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Managing the perception of your luxury brand to be beyond comparison
From Joia’s Daily Ideating Walk
What can you do so people see your brand as a luxury beyond compare?
In preparation to finish the production and release for the video on the 2nd Anti-Law of Luxury Marketing, today I’ve been thinking more about Anti-Law #1 that “luxury is not comparative”
Primarily, this law applies to us, the brand creators, for our method of developing new products and services. However, we also want to take care in the ways we present and showcase our offers to also encourage our audiences to view our brand as beyond comparison.
Of course, anyone can compare anything to anything else they like. Go ahead and compare a Rolex to a cheap watch. Or to a Lamborghini, if you like.
But expert luxury sellers know that these comparisons aren’t what drive a luxury purchase, not the way a side-by-side comparison of features and prices might clinch the sale for a mainstream product. There are deeper psychological and emotional motivators at play in luxury.
And expert luxury sellers are careful to control the ways a luxury brand is perceived to emphasize the depth and richness of the brand’s universe, highlighting the brand’s singularity and relegating any comparisons to irrelevance.
Primarily they do this in two ways: through distribution and communication.
The distribution of luxury products is either exclusive or highly selective.
Many luxury brands will invest in their own flagship stores where they can control the entire client experience from entry through exit. These stores engage in a kind of high-level theatrical staging in order to transport visitors to a special world, one that reflects the brand’s vision in a multisensory way. They give clients the experience of “living the brand”
If not through an exclusive brand location, luxury businesses will frequently choose distributors that will give their products special consideration. Oftentimes the luxury brand will be given its own highlighted area, and it certainly won’t be presented side-by-side with potentially comparable products (e.g. there might be a Christian Louboutin section, not a shoe section in a well-planned high-end department store).
Luxury brands feature sales staff who are passionately knowledgeable about the brand, able to discuss and share in the reverence for the brand origins, provenance, and values. As Kapferer and Bastien suggest, luxury sales staff should be able to communicate what make the brand incomparable and the product a kind of “communion wafer”.
In advertising, notice how many luxury brands take advantage of white space. For example, those double-page glossy magazine spreads with the luxury product surrounded by empty space and thus held up for the intense focus of admiration and simultaneously distanced from potential competition and comparison.