How can I make my brand more luxurious? Is this a question you’ve been asking yourself lately?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
So many brands want that prestigious edge so they can charge the prices they know they are worth. But here’s the thing, people will only pay a premium for things that look good. As shallow as it sounds, that’s what luxury comes down to. Now of course, once they get past the exterior image they are then going to expect superb service, fine craftsmanship and impeccable quality. But the first thing they are looking at is your aesthetics.
No matter what industry you’re in; wedding, beauty, events, photography, you name it. The affluent audience is after that glossy, flawless, refined image, after all, they’re paying a premium, so they should expect nothing less.
And if you think the luxury industry is showing any signs of slowing down, you’d be wrong! Fortune Business Insights has said that the global luxury industry is projected to reach a huge $352.84 billion by 2027. So you’re right to want a slice of that luxury pie and I’m here to tell you how you can get it.
So you’re acutely aware that your brand needs to look the part, but let’s dig a little deeper into luxury brands and what defines one. Why are people willing to pay more for one brand but not another?
Well, the obvious factors which denote a luxury brand are supreme craftsmanship, legendary heritage, refined sophistication, unique creativity and superior performance. However, there’s one key factor that makes a luxury brand truly luxurious. It’s the reason people are willing to pay well above its worth and how these brands manage to have a steady stream of loyal customers even through the hardest of economic struggles. That crucial element in the luxury puzzle is exclusivity.
The term ‘exclusive’ means restricted to one person or group of people. This also means that you have the power to exclude another group of people that you don’t want to give access to your brand. When you have the power to pick and choose who you serve, it gives you instant credibility. Think of it like the popular children at school. They had the power to pick and choose who was included in their ‘cool’ group and as a result, kids became desperate to be part of their gang. This was because not everyone was allowed in.
When you become part of the ‘gang’ you feel confident, proud, accomplished and valued because you have something that other people don’t.
It all links back to our primal instincts which are deep-set into our biological makeup. As Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs explains; once our basic needs are met, which are to be fed, watered, sheltered and loved. We then move on to the next set of needs which are to be respected and admired by others. Luxury brands play into this by offering an exclusive membership to their products or services which will allow people to be respected by others. This is why the urge is so intrinsically powerful, because it’s a basic primal instinct which sits inside each and every one of us.
Luxury brands aren’t interested in serving everyone because that would be detrimental to their exclusivity. They want to remain sacred and unattainable because that’s what makes them aspirational. In fact, it’s not the elite crowd that predominantly funds the luxury market, it’s more the middle-class segment of people who aspire to be part of this group.
So we circle back to the first point, in order to become exclusive, you’ve first got to look so good that people want to be part of your luxury group. This all starts with incredible branding because the first thing people do when they see your brand is judge you on your perceived value. To make their perception of you credible you’ve got to look luxurious.
When creating the branding for a luxury business, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It depends on your product or service; taking into account various unique factors which include personality, ethos, values and vision. However, having said that, there are rules to follow when building a luxury brand image and I’m here to share those rules with you.
You can’t build an irresistible luxury brand if you don’t genuinely know the business. “But it’s my business, of course, I know it.” This is a phrase I’ve heard many times but you’d be surprised how many business owners coast through their days making sales and doing the work but not really knowing who they are, who they want to serve and how they want to serve them.
So the first port of call when making your brand more luxurious is to take a good hard look at yourself. Write out a list of questions which are designed to capture the true essence of who you are. The questions might look a little something like this:
Now you’ve got some in-depth answers about your business, you can use them to help build out your luxury branding to make your business appear more luxurious. They’ll work as the backbone of your company and should be referred to when you make any new design decision. This will help ensure your branding stays consistent which is the key to building credibility and trust amongst your audience.
This is a crucial step when making your brand more luxurious because it helps you depict how you want your brand to be conveyed to your audience.
Creating a mood board is a crucial step for building the overall aesthetic you want to create for your luxury brand. It sets the vibe for the type of business you want to have and most importantly the feeling you want it to evoke.
