Luxury fashion refers to the fashion that is promulgated by luxury brands, selling luxury goods. Luxury fashion is associated in the mind of the consumer with exclusiveness, rarity, quality, price, aesthetics, superiority and extraordinariness. Being a possessor of luxury goods enhances social status, producing benefits in social interactions. Luxury goods impart feelings of confidence, contentment, security and trust to their owners for as long as the ownership lasts. Let’s look at how luxury brands market their products to create unique and satisfying experiences for their customers, experiences that set them apart and distinguish them from mass brands.
Luxury brands don’t merely rely on their brand values but promote more deep-rooted convictions. Luxury brands are exclusive, so they don’t strive to please everyone. Rather, they target those consumers whose convictions fall in line with their own. An excellent example is Ferrari, with the brand’s conviction in high performance. Ferrari rarely ever uses mass media to advertise, but invests heavily in Formula 1 events, focusing its actions to reinforce its conviction in the consumer’s mind.
Ritualize the purchasing process
Luxury brands do not merely sell their products on the market. They go above and beyond to create a ritual for their customers, a ritual that increases the uniqueness of their product, that makes their offering more of an experience than a simple market exchange. They make their brand into an experience.
Le Labo, the perfume brand, is very good at this sort of thing. Every perfume made by Le Labo is hand-blended, prepared individually right before the customer at the time of purchase. This practice is based on the premise that perfume quality decreases with time. The glass bottle then has a date put on it, and the name of the customer is also printed on top. The perfume must also sit in the refrigerator for a week before it can be used. In this way Le Labo creates a unique purchasing ritual for its customers, involving them in a rich and rewarding personal experience.
Porsche does something similar. It invites customers to their Germany assembly line, letting them take their new cars right off of it.
Using social media for visuals
Visuals like photographs are a great way to market luxury fashion, offering customers triggers that evoke the emotions associated with things like luxury vehicles, designer clothing and so on. Luxury brands use such visual social networks, e.g. Pinterest, to raise awareness of their brands and advocate for them.
A luxury brand that is ‘pinned’ quite often on Pinterest is Chanel, with an average of over 1200 pins on a daily basis. But Chanel itself doesn’t do this. In fact, it doesn’t even have a Pinterest account. It’s their advocates who drive their pins.
77 Diamonds is another luxury brand that is big on Pinterest. It does have its own profile, but it maintains a strong presence, raising awareness of its products, without being too promotional.
If luxury products are sold in too high a volume or overexposed, it can dilute their luxury character. Therefore, luxury brands try and maintain the notion that there is a paucity of their products. Burberry in Britain made the mistake of over-licensing its own brand, diminishing its reputation as a brand consumed exclusively by elite society. Gucci now sells in predominantly stores that it directly owns after attempting to widen its brand in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The scarcity of brands is, therefore, not only natural, but tactical as well. Another way in which luxury goods market themselves is by customizing themselves to user specifications. A good example of this is when Garson USA build a customized Mercedes SL600, encrusted with diamonds, for Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al Waleed.
Using endorsements by public figures
Luxury fashion employs celebrities and public figures to market their products, giving them attention and credibility. The public figures can range from sports personalities to film stars. However, celebrity endorsements are no longer exclusive to luxury fashion, so they don’t produce quite the same impact. Therefore, luxury fashion tries to use celebrities in roles that can distinguish them from mass brands. They use less conventional means of advertising to accomplish this, means that are less obvious, like dressing celebrities to walk in their clothes at red carpet events, of using product placements inside television programs and movies. That is to say, they promote their products without really appearing to ‘sell’ them, making their products seem like seamless parts of celebrities’ lives.