The Code of Luxury
These key points by Klaus Heine, Michel Phan and Vera Waldschmidt from the ‘Identity-based luxury brand management’ chapter of The Management of Luxury will help you apply the concept of brand identity to the luxury segment and demonstrate its suitability as a framework for the creation of luxury brands.
Especially in non-typical luxury markets such as Germany and China, there is an ever-increasing entrepreneurial spirit. This is driven by a wave of start-ups and by premium companies that aim to diversify or upgrade their products or brands. However, they are facing two major challenges. First, they need to understand what constitutes a luxury brand and the ‘code of luxury’; second, they need to master the creation of luxury-specific symbolic meaning. By outlining the essential characteristics and sub-characteristics of luxury products and the major dimensions of luxury brand personality, the concept of luxury brand identity helps marketers in equipping their brands with a luxury-specific aura and magic:
- Recognize that ‘premium’ and ‘luxury’ are not the same. While premium companies concentrate on superior functional benefits, luxury brands offer above all symbolic benefits, which often exceed their functional benefits. If you aim at creating a luxury brand, you need to comply with the ‘code of luxury’, which is reflected by the major luxury characteristics that include price, quality, aesthetics, rarity, extraordinariness and symbolic meaning.
- Consider that a luxury brand is identity-driven. Instead of positioning and constantly adapting your brand according to (changing) consumer preferences, make sure your luxury brand believes in its inner convictions and vision – and walks out into the world to find and to convince its potential supporters.
- As luxury brands cannot symbolize anything, but need to comply with the worldview and taste of the wealthy class, make sure that your brand possesses the major symbolic ingredient of a luxury brand: prestige. Ask yourself if your brand offers – from the perspective of your target group – ‘the best from the best for the best’.
- Think of your luxury brand as a person. Personality-driven branding helps you to develop symbolic meaning, to improve the consistency in brand communications and consumer perceptions and to reduce the need for communication and coordination.
- Similar to painters who look at their colour palette to assess their options, use the luxury brand personality dimensions (tradition, elitism, conspicuousness, eccentricity and sensuality) to get inspiration from various symbolic options to give your luxury brand a personality and soul.