eCommerce Cultivated | Episode 036

How to Build A Luxury Brand


With customers having more options today than ever before. Are you curious about how to build a luxury brand?

My guess is that you are here because you want to show up in the market as the leader in your industry.

Plus you probably want to know what it takes to create a timeless business that can withstand time.

There are many facets that go into building a brand but today I am taking you through 5 that are important to have in place.

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Episode Transcript

It seems like today the word “luxury” is being thrown around everywhere.

But what does it truly mean to build a strong luxury brand? A brand that will withstand the test of time and build a legacy.

There are many facets that are needed to create a luxury brand. Today, I will be discussing 5 important elements to have with some examples so you can work on building your luxury brand.

First, let me ask you this question.

Are you a Luxury Brand or a Premium Brand?

Recently, I’ve noticed that brands are bouncing between luxury and premium. And, I can see why the two seem so closely related.

Let’s name some brands that typically fit into each category.

Premium Brands

  • Nike
  • Patagonia
  • Callaway

Luxury Brands

  • Chanel
  • Tiffany & Co
  • Cartier

So what distinguishes them? All of these brands can be seen as high-end due to their price points. Typically a premium brand can be classified as high-end but not necessarily luxury. Yet a luxury brand can be classified as both.

If I were to draw a large circle one that all the high-end brands could fit into. I would then draw another circle within that space and specifically gather luxury brands together.

Luxury brands typically don’t focus on the mass market they focus on a niche market of intentional buyers who resonate with like values. This often creates the exclusive feel that most encounter with luxury.

With that said let’s start with the first element that you need to build a strong luxury brand.

Choosing A Clear Focus

This is important especially today as the barrier to entry into a market is lower than ever before.

Thanks to technology it’s now easy for new brands to pop up and work on positioning themselves as the go-to in their industry.

But does that mean as a luxury brand you can easily accomplish the same?

I believe so, as long as you have a clear focus on what you want to sell and to who. Plus you come to the market with a product or products that really resonate with your ideal buyers. Then be willing to invest the time to build up your reputation.

For example, in 1926 Chanel introduced “The Little Black Dress” which she famously became known for at the time to make elegance more affordable to women.

Ultimately, your customers will be the ones who will validate if, in fact, you are a luxury brand.

It is important to decide if you will just have a luxury aesthetic or truly operate as a luxury brand in the market. People will be able to tell the difference. So make sure you are clear on how will present your brand at all touch-points.

Showcase Your Difference

As I previously mentioned, the barrier to entry into new markets is low. With so many options that customers have to select from. It’s important to show why your brand is different.

Honestly, a difference could be the unique way your products are pulled together or the ingredients. Sometimes it can be as simple as having a relatable story.

For example, La Mer’s famous moisturizing cream originated when…

Dr. Max Huber, an Aerospace Physicist had suffered burns in a lab accident. This led him to develop a unique fermentation process that transformed sea kep and other pure ingredients into a cell-renewing elixir that he would use to transform his skin.

Look at your product suite what makes them unique to the market? Do you have an interesting brand story? Will your products impact people’s lives in a certain way?

These are all great questions to ask yourself as you build your luxury brand. As they will play a key role in helping your customers identify and relate to your brand.

Captivate Through Values

Evaluate your brand values and what you represent in the market. Do you have a strong point of view or belief that you want people to identify with?

Simon Sinek is famously known for his book called “Start With Why”

Shares how strong brands have leaders who share their why first.

It’s the reason why brands like Apple can get people to spend thousands on their products. Even though on a foundational level their electronics are similar to other brands.

So how does Apple get people to become brand loyalists?

Apple is great at getting others to believe in their why.

Here is an example from Simon’s Ted Talk where he explains the difference in communication.

He gives two examples, the first one is how Apple’s marketing message might sound if they were like everyone else.

“We make great computers, they are beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. Want to buy one?”

Which is pretty generic and doesn’t inspire much action.

Simon’s next example is the opposite and how Apple usually communicates to its consumers.

“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently, the way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

Of those two statements which one feels more connected to a bigger meaning? Clearly, the second one is how you want to captivate through values.

Influence the Perception of Exclusivity

Luxury brands are famously known for being exclusive. People love being part of a community or group it’s just human nature.

One way you can create exclusivity is via perception.

Hermès is famously known to do this with their leather handbag The Birkin.

You can’t just go and buy a Birkin at the retail store or even online. You have to be personally invited to join a VIP waitlist which can be up to 6 years long.

Interestingly enough, getting access to something that most people don’t have can cause the value of a product to go up and enable you to become famously known for your special way of selling.

Look at your current product suite. Are there any products that you can offer exclusively to those who are invited to a specialist list? Where you sell a very limited quantity of products that go to those on the list?

If you do decide to create something similar to this make sure the products that you pull together are carefully selected and can’t be purchased separately in your regular assortment.

Create a Memorable Experience

This goes without saying that building a strong luxury brand is mostly about creating a memorable experience. Where at every touchpoint your customers feel taken care of and appreciated for their patronage.

Whether that is how they engage with your products in-store, online, or in the DM’s make sure you are creating an experience that helps them return.

When you go into a luxury retail store. Every interaction is thoughtfully designed, from how you are greeted to how you are shown products and more.

For example, if you are buying a luxury handbag. It’s not just thrown into the bag, it’s carefully wrapped with precision. Because when you walk out confidently with your new bag and you get home to unwrap it. You get excited all over again.

You also will remember making your first luxury purchase and how it made you feel.

Look at your current touch-points and ask yourself is it memorable? Does your team and staff understand the expectations of how they are to engage and interact with your customers?

Also, don’t forget to re-engage your previous buyers. Invite them in a special way to engage with your business. This will help you not only build a stronger relationship but also generate repeat purchases effortlessly.

These are the 5 elements of building a strong luxury brand. I hope you found these tips elements helpful as you are building your brand. If you want to learn more about how you can create a successful luxury eCommerce experience™.

Be sure to download the complimentary guide linked in the show notes.

Episode Notes

Resources Mentioned

Want to Work Together

The Luxury eCommerce Experience™ | A signature 4-month luxury strategy and design engagement to help you build more brand loyalty and increase your product sales. By reimagining your brand, creating a sophisticated Shopify website, and elevating your Klaviyo email marketing.

k-tmc

I’m Karen, the founder, and eCommerce Expert behind The May Creative. Where I help modern luxury brands build more brand loyalty and increase product sales on Shopify. Connect to learn more about working together. Or check out the other episodes below and dive into some insightful eCommerce articles for additional resources on growing and scaling your business.

Karen

Keep Listening

  • What Is A Luxury Brand
  • eCommerce UX Best Practices For Luxury Brands
  • 2 Ways to Cultivate A Stand Out Luxury eCommerce Brand

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