Creating an effective branding strategy for luxury items presents a unique challenge. There is an inherent difference between the way experts promote a basic item and the way they promote luxury goods, and understanding this basic difference is essential to the success of any branding effort. The average luxury brand is timeless, offers selective ownership opportunities, and comes with high price, which can be difficult in terms of branding. No matter what the specific product may be, promoting a luxury brand over a basic brand typically involves a completely different approach to creating a strong brand reputation or personality.


Branding Towards the Right Target Audience

One of the first and most significant differences between basic and luxury goods in terms of branding, lies in the target audience the effort is being directed at. With basic goods, the target audience of consumers tends to be broad and the goods can be marketed to a larger array of potential buyers. Many times, with basic goods, a key branding approach lies in convincing audiences that anyone and everyone can and should be able to buy the product. However, with luxury brands, the approach is quite different, as exclusivity comes into play when establishing the target market of consumers. Instead of focusing on a broad group of potential buyers, luxury brands focus on marketing to the narrow percentage on individuals that can actually afford the product.


A Focus on Price

No matter what the item or the cost, price is an important defining feature when it comes to branding a product. With basic goods, typically lower prices are emphasized while higher price tags are justified with added features and benefits. However, with luxury brands, price takes on a different meaning, as it typically acts as a tool that once agains adds exclusivity to the product, or limits the access to the brand. A high price tag on a luxury item is seen as a positive instead of a potential deterrer, and many times is used when it comes to developing a memorable brand personality.


Product Communication and Distribution

The way in which messages are distributed and communicated differ when it comes to branding basic goods rather than promoting luxury goods. When branding a basic item, mass communication is often used to inform the public about the brand. A variety of channels are used to distribute the message as well, as the goal is to create widespread appeal. Typically messages that promote basic brands appeal both to the rational side of consumers as well as their emotions. However, with luxury brands, more selective communication methods are typically used.

Ultimately, the goal with communicating the benefits of a luxury brand lies in the desire to educate consumers, instead of informing them about the existence of the brand. The distribution of these messages is also more selective, as they are typically only sent out through exclusive channels.

Those who in charge of brand management for a luxury brand know that while every brand is different, branding a luxury product is all about creating the right story and capturing the essence of the product in a way that appeals to today’s luxury shopper.

Roxanne Genier