Why People Aspire to Buy Luxury Brands
Luxury is Aspiration & Status
We all aspire to something better. It is the human condition. Since the beginning of time almost every human has aspired to be something greater. This comes in many forms, but nothing is greater than the ability to have a direct experience with an elite brand. It used to be that (middle ages) we could only “hope” that one day we would have an interaction with someone in aristocracy or celebrity (hopefully a good interaction), that you survived. But that human aspiration still remains today, albeit in even greater yearning as luxury brands are now prevalent and directly available to those who can afford to pay the additional margin, via hundreds of thousands of websites, offering a direct ability to acquire something elite, ranging from the goliath Amazon.com and eBay, to the exclusive, top dollar sites and retail stores of Gucci, Rolex and Louis Vuitton.
People “aspire” to luxury. They want to be a part of the pinnacle of society and lifestyle of those who have “made it.” The elite class. The rich. The bourgeoisie. I want to be that. A significant aspect of marketing is “aspirational” in nature….’wear my product and you will show you have made it.’
It Allows You to Enter the Elite Class (Metaphorically).
Wearing a luxury brand immediately associates the buyer with the luxury class. There is an undeniable sense that a Rolex is opulence incarnate and an implication that if you manage to wrap one around your wrist, you are elite. The buyer is elevated in their own eyes and the eyes of others, by displaying the brand proudly. “I have arrived!” According to the 2018 State of Luxury Report, by industry insider Luxury Daily, and reinforced by the Bain & Company Annual Global Study report that predicted worldwide luxury goods industry growth to grow 4-5% this year, and in fact every year through 2025. Coincidentally, as anxiety, fear and worry invade the collective conscious of the middle class worldwide, more and more people are looking at luxury brands to associate with, perhaps as a security blanket, or perhaps as a crutch to demonstrate they have made it to the elite pinnacle of the highest aspirations of wealth and class.
We Relate to Specific Brands that Reflect Our Values.
Subconsciously, we humans aspire to be a part of those organizations, brands and products that best reflect our “values.” Each of us has personal values, which are developed from a very early age. (As a side-note from my Coaching experience, if you are unhappy, you are likely living outside your personal values. Think about that.) These values control much of our thinking, and influence our perception of who we are, and who we want to be, and create conscious biases on what products we want to be associated with. So if you prefer Prada over Gucci, or Mercedes over BMW, or Chanel No. 5 over Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium – it is because of your personal biases and preferences, likely based on our personal values.
It is a Chance to Be Connected to Celebrity
Buying luxury brands gives us a direct connection to celebrity. In this instant information age, when we can be a part of the experience of the world’s celebrities through minute-by-minute social media, online magazines, paparazzi photographs, celebrities endorsing our favorite brands, reality TV, movies and sports galore on any device, we see celebrities as a way to remove ourselves from our mundane lives. If you see your favorite celebrity wearing a logo you also like, you get to experience that in common. It’s almost like you are the celebrity now. This is why many of the world’s greatest luxury brands “pay” celebrities to endorse their products, and to build multi-million dollar campaigns around these celebrities, as the target consumer already has celebrity brand crushes. Celebrities are brands, each one appeals to a specific target audience segment. The great marketers connect those celebrity brand traits with their own brand avatars.
Luxury Brands Are Higher Quality.
Not in all cases, but in most, luxury brands are better made, and will last longer. Not only the product, but the relevance of the brand is built to last longer. Mercedes Benz models are designed to be “timeless,” year after year, along with Rolex watches, Hermes scarves, Gucci belts, Michael Kors shirts, Chanel perfume, Tom Ford glasses, and Jimmy Choo shoes. The quality and the timelessness are the logic to buying luxury. The buyer mentally connects themselves through the product or service is a physical manifestation of luxury.
Smart luxury marketers connect all of these motivating factors into their marketing, messaging and storytelling strategies to create higher sales. Luxury marketing can only appeal to specific segments due to its elevated price point, but savvy marketers can increase their target market size by factoring these important elements.
Peter Ashworth is an experienced CMO, brand-builder, and growth executive inspired to positively impact the world. He has worked with several luxury brands to build connections to customers to create growth. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org