About luxury brands
By Ronii Bartles | Featured Contributor
Question. How do your customers feel when they encounter your business?
I work with businesses that are ‘luxury brands’ in their industry (just kinda happen that way for me but I like it). Consumers’ buying habits are different today than they were 20 years, 20 months ago… 20 days ago. Consumers are constantly changing because everything around them is constantly changing. Communication channels are different and we start to use them in different ways all the time. But one thing is still true… they want an experience, not just to buy an item. They want to feel like they matter. I mean, seriously, you want to feel like too, right?
When you think about luxury brands you think about brands like Lexus, Hermes and Tiffany, just to name a few. And there are a few traits to these brands that are consistent across all of them. Recently, I was meeting with a client that wants to move into the luxury boutique sector of his industry and I told him there are 3 things that all luxury brands have in common.
- Price: They know they are good at what they do or sell and they charge A LOT of money for it. They don’t compromise on price and rarely offer discounts. And they particularly don’t offer discounts because they are being nice or feel sorry for a potential client and just want the business (service providers I’m talking to you here). These brands are confident in knowing what they are worth and charge accordingly. Take it or leave it.
- Design: They invest in beautiful design elements. I mean like really beautiful. They place value on their mark and make a significant investment in that mark because they know it represents them across all platforms. You could easily say that they invest upwards of tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands. Tiffany has its own color! And we refer to it as Tiffany Blue. Are you kidding me? Talk about committing to a brand element.
- Customer Service: This is the biggie! Really big! Huge! (This is my Julia Roberts impression from Pretty Woman.) Every single one of these brands knows how you want to feel and goes above and beyond that to make you feel oh so special. This is the exceptional kind of customer service that you talk about for years. And makes you go back… and pay more. Do you want to make more money? Then try giving extraordinary customer service and see how they come back over and over again and pay more? I promise it will work. And this isn’t the kind of customer service where you say thank you when you work with them. This is the kind of customer service where you ask lots of questions and find out what they really love and then surprise them on a whim to let them know you care about them (not you). It’s not easy and it’s not cheap. But you are charging more right? So there.
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Why Do We Care About Luxury Brands?
The pricing of fakes reveals something important about how the human mind calculates value. In many instances, we crave authenticity as an end unto itself. We want the real iPhone not because it works better but because it’s the real one. The same logic explains why we splurge on Hermes bags, Rolex watches, Prada T-shirts, fancy Bordeaux, and expensive art. (How much would you pay for a fake Picasso print?) While a Rolex is a lovely piece of time keeping machinery, the value of the watch has nothing to do with its function. Instead, it depends on the intact authenticity of the brand.