Capturing elusive luxury brand loyalty requires persevering with a unique vision and looking to your roots for inspiration.

Marketing Week Live 2012 kicked off on June 27th at Grand Hall Olympia in London. On the second day Mark Ritson, a Marketing Week columnist, gave a presentation on lessons he learned from working with global luxury brands. One of the points he was driving home was the need to tap into brand DNA or original concept, typically defined by just two or three words, which allows consumers to easily identify the brand. Related to this, brands that want to stand out, should never appear to be “vanilla”, but instead should strive to be loved by few, even if that means they are despised by many.

Thus, there is a definite niche for products with a unique point of view and unusual designs, as long as brands remember their provenance and don’t compromise on their vision, however special or even misunderstood it might appear to be.

According to Mintel’s exclusive data compiled for the upcoming Lifestyles of the Ultra Affluent and High Net Worth Individuals report (August, 2012), nearly seven in ten (68%) in this demographic appreciate superior quality, over four in ten (43%) consumers look for superior craftsmanship, whilst over a quarter look for interesting designs (26%) and something unique or special (27%) when they shop. The search for great craftsmanship and distinctiveness is likely owing to three in ten ultra affluents and high net worth consumers who want people to admire things they own.

Analysis of beauty and personal care products from Mintel’s GNPD shows there were comparatively few luxury beauty product launches even within the prestige beauty category over the course of the past year.

Number of variants of beauty and personal care products with prestige content, by beauty price positioning, Western Europe, July 2012-July 2011

gnpd2Source: Mintel/GNPD

Together “luxe” and “super luxe” categories account for just 7% of launches, whilst the “prestige” and “masstige” categories account for over nine in ten (93%). Whilst products in the “prestige” category typically cost between £16 and £128, the “luxe” variants would command a price tag between £129 and £258, whilst “super luxe” products might come at a price of £259 and more. Niche products have distinctive features that appeal to few, but render price less important, with other qualities (eg provenance, unique vision) becoming the deciding factor.

Mintel’s Inspire trend Premiumisation and Indulgence examines how consumers continue turning to luxuries even after they have had to re-assess their spending priorities during the on and off downturn. Luxury is seen as an accessible indulgence or a special treat, which explains why the category has done well despite the economic trials. At the same time, there is evidence to believe that the concept of “luxury” is moving away from material possessions. Inspire trend Immaterial World suggests that when it comes to defining extravagance, exclusive experiences are replacing ownership of expensive objects, which also translates into expectations of outstanding customer service and custom-tailoring. 

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