What sets luxury brands apart? Like mainstream brands,
luxury brands need relevant products, clear positioning, keen
understanding of the target customer, and solid business
But luxury branding goes far beyond
these basics—sometimes even beyond logic. Luxury brands evoke
an emotional response, be it the subtle satisfaction of
pouring the best bubbly on the market or the sheer joy of
letting out the throttle on a Lamborghini.
Luxury must be felt.
1 Vision sets the tone
Luxury brands command substantial premiums in part because
the vision behind them is unique and compelling. The focused,
engaging vision of a creator is key to the longevity of a
Founded in 1910, Italian fashion house Ermenegildo
Zegna is now managed by the fourth generation of the Zegna
family. A clear, far-reaching commitment to
creating luxury suits from the best natural fibers
in existence has enabled the Zegna brand to stay in vogue
for over a century.
2 Rarity and mystery heighten appeal
Mystery, uniqueness, and a sense of discovery enhance
consumers’ fascination with elite products and brands, drawing
them deeper into the luxury experience.
The Bodega boutique at first appears to be only a
convenience store. But a panel in the back slides open
like the door to a secret passageway, granting access to
a hidden world of chic fashion.
3 Obsession generates excellence
Successful people who have built something out of nothing
share one trait: They are obsessed with perfection. The
precise tick of a Swiss watch or the finely tuned hum of a
German automobile results from the maker’s insatiable quest to
achieve the highest possible level of performance.
Footwear maker Silvano Lattanzi prides itself on
meticulous workmanship, crafting each pair of shoes by hand
from superior materials. Customers can choose among 400
leathers, differing heel styles, lining, stitching, and even
4 Origins serve as a touchstone
Luxury brands that remain true to their heritage
give consumers a special reason to build a
relationship with them. When those origins have a
component of intrigue, they hold even more sway.
Forest Essentials stays close to its Indian roots by
working with Ayurvedic physicians, traditional ingredients,
and age-old formulas. Applying new research and
technology, it transforms ancient treatments into opulent
beauty products for contemporary women.
5 Emotional intelligence anticipates needs
Impeccable service and personalized attention are among the
hallmarks of luxury brands. Frontline staff must bring highly
developed emotional intelligence to understanding customer needs,
then fulfilling them to perfection.
The Four Seasons hotel seeks out employees who are
motivated to serve and quick to intuitively grasp the
needs and desires of guests, making its clientele
feel pampered and personally cared for at every
6 Exclusivity ups the ante
Knowing that you belong to a select group adds an extra
dimension to the luxury experience. The allure of prestige and
distinction can prove irresistible to affluent customers.
Everything about the recently opened Johnnie Walker
House in Beijing whispers exclusivity. Only 200 members
are permitted to enjoy the whisky vaults and private
sections of the house, taking the mystique of Scotch to a
whole new level.
7 Appearance conveys status
Displays of wealth, once discreet, have changed markedly in
recent years. Luxury is more overt, sometimes even paraded, and
luxury brands are increasingly seen as reflecting one’s status in
Airbus private jets allow you to travel anywhere in
style. Making a statement about social status as you fly,
these aircraft not only provide the finest in
furnishings and fittings, they also let everyone
know you’ve arrived—in more ways than one.
8 Expense is reassuring
The price tag of an object of desire should announce its
worth—even if the cost seems beyond reason. Asking for any less
diminishes its value in the eye of the beholder.
At $100,000, the Zafirro razor makes a man feel like a
king in his own bathroom. Only the richest of the rich
can afford its iridium handle, platinum screws, and solid
white sapphire blades.
Images used with permission from Bodega, Silvano Lattanzi,
Forest Essentials, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Airbus, and