The concept of luxury branding is undergoing a fundamental change, and with it, the process of creating a tasteful luxury brand identity.
With the evolution of mass media and the internet, as well as the entry of luxury brands into many emerging economies around the world, a new type of consumer has been created.
This person is the luxury-savvy consumer who now seeks out a product with a more personalized and unique quality to it. This is why luxury brands have to learn to properly market these brands to this new type of consumer.
The concept of brand identity
When endeavoring to establish a tasteful luxury brand identity, it is first and foremost important to understand what is meant by brand identity.
The word ‘identity’ is usually associated with human beings, and generally refers to a person’s character and personality. Now, in order to conceive an identity, one has to first understand how the company behind the brand perceives it.
This self-perception is then used to determine how the brand should be marketed to target groups. This is very different from traditional marketing since the brand identity is not derived from market research, but instead represents the convictions and inner vision of the company.
A luxury brand, thus almost like a real person, is driven by its own identity, stands proud and seeks to connect and interact with like-minded individuals.
How to create an effective luxury brand identity
Achieving an effective luxury brand identity requires one to find just the right mix of the physical-functional and emotional-abstract components of the brand.
The physical-functional component deals with the associations a consumer has with a brand in terms of the physical product or service. It includes the brand attributes, which are the brand’s products functional characteristics, and from which its benefits are derived.
The emotional-abstract component deals with the brand’s non-functional characteristics, and includes the tonality and symbols of the brand. Brand tonality relates to the brand’s personality.
With a luxury brand such as Rolls Royce, the brand tonality could be said to be regal, confident and mysterious. As it has become more and more difficult to distinguish between products today, given their largely similar functional benefits, it has become increasingly important to focus on brand differentiation based on the brand’s symbolic benefits.
This mode of brand differentiation lends itself particularly well to luxury brands, since no other product category has brands whose symbolic benefits equal and sometimes exceed the product’s functional benefits. These brand symbols are images that help represent and convey not only the functional but also the emotional associations of the brand to consumers.
Stephen Wynn: the man behind the successful Wynn Resorts brand
Stephen Wynn is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd, which develops and operates high-end casinos and hotels. The company is a luxury brand whose success confirms Wynn’s ability to create effective luxury brand identities.
The profile of Stephen Wynn on WSJ goes on to say that he has in the past worked at Valvino Lamore LLC, the predecessor to Wynn Resorts, as the managing member. Mr. Wynn is also an officer and/or director of a number of Wynn Resorts’ subsidiaries.
Creating a tasteful luxury brand identity requires one to take a very different approach from that of traditional marketing. Indeed, one needs to look at the brand as a person, infuse it with personality and character, and then seek to market this to consumers.
The end result, if successfully carried out, is a loyal customer base, often for life.