The digital world has thrown up some major challenges for luxury brands. It’s not that they don’t want to use the internet to get their messages across; it’s more a case of how they can maintain their brand without having power taken away from the brand by mass appeal.
Part of the initial problem for luxury brands is that generally they don’t want to become mass producers of goods – after all, that’s why they are deemed luxury – they want to maintain that position and for some, will have long waiting lists for certain items. Although some may be uncertain about how much they want to engage with the digital world, the fact is that they’re already there thanks to thousands upon thousands of media articles and the ubiquity of social media that allows comments and pictures to be posted constantly.
What luxury brands need is to build their digital images without taking away from their core business, and that’s getting people into their stores, those temples to retail that are beautifully crafted and offer amazing browsing and shopping experiences.
Bricks and clicks
These unique in-store environments offer encompassing luxury, not just because of the store but also because of the quality of goods on display. Another important part of luxury brands is personalized service, yet it’s often the website that can help potential customers connect with the brand, drawing them in and engaging them so they are not only intrigued but would like to buy into what is offered. The clicks can lead to customers coming to the bricks.
There are few more iconic entrepreneurs in the luxury brand market than Steve Wynn, who effectively reinvented the Las Vegas hospitality sector from the 1970s onwards. His concentration on luxury brands with the creation of hotels such as Bellagio and the complete overhaul of the Golden Nugget, stand as a testament to his entrepreneurial skills. The Stephen A Wynn biography offers insights into how his career developed.
Developing the digital image
Some luxury brands may feel uncomfortable with digital media, but they can use them effectively if they take the time and trouble to work out how their customers and potential customers want to engage with them. There are many different platforms that luxury brands can use and it’s not difficult to identify where brand awareness can be increased.
People use different digital channels for different things, and luxury brands need to understand that.
Facebook, for example, can offer the opportunity to be product driven in terms of both smaller items for in-store pick up and to entice consumers in to find out more about the higher-end and exotic lines. It can also let brands use music influences through video and audio, reinforcing the brand’s core ideas.
Twitter can be tricky, as anyone who has witnessed businesses going into meltdown following an ill-judged tweet can testify, but it’s a useful way to keep customers up to date with what’s happening and what’s coming up, helping drive them to the main website and then, hopefully, to the nearest store.
Instagram is much more visually oriented, so brands could look at getting photos of new products out to whet people’s appetites, and for fashion brands, what better than pictures from the latest runway show?
Using the media
Using cross-platform branding – for tablets, smartphones and computers – helps build a unified brand identity that can be accessed from anywhere on any device and still be instantly recognizable.
Good web design is essential to reinforce the concept of the luxury brand, make the visual, textual and interactive aspects extremely attractive, and to encourage consumers to make that brand their choice.