Tips for luxury branding in a post-luxury environment

A report by a company called Trend Watching, named ‘The Future of Luxury‘, suggests that the modern world of instant gratification and mobile connectivity has changed the way people think about luxury branding. Today, people want more meaningful, individualized, and emotional experiences from their luxury products and services.

Ultimately, branding luxury companies in a post-luxury environment is all about adapting to suit a millennial state of mind.

This doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning your heritage if you’re a vintage brand like Roberts Radio. What it does say, however, is adapting the focus of your brand to demonstrate that your values match the expectations of your target audience. Here are a few tips that are sure to help.

1. Know your audience

At first, creating a strategic brand naming process seems simple enough. There are only so many words and letters to choose from, after all. However, when you sit down to find the ultimate name, you discover how complicated it is. According to the co-founder of Warby Parker, Neil Blumenthal, his team took 6 months and over 2,000 suggestions before they found the perfect name.

While there are plenty of brand naming tools online—like Shopify’s Business Name generator—which help with finding initial ideas, the best labels require an in-depth understanding of your organization. Unfortunately, this is one thing that machines just can’t do better.

If you, like us, believe that true creativity can’t be automatically generated, here’s how your brand naming process should start.

2. Focus on quality

Remember the chart-topping Macklemore song that commended wearing hand-me-downs overpaying $50 for a T-shirt? This tune is the anthem of the modern luxury consumer. Today, companies investing in luxury branding can’t just expect their brand to convey the value of their products. Millennials are hesitant to spend their hard-earned cash on any tangible goods in the first place (they prefer experiences). That means that they won’t be tricked into paying for a product that’s not worth the money.

Instead, if you want to be perceived as a luxury brand, you need to show your customers that you prize quality. Just because you’re delivering the sustainability your customers need in your new fashion company, doesn’t mean you should compromise on durability. Your consumers still want their items to be timeless, reliable, and indulgent.

3. Tell a story

As we’ve mentioned above, branding luxury companies in a post-luxury environment is about switching from tangible to intangible values. Some of the intangible elements your customer’s prize include things like values, craftsmanship, culture, and heritage. So, how do you communicate all those complicated concepts?

The easiest option is to tell a story about your brand. Your narrative might start on the “About Us” page of your website, then continue through your social media posts, Instagram snaps, podcasts and videos. You can even tell your stories in your ads, like this video from Lacoste, where a young couple jumps through the decades as they move through train cars, demonstrating the timelessness of Lacoste clothing. 

Millennials love new and exciting things, but they also have a soft spot for concepts like heritage and nostalgia. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas to give more depth to your brand.

4. Create truly memorable experiences

It’s no secret that ‘experience’ is the buzzword of the generation for today’s modern consumers. Your millennial and generation Z customers believe that the moments they can share with their loved ones define them, not the embellishments they have littered around their homes. As such, many companies are beginning to experiment with the way that they deliver products and services to their customers. Just look at the rising popularity of things like pop-up shops and experiential marketing.

The trouble is that many luxury companies still believe that experiential marketing is a concept reserved entirely for start-up organisations.

Fortunately, big-name luxury branding examples from organisations like Louis Vuitton are beginning to question this idea. The luxury fashion brand recently went on tour with a unique selection of clothing displayed in a personalised VW camper van.

Ultimately, it’s about engaging your customers through more than just products and services today. Shopping in the post luxury world has morphed into an opportunity for people to make important memories. That’s what your customers are really in the market for.

5. Prize truth and authenticity

As noted above, today’s consumers use their high-end purchases as a way of identifying themselves. Ultimately, most of today’s shoppers won’t have the cash to spend on new items from a luxury retailer every other week. This means that they need to make careful purchases that they believe contribute to their idea of who they are as a person.

Luxury branding in this new environment means convincing your shoppers that they’re getting an authentic and genuine narrative to add to their story when they buy from you. The last thing your consumer wants is to assume that they’re buying a sustainable piece of timeless fashion, only to discover that you’ve hidden a shady part of your supply chain under the radar.

Tricks and sneaky marketing don’t work in today’s digitally transformed world. One way or another, your consumers will find out everything they need to know about you. Do your reputation a favour and prize truth from day one.

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