PR and marketing are broad disciplines that continue to get more sophisticated with time. In many ways, the rising importance of these fields can be attributed to increased competition in recent years. At the same time, higher expectations online have demanded a much greater effort from brands. In fact, any modern business strategy is certain to fail without a smart PR strategy. This is especially true when it comes to fashion and luxury brands.
With this in mind, let us take an in-depth look at how to do PR and marketing for fashion and luxury brands. We’ll focus on some specific examples of brands that thrive and what they do in the face of this increasingly competitive market:
Introduction to Marketing for Fashion and Luxury Brands
While it may seem strange to emphasize the importance of marketing in the fashion industry, luxury brands are required to generate a positive perception to win over potential customers. The best way to do this is through public relations and marketing.
After all, the luxury customer is notoriously hard to attract and doing this requires an especially consistent effort in terms of maintaining a meaningful relationship. Furthermore, expectations are always much higher for luxury brands. In this industry, first impressions are meaningless unless the brand can continue to demonstrate a perception of superior value.
In many ways, perception dictates the price a consumer is willing to pay for a product or service. Needless to say, this should explain why luxury brands are so focused on marketing strategy. In addition, this is also a visual industry and one which naturally relies on the standard principles of marketing.
Why is Marketing Different for the Fashion and Luxury Brand Industry?
As mentioned above, meeting the higher expectations in this industry demands a more thoughtful approach. Indeed, the customer’s perception of a brand is extremely important as sales in this industry are more reliant on emotional connections than a particular price point. In other words, luxury customers are usually willing to pay a higher price for an experience which creates the perception of a significant amount of value.
This value is different for every individual and, quite often, the perceived value can even relate to the emotions a product or service can evoke in the customer. With this in mind, we can see that marketing for fashion and luxury brands is a rather psychological process that targets the hearts of customers just as much as the mind.
Defining the Most Suitable Niche for the Brand
When a luxury brand enters the market, it should have a reasonably clear idea of the characteristics and needs of the target market. In fact, to merely identify the customer as “luxury-minded” is not enough. The product should serve a very precise purpose and be desired by an equally precise consumer. For this reason, researching the market is vital for the long-term success of a product or brand. Not only will research provide information about the competition, but also evidence that the product is in demand. Furthermore, identifying a niche market will align the brand with customers who want or need the product in question.
Indeed, defining a suitable niche will place the brand in a much smaller market and this will not only mean less competition but also a better chance of connecting with the right customers. With a well-defined niche, the implementation of PR campaigns gets even easier. This is because it then becomes easy to target the right journalists for this campaign.
Establishing a Marketing Strategy for Luxury Brands
Business plans are essential for long-term growth or assessment over time and the very same can be said about a marketing strategy. In the case of luxury brands, there is often significant financial backing to counter potential pitfalls. Even so, there should always be a clear and concise marketing strategy to ensure nothing goes to waste during the process.
Having said this, few brands manage to fully grasp the general importance of strategy. Some brands even think of this effort as optional rather than a pillar of success. After all, if your product is good, then it should sell itself, right? Unfortunately not. This is a common misconception – even the best luxury brands need a good marketing strategy.
A business plan geared towards addressing the marketing channel of the business has to be treated as critical to the success of the company.
Using emotions to help people connect with luxury brands
What Steve Jobs did with Apple is the perfect example of how targeting the emotions of customers can translate directly into sales. In the case of the tech giant, Apple created an emotional connection between famous influencers and the brand, thus compelling customers to perceive a higher sense of value in the associated products. When a few celebrities, tech media, and tech personalities made the brand a part of their lifestyle, they put Apple above every other tech company.
However, as we can see with the famous models and icons, this luxury strategy is much more common in the world of fashion. You will notice a lot of times we have people like the former First Lady Michelle Obama, actors like Lupita Nyong’o, musicians like Rihanna and Lady Gaga being used to market specific fashion brands. This is because when such valued celebrities adorn a particular brand, its perceived value goes up. In fact, celebrity endorsements increase sales by 4%.
