A fashionista offers marketers advice for connecting with the elusive luxury customer.
In a world where suburban teens tote designer handbags and Prada is available at the local outlet mall, how is luxury defined? As more consumers gain access to ostensibly high-end goods, many luxury brands are struggling to distinguish themselves while retaining the aura of exclusivity. How does a luxury company ensure that its products get into the hands of the “right” customer? And how does it hold on to a shopper “whose needs are constantly growing and changing”? These are questions that Phillips tackles in this marketing guidebook for those who want to grab the attention—and the dollars—of the ultrahigh-net-worth shopper. Each brief, easy-to-read chapter delivers a single marketing lesson, whether it’s the benefits—and hazards—of licensing a luxury brand, the importance of cultivating a smaller, elite clientele rather than courting mass appeal, or the dangers posed by counterfeiters. Charts and graphs illustrate concepts such as the “luxury consumption pyramid,” and callouts draw attention to key points. Like a textbook, chapters end with a list of lessons learned and a question for readers. Some of Phillips’ insights are common sense; most luxury marketers have probably realized the importance of having easy-to-navigate, smartphone-optimized websites, for example. But the handbook also offers on-point guidance on tapping the fast-growing global luxury market, noting that elite shoppers from countries like Brazil and China are big consumers of luxury goods, but simply opening new stores in these markets may not guarantee growth. Instead, a smarter approach could involve developing online sales, producing regionally tailored products (such as Hermès saris for the Indian market), and building overall brand awareness to capture tourist shoppers. Other useful tips include guidance on creating spin-off children’s brands, which provide a luxury consumer a chance to “indulge in a form of shopping that can be rationalized as selfless,” the changing habits of the high-end shopper, and how embracing a sustainable business model can benefit both the environment and the bottom line.
Sensible, actionable advice for anyone hoping to move a brand into the upper echelons of retailing.