While the word ‘luxury’ is used in daily lives to refer to certain lifestyle, the underlying construct’s definition is consumer and situation specific. If you earn less than 15000 a month, a pair of reebok shoes would be a really big luxury item for you. On the other hand, if you are going to a party with some big-wigs a $100,000 car may not be a luxury. The word luxury originates from the Latin term “luxus” signifying, “soft or extravagant living, indulgence, sumptuousness or opulence” The meaning of luxury is extremely subjective and multidimensional in nature.
It depends on dimension such as high price, high quality, uniqueness, exclusivity etc. What is a luxury product? In economic terms, luxury products are those who can consistently command and justify a higher price than products with comparable functions and similar quality. In marketing term, luxury products are those who can deliver emotional benefits which is hard to match by comparable products. The luxury sector targets its products and services at consumers on the top-end of the wealth spectrum.
These self-selected elite are more or less price insensitive and choose to spend their time and money on objects that are plainly opulence rather than necessities. For these reasons, luxury and prestige brands have for centuries commanded an unwavering and often illogical customer loyalty. Luxury and prestige brands such as Rolex, Louis Vuitton and Cartier represent the highest form of craftsmanship and command a staunch consumer loyalty that is not affected by trends. These brands create and set the seasonal trends and are also capable to pulling all of their consumers with them wherever they go.
Premium brands are those brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger that aspire to be luxury and prestige brands but their marketing mix strategies are more attuned to a mass market, albeit a luxury mass market. They are also termed as mass-premium brands or mass-luxury brands. Fashion brands on the other hand are those that address the masses. Strategies for Luxury Marketing There are conventional foundations for ensuring success of a brand and they are listed below in brief : 1. The brand must be “expansive”.
Which means it should be full of innovation opportunities for the marketer and in terms of satisfying the divergent needs of the luxury consumer 2. The brand must tell a story It is this story, of either heritage or performance or other aspects that goes on to build the aura of a brand over time. The story always accentuates the identity of the brand. 3. The brand must be relevant to the consumers’ needs Depending upon the mindset of the luxury class, it is imperative for a brand to satisfy those needs, whether they be for recognition or functional use etc. 4.
The brand must align with consumers’ values A brand that does not concur with the basic values of a consumer’s society has a small chance of succeeding because luxury items are forms of expression or identification for a luxury consumer. This makes it difficult for the consumer to adopt the brand in such cases. 5. The brand must perform Irrespective of which category the brand belongs to, a performance assurance is a must for the brand if it wishes to be in the evoked set of luxury consumers, considering the price being paid for luxury. LUXURY brand marketing CONCEPTS:
Socialite as a Conductor In 2006, when Christian Dior chose Chawla as its spokesperson, everyone was shocked – some secretly jealous. Chawla’s association: to be the face of the brand, be seen in Dior in the right circles, host events attended by the right people and generally hobnob with the circle that she already moves in. The money details are not clear – people in the circuit and in the luxury industry say its part financial, part goodies. But it might be working. Chawla says, “Dior has done incredibly well with a consistent rise in sales.
It is the most visible brand in India with the highest recall value in terms of marketing strategies implemented. ” “Socialites being signed up for a fashion brand is not new, at least not in the West,” says former fashion editor and luxury specialist Sujata Assomull-Sippy. She mentions Armani’s 19-year-old association with British semi-royal and socialite Lady Helen Taylor that started when he designed her wedding gown in 1992. The association ended in 2009. Taylor, who was also the face for Bulgari, gave a sigh of relief and was glad to give up “her uniform”. Six years hence, Chawla is nowhere close to hanging up her Dior couture.
The ‘Mohan for Gucci’ buzz has engendered new aspirations in the circuit that goes beyond the ‘hostess’ or the grander-sounding luxury consultant tags. “The socialite is becoming more important in a luxury brand’s marketing strategy as she pulls in the ‘right kind of crowd,” says Priya Sachdev, creative director for TSG International Marketing that has brought brands like YSL, Diane von Furstenberg to India. Nichevertising Brand consultant and strategist Harish Bijoor of Harish Bijoor Consults loftily terms it “nichevertise vs massvertise”. According to him the luxury brands are not for mass consumption and shouldn’t be mass advertised.
The social circuit gives them a fresh channel to reach out to their target audience without any noise. “The socialite model of marketing targets the guest lists minus the hard sell,” he says. Personal voice- distinct style Every luxury brand needs to develop a marketing strategy that not only helps them achieve their marketing goals, but is also in line with their brand. For example, while it makes sense for Christopher Bailey from Burberry to update the Burberry Facebook page with short videos he makes or music he supports, the same type of strategy might not work for someone like Bentley or Rolex.
Bijoor says that for luxury brands, sell is a four-letter word – and not just literally and that’s why they aim at buy. “Luxury brands like to be bought, not sold,” he says. “Sell is a top-down strategy which involves an element of ‘shout’ – you asking consumers to consider you. Buy, instead, is a pull-oriented strategy. Luxury brands love pull not push,” he explains. This is ideal for the socialite marketing where the conversation with the brand is more visual and not aural.