When I create mood boards for my clients I gather inspiration from all kinds of sources. It’s anything that comes to your mind when you think of your brand. Once you’ve built up enough images, you should start to notice a pattern among the images. Use these patterns to form the basis for your brand visuals.
One thing to note with colours is that metallics are very tricky to get right. A lot of businesses think that metallics are the epitome of luxury and so they use them in their branding. They have a logo with a solid or gold gradient and it always looks cheap and tacky. To use gold or any kind of metallic colour, it’s got to use texture but keep in mind that a foil texture is hard to replicate on digital assets.
When we refer back to our ‘cool kid’ analogy, it’s important to remember what being ‘cool’ means. It’s to be composed, confident and authentic. When your brand looks too busy, it can make you appear desperate, confused and inauthentic which is quite the opposite of cool. When you appear this way, people will perceive you as such which will make it hard for your brand to inspire and gain popularity.
The key to luxury is simplicity. When you think of some of the most prestigious brands in the world their websites aren’t cluttered with busy images, logos, icons and varying colours.
They’re clean, refined and simple because simplicity denotes feelings of sophistication. To be sophisticated means you are enlightened, you have worldly experience and you’re an expert in a particular subject area. When people associate your brand with these things they are putting you on a pedestal and perceiving you to have high value.
“The devil is in the detail”, this phrase could not be more true when it comes to luxury branding. For luxury brands to hold such high symbolic value in society, they’ve got to earn the right to be there. This means upholding an immaculate image which can’t easily be emulated by other brands. If it could, then it wouldn’t be luxury at all.
A brand is seen as luxurious because they are ultimately seen as perfect. Attention to detail from A to Z is what allows them to charge such a high price for their products or services.
When building your brand image designing your website and building your brand image, always pay meticulous attention to detail. Every font, space, colour, icon, movement, and word chosen has to be immaculate.
Your audience should effortlessly glide through your website, by this I mean that each element should work seamlessly together to make the user experience almost dream-like. Everything should be pleasing to the eye to form an elite brand image that looks and feels prestigious.
When it comes to luxury branding, consistency is king. It’s the lock and chain which holds your excellence in place, without it you’re just another run-of-the-mill brand. In order to be perceived as luxurious you’ve got to repeat perfection over and over again.
Do you think the staff at the Ritz slack off after lunch? No, they deliver impeccable service around the clock because letting their prestigious image slip is unthinkable.
This should be reflected in your branding. I see a lot of businesses with a superior logo but their website is cheap looking, or they have a stunning website but the language they use is tacky or the print materials they use look inexpensive.
When you’re not consistent with the image you’re trying to portray, it confuses your audience and confusion kills conversions dead in the water.
In the words of Aristotle “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”
Luxury is all about meaning and feelings.
People pay and will continue to pay premium prices for luxury items and services because they place a higher value on their symbolic value over their functional value. You can give your brand symbolic value by associating it with something or someone beyond your company logo.
For example, your logo on its own may denote sophistication but when you place it on a photo of a woman riding a lion it conveys feelings of empowerment, dominance and fearlessness.
I see so many businesses having a logo created and thinking that their work is done but they couldn’t be more wrong.
A logo on its own is very weak. Only when you group it together with colours, fonts and imagery does it really come alive. This is why I never offer the service of just logo design because there is so much more that goes into luxury branding.
People don’t buy from you because of how good you are, they buy from you because of how good they think you’re going to be. After all, how can they know how good your products or services are if they’ve never experienced them for themselves?
The only way you can get them to believe you’re as good as you say you are is by boosting your perceived value. This is the perception people have of your brand based on what you say and how you look. In luxury, image really is everything, especially online.
There is no point investing in marketing tactics like SEO, paid advertising or social media if the website you’re leading them to looks cheap and undesirable. It’s like leading a car off of a cliff edge. To make your brand more luxurious you’ve got to start with the basics and your brand design is the perfect place to begin.
I’ve helped hundreds of luxury clients transform their brand image and dramatically increase sales as a direct result. If you’re serious about succeeding in the luxury market, book in a call and let’s chat about how we can work together.