With millennials increasingly taking a higher market share in the luxury industry consumer charts, and Gen Z gearing up with their own quirks, luxury brands have to forgo long established truths to create new ones
By: Gaurri Malhotra, MD, IPURPLE
Posted on: March 16, 2020
Today, in an omni-channel world, consumers are enthusiastic about adopting innovations and engaging with relatable brands. When consumers use brands to help shape their personal image, traditional values like quality and craftsmanship will simply be expected.
Companies need to launch strong awareness and trial-building campaigns supported by positive product experiences. There are few influencing factors that are largely responsible for the buying behavior of the new age customer. This tendency is identical to asking for taste without offering salt. If you want customers, you need to blend it into a flavor that builds trust in the marketplace, while simultaneously giving your prospects something to assuage their cravings. Your brand message is the salt that adds flavor to your efforts.
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Our lives have never been so navigable. In this age of awareness and existence of deeply opinionated consumers, there is a need for rapid change in brand behavior to match with the rhythm of the ever evolving millennial. The growing relevance of social media in life has dramatically influenced decision-making. While supporting their customers in strengthening their self-images, brands need to move away from just creating products and services, to re-thinking how they fit into their customer’s lives.
A brand that has championed sustainability way ahead of its time shall have a history to share, while other luxury brands are still only gliding the surface. A forward thinking brand sets the tone to cater to the new age affluent consumers - youth who strongly believe in self-expression through what they purchase or wear, rather than what they already have. Regardless of race, culture, colour, sexual orientation, there is a feeling of coherence when it comes to making an ideal brand choice.
Beyond their historical credentials, brands need to continuously look for new avenues of relevance that connects with the new age audience. The consumer today is looking for a brand that comes with a belief that they can relate to. There are brands which have been embraced because of their beliefs and approach towards LGBT, gender bias and racism and some being rejected for the same reason. Think John Galliano!
The socially aware consumers of today have a very strong view of the world around them. When brands speak their language, these customers connect with them in an instance.
Value for every dollar spent!
As we step into the new decade, another element affecting the consumer’s purpose-driven shopping behavior is customer experience. It has become the key to gain a competitive advantage over others. Brands are increasingly embracing technology to offer a dynamic experience to customers that keeps them engaged and looking forward to new and better services. Clients increasingly expect adaptive services to fit in their changing needs. Hence, brands need to work on delivering real-time, personalised experiences and seamless conveniences such as facial recognition, sensors and smart objects.
While craving digital conveniences has increased, human interaction has not lost its sheen. Top-end spas and salons, hotels, art museums, local galleries and restaurants offer customized experiences with experts, curators and personal shoppers to build a long-lasting relationship with clients. The very business of concierge services revolves around authentic and relevant customer service. They offer tailor-made solutions to any need in the lifestyle of their clientele and their services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year making the curated luxury lifestyle experience even more delightful.
Influence of Technology
Technology is also been utilized to make the back-end operations of brands more efficient. Brands are slowly adopting technologies that incorporate machine-learning and data-driven capabilities. Traditionally, brands focused profoundly on aesthetics and brand messaging. Now it’s a balance of art and science. For example, high-end apparel brands depend on artificial intelligence engines to utilize data insights for clarity in customer demand. This ensures that brands focus on creations that appeal to their target audience. Combined with inputs from merchandisers and brand designers, brands can offer customers a curated experience. The fusion of data collecting methods with personalized and inspiring products and services will help create authentic and unique brands that are well defined in the eyes of their clients.
The Social Business Dynamics
Social ecommerce is flourishing in 2020. The increasing traction in the growing platform of Instagram and Facebook for shopping are changing the dynamics of business altogether. Expectedly, online sales continue to gain market share globally, with affluent consumers increasingly influenced and enabled by digital channels.
Making my presence felt!
Consumers are continuously moving to seek alternatives to popular online communities and social media platforms. Niche social platforms will continue to gain popularity among well-heeled consumers. Users will embrace more intimate digital spaces that foster meaningful, life-enhancing connections with like-minded peers and brands.
For luxury brands, it will mean a commitment to customer-centricity and the adoption of alternative social platforms to answer consumer desire for a more authentic, unfiltered look behind the scenes. Going beyond story-telling and equity, brands will have to now keep working on value creation.
Building brand loyalty is a persistent process to match footstep with the new generation. For change is the only constant that will exist forever!
Gaurri Malhotra has 14 years of experience in providing branding solutions. She runs two companies - IPURPLE working with luxury and corporate brands from all over the world, and PROMINENT, providing branding services to talent from all walks of life. Impeccable planning, meticulous implementation, and champion results are core pillars of her work culture