Luxury is ephemeral and different for everyone. For some it’s a hot bath or a luxurious massage after a long day, for others it’s a stay in a fine hotel where you are pampered and served as royalty. For brands, it is exclusivity, the use of the finest materials, the latest technology, age-old craftsmanship, skills handed down through the generations, attention to detail, exquisite engineering, hand-crafted manufacture and lastly a price that places the product or service at the very top of the market, available only to a select wealthy few.
Luxury products are generally identified as high quality, exclusive, expensive, rare, prestigious and authentic. Non-essential, but imparts high levels of emotional attachment and status. For the last two decades luxury has become an experience that is more than just the product alone, but the entire lifestyle that goes with it.
When you buy a Ferrari, you don’t just get a sports car, you enjoy all the trappings of the Ferrari owner. Access to a more luxurious and superior lifestyle. Pull into any luxury hotel in a Ferrari and you will notice the extra attention and service you receive. It’s not just the cost of the car that comes into play, but the perception of Ferrari as a quality brand that reflects on you, the buyer.
Fashion brands play on this when they pepper their logo large over the shoes or shirts that some consider as luxury items, but are not.
Time is an important aspect of any luxury brand. The more time you save for customers, whether speeding up the buying process, simplifying the website journey or creating a pleasurable user experience, the better the connection your brand will have with its customers.
Luxury companies streamline your experience so your time is not wasted, creating a luxury experience from the purchase to the ownership of the product. Companies that personalise the buying experience for clients see sales rates rise accordingly. Time is precious and the one thing high net worth value over all else.
Authenticity and trust and two key components of today’s luxury market. Customers want brands to share their values. In an increasingly polarised world, the company ethos must be transparent and honest. Customers will pay for goods from companies that represent them, that care for the environment, their staff, sustainability and provenance of materials.
Luxury is developing new depths, beyond just the price, design and quality. Environmental costs and the future of our world has to be factored in.
The biggest change has been the rise of the luxury experience. Spending in the last two decades has risen particularly in the travel sector as people value a life-changing travel experience over simply owning a luxury item. Many top resorts and villas come with a butler so your holiday is entirely stress-free as they book everything from a massage to an evening’s entertainment and schedule your holiday diary for you, so not a moment is wasted.
Brands have responded by creating exclusive luxury experiences around product purchase. Buy a Bentley today and they will document the build with photographs: your choice of interior, leather upholstery and exterior paint recording every step of the creation of your bespoke car.
Wellness, health, fitness and self-improvement have all become aspects of a luxury lifestyle and these are all now billion-dollar industries. Many of the top US billionaires are pouring multi-millions into longevity research, Peter Thiel has already donated at least $3.5 million to stave off the effects of ageing. Time will always be the most limited resource and to live a few more healthy years is the ultimate luxury.
Bespoke or personalised goods also create a luxury experience, perfume brand Le Labo hand blends each fragrance for you and your name features on the bottle.
Today luxury brands have to make an emotional connection, it is all about the story, engagement and trust consumers have in the brand. Consumers have to believe and share in the narrative. Give people a genuine story that excites and engages them, one they want to be a part of, that captures their imagination and makes them want to tell everyone about it. Buyers who share a vision then become mavens for the brand as they want to share with their friends, much like discovering an unknown, brilliant up-and-coming band before anyone else.
One of the best luxury brands of the last decade is Bentley. They combined daring futuristic design with the latest technology and software, industry-leading engineering and groundbreaking performance, all hand built by craftsmen using the finest materials available. They matched the pillars and ethos of the brand with the products they built every time. That is the secret to a successful luxury brand, to align the values with the products so your audience easily identifies and trusts in the brand.