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How to create a luxury brand - What you need to know

Have you ever felt a strong desire to own an expensive stylish watch or fancy car you saw on TV? I have, and I am sure it is a much more familiar feeling than we care to admit. It is simply the effect of powerful branding.

So, how do you create a luxury brand that emotionally affects people? And how can you replicate this same effect for your brand? If you are looking for an answer to these questions, you are in the right place.

In this article, we will demystify the act of luxury branding, exploring the characteristics, tips, and tricks that make a genuinely successful luxury brand. As a new luxury brand, you will learn how to make people desire whatever you sell. Let's dive into the world of luxury.

Note: if you would like some help crafting a brand strategy to attract a luxury audience, talk to Alex Colley.

Alex has over half a decade of experience working as a luxury brand consultant. He has a wealth of experience working with brands like Cartier, Westfield, Porsche, and F1. If you would like to discuss a branding project, contact Alex here.

What Defines Luxury Brands?

Luxury brands can be characterised by high quality, exclusivity, and price tag.

ikon is a branding and creative agency that defines luxury as an experience, felt, not just seen. An emotion that is evoked, not just a message conveyed. Our founder, Alex Colley, points out three main elements a luxury brand must have. Your brand must exude glamour, create desire and offer exclusivity to join the league of successful luxury brands.

Chanel, Gucci, and Rolls Royce are all great examples of luxury goods.

We have gathered what you need to build a leading luxury brand.

Building a Luxury Brand

We have picked out some elements you need to incorporate into your brand to make you speak that luxury language only the right audience needs to hear to make a sale.

Here you will find some significant characteristics that distinguish a luxury brand from every other regular brand.

Price For A Niche Luxury Segment

When you ask people what they understand by 'luxury' You quickly hear them talk about the price of the latest Louis Vuitton bag or how expensive a Lamborghini is. A high price is one thing many people associate with luxury brands, and rightly so. We all know you often get what you pay for, which is often true with luxury. Does this mean any expensive product or service signifies a luxury brand? Definitely not.

The brand's symbolic value must be evident in the product and merit whatever price it is given. People can easily spot an overpriced good or service if that is the only luxury feature it has. Hence, successful luxury brands have mastered pricing their product to fit a high-end consumer niche.

Using a pricing strategy known as "Prestige Pricing," luxury brands make their products suggest quality and exclusivity by attaching a higher price.

This practice is expected in the luxury market and has been observed to work well.

Higher Price Signals Higher Quality

Recent research published in the Journal of Business Research observed how people associate expensive luxury products with higher quality.

Shockingly, it was discovered that pursuing high quality is not a driver for making expensive purchases. However, it is indeed a factor.

For example, a regular watch costs about £30, more or less. Nonetheless, you see people willing to pay £7000 or more for a Rolex watch that tells the same time as a regular one. By selling at a higher than average price, Rolex creates exclusivity that helps its customers send a message. Convey that they have attained financial success that aids this purchase.

Quality is certainly a factor but combining this with the high prices and a story they can tell themselves and their friends, they are buying a status symbol. The same goes for other luxury brands.

Uncompromising High Quality

A common brand promise for most luxury brands is they offer quality products. Most luxury brands deliver quality products; otherwise, they wouldn't last months in the luxury market. To talk about high-quality products is a complex art to master. Luxury brands tend to enforce the quality of their products via any means possible.

Generally, high-end brands make their products with higher-grade materials, ensuring they last much longer than most in the market. By delivering on this brand promise, they build trust and confidence in their customers. In the process, they gain customer loyalty and reinforce their fan base.

Quality is desired in any product, but luxury brands emphasize just how quality their products are.

Customers have more faith in hand-stitched products by professionals than machine-made, and most premium brands use this information to their advantage. Luxury fashion brands like Louis Vuitton do not fail to emphasize that their bags are handmade by experienced craftsmen.

Making sure your products are made of top-quality materials helps reinforce their value and justify the price in the marketplace. The same applies when you offer a service, ensure you deliver quality. Existing customers do your marketing for your brand once you convince them you provide quality products or offer excellent service.

