How to Communicate ‘Quiet Luxury’

The way to communicate “loud luxury” or luxury where overt showcasing is the primary objective to consumers who are flaunters or who basically are logo-driven consumers is always selling logos and more logos.

But how do we communicate “quiet luxury” or luxury where the voice of logo is muted and the ego fight is on subliminal flaunting of luxury? Quiet luxury is a minimalist approach to luxury and fashion that emphasises timeless elegance, legacy, aesthetics, subliminal ego and exclusivity.

Let’s first understand the consumers of quiet luxury, primarily the ones who are obsessed with aesthetics such as Aesthetes and the ones who are the “real collectors” or rather the Connoisseurs. These are the two categories where the consumer is just not swayed by logos.

These are consumers who come from “old money”, who do not feel the need to establish the “coming of age” to everyone. However, they are more ego-driven to establish their supremacy to the others who they think are also from the same strata of society. The subtle cut of the bespoke suit from Savile Row or the logo-less uber-class limited edition jacket of Louis Vuitton, which are hard to find but the trained eye will know that it is 10 times more expensive than the logo-studded jacket are the signs of flaunting in “quiet luxury” space.

So communication also has to be bespoke. Communication has to be driven by two factors – exclusivity and ego. Therefore, luxury brands who are targeting the quiet luxury consumers have to keep a special communications and branding package ready wherein the logo is not showcased but the exclusivity is.

You can buy the logo but you can’t just buy the class!

Luxury leather brand Bottega Veneta has no logo as it says “you are the biggest brand”. An expert eye can tell from a distance from Bottega’s signature “intreciatto” weaving craftsmanship. So you have to communicate the ego-booster – “you are the biggest brand”.

Ironically, we all are in the same queue, waiting eagerly to be treated as special. The “exclusion principle” works like magic.

Brand communication needs to explicitly showcase exclusivity, the legacy of the brand, the intricacies of the movements in case of a watch or of the craftsmanship in other cases…harping on the number of man hours that have been painstakingly spent to make this unique piece as a “quiet luxury” desirable product.

So communication becomes complicated when the same brand appeals to both consumers of loud and quiet luxury. The biggest challenge is that the old money brands and the new money brands seldom overlap. Brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are more known to appeal to loud luxury consumers or the flaunters while Patek Philippe appeals more to quiet luxury consumers such as the Connoisseurs and Aesthetes.  So for Louis Vuitton or Gucci to appeal to old money consumers the brand messaging needs to abruptly change and appeal to exclusivity and subliminal ego boosting for an effective brand communication.

So, to communicate quiet luxury a brand needs to know the art of subliminal marketing wherein the ego, legacy, exclusivity, man-hour investment and, of course, the story are the key drivers.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Mahul Brahma
Prof (Dr.) Mahul Brahma, FCES is Dean and Professor of NSHM Media School. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at Bath Business School, Bath Spa University, UK. He is a Fellow of The Commercial Education Society of Australia. He is former Professor, Dean of School of Media and Communications and Director of Communications at an Indian university.

He was honoured with a DBA by American Council on Management and IT (ACMIT) and is a member of its Academic Council. He is a D.Litt (hon) in luxury and communications, and a PhD in Economics. Prof Brahma was Chief Editor and Head of CSR, Corporate Communications and Branding, Publishing and Conferences for a Tata Steel and SAIL JV, mjunction. He is a TEDx speaker on the mythic value of luxury.

He won Sahityakosh Samman in 2022 and 2023, Crisis Communications Leader of the Year Award in 2021 and several other national-level awards in communications and CSR. He is a luxury commentator and award-winning author of 10 books – 'Bharat, A Luxe Story', The Quiet Luxe, Aesthetic Leadership in Luxury, Mostly Missing: Be Silly Be Slow, The Mythic Value of Luxury, How to Communicate Strategically in Corporate World, the Luxe Trilogy (Decoding Luxe, Dark Luxe and Luxe Inferno) and Quarantined: Love in the time of Corona.

He is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management - Calcutta, St Xavier’s College, MICA, Sri Satya Sai University, and University of Cambridge Judge Business School. He is a golfer with a 7 handicap.

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