Partnering with celebrities tends to be an effective strategy because they give the brand a unique personality. By making someone famous the face of your brand, you humanize your brand and build an emotional connection with potential consumers. This strategy encourages the public to purchase your products because they want to emulate their favorite star.
Tips for Marketing Luxury Brands
Here are some of the most important aspects of marketing for luxury brands and fashion to consider when establishing the most effective strategy possible:
1. Taking advantage of supply and demand
Supply and demand is a funny concept. Simply put, most people desire what they cannot have. For this reason, scarcity is often the motivation behind a decision to purchase. Luxury brands understand the importance of exclusivity. As a result, they focus on minor details which can set the product apart in terms of style and presentation. In some cases, luxury brands will introduce a product as “limited edition.” Ultimately, the objective is to communicate a sense of urgency and compel the customer to take action.
An example of this is evidenced by a recent offer from Girlfriend Collective – a luxury lingerie brand in the United States. In order to gain traction with the target market, the brand made a limited offer to send a $100 pair of leggings to any customer who merely shared the offer on Facebook and covered the cost of shipping. In essence, this was a smart way to use supply and demand to market the new product.
2. Telling the story behind the brand
One way to get your target audience to connect with your brand is by brand storytelling. Since everyone loves a good story, telling the story about how your brand was born is a good way to build an emotional connection with your audience. Sharing your brand story humanizes the brand and puts a face to the brand name.
When people feel a sense of connection to your brand, they are more likely to turn into paying customers and develop loyalty to the brand. For this reason, it’s important to keep sharing your brand story in different forms.
How Chanel has used storytelling
Gabrielle Chanel opened her first store at the age of 21 and grew Chanel into one of the largest luxury brands in the world. Since then this flamboyant brand has been telling the story of how it came to be, and the Chanel website is nothing short of a storytelling masterpiece. As you might expect, this only serves to heighten the connection between the brand and customers who love a good story.
At Pressfarm, we understand the power that storytelling has to secure media coverage. Instead of attempting to pitch how your product is amazing, how about explaining to journalists why your fashion brand was created and what it does differently? Good PR focuses more on the stories behind the product than it does on selling the product itself. After all, PR is about brand awareness and image. You create a great story so that you can get more attention from the media. Eventually, the publicity you earn will boost your sales, but your stories are what really move people to make the purchase.
With a team of PR specialists, expert writers and certified designers, we can help you create quality content that you can then use to tell a memorable brand story. With a professional press release, some engaging guest posts and a creative media kit from Pressfarm, you can make a splash in your industry and stand out from the competition.
In addition to helping you create quality content, the team at Pressfarm can also help you distribute this content to put it in front of the right eyes. By submitting your content to respected media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can boost your online visibility, ensuring you feature in relevant search results across search engines like Google, Bing!, and Yahoo.
With access to a media database of over 1 million contacts and a few custom media lists, you can connect with journalists across different industries. This way you can continue sharing your brand story long after Pressfarm has wrapped up your campaign. With Pressfarm, you can finally share your story with a wider audience and win more customers over.
3. Building a relationship with customers
Failing to nurture a relationship with customers is one of the major downfalls for luxury brands. Communicating with the customer is one of the effective ways of building a relationship with them. Luxury brands that understand their customers’ needs and wants are more likely to produce products that appeal to the same customers.
According to a recent study, 72% of happy customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people. On the other hand, if a customer is not happy, 13% of them will share their experience with 15 or more people.
However, very few customers will come directly to you and tell you that they’re dissatisfied. Only 1 in 26 will do this. By building positive, long-term relationships with your customers, you are giving them a direct line to you and opening the door for them to come to you with any issues. As a result, you can solve a customer’s problem before they give up and leave.
