Learning from Luxury: Branding for Better Business

When building your #brand, please think luxury 💎. I use principles of luxury branding to explain, mostly to non-luxury businesses, why and how this space serves as a beacon in brand building.

There are many learnings to be had. For starters, rather than relying on superficiality and run-off the mill messaging, a strong brand focuses on what is truly important to its customers and pursues and communicates this clearly, consistently and with authenticity.

True luxury lies in simplifying and refining your very essence. It requires absolute clarity of who you are, why you exist - and the confidence to ruthlessly pursue your position. This is even harder when your brand awareness is low.

It also requires a deep understanding of your target audience, their desires, values, and aspirations.

You are successful when you hit that sweet spot of perfecting what you do for the people who you care for and value the most.

But sticking to luxury branding principles when building your brand is hard to achieve. Like procrastination, it’s easy to get lost in tasks, programs and even products that are relatively ‘easy’ and promise quick wins – but take you further away from your very essence.

Not only does this draw energy and resources from making you stronger, but it alienates the core of people who truly cherish what you do. The world is awash with examples who pursued this path for the sake growth and went too far. Harley-Davidson making perfume is just one way of how not to do it.

Using #luxury principles in branding can provide a powerful framework on how to think – especially for non-luxury brands. Over time, I have studied and applied key elements of this across a variety of businesses, industries and even NGOs. Here are four of these:

#purpose: provides meaning beyond profits, reflects your values, and shapes your culture inside out, connecting why you do what you do with how and what you offer; drives long-term engagement, commitment and loyalty for clients and employees alike.

#beauty: the visual and sensory appeal of your brand (and every touch point of it, internally and externally), evoking positive emotions and perceptions; attracts clients, and enhances the overall brand experience.

#scarcity: is often used to intentionally limit the availability of a product, service, expertise (and even people); creates a sense of exclusivity and desirability.

#clarity: complexity is the antidote of simplicity which in turn makes clarity a result, but also hard to achieve. It requires often difficult choices, like whom and what to say ‘no’ to; strengthening your positioning.

None of these are obvious. But all of them work.

When thinking #business in the context of what we can learn from luxury, then the difference between luxury and necessity is opportunity. Harnessed in better margins, higher NPS scores, stronger client and staff retention. And if done properly: better business that can give back, too.

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