How do you define luxury?
Luxury is a symbol of indulgence rather than a necessity in itself. Luxury inspires the desire to reach the upper echelons of a hierarchical system in which pleasure is gained through hedonism. As human beings we all have certain needs and desires, but once these are fulfilled and satisfied there’s a natural tendency within us to look beyond our expectations. What we look for is the fulfillment of our own definition of luxury. High net worth individuals – for whom fulfilling expectations is a given – are on a constant quest for luxury. Luxury for them is a must-have; something they need and do not expect to be without. Every aspiration, every consumption and every experience is related to luxury.
What lures people to splurge on luxury brands?
High net worth individuals are always looking for something unique – owning a product or having an experience before anyone else is highly desirable to them. They want to be first in everything they achieve and acquire, and luxury brands help them to reach the summit of the hierarchical world to which they belong.
What does The Luxury Brands Club do?
The Luxury Brands Club is a boutique marketing and communication agency that specialises in the luxury sector and targets only high net worth individuals. As experts in the management and marketing of luxury brands, our mission is to provide prestigious brands with strategic insight. We are a high-end marketing and communication powerhouse, offering a full spectrum of services and targeting only elite earners through meticulously planned approaches. We promote the true essence of luxury brands in response to our understanding of the dreams, aspirations and expectations of high net worth individuals. We maintain and build upon brand values, taking into consideration both heritage and current trends.
How do you bridge the gap between high net potential buyers and brand manufacturers?
High net worth individuals know what they want and aspire to and have high expectations. The Luxury Brands Club helps the brands we work with to identify and understand how to tap into these aspirations and expectations and ensure that their core psychological and functional values marry those of the high net worth individual. We bridge the gap by assisting the luxury brand in offering the right products to the right consumer. For the high net worth individual the feeling of “I am what I own” is all-important – they purchase luxury items to savour the exclusivity attached to the possession and consumption of rare brands. Luxury is the symbolic and hedonistic recompense of their success, and our speciality lies in maximising the assets of the brand to make them as appealing as possible to the potential buyer.
Do purchasing habits differ from country to country and do manufacturers take into consideration the growing purchasing power of China and India?
Broadly speaking, purchasing habits differ considerably from country to country. For instance, a high net worth British-born individual will be more interested in purchasing a grand property, a five-star holiday or the latest equipment for country pursuits such as hunting and fishing, than a swanky sports car.
China and India accumulate growth in terms of sales and, with a dramatic increase in the number of high net worth individuals over the past decade, both are definitely countries to invest in and to be seen in. In China 500 new luxury boutiques opened in 2010 alone. And as supply meets demand in this way, it’s clear that the purchasing powers of the Far East are a totally different story to those of Europe – even if both regions belong to the same social stratification.
Will the craze for luxury brands ever fade?
No, luxury has always existed. It’s not a new thing and the need for true and authentic luxury can only strengthen as the marketplace becomes ever more crowded. Being part of a certain social group brings with it the desire to possess. And the possession of luxury items symbolises the ultimate in consumption. The concept that “I am what I own” will always create a desire for luxury brands in our society.
Where do think the luxury industry is heading?
The industry is heading towards more and more exclusivity – as demand grows, the desire for unique and limited editions grows even higher. Over the past decade many luxury brands have positioned themselves as attainable to the average person. And, as a result, waves of brands will need to strive even higher to remain just that little bit out of reach to the masses; making their exclusivity all the more covetable. This effect will redefine luxury, reinforcing that it is a way of living and a culture, rather than a commodity that’s relatively consumable.
Do you believe the internet is of benefit to brand manufacturers as a way of reaching an elite global audience?
Often steeped in heritage and tradition, luxury brands have been hesitant to move online. They are slowly waking up to the fact that, nowadays, it is practically a must to have a strong presence online. High net worth individuals are often time-poor and the internet provides an ideal way for them to explore and keep up-to-date with the luxury goods market. Brands are facing the reality that they must engage the online industry in an innovative and proactive way or else miss out on potential consumers. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter offer excellent ways of interacting with brands and communicating preference to other users. Such sites enable brands to tell their story, reminding potential buyers of their presence, updating them with new lines, products or collections and introducing themselves to new customers. The immediacy and interactivity of the internet facilitates a unique and valuable two-way dialogue.
How do you think the recent economic crisis affected the luxury industry?
The recent economic crisis has affected every industry, including the luxury sector. The credit crunch has left the consumer with a slightly more conservative attitude and behaviour. But the economy has bounced back. In 2010 LVMH’s turnover was up by 17% and Burberry’s was up by 21%. The luxury industry was worth €170 billion in 2010, so it was a positive year for luxury brands, and 2011 looks set to be even more successful.
Lastly, what do you think about Luxurylaunches?
I am a huge fan of Luxurylaunches. In terms product offering, Luxurylaunches is always first with the latest products and collections. It’s an informative and accessible way of keeping in the loop with the luxury sector.
The Luxury Brands Company Ltd
125 Sloane Avenue
London SW3 3DP