Executive Education

4 Strategies for Marketing Luxury Brand Products

The marketplace for luxury items has never been more crowded, and the average consumer is increasingly finding that what were previously unattainable luxuries are now much more widely available for consumers.

Changes in the way that luxury items are consumed, coupled with the fact that the marketplace itself has changed and grown substantially has meant that purveyors of luxury brands have had to up their game in order to stand out. Luxury goods were once the domain of a select few companies with exclusive access to rare and exotic materials. This is no longer the case, however there are a number of complex reasons for the increasing availability of luxury products, not least of all that mainstream brands are beginning to embrace the notion of adding a luxury line to their existing product offerings.

Now that luxury items have entered the mainstream consciousness, businesses have their work cut out when it comes to selling their products to the widest audience possible. A balance needs to be struck so that the luxury credentials of the products are emphasised while avoiding creating the impression that these items are only suitable for individuals who are wealthy or upper class. If the luxury credentials are understated, then consumers won’t know why they should pay more for this product. Conversely, if the marketing strategy goes too far the other way, then there’s a risk of isolating a large chunk of the potential customer base.

Below are some words of advice on how to deal with the marketing of luxury goods.

Customization and Uniqueness

Customization is a very powerful sales tool. By giving the customer the ability to customize the product they buy, you make them feel the product and service that they have received is unique. This will make the customer feel special and also means you can charge a higher rate for the product. Customization is effective regardless of the exact nature of the product that you are selling. Whether they are paper binders for their business needs or jewellery for personal use, customization is a very effective sales tool.

If you’re trying to market your luxury brand, customized promotional products are essential. These presentation materials range from business cards to ink pens and binders. If you’re planning on giving numerous presentations and sales pitches, paper binders are a lifesaver. Higher-end products like Company Folders’ paper binders allow you can choose your method of printing and create your own custom design, so you can ensure the luxury in your brand is reflected.

Part of the reason that customization is so effective is because traditionally luxury products have been made by skilled craftsmen, usually to the customer’s exact specifications. The skill required to craft these luxury goods is traditionally where their high price tags have come from. Today, however, obtaining what were once scarce materials has become much easier and advances in manufacturing have meant that producing luxury products on a larger scale is now possible.

Some luxury goods are still crafted by hand today and these can command the same high price tags that they did in the past. If a product is handmade, this should form a significant part of its marketing as an item that is crafted by hand is still recognised as being more luxurious than one mass produced by machines.

Take Advantage of All the Senses

When you are marketing a luxury item, you don’t just want to emphasise the senses relevant to the product. For example, if you are marketing a perfume your advertising campaign shouldn’t just be about the smell. Effective advertising appeals to as many senses as possible to give potential customers the impression that your product is fulfilling multiple roles in their lives.

A good example of this kind of marketing is seen in luxury cars. When a Rolls Royce rolls off the production line, the company infuses the interior with a scent designed specifically for the task. This scent is meant to capture the feeling and experience of being in a handcrafted luxury car. It is done by blending the smells of wood, leather, and oil so that when someone is inside the car, they feel that they can identify specific materials involved in its construction. A number of luxury clothing manufacturers also infuse their new clothes with smells that are designed to evoke thoughts of freshly laundered clothes, comfort, and of course luxury.

There is a reason that advertising campaigns, whether they are for luxury products or not, choose memorable background music. This is because we then associate that music with that brand, and therefore the easier we remember the music, the easier we will remember the related product. Again, though, a balance needs to be found here. Choosing music that is inappropriate can end up detracting from the luxury image that you are trying to cultivate.

Cultivate Mass Appeal

In order to sell a luxury product to the average consumer, you need to make sure that they don’t feel intimidated by it. Consider, for example, luxury alcohol; a consumer may well be able to afford an expensive bottle of wine or whiskey, but they may well feel intimidated by the price tag. They know that the expensive wine is good wine, but they don’t have enough specialist knowledge about the product to be able to evaluate their purchase.

Apple’s iPhone is an excellent demonstration of what can be achieved when a company takes a luxury or specialist product and remarkets it to have mass appeal. Prior to the iPhone, smartphones were considered luxury devices which served a variety of functions but were incredibly difficult to use. They were not at all user friendly and were marketed almost exclusively to business people and those with high powered jobs. The marketing of the devices reflected this attitude and consequently the average consumer was deterred from investing in one.

The iPhone changed all of this. Apple showed off a device which was just as capable, more so in fact, than the competition, but which was designed to be easier to use. We are all familiar with what followed; the iPhone completely redefined the concept of a cellular phone and every manufacturer today owes an enormous debt to Apple for setting the stage for the smartphone revolution.

Don’t Underestimate the Value of Brand Ethos

Consumers today are much more concerned than they used to be with the supply chains that they support when buying products. They also increasingly care about the green credentials of the companies that they give their money to.

Rather than trying to keep customers from asking certain questions about your company, you should instead put your ethos at the very heart of what you do. Customers will admire your company for displaying confidence in your ethos and if they can easily see that your company is one that cares about its customers and the wider world, it will go a long way to cultivating trust and loyalty, two of the most powerful marketing tools in existence.

If you feel that any part of your supply chain would detract from your brand’s image if it was put in front of your customer base, this is an indication that you need to change up your process. It is much better to absorb the extra costs of doing things ethically than risk the losses you will incur if your customer base finds a reason to jump ship. In fact, by neglecting your company’s ethos you will only be helping your competitors.

The market for luxury products has changed dramatically over the last half a century. More companies than ever before are jostling for poll position in this increasingly crowded marketplace. Effective marketing is the key to surviving, and thriving, in this new ecosystem.

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Featured Columnists at the CEOWORLD Magazine is a team of experts led by Camilla O'Donnell, James Reed, Amarendra Bhushan, and Amanda Millar. The CEOWORLD Magazine is the worlds leading business and technology magazine for CEOs (chief executives) and top-level management professionals.