Luxury brand experience

Marketing in the lap of luxury

These five luxury marketing trends are much more than fads—they're guides for making your brand shine.
This story is part of our series about the importance of brand experience in luxury marketing. View other stories in the series or subscribe to Pop from Sappi today to receive an email when we post more.

It’s not just a phase, mom

Just as innovation in the luxury industries has evolved, so have customer expectations. Premium brands that ignore trends in the ways their premium consumers shop for and purchase goods can lose relevance and their audience. But don’t worry, following these five trends will have your luxury brand living fancy-free.

1. Omnichannel shopping for omnipresent consumers

Shoppers are sophisticated. They notice when their experience with a brand is boring, bumpy and inconsistent because seamless shopping across multiple channels is now the standard. Consumers must be able to effortlessly pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the experience on another—no matter where they are. Easily carrying the consumer experience from laptops to smartphones and from catalogs to brick-and-mortar stores (all while maintaining a consistent brand essence) is no easy task, but to ignore this trend is to ignore an opportunity to reinforce your brand essence to every customer at any point in their journey.

Print magazines rank No. 1 in reaching affluent consumers in more categories than other media.

2. Premium experience with a personal touch

Buying a luxury good means buying a luxury experience. When consumers decide to spend on a premium good, they want every step of the purchasing journey to reflect the brand’s appreciation for their commitment. Custom direct mail, packaging and variable marketing materials bridge the gap between the physical and digital shopping world, and give shoppers not only a premium brand experience but a personalized one. No detail is too small to make the consumer feel valued by making their experience more personal.

Bridging the gap with personalized marketing

Customers say they feel appreciated and special when sent personal invitations to events. About 69% of customers say they are more likely to open a decorated envelope.

3. Micro-influencers with macro impact

Industry experts, public figures and celebrities have always had plenty of influence on consumer behavior. But with the rise of social media, their influence has been surpassed by that of influencers—specifically micro-influencers. With less than 30,000 followers, micro-influencers have been shown to provide the strongest return for the marketing dollar because of their stronger connection to consumers and volume of content. Brands are finding success on a more intimate scale (such as Instagram) where they’re able to use influencers with a smaller, more specific audience that is more likely to be interested in their product.

82%
Percentage of consumers that have a higher likelihood of acting upon recommendations from micro-influencers.
Jonah Berger & Keller Fay Group, Experticity, 2018
73%
Percentage of consumers that take the advice of average people.
Jonah Berger & Keller Fay Group, Experticity, 2018

Micro-influencers work because they reach customers on a personal level through niche topics that create trust and credibility. In the past year, marketers have doubled their spend on micro-influencer campaigns that have allowed them to reach target consumers at a fraction of the price of mainstream advertising ($6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, to be exact).

4. A spirit of sustainability

A focus on sustainability is gripping brands across all industries, making companies address the manner in which they source materials, how those materials impact the environment, and what happens after their disposal.

The bad news is that nearly three-fifths of all clothing ends up burned or in a landfill the year it was made. But the good news is that people care. In 2018, eco-fashion was a $5 billion market after growing 300% in ten years, and brands are increasingly seeking to reduce the environmental impact of textile production and distribution.

ECO Fashion Market in 2018
$
5 Billion

The industry is actively adopting measures to recycle fibers and clothing to address the environmental challenges associated with fashion overstock. Alongside initiatives like Forests for Fashion, groups like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Global Fashion Agenda, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Textile Exchange are working closely with the fashion industry to create sustainable solutions, from the sourcing of materials to end-of-life recycling and everything in between. The rise in sustainable practices demonstrates that where a product comes from and where it goes after it’s used matter to customers as much as the product itself. Compared to cotton or synthetics, tree fibers require far less energy and water to convert into fabric.

5. You really do want your customer to take it personally

Self-expression has been tied to fashion and luxury since its genesis, and mass customization is helping brands return a personal feel to fashion while fulfilling customer demand for a one-of-a-kind product.

Customization combines the flexibility of custom-made products with mass production, and is made possible with new technologies such as Augmented Reality, 3D scanning and e-wearables. Inspiring and enabling self-expression shows a company’s willingness to co-opt its brand with its most important stakeholder: customers. It breaks down a barrier between brand and customer that typically exists.

Takeaway

You don’t want to pass up these industry trends, because consumers might pass up your brand as a result.