Formulating communication strategy for luxury brands

While creating a communication plan for a brand, the essence is to understand the brand entity and work accordingly. First and foremost, we must base ourselves on the fact that luxury brands are different from mass brands in terms of identity, positioning, characteristics and target.

Luxury brands do not strive to please everyone, but only a specific segment of customers. They have a rich brand heritage, and their vision and language is very different from mass brands – they are created around life style. Consumer focus is the key as they cater to a discerning customer. Luxury customers always buy irrespective of any economic situation.

While thinking of a true luxury brand, we think of a whole set of visual icons including monograms, brand symbols, logos, colours, patterns, images and even concepts. Luxury brands require a very specific approach to brand communication and marketing. A luxury brand does not put efforts in mass media and is highly selective about their visibility. Instead of advertising their product in mass mediums, a luxury brand would rather prefer to create a high-end property for promoting the product to the right clientele. It could be an art event, an exclusive sports event or may even be a high-end musical evening. Their idea is to create an exclusive experience targeted at their customers only.

They can even create personalised give aways for their valued customers or an exclusive tour to the location where the product is manufactured/produced and give them a first hand experience of the making of their favourite product. This technique results perfectly well in happy customers and in winning their loyalty and accolades.

Luxury brands must pay special attention to the way in which they sell and innovate. They must make investments in designing multifunctional, controlled spaces that create brand experiences and communicate brand beliefs instead of regular stores. These spaces must be designed to provide a functioning laboratory or experimental shopping experiences. Brands can then invite a select few of their customers to manufacturing facilities to see and experience the brand’s production process in person.

Mass brands have defined customers too and their communication plans are always meant to push products towards them. This strategy gets reversed when it comes to planning for luxury brands. Their plan must be such that it pulls the consumers towards the brand with the promise of belonging to an exclusive community.

To create this exclusivity, profiling of customers should become a part of the brand strategy for luxury brands and must be highlighted in a subtle way. The brand must host regular exclusive networking events for their customers to keep them loyal. This instils a feeling of belongingness to a special circle in the customers, they feel important and being looked after. This results in customers staying loyal and being rewarded for it.

A very aggressive and common strategy followed by mass brands is to compare themselves with their competitors and communicate their advantages over them. Luxury brands must never do this. They are exclusive and their communication strategy must focus on the fact that they are beyond any competition. Their communication strategy must be consistent in every point of delivery, including products, stores and marketing. Luxury brands often achieve this by inducing a degree of mystery or by making a connection with art to communicate their brand elements in an elevated way. They must weave a story around their creator/founder and share it with the target customers to gain the required trust and confidence.

It is sheer exclusivity that sends out the right message to the right people and gains the right results.

Ritu Bararia
A passionate Public Relations and Communications professional with a progressive experience of over 18 years, Ritu is an expert in the realm of Travel, Hospitality and Aviation. Her forte lies in strategising communication plans basis the essence of a brand with a strong focus on media management aiming to create focused visibility and awareness.

Some of her professional milestones include, setting up of Aviation Industry Group for CII, facilitating launch of India’s first Premium Airline – Kingfisher Airlines and establishing the brand in media as the official spokesperson, facilitating launch of Luxury Retail Brands like Porsche Design, Bally and strategising and executing launch of the brand Roseate Hotels and Resorts.

Prior to founding Little-joy Communications, Ritu was Group Head - Corporate Communications with Bird Group/Amadeus India.

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