As any luxury branding agency knows, luxury is all about perception. It’s the perception of being elite and the symbolic value that comes with that status.
In the fashion industry, a world dominated by perception and the power certain brands wield over others, this sentiment holds even more water, as brands constantly go head-to-head in a never-ending battle to come out on top.
Thankfully, this battle is made easier with a couple of luxury branding tactics that ensure your fashion brand can stand out.
Let’s get started.
1: Create a Sense of Exclusivity
A tenant of every luxury brand marketing strategy is creating exclusivity around the brand because people want what they can’t have, and this want turns to a need the more exclusive the brand is.
Like we covered above, this is because of the symbolic value that comes with the perception of exclusivity. If people see something that only certain others are allowed to have, or rather, can have, their desire for said thing increases.
It may be price, barriers to possession, geographic availability or a limited supply, but whatever the underlying cause, the fact that it’s there is what creates the exclusivity.
This exclusivity, in turn, acts like luxury brand advertising that singles the brand out as more distinct, and the people using it as more powerful.
Both of these then combine to create the symbolic value that elevates the brand’s social standing to one that’s elite and luxurious, which has the added effect of ‘lowering our defences’ and empowering us to pay a premium price for their products.
As Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media and Keynote Speaker, has to say, “[t]oday’s consumer is simultaneously a curator and a virtual artist. A luxury brand offers him or her an opportunity to showcase a lifestyle and a value system.”
2: Narrow on Your Niche Segment
In creating an exclusive aura around your brand, you’ll inevitably end up with a target audience for luxury brands that’s different from other target audiences by virtue of being labeled as “luxurious.”
In other words, the exclusivity that comes from a luxury brand creates its very own niche segment that, to stand out in their eyes, requires different marketing methods.
To do so, you first have to find this niche segment and narrow on it. Do some research and see why and how they’re different than other segments.
After you’ve done this, you’ll have to create a luxury brand customer profile that takes those differences and other luxury brand consumer demographics into consideration, which will serve as the base of your luxury branding strategy.
Because we’re talking about luxury here, and luxury branding in fashion, to be more precise, this profile will likely be marked by a pursuit of high status and the value that comes with it.
As we covered before, this is the symbolic value that marks luxurious brands and will allow your new audience overlook a high price tag.
3: Rethink Your Language
A very big part of standing out in fashion eCommerce and, more specifically, its luxury segment, is the language you use.
That is to say that if you want to stand out in the world of luxury fashion and successfully target its audience, you have to rethink how you speak and how you describe your brand and its products.
For example, while words like cheap, sale and affordable work as magnets for your regular fashion brand because they’re geared toward getting a good deal, they tend to have the opposite effect on those in the luxury sector.
Here, you have to stray from such language and opt for language that, as we’ve covered a couple of times, paints you as exclusive and elite.
To this end, focus on your brand’s history and heritage, your products’ craftsmanship, and related features that work in tandem to paint a picture of grandeur that justifies the “luxury” title.
4: Utilise the Senses
Even though we’ve been talking a lot about perception, luxury goes beyond it and extends into the whole experience.
Think of the five senses, because the last premium brand marketing strategy we’ll cover today has to do with them.
Luxury is about the look, the feel, the smell, and everything else that can derive from a product apart from its name.
For instance, have you ever compared leather versus pleather?
If you have, you undoubtedly know there’s a stark difference between the two — one smells like vinyl or chemicals, while the other is more earthy; one looks shiny and glossy, while the other is more muted.
This means that everything about your product — from how it looks and feels, to how it smells — has to scream, “luxury!”
As Adriaan Brits wrote in his book, Luxury Brand Marketing: The globalization of luxury brand cults, “[u]ltra luxury products are differentiated from ordinary products through unique aesthetics… followed by physical evidence and presentation.”
If it doesn’t and something seems off, you can bet your audience will know right away, and will be even quicker to point it out.
As for eCommerce, a place where our senses are limited to what we can see, this point has more to do with how you present yourself.
For example, Copé Active, a premium activewear brand, needed to build a lifestyle-focused identity that would resonate with their high-end customers.
To do so, we designed a digital experience that combined different image styles in a clever non-standard catalogue design that showcased their product range with a design that could bring together different brand aesthetics.
How to build a luxury brand within the fashion world and stand out is not as easy task, but it’s far from impossible.
As we covered today, you start by creating a sense of exclusivity that adds a symbolic value to your brand.
In doing so, you’ll have to modify your marketing tactics to target the new niche segment created by going the “luxury” route, which just so happens to respond very well to the symbolic value created.
From here, the next step is rethinking your language — how you speak and describe your brand and products — and changing it to accommodate the “luxury” title, such as speaking more about your unique history and craftsmanship.
Finally, you have to go beyond perceptions and actually deliver something worth that title by utilising your senses. In other words, make sure what you offer is worth the price tag.