Recent studies claim that 58% of retail sales will be influenced by digital by 2023. These trends have been changing marketing for luxury brands for good. As luxury customers are performing research and making purchases online, the need for print and display advertising has dropped. To survive and stay competitive, luxury brands need to adapt to the ever-growing digital age.
In this guide, you will learn marketing strategies for your luxury brand without compromising its uniqueness.
1. Build a Solid Visual Brand
Can you picture gorgeous Tiffany & Co. packaging? Their iconic robin’s egg blue, satin ribbon, and recognizable logo have become one of the world’s most popular packaging designs. They have become synonymous with class and sophistication.
So, what is it that makes a discreet Tiffany & Co. box so special? The company worked hard on defining and establishing a perfect brand identity and using it consistently across all channels. Ask yourself for a second – would this very same box have the same appeal if it were, for example, red or orange? I am sure the answer is “no.”
To establish a visual brand identity, you first need to assess brand values, traits, and personalities. What does your brand stand for? What do you want to emphasize via your brand assets? Each element of your brand design needs to be thought-out and cherry-picked to highlight your brand’s values and sophistication.
While many aspects of the branding process depend on your audiences, industry, and message, one rule always remains the same – branding includes far more than just your company’s logo. Talk to your designers and take the following elements into consideration, too:
- Clean and legible typefaces
- Spacing and layouts
- Shapes and patterns
Sure, you should keep in mind that the mere notion of sophistication varies. Let’s take colors as an example. Red conveys passion, yellow stands for happiness, while blue is the color of trustworthiness. Each color evokes a particular emotion in an observer. The same goes for your typefaces. Choosing the right brand name is just half the job done. The other half is presenting it using the right font. While serif typefaces are traditional, sans-serif fonts are modern and are easier to read on smaller screens. Handwritten fonts add a sense of sophistication and elegance, but keep them legible.
Another great element of visual branding is, of course, consistency. Once you define your brand elements, you need to use them consistently across all digital channels. No matter if a prospective customer encounters your brand on social networks, your website, or email campaigns, you want them to memorize and recognize it instantly. Let’s take the example of Four Dots, a renowned digital marketing agency from New York. Their main brand color is orange and, as such, it is prominent on their website, Instagram page, blog, as well as printed materials. They hire Infostarters to create print and epublishing content for their website. If you look at one of their latest projects, a printed brochure, you will notice that it includes all brand elements that already exist on their website.
2. Don’t Neglect the Power of Social Networks
The “always available” nature of social networks contradicts what luxury brands are striving to achieve. Luxury, sophistication, and exclusivity. Not wanting to be confused with fast fashion brands, luxury brands are often cautious about what they share on social.
However, the number of social media users is constantly rising and their purchasing decisions are influenced by what they see online. They follow social media influencers and their favorite brands and read reviews before buying. That is why many high-brands have started investing in social media content and conversations with customers.
For example, in 2017, Chanel was named the most influential luxury brand on social networks. Back then, they had 40.8 million followers on Twitter and Instagram. As of February 2020, they have 38.9 million followers only on Instagram. They use high-quality photography to promote their hottest collections, as well as the photos of celebrities rocking their models on the red carpet.
The example of Chanel proves that visibility on social networks does not need to harm a luxury brand’s exclusivity. However, this kind of content needs to be created and shared strategically. Photography and visual social networks, like Pinterest or Instagram, are your best friends. Your goal is to create content that is aesthetically appealing, educational, aspirational, without compromising your brand’s sophistication or making it too promotional.
3. Design a Website that Combines Sophistication and Functionality
Many luxury brands understand the importance of high-quality website design. A website is your brand’s ID card. It is the first thing people will see in the SERPs when googling your brand. And, its design features, such as its colors, typography, photography, logos, and so forth, will define your brand in the eyes of your prospective customers.
However, just because your website is stylish does not mean it will impress your visitors. Poor page load speed, poorly optimized mobile websites, or confusing website navigation are just some of the numerous factors that may repel your visitors and harm your brand image.
Chanel is, again, a perfect example of how to combine website functionality and sophisticated design. When you visit the website, the first thing you will notice is a simple navigation menu, presenting different product categories. The shopping cart button, as well as a search box, are at the very top of the homepage. The photos from their latest collections take a prominent position on their homepage, along with an attention-grabbing call-to-action button that entices us to click and learn more. All photos on their website are, high-quality and yet, they don’t compromise the page load time.
Another amazing example of a luxury website is Burberry. This popular fashion brand has chosen a typical black and white contrast for their website. Black letters on white surfaces make the website easier to follow. Their product categories in the navigation menu are gender-classified and intuitive. With such a minimalist and clear website design, Burberry is addressing the customers that already know what they want to buy. Product photos are taken from multiple angles, giving a customer a full insight into the product. Another amazing thing Burberry did is the integration of video content that is gaining immense popularity over the past few years. The brand uses video to promote the Burberry trench coat – a product that is synonymous with their brand.
