For the longest time now, luxury brands seemed like the most coveted yet unreachable thing to possess or experience. For the longest time I feel like luxury brands made this fatal mistake to make themselves look too unattainable. And while the affordability factor still speaks to a select few, the rise of social networks and the web in general made luxury brands more visible than ever.
Customers nowadays don’t just crave, but demand, that you show them the insides of your brand.
Thanks to social networks based on images or videos, like Instagram or Snapchat, we can now get a sneak peek of the design process of an exclusive haute couture dress being sewed, or a bold statement necklace composed of hundreds of diamonds. We can also view into the lives of the people who decide to invest into these items and others more, and we can feel closer than ever to that lifestyle.
So how does a luxury brand convey the air of mystery and exclusivity, while remaining current with the times and presenting themselves from a fresh perspective to new waves of customers and demographics?
Let me explain…
In the past few years the talk in design circles has been all about “human-centric” and “user experience”. What does that mean to a normal person? It means that you put your best efforts forward in order for your customers and fans to have a great experience and feel good whenever they get in touch with you, your product and – overall – your brand.
A few ways, in my opinion, in which a premium brand can humanize their user (or customer) experience and branding are these:
1. Pay attention to what your customers are saying and what they like the most
Whenever a person feels heard and understood, he/she feels valued.
And a premium brand is all about value. You are offering an experience so amazing, that price becomes a non-issue for the person looking to attain that experience (whether through a product or a service).
Negative feedback should not be ignored either, as you can learn from it or just prove that what you are doing is great.
2. Interact with your customers or potential customers
This speaks, again, to making them feel valued and important. If that means hiring an extra person to take care of customer service, so be it.
Another great way to interact with your customers is by sharing user generated content whenever possible (and when it aligns with your brand’s guidelines and visual style).
3. Dedicate a large focus to digital
Nowadays everything becomes more and more digital, so in order to future proof your brand, it’s a must that you take your digital efforts seriously. That means constant attention to quality content that gets put out in the world with your name on it. And yes, consistency.
4. Don’t neglect the person on the fringes of your target audience
Just because someone might not be able to afford to experience your brand right now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to do so a few years down the road, or even a few months from now on.
A huge part of a solid premium branding is inspiring potential customers to raise their standards or their quality of life in order to be able to experience some of the more finer things in life, whether that is simply just more free time or their own private jet.
Even better: give them a cause or something meaningful to aspire to.
5. Connect with people on an emotional level
The most effective branding identities and advertising campaigns are all centered around emotion. The stronger and deeper, the better. So think about what exactly moved you deeply and made you want to create your brand or product to begin with. Create a wonderful story around it. Which leads me to…
6. Tell stories. And feel real.
People love stories. If you have a great story about you or your brand, don’t be afraid to tell it every time you get the chance. You can make it very professional, but maintain a trace of authenticity because people love everything that feels real and they can connect with or relate to.
7. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat and shake things up
Life is all about flow and adaptability. Sometimes is better to shake things up than to be stuck and paralyzed by fear or inaction.
One of the things characterizing the world today is the fast consumption of information and short attention span. Therefore, you need to reinvent your brand on a constant basis if you want to avoid being perceived as “stale” and deprecated.
These are my first 7 action steps to humanize your luxury brand. Do you know one that I missed? Let me now, I always love great conversations!
Andreea or Kay (or Klangwelt by her artist name) is a Creative Director and Visual Designer creating outstanding and effective branding identities for luxury, lifestyle, fashion and culture brands. Passionate about all things art and design. Also a stylist and fashion blogger at Style Unsettled. Follow her!