What Makes the Luxury Fashion Sector an Illustrative Case Study on Effective Marketing Strategies for New Brands
Huffington Post recently featured an article on how some start-up luxury brands are achieving impressive levels of success in a highly competitive industry. The luxury fashion industry provides an interesting case study of what it truly takes to stand out as a brand in today’s markets because it is one of the most difficult arenas for new brands to break through. The name recognition of traditional fashion brands creates a very high barrier for new brands to surpass because they do not yet have the loyal customer following that these powerhouses have built over decades and are simply fighting for the attention of customers.
Finding Creative Ways to Engage New Customers in the Luxury Fashion Space
The traditional ads that have proven effective over decades for established luxury fashion brands are not quite cutting it for newer labels. Unless they are able to trade on the star power of a renowned celebrity or supermodel, newer brands are not going to achieve the same level of respect and admiration from customers viewing regular print ads that a recognizable luxury brand will certainly command. Even with the addition of celebrity endorsements, a new luxury brand does not conjure up the same sense of worth and exclusivity of older name brands of luxury fashion items.
To catch the attention of Millennials and other new customers, new luxury brands need to find unique ways to engage the public on social media and beyond. They are better suited for pairing up with notable influencers who are considered icons for the customer base that they are trying to develop into lasting fans of their brands. One of the most effective ways that newer luxury brands can capitalize on their influencer relationships is by having influencers seen and photographed in public using their products. This might feel more authentic to followers than an influencer simply making a sponsored post that features the luxury item on social media. It stirs up curiosity and creates more intrigue about the brand because the influencer’s fans will be interested to know which handbag she was carrying or brand of shoes she was wearing.
Staying Engaged with Customers and Taking Feedback to Heart
A major component of new designer brands establishing a digital presence and interacting with potential customers on social media is that they must be willing to absorb customer feedback and take cues from what their followers find compelling. Market research is helpful to an extent, but a new brand’s followers will tell the brand exactly what they want in their own words if a brand is willing to cull through social media posts and comments. For example, a brand may discover that customers are more interested in a choice of different materials than a greater selection of colors in buying a new luxury handbag. This makes a major difference in the brand’s plans to scale up the manufacturing of a certain product.
Ensuring that a Luxury Brand Does Not Lose the Appeal of Exclusivity
One of the challenges in a luxury brand just starting out with its marketing strategy is that it does not necessarily want to appear as if it is attainable by just anyone. Part of the appeal of a luxury brand is that it has an air of exclusivity and is a confidence boost to the consumers who can afford to buy it. However, new luxury brands do not want to make their products so exclusive and expensive that they cannot sell enough items to stay on target. This means that they have to carefully walk the line between promoting their brand as a high-class option and showing that it is versatile in a wide range of situations.
One of the ways that new luxury brands develop a message for this situation is by demonstrating that their products are investment pieces that will stand the test of time and be a part of their customers’ wardrobe for years. Customers will still want to buy multiple colors, patterns or designs of the products, but they will not have to replace their purchases in the near future. This will drive demand for repeat customers without diminishing the quality of the brand.
Marketing and Selling Directly to Customers Instead of Immediately Working with Retailers
Many new luxury brands are intimidated by feeling as if they have to secure a relationship with major retailers in order to quickly get their items into the hands of customers. This does not have to be the case in the high-end luxury fashion industry any longer with the option for direct online sales. Some brands are experiencing great success by bypassing retailers and marketing directly to the public. They avoid mark-ups and retain more of their own profits while having complete control over how their brands are portrayed.
Selling directly to customers creates a stronger link between a luxury brand and its customers because there is not a middleman in the mix. This is not an exclusive option for the brand because it can still decide to sell its products through a select group of major retailers down the line. The benefit of scaling up slowly and deliberately is that the luxury brand does not risk being misrepresented or overshadowed because the retailer is more loyal to established brands with a stronger track record of sales. Once you have generated sufficient customer demand for your luxury products, you can more safely partner with a large retailer to broaden your distribution potential without being pushed to the sideline because older brands no longer have the same pull over your brand.