Preparing a proposal for a new contact, has had us thinking through how we communicate how we develop and manage luxury brands to our clients, and more specifically how we would actually define a luxury brand in the first place.
This is our list:
1. A luxury brand is first and foremost a product and/or service of superior quality (a quality gap from competitors is recommended but not mandatory).
2. The products and services are not designed and planned according to consumer tastes and expectations, even though they appeal and cater to sometimes-hidden deep-routed desires. A luxury brand sets its own standards and does not adhere to fashions. There is an air of leadership to it; it is exceptional, unique, original, artistic-creative, surprising, and novel (but never peculiar in a ridiculous or potentially repelling manner). It challenges its consumers (not too harshly) for their discerning taste, sophistication, refinement and dare.
3. A luxury brand’s most important value lies beyond the core product function or practicality.
4. Luxury brands have something extravagant / excessive / redundant and overly generous about them. Something that is clearly not necessary: the use of unjustifiably expensive materials, performance that is far beyond all needs and requirements, an exaggerated level of service, …
5. A luxury brand always expresses zealousness for quality, highly held values or even an ideology, a distinctive culture, together with sense of hedonism, passion for life, and a free spirit. It does that in all the facets of its being including products / services, management practices, marketing communications, …
6. A luxury brand will always be linked with the circle of those who “run the world” at that certain period of time – and with the success symbols of the time.
7. Behind a luxury brand there are often legends of eccentric genius creators, mysterious production processes, secret formulas, exceptional preparations etc’. Stories like these create mystery. A luxury brand treats itself very seriously.
8. A luxury brand is never managed in a democratic way, but rather with authority or even with dictatorship, by a genius creator or by an inspired leader who demonstrates, inside and out, a strong passion for the product and pedantry for every small detail.
9. A luxury brand must be rare or difficult to reach in some way. The awareness to the brand and the desire for it sometimes wide-ranged (while the numbers of buyers has to be limited) and other times restricted to a few that are in-the-know. Even the buyers themselves, must not be inclined / capable to purchase the luxury brand too often. It is important to remember that the dream feeds the desire. We can never dream about the accessible.
10. Luxury brand consumers expect to be distinguished from all others, and to be protected from them (the No-Mix principle). At the same time, they expect a special intimacy between them and the company and its managers, as well as flexibility regarding rules that are afflicted on others