The Five Senses of Luxury Brand Marketing

The Future of Marketing Project: 20 Lessons for the Next 20 years
July 12, 2013

At LEAD, we have been in the business of branding for companies of all sizes and demographics of all types. It’s far easier to understand the general consumer’s mindset and plot their experiences because there is a host of research available with large data samples. More elusive is the mindset of the luxury consumer because they are taste setters at the hottest restaurants and clubs. Their eyes see the first of the next wave of art. They are able to touch and smell places that are unreachable by even the analysts seeking to understand them. So despite claims that you can effectively market to the luxury consumer, if you seek to do so from analysis of current or past behavior, you’re already behind.

We contend that luxury is to be found in the new, not the old or the already experienced. We have seen this first-hand in our work with some of the world’s most exclusive brands, so we believe the key to winning their hearts and minds is to redefine the five senses in the way they experience the world.

  1. Exclusivity – It’s not about intentionally excluding others, it’s about obtaining a conversation piece nobody else has. Price is not the driver of exclusivity – added benefit for what you’ve spent is. Buying futures or inside information for the next greatest things is valued most.
  2. Experiences – Those that can’t be bought anywhere else are of the highest value. The more exotic the better. The idea is to be the first at something, to be seen in circles as a trendsetter, to be looked up to because others want the experiences you’ve had. Yet, you are the only one who can recount them.
  3. Comfort – It goes without saying that the finest materials and ergonomics are important to luxury markets. What’s lesser known is that it’s because the mind is most productive when the body is in stasis. This allows luxury to be exhibited by an active, sharp mind, cultivated best when the body is in this relaxed state.
  4. Service – Though some see this as expected servitude, luxury audiences above all others respect traditions. More than that, they want their needs predicted instead of having to ask for anything. The best service should feel familiar – like those catering to you actually know you and your needs.
  5. Craftsmanship – Technology has not, and may never, catch up with human artistry. Luxury stretches how far the human heart and hand can please our primal senses. When the body and mind are in harmony, the senses are open to challenge from new stimuli outside of regular existence. This creates sense memory, the very strongest method of recall of what our minds record.

Those seeking to truly engage and market brands to luxury markets need to stretch outside the regular paradigm of experience, and redefine this market in its own terms. Those terms are more forward-looking and less easy to analyze based on past behavior. The ability to understand this comes mainly from experience working with this audience, supplemented by a keen mind to predict human response from new senses.

Photo of the Crystal Symphony

Published at Agency LEAD Whiteboard

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