In addition to gaining useful insight to help a brand develop a valuable product, building a relationship with your customers helps them to feel seen. This is especially useful now, at a time when stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have left people feeling isolated. As your customers struggle to adjust to the realities of the pandemic, they are grateful to feel like part of an online community of like-minded people. If you can build that sense of community, then your customers will remember you for a long time to come.
Indeed, customers are often impressed with the great care and attention that goes into producing a particular product and this is especially true if the brand shares its ethical beliefs. Instagram and Facebook are effective visual platforms through which to communicate a brand’s values.
4. Using Organic Strategies
As mentioned above, certain PR and marketing tactics are often ignored in the process of establishing a brand. Organic marketing is certainly one of these. Organic marketing for a luxury brand usually comes in the form of stories from affiliates of the brand. In the case of the world-famous Nike, the sports brand has always used known athletes to give credibility and personality to their shoes or clothing. In time, these stories shape the personality of the brand.
However, organic marketing can also be an internal effort in which an important figure in the brand such as the CEO uses a prominent online presence to document their relationship with the brand. In many ways, this is often a more powerful way to do organic marketing, as they are providing an insight into the people behind the brand a well as the product or service being promoted. It creates a certain sense of openness and transparency that is really attractive to customers.
5. Employing Sensory Branding
Visuals are almost everything for a luxury brand. High-end packaging and special features are known to attract more attention from potential customers. When customers finally make a purchase, they are likely to feel privileged to have these products as well as the status that comes with being associated with the brand. However, touch and smell are just as important for a luxury product and these are often used to create a stronger connection with the customer. In fact, sensory branding is so effective that after Nike added scents to its stores, intent to purchase among customers increased by 80%.
For example, did you know that designer stores use the same colors and scents in their stores around the world? In most cases, the design is rather subtle but a distinct fragrance is often noted. This is part of a unique sensory experience that the brands wish to convey. Such stores include Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, and Prada.
6. Creating an Online Presence
If you walk into a perfume store and a particular luxury brand name is not clearly displayed, the customer is unlikely to miraculously bump into this brand. For the very same reason, if potential customers are browsing online for a new perfume, they are unlikely to locate a brand that has little to no online presence. Indeed, product placement is just as important online. This is achieved through blogs, videos and other forms of content marketing including paid advertisements.
If you want your luxury brand to be visible, then maintaining an active online presence is crucial. Burberry is a prime example of a fashion brand that has fully embraced the online world. You can find live fashion shows and interviews on their website as well as an interactive buying experience for a full range of luxury goods. Their ads are running constantly on Facebook and Google Ads. Wherever you go online, you’re likely to bump into Burberry.
If you expect your customers to find you, rather than the other way round, you will be disappointed. After all, you want your marketing efforts to reach the right audience. For this reason, it’s important to research your target audience and find out where they spend their time. Once you know this, find out what their pain points are. With this information, you can go to them and speak to them in a language they understand. Your PR and marketing strategies will be far more effective if you know where to find your audience and how to engage with them.
7. Adopting Email Marketing Campaigns
Luxury brands should seek to create business relationships in which they can potentially obtain email lists from reputable publications and then use them with a certain degree of finesse. While social media and messenger bots are now the primary means of communication, email is still considered an effective marketing channel.
Interestingly, luxury brands can now use these email lists to generate leads and target relevant customers. As part of the process, luxury brands place pixels in an email to potential buyers. These pixels can then track the consumer’s online behavior and re-target these customers with strategically placed advertisements. While there are no notable examples of effective email marketing, these campaigns are extremely common and widely used in the fashion industry.
8. Making the Most of Luxury Names
One of the most important aspects of a luxury brand is the name. After all, customers associate certain emotions with brand names and this is especially the case with a luxury brand. Recent studies show that luxury products are usually purchased on emotion as opposed to pricing. The names of these luxury brands are usually at the forefront of the customer’s mind. The brand name alone leads to an increased probability of converting a customer.
With this in mind, loyal customers of Prada, Gucci or any other luxury brand are unlikely to need much convincing when it comes to trusting their choice of purchase. The same thing goes for tech companies like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Google. These companies already have customers who are loyal to their brands. For instance, it is very unlikely that a customer who sets out to purchase an iPhone can be convinced otherwise.
