The compass for luxury’s new codes of meaning contains rank, guilt, freedom and perfection. These four codes reflect polarities of meaning and reflect a sense of how brands must balance the realities of how culture shapes their relevance.
Rank is the last bastion of conspicious consumption. Today rank must have authentic standards. Rank equals the ability to choose and direct. Now, there is compounded responsibility that comes with setting the standard by which others follow. No gifts anymore, please. Britian’s Prince William & Princess Kate opted for charitable donations in lieu of wedding gifts. The couple selected five causes.
Guilt: We are now forced to reflect on our consumption in ways we have never done before. power, for luxury, has been communicated as arrogance that exacerbate tensions between rich and poor or secular and religious.We now seek power that enables change. The new message for luxury is about reconnecting to the source and building back in the human part of the story (Chrysler, Imported from Detroit). Power also comes with responsibility and rethinking the mundane (Puma’s replacement for the shoebox; a cardboard sheet that folds into a box structure, and fits seamlessly into a cloth bag.)
Perfection is a relentless pursuit of perfecting the process by which an object is crafted. Control of process is critical. Therefore, commitment to the preservation and sustainability of an ideal underscores the strive for perfection. Over a nine-year period, Chanel bought seven of the most specialized ateliers in Paris, many in operation for more than 150 years, ensuring both the survival of a dying industry and the continuation of the house's own couture techniques. Perfection is vision: Apple’s iPad was cryptic on release in what design problem it solved. If you perfect the execution the product will activate behavior. Perfection seeks to refine the ordinary. The Evian Bottle for hospitality establishments comes with a built-in pourer. The slender PVC bottle is recyclable. An accent of permanence in a throw away world...
Freedom is the pursuit of personal acquisitions and creative accomplishments. Freedom is about creative beginnings.(Like Coco Chanel)
“Rank” is essential for luxury consumption in Turkey, however it is not the only determinant. The scale shifts between rank and guilt based on whether one chooses to live in luxury in an introverted or extroverted manner. As there are people who would prefer not to reveal the actual, there are also those who prefer to show it as more or deliberately less than what it is.
The feeling of guilt is also present and is shaped by religious concerns as well as those that arise from Turkish cultural codes such as not disturbing around. The feeling of freedom that luxury gives, is associated with reuniting with whom you want when you want while perfection is not a very important or accentuated player.
The luxury market has been increasing globally.Despite a slower economic growth in 2012, mostly due to the debt crisis in Europe, an aging population and a significant growth in unemployment, Turkey remains one of the most robust economies in Europe with one of the fastest growing luxury markets in the world which has long time made the transition from emerging to mature. To understand Turkey’s luxury market, one should understand its positioning as a destination. Istanbul concentrates 80% of Turkey’s luxury market for all sectors – fashion, accessories, jewellery, watches, hotels, cars and real estate. Istanbul’s growth is mainly due to the growing upper middle class of Turkish nationals as well as the increasing number of corporate and leisure individual travellers, especially from Middle East, CIS and Central Asia. But Turkey is still regarded as a mass market destination. Should its positioning improve, its luxury market could double.
In the light of all these data, deciphering the luxury codes of the Turkish consumer, who has huge potential for luxury marketing, and starting off with the service industry for forming an action plan will arm brands with powerful insights during the first phase.
What makes a luxury brand desirable? “8P’s of luxury brand marketing”
Performance refers to the delivery of superior experience of a luxury brand at two levels –product and experiential level. At a product level, fundamentally it must satisfy the functional and utilitarian characteristic as well as deliver on its practical physical attributes – a recipe of quality or design ingredients like craftsmanship, unique design, extraordinary product capabilities, technology and innovation. At a experiential level emotional value steps in-beyond what the product is to what it represents. (E.x. Rolex stands as a symbol of heroic achievement)
Many luxury brands have a rich pedigree and extraordinary history that turn in to a key part of the brand's mystique. This mystique is generally built around the exceptional legendary founder character of the past, making up an integral part of the brand story and brand personality.
Over-distribution of a luxury brand can cause dilution of its character, so many brands try to maintain the perception that the goods are scarce. Burberry diluted its brand image in the UK in the early 2000s by over-licensing its brand, thus reducing its image as a brand whose products were consumed only by the elite.
The persona of a luxury brand is largely a result of distinctive projection& consumer touch points and the brand communication through its advertising. The visual brand identity captures the brand's personality, mystique and emotional values in a nutshell.
5. Public Figures:
Public figures or celebrities have traditionally been employed within luxury brand advertising, and they continue to deliver attention, credibility and impact. Public figures span from film stars to music personalities, from sports personalities to royalty, and even the designers themselves. But because celebrity endorsements are no longer exclusive to the luxury space and are extensively used (and abused) across mass categories, luxury brand endorsement has to take on new meaning.
With the increasing democratisation of luxury brands and the rapid emergence of 'masstige' brands, luxury consumers have become more discriminating and demanding.
They are seeking more knowledgeable and professional assistance, a trusted and reliable collaboration helping them to manage their stature and lifestyle. Luxury brands are increasingly investing in training and empowering their sales staff.
7. Public Relations:
At a tactical level, PR is utilised to generate buzz and convey the brand news, as well as points of view of inspirers and influencers. It is also a crucial support for brand activation at fashion weeks, sport events, themed previews, etc.
A recent research by Unity Marketing suggested that affluent shoppers won't spend 10 times more for something only three times better. Luxury brands must, therefore, justify their price through the interplay of the seven 'Ps' mentioned above.