Luxury brands can be described with two words – exclusive and premium. When we think about social media, what comes to mind is reaching the widest and most relevant audience possible, at little or no cost. There is therefore a misconception that luxury brands should not advertise on social media, lest it dilutes the brand.
But social media marketing and luxury branding are not mutually exclusive! Let’s dig a little deeper…
Singaporean shoppers are some of the wealthiest, and biggest spenders on extravagant goods. They are well-read and have the ability to purchase. In an interview with The Straits Times, Michael Burke (Louis Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive) divulged that more than 80% of LV’s customers research the brand online before visiting its stores (Source: The Straits Times).
Similar to mass market brands, a social media presence is crucial for luxury brands for a couple of reasons. Consumer insights play an important role in understanding your consumers and keeping track of your brand’s reputation online.
However, this is where the similarity ends. Using traditional marketing methods will not work for high-end brands – Here are 5 things which luxury brands should do differently to maximize and justify their investments on social media:
1. Sell Dreams, Not Solutions
A typical mass-market marketing strategy would be driven by the needs or problems which a target consumer faces. For a luxury brand, this would not work, simply because we are not selling a solution but a highly coveted experience. Social media should be a means through which luxury brands create excitement and desire. It should be bold and shocking. Land Rover enticed consumers by sending a travel journalist to Malaysia to navigate one of the world’s roughest off-road course and publishing it in Onelife Magazine, an iPad app. An experience like this would not constitute a typical day for most of us. Land Rover allowed its consumers to live vicariously through them, even if through an online platform.
2. Do Not Remain Aloof
While remaining distant may have helped luxury brands remain exclusive in the past, today’s consumers are ditching high-end brands and returning to modest brands which share the same values. Luxury brands can no longer afford to remain aloof on the grounds that they would be opening up their brand to people who are unable to afford their products. By opening up the brand to interactions and encouraging user-generated content, the brand encourages conversations. Jaguar did a fantastic job with their #MyTurnToJag social media campaign, resulting in increased brand awareness. The campaign also leads users to schedule a test drive at their local dealer, which is a great lead generation strategy.
3. Focus On The Brand Narrative
The luxury market is highly competitive so how can one stand out from the noise and establish oneself as a leader? The answer is simple – most luxury brands have a rich and established history and should leverage on this to differentiate. Social media is a great platform to tell your brand story – you can leverage on different formats (GIFs, videos, visually stunning images etc.) to capture consumers’ attention and cultivate long-lasting, loyal relationships.
Chanel is a great example of a luxury brand that has taken the world by storm by infusing its social media strategies with the legacy of its founder, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, and her beliefs about femininity and fashion. The cult following behind the perfume, Chanel No 5, is evidence of how storytelling can have such a huge impact on the brand.
4. Provide Unique Experiences
Let’s come back to one of the most important aspects of a luxury brand – exclusivity. A consumer who is willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money is not only purchasing a product – he is buying into a certain way of life. Naturally, he would expect services which offer a higher level of quality and convenience.
So offer such consumers exclusive online invites to VIP sneak peaks or parties. Try original approaches to customer service so that they leave your Facebook page feeling excited and satisfied. A great example is a homegrown brand, Reebonz, which used their social media platforms such as Facebook to generate awareness about their unique shopping concept and their exclusive member-only shopping.
5. Humanize Your Brand
Instead of producing just beautiful content (like many luxury brands already are), creating something relatable is a sure-fire way to any consumer’s heart. By crafting visually captivating emotional experiences which consumers can relate to, you are already one step ahead in the game. Burberry’s campaign, Burberry Kisses, brings consumers back to one of the most basic and iconic representations of love. Although the campaign was done through Google, and allowed consumers to send kisses via a digital postcard, a similar campaign could also be executed via social media. The idea is to humanize your brand and capture attention.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Although luxury brands should not follow the traditional marketing strategies used by mass-market brands, some fundamentals like encouraging consumer engagement and providing unique experiences remain constant. The efforts made online can also help facilitate sales objectives in order to justify a luxury brand’s investment in social media.
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