4. Use your Brand’s History to Tell the Story behind your Products
In a highly competitive market, it is your brand’s heritage that sets you apart. Storytelling gives you the opportunity to present your brand’s values, missions, and goals, show how it has evolved, and how it contributed to the industry. By telling your story, you will build closer relationships with your target customers. Rich brand history will validate your uniqueness and reliability and encourage people to spend more on your products.
One such example is definitely Apple. In the sea of similar tech companies, they are a symbol of quality and credibility. And, they achieved by thinking differently. In the About section on their website, they don’t claim that they are making the best computers and phones in the world. Instead, they explain why they do that. They highlight that their major goal is to make technology that connects people, simplifies their lives, and empowers them. They talk about their social activity, emphasizing that they are making “truly innovative products to leave their mark on the world instead of the planet.”
Another proof that a company’s heritage can define its luxury brand is Lamborghini. Visit their website and you will see that they are proud of their rich history and evolution over time. Their website menu is simple and the “Brand” category takes the central position, where they talk about their brand’s evolution over time, people that have made their brand special, product innovation, and so forth. They have also taken advantage of video to evoke emotions in their target customers, talking about the creation of the very first super sport utility vehicle and the implementation of sophisticated, futuristic designs.
5. Inject a Sense of Exclusivity into your Online Campaigns
Exclusivity is a critical aspect of any luxury brand. If anyone could walk into Manolo Blahnik and bought a pair of shoes, the popular brand would lose their appeal to their high-paying customers wanting to have something others cannot get. This gives them a sense of uniqueness and indicates that they have a special relationship with a luxury brand. This psychological phenomenon is called scarcity and it is often used in marketing for luxury brands. The idea behind it is simple – rare products are often considered more valuable.
Many brands are limiting their products’ access and supply. For example, Hermes Birkin’s customers are put on a long waiting list.
Now, apart from applying scarcity to their sales, luxury brands should use the same tactic in marketing. Just like I have explained above, high-end brands are often worried about losing their sophistication and authority when promoting their products online. However, for any luxury brand, its website, social channels, or email marketing are not the means of expanding the target market or distributing products to wider audiences. Instead, these channels should help you build luxury brand presence and highly targeted content that will evoke your prospective customers’ desire to buy your products.
One of the best ways to use exclusivity in marketing for luxury brands is to make your brand accessible to narrow audiences. For example, you can create private member groups, online loyalty benefits, or concierge services for your previous buyers. This may help you build stronger relationships with your customers and inspire a sense of belonging, which is fundamental for brand loyalty and customer retention.
6. Exclusivity Lies in Personalization
Luxury products were once hand-made according to customers’ desired and specifications. As such, they were expensive and available to a handful of super-wealthy individuals. Today, personalization is not optional anymore. It is an obligatory aspect of building a solid brand presence and getting yourself noticed in a turbulent digital ecosystem. Studies show that customers are ready to pay more for highly personalized products.
For example, Louis Vuitton lets customers participate in the design process of their clothes, shoes, or bags. Hawthorne Labs creates customized fragrances, according to customers’ specific diet, body temperature, and so forth.
Another amazing example of personalization is Gucci DIY, Gucci’s personalization program. Namely, Gucci DIY lets customers make their own clothes design by choosing from a wide array of materials and Gucci’s symbols. This way, a customer can tailor the brand’s sensibility and aesthetics to their specific needs.
7. Use Facebook Ads to Target High-Paying Customers
While SEO and other organic digital marketing tactics are a critical aspect of your online presence, you should keep in mind that they take time. If you are just starting out, you will want to get your luxury brand noticed by the right people that are already buying from your major competitors.
This is where Facebook Ads can help a lot, providing amazing segmentation and targeting features. For example, if you are a high-end fashion brand based in New York, you could use Facebook Ads to market specifically to 40-year old females from New York that have already liked or bought from brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada. You can even go one step further and target customers by their profession, job title, music/movie preferences, etc. This way, you will avoid driving loads of irrelevant traffic and focus on those prospects that may convert into paying customers.
No matter if you are investing in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Instagram Ads, you should always stay on top of your negative keywords. In other words, you don’t want to appear in search queries including your negative keywords. In this case, these could be phrases like “cheap,” “free,” “affordable,” “low cost,” etc.
Over to You
Building a luxury brand goes far beyond developing a sophisticated product and designing a gorgeous logo. You gain a competitive advantage and target your audiences, you need to invest in digital branding and marketing. In the era of “always-on” digital marketing channels that make brands accessible, the real challenge lies in balancing online visibility and scarcity. And, I hope these tips will serve as your solid starting point.