Showcase the Symbolic Value Or Meaning

Luxury is more than just a physical product or a service; it is also a belief. Strong luxury brands have mastered the art of giving meaning to their products. Most consumers want more than just what the product does for them and are more interested in what it means.

One major meaning luxury brands attach to their products is how it helps their affluent customers climb the ladder in their social hierarchy. If you spend thousands of dollars on a sports car or a watch, you want more than just driving around the town or telling your neighbor the time. Luxury brands offer symbolic value to a niche segment of customers more invested in high-status associations.

Perceptions Of Scarcity & Exclusivity

What speaks of Luxury more than an item available to only a select number of people? Scarcity is a marketing strategy many luxury brands employ to add more value to their product. In the luxury world, supply must never outgrow demand. The major challenge luxury brands face is the balancing act between supply and demand.

There are many tactics luxury brands employ to create scarcity effectively. They include a time limit, reduced product availability, waiting lists, exclusive previews, and more. For example, Hermes is famous for its iconic six-year waiting list for one of its bags.

On the other hand, Apple creates massive demand even before launching its product. This also applies to other luxury brands like Aston Martin, which created only 77 pieces of its hand-crafted, full carbon-fiber body, the Aston Martin one-77, and sold each piece for $1.8 million.

Scarcity and brand exclusivity are highly linked. Some brands take any excess products off the market and destroy them instead of selling them for a discounted price.

Characteristics of a successful luxury brand are not limited to the ones mentioned above. However, taking note of them and learning to use each of these characteristics effectively might be just what you need to raise the status symbol of your luxury brand.

How to make your brand feel more luxurious

Branding is the soul of any successful business that offers luxury items. Building a strong luxury brand is the only way to do this when it comes to selling luxurious items. Not only do you have to uphold your brand's symbolic value, but your brand's visual side also has to appeal to your target market.

Luxury brands are masters of design. They market their products with designs that are irresistible and captivating. The following section will examine some of the visual techniques most high-end brands use in their design.

Minimal Design Aesthetic

Luxury brands use effortless designs for advertising their products. Creating ads with few elements gives room to emphasize the essential elements, usually the product itself.

This applies to ads through to your website. Discover how to create a luxurious website design in another article we wrote.

Great Typography

Excellent typography is at the heart of a strong brand identity, and used well, it can be a strong visual differentiator. A lot of luxury brands use premium typefaces. For instance, you can see the similarity between Vogue and Prada logos. They use a Serif font which is a variation of the Didot typeface. Using a typeface commonly associated with top luxury brands will give your business that luxurious feel.

Enough whitespace

Whitespace is regarded as the space between the elements of your design. Adding more whitespace to your design can make it look more sophisticated and simple to the viewer. People who see your design can easily understand the message you are communicating at a glance.

It’s certain that luxury brands invest in high-end photography, ensuring their products exude that luxurious feel.

Work with ikon to become a leading luxury brand

Many new luxury brands struggle with essential aspects of branding like brand positioning when starting. Not everyone understands the nuances of luxury branding to create a unique brand experience for your clients. Working with a luxury branding agency is the most effective way to ensure your brand stands out.

Alex Colley has used his wealth of experience to help luxury brands like Cartier, Westfield, Porsche & F1 to help them communicate their uniqueness and deliver on their brand promises. With a mission of assisting new luxury brands get their footing in this ever-growing market, he founded ikon, a branding & creative agency.

Understanding that it is not just the price tag that makes a luxury brand, but creating a brand identity that captures the customer's attention and imagination.

The ikon team features creative thinkers, strategists, luxury brand consultants, and storytellers. Leveraging on their expertise, our luxury branding and creative agency will distill the very essence of your brand. Then craft a compelling story that communicates your message to the world.

ikon is here to help you build a brand that stands the test of time.

This article is written by Alex & Brandon of ikon | We are a boutique branding & creative agency – but not in the traditional sense. We hand-pick a team from our experienced creatives to suit each project, delivering a personal and bespoke service. Alex is always the lead contact every step of the way and our clients include the likes of Cartier, Westfield, Porsche, & F1.

We understand luxury