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Marketing luxury in the 21st Century

The market for luxury products and services continues to surge, growing by five per cent in 2014. But is your business failing to truly crack this highly competitive, yet lucrative market?

Many businesses self-proclaim that they offer a high end product and that their services appeal to a particular target customer. Yet many fail to really engage with a difficult to please audience, either employing mass market tactics to spread their message or ignoring what might seem trivial elements of brand image and management.

Marketing luxury in the modern world has to be both subtle and powerful at the same time. We’ve helped a number of luxury automotive businesses to reform their PR and marketing strategies so they attract the right customers. We’ve also helped businesses new to the luxury market create a brand image and strategy that properly engages with potential customers and the media.

In light of this we’ve put together some advice on important elements to 21st Century luxury marketing.

What makes something a true luxury product or service is an experience that stands out, for the better, from competitors. It sounds obvious but people want to feel special when buying a luxury product or service. This is where a subtle approach just won’t work. Think creatively on how you could offer your customers, or the media, an experience that is unrivalled.

Whether it is one to one appointments or exclusive, personalised and bespoke offers to individuals think about what will add the extra layer of spice to the package. You can’t simply rely on the product to speak for itself. A great example of this is Porsche, which innovated the delivery process of its cars by allowing customers to pick up their new car right off the assembly line in Germany.


Advocate beliefs
Luxury brands should advocate beliefs to customers rather than simply rely on brand values. Beliefs speak directly to relevant audiences and customers. So do you know what you believe in as a brand? Does the rest of your team? This should filter through into all areas of your PR and marketing, keeping the brand image tied together with something strong and credible.

Mass-market brands want to appeal to everyone and “force” products on customers. For luxury brands, it’s important to think in reverse. Consumers must be invited in with the allure of joining an exclusive community. Have the confidence not to be liked by everyone.

Have meaningful conversations with your customers, invite them to exclusive events and allow them to share their thoughts and experiences. An obvious way to do this in the 21st century is through social media. But more subtle, traditional approaches will also work such as personal mailers with printed content that is something for them to keep on a coffee table.

Classic car auction houses are particularly good at engaging with customers in this way, producing a beautifully designed, printed catalogue that a new or existing customer can come back to time and time again.

Speaking to the right people is clearly vital if you are to sell your product. This is where subtlety can work best, creating an air of exclusivity, and along with that, helps to build the community element we have just been speaking about. Carefully target press activity at the right publications. A magazine may have a small circulation but the readership a high average income. Building relationships with important journalists and offering them quality content will enable your business to secure better coverage, without having to pay for advertising.


Presentation, presentation, presentation
Luxury brands must pay extra special attention to the way they sell and innovate at the point of purchase. The devil is in the detail. It’s not just enough to have a swanky postcode if the visual merchandising in your dealership, office or shop aren’t up to scratch and properly reflecting your brand attributes.

Think about the time your customers will spend with you. What makes the experience of your brand stand out from the mass market? BMW World in Munich is a fantastic example of a temple-like showroom, where consumers can “experience” the brand rather than simply buy the product.

And finally, fashion matters. It dumbfounds me the amount of so called luxury businesses whose employees are poorly turned out. If you’re not sure what looks good speak to someone who does.

Need more advice?
If you need agency support in focusing your luxury brand image, attracting customers and engaging with the media then why not get in touch with us and see how we could help your business. You can call us on 01926 832395, email or tweet to @redmarlinpr.

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