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Luxury in the new world
In the post-recession landscape people want richness of experience, not just products. That’s according to Michael Hughes, former executive director of strategy at The Brand Union.
September 27, 2010 4:09 by shafeer
The questions many luxury brand owners have no doubt been asking are: Who actually is our target audience now? Do we understand them? How do we connect with them? What will motivate them to purchase? How do we keep them loyal?
Many brand managers have turned to advertising and PR, but this is next to useless unless they understand whom they are talking to and why. In many cases, a brand might be hoping that keeping its name in the spotlight will lead to rewards when times improve. However, according to many experts, times have changed. The extravagance of the mid-noughties is not coming back any time soon.
Affluent consumers are starting to question and challenge the luxury brands of which they were once advocates. The new affluents are redefining, reassessing and re-evaluating their lives. This is happening across different markets and cultures and it will mean a major shift in the way luxury brands market their merchandise in the new economy. Discounts, sales, and other short-term initiatives simply won’t be enough.
Once a brand has a true picture of its target audience and its value proposition, a realignment may need to be considered. Careful consideration needs to be given to balance the brand’s heritage and reputation with the changes in the market. Values may need to be more thoughtful, selective, and reframed to sync with new attitudes. The promise may need to be recrafted and then used as a basis to rebuild the entire brand.
The process should be based on sound consumer insight on how to reconnect the brand with the core audience. The internal culture then needs to be rebuilt and the new brand proposition infused across all touch points to deliver meaningful experiences.
Michael Hughes is former executive director of strategy for the Brand Union, a branding agency with regional offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
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