The Pathway to Luxury
With the holiday shopping season unofficially kicking off this Black Friday, the question of what it takes for a brand to thrive in the luxury space amid a continuously evolving retail landscape pops in our minds. What does it truly take to be considered a luxury brand?
BAVShopper® studies luxury and premium brands across ten categories in 17 countries using Y&R’s BrandAsset™ Valuator, a proprietary research and insights tool, and the world’s largest study of brands. Through analysis, we were able to identify five distinct routes that brands can take to establish a “luxury” positioning for this holiday season and beyond:
Status: Luxury brands with a sense of strong heritage have long succeeded in the high-end space. Brands that combine their heritage with perceptions of glamour, style, and originality are deemed iconic.
Craftsmanship: Craftsmanship represents a luxury brand’s quality, tradition, and pricing power. A well-made product helps a brand stay relevant, but a luxury brand that incorporates all the elements of Craftsmanship in its DNA differentiates itself from close competitors.
Cutting Edge: Global luxury brands that create exciting experiences for consumers convey a sense of dynamism and innovation. These brands tend to be category trendsetters, resonating among early adopters and forward-thinking consumers.
Hospitality: Exceptional customer service is an industry expectation, so brands that go beyond service stand out from other brands. However, due to evolving customer expectations, Hospitality also means a straightforward and simple experience. Luxury consumers still want to be indulged, but they want their needs fulfilled as quickly and directly as possible.
Integrity: In an industry often defined as frivolous and unsustainable, luxury brands that act ethically are perceived as different. This differentiation increases associations with trust and authenticity and gives luxury brands higher levels of respect and customer loyalty.
Brands That Own the Luxury Space
Luxury brands currently rely heavily on Status and Craftsmanship for much of their success. But in order to reenergize their reputations among shoppers, luxury brands can develop their performance on Cutting Edge, Hospitality, and Integrity. When we take a look at the brands that already go above and beyond within these sectors, the reasons for investing in these pathways becomes clearer. These three brands epitomize the best of their sectors and exercise tremendous cultural relevance, helping them to thrive despite retail’s changing landscape:
Cutting Edge: Tesla, with its focus on daring, cutting-edge innovation, has created a singular and desirable brand experience that positions it well above other automotive brands.
Hospitality: Luxury e-commerce site Net-a-Porter provides superior hospitality through its innovative and highly-attentive delivery methods, such as its try-on-and-wait service.
Integrity: Beauty brand Shiseido has been recognized repeatedly as one of the world’s most ethical brands for its social contributions supporting women and the environment, its corporate governance, and its established corporate ethics.
Luxury brands have a huge opportunity to engage with shoppers who are inclined to spend more on those special splurge gifts this holiday season. However, luxury brands cannot rely solely on their reputations to draw the crowds in. Ultimately, the luxury brands that maintain their status and quality while investing in underleveraged industry pathways will be best equipped to appeal to shoppers across various markets during the giving season, and for seasons to come.
Written by Divya Munjal, Dami Rosanwo, and Jenny Yip.