient, for example, or a designer package. The allure of luxury is strong, but people will not be fooled for long.
In the end, the emperor must be wearing clothes.
Brand Resolutions Any Time
Reviewed by Sara Novičić
A comprehensive and a well-chosen list of New Year’s branding resolutions for any ambitious business, large or small.
Overall, it nicely sums up various key ways to position your brand in such a way to always be mindful of your audience and build your external ties as much as you invest in strengthening your brand’s base identity from within. Another element to this story, however, could be that all of these familiar strategies could use a twist: try to find your brand’s unique way to think outside of the boxes suggested in this article. Put your imagination and creativity to the test and make your yearly list of events memorable and inspiring, and your partnerships more profound. Challenge your brand to make it grow.
An Experiment Ends
Reviewed by Nikola Sekulić
All good things must come to an end?
No matter how big a corporation, it seems that everyone has a hard time implementing good branding decisions that will foster growth and business recognition, but rather they test it through trial and error, ending up with abandoned projects and in overall budget deficit. Toyota, it seems, is no different. Trying to appeal to young consumers by sub-branding is something like trying to prove to your grandkids that you’re still cool by hiring a young actor to be you – it is costly, it takes much more planning than you are willing to put in, and it won’t work. Because the only thing that will make anyone believe that you are interesting and worthy of their attention is you. The lesson being, rather than investing in faceless projects with little to no identity to back the new product, try to look inside yourself and realize the values that you and your brand hold, which you can communicate to the public and you target audience.
A lesson to be learned from Toyota – your brand Identity is one, and whole. It is something that people will love and hate, cry and laugh about, whatever the case, it is your brand and its message should be clear and consistent. Whether you are branching out and developing new products, or trying to revitalize the existing brand – make it personal, tell its stories, let people love it.
Tea is COOL – Tealicious!
Reviewed by Jessica Petrović
Successful products like these remind me of how important it is in branding to know your demographic.
Who are you dealing with and how do they think? Why do they like certain things and what is the driving force behind their feelings. What ages are they and what is the price range they will likely spend within? Furthermore, you see that this brand has designed the tea’s packaging according to the general lifestyle and personality of their demographic. Once your demographic is ‘discovered’, you can create the driving force behind your brand, creating something stylish, exciting, relatable, and trustworthy. Also they realized a weakness in the market regarding tea; Tea was losing its “coolness” with the millennial consumers, which shows they did their research. They then had a great starting point in which to work from, as well, knowing they had the task of not just creating any tea, but a really awesome one, a ‘cool’ one.