9. Maintaining Traditional Marketing
Since everything seems to be online nowadays, this has left a bit of a void in traditional marketing and advertising. With so many businesses rushing to create an online presence using digital marketing strategies, there is less focus on traditional mediums of communication.
Although ASOS is not necessarily a luxury brand, this iconic fashion website is still known to distribute a physical magazine. In fact, the magazine is still one of the most popular fashion publications in the world. It is said to convert record numbers of readers into customers on an annual basis.
10. Using Social Media to Advance
Nurturing relationships is also a great opportunity to understand the wants and needs of customers. By asking questions and answering inquiries, luxury and fashion brands can identify the values, qualities, and characteristics of their customers. This information can then inform future PR and marketing strategies.
Once again, Burberry is a leading brand in the world of marketing and home to one of the largest online fashion communities in the world. With this in mind, Burberry creates platforms to interact with customers, who can then leave feedback on any aspect of the products, services or even the store layout.
11. Remaining Inclusive and Relatable
Discrimination has no place in any industry. However, there is still a need for brands to actively take an inclusive approach to communicating with customers. An example of this can be witnessed in outdoor or sports brands that tell stories about their customers regardless of their level of fitness or talent. In this way, luxury brands can connect with consumers who are more likely to relate to these stories and feel more attached to the brand.
Marie Claire is a leading clothing designer in the United Kingdom that is famous for celebrating plus-size models. While this is only one example of taking an all-inclusive approach, we can see that fashion brands are now more inclined than ever to promote diversity in anticipation of creating a meaningful relationship with consumers.
Nurturing Relationships with Influencers
One of the most impactful ways to increase awareness and authenticity is through relevant collaboration with influencers who manage fashion or luxury blogs. Instagram is a great place to start and a platform that garners a lot of traction at this time. Influencers who produce a daily blog are also just as effective.
Outfit of the Day – Influencers love content just as much as a luxury brand. There is always a requirement to produce relevant and consistent content. With this in mind, an outfit of the day theme is usually welcomed by influencers. Needless to say, this could involve them wearing a product designed by the brand in question.
Samples and Giveaways – Influencers also enjoy passing free gifts and opportunities to their followers. For this reason, fashion and luxury brands can send such items to the influencers free of charge and request. That they give some meaningful publicity in return.
Consumer Approval – Although consumers may not have the same following as prominent influencers, this publicity is often more effective. That is to say, consumer testimonials or posts are highly authentic and trusted by the general public.
Events and Free Advice – Free resources are an excellent way to build a relationship with potential customers. While they take time, events are an opportunity to gain publicity. Unfortunately, many brands fail to recognize that this investment can be a lot more long-lasting than a quick sale.
Creating Community and Trust
Loyal consumers like to be rewarded with quality products and this is certainly expected with fashion brands. After all, fashion and luxury brands are expected to hold themselves to the highest standards possible.
In time, these tokens of gratitude will usually evoke a sense of trust with consumers. This is a clear foundation on which to start building a community. Every concept, product or service is nothing without the customers so this community is the most powerful factor when it comes to establishing a brand in any market.
At the same time, there is also an ethical responsibility for seek to create this momentum in the most transparent way possible. Trust is earned and should never be taken lightly. A brand may find itself struggling for one reason or another, and this community is often the foundation that will enable the brand to rise again.
There are many sides to PR and marketing for fashion and luxury companies. While any strategy is better than no strategy, this is clearly one industry in which only the strongest survive. Furthermore, so much emphasis is placed on visuals and so much expectation on perceptions, marketing, and advertising. These are inevitably the most impactful ways to communicate with luxury and fashion customers.
There is a lot to learn when it comes to marketing in this industry. When all is said and done, first impressions are nothing unless a luxury brand continues to demonstrate a perception of superior value to the luxury-minded community.