top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlexander Matambo

5 Lessons Consumer Brands Can Learn From Luxury Brands

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Everything about the luxury brand oozes opulence, wealth, knowledge, and power— a sense of superiority and quality that you can't get from your everyday brands.

This article will outline what lessons ordinary consumer brands can learn from those operating in the luxury industry.

1. The Importance of Brand DNA & Meaning

By nature, humans love a good story, and luxury brands have mastered the art of telling theirs. Each luxury brand has a story that clients and staff resonate with and are passionate about. The stories are inspiring, motivational, and an essential part of history.

An example is the story of Rolex. As the tale goes, the founders of the brand, Hans Wilsdorf, went against the norm of the time and started producing quality wristwatches while the competition focused on pocket watches. With nothing but determination, the spirit of enterprise, and the ability to think different, he was able to create one of the most beautiful and exquisitely made watch brands in the world.

Luxury brands spare no expense in coming up with concrete strategies that set them apart from their competitors. If a luxury brand is similar to a non-luxury brand, the consumer will pick price over the brand name.

Luxury brands tend to have a base, signature look, or style, which is the benchmark for every creation going forward. It is how we recognise when someone is wearing Off-White or Balenciaga. They have the confidence to remain the same yet adapt to the market changes.

Luxury brands make a strong statement saying, "this is who I am," not "that depends"- which is what consumer brand positioning implies. This identity gives them a compelling sense of uniqueness, timelessness, and authority that helps provide them with a strong impression.

2. Exclusivity Drives Demand

Luxury brands are known for their scarcity and exclusivity. Unattainability is a necessary ingredient in a luxury brand as it makes the end product even more valuable to have. An example is buying an Hermés Birkin Bag: customers have to apply for the opportunity to buy a bag from the store. They are often put on a waiting list for years, making the bag inaccessible to a large part of the population. So, when someone is seen in possession of such a bag, their perceived value and status in society shoot up instantly.

Luxury brands do this to protect their intellectual property and ensure that no illegal counterfeiting takes place. Additionally, there would not be such a strong desire to purchase a luxury brand if the products in question were accessible to anyone and everyone.

A key difference between luxury brands and consumer brands is that luxury brands do not respond to increases in product demand, while consumer brands do. Consumer brands seek to meet increases in demand through mass distribution to satisfy customer needs. Luxury brands, on the other hand, see this as an opportunity to increase the desires of consumers by deliberately limiting supply.

Another reason luxury brands do not to discount their products is that people will begin to doubt the high mark-up of the products and question whether they are being tricked. It also sends the wrong image that a luxury brand does not believe in their product.

A great alternative to discounting the luxury status of a product is to add value to the purchase. An example would be when you buy a new Louis Vuitton suit, you get an extra cologne to compliment the purchase.

3. Customer Experience is Key

Customer expectations are on the rise daily, and what sets luxury brands apart is their detail to customer service. It's not just a quick in and out for a customer but an entire experience.

Luxury brands have stores that draw you in, the way the clothing is displayed appeals to the aspiring buyer. There is a focus on pre-purchase encounters, creating desire before the purchase decision has been made.

Once inside the store, the personal service is at it's best, lasting impressions are made, and brand loyalty strengthened. The music played, the soft lighting and the smell all have a considerable role in the customer's experience in-store.

And this service is extended to include after-sale, reinforcing the commitment to the customer.

4. Embracing Technology

Luxury brands use technology to their advantage by driving sales online, increasing traffic, and maintaining customer loyalty. Usually, the online experience is only second to the in-store experience, meeting customer needs with style, confidence, and class.

Adding to this, luxury brands keep their social media accounts up to date. By staying on top of their social media presence, consumers are constantly reminded of the brand's existence, that the brand is reliable, and will always be there for their customer, just like their superior quality products.

A recent example is when Vogue challenged its users to create a video or picture of themselves on the cover of Vogue Magazine. This was a marketing branding moment for the brand as it gained relevance and massive engagement during this challenge.

5. Value Beyond Function

Studies in consumer behaviour show that there is a shift in the market: consumers are no longer buying products to show what they have, but to demonstrate who they are. As such, buying products is becoming as much of an emotional decision as it is a rational one. So brands are starting to appeal to customers on an emotional level.

A distinguishing feature of luxury products is that they have hedonistic value beyond their functional use. Additionally, luxury brands are are shifting their focus to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable. This makes consumers equate buying a luxury product as being part of a bigger movement.

An illustration of this principle is Tesla. Consumers do not buy Teslas because they think it is the best car, the fastest or the most glamourous. They buy the car because the brand is committed to reducing carbon emissions on the planet, and owning a Tesla car shows that the consumer is in solidarity with that mission.

Affluent consumers desire to make more responsible decisions with their consumption habits, and luxury brands are delivering on that.


bottom of page