Three themes are being talked about in Luxury.
Firstly, mirroring the wider world, the trend toward sustainability and the desire for more-responsible consumption—reinforcing the need for companies to provide clear, detailed information about their processes and products.
This means increased attention to a quality luxury has always had – well made, quality, products are inherently sustainable. They are built to be durable and to last. It’s a strong and relevant message.
Historically (see earlier blog) luxury brands started out as simply as functional artisan-crafted products. They were expensive and of quality. A sector was then created laden with specific imagery much of which has become divorced from the original intention of the makers.
Secondly, supporting the above point – the likely opportunity to consider the idea of a return to quality – buy less but better.
This means many of the ideas and marketing that luxury has historically followed might come across as self-interested and vacuous (at least for a few years post recovery.)
This may be the time to revaluate the meaning and the word ‘luxury’.
Thirdly, McKinsey suggests that, after a large-scale crisis with a heavy emotional toll, consumer preferences could shift, at least for a time, toward “silent luxury”—paying more attention to classic elements, such as craftsmanship and heritage, and less to conspicuousness and “bling.” i.e. a return to the safe hallowed ground luxury brands are comfortable with.
This means increased attention to strong emotionally engaging narratives and marketing.
The New Frontier
We may see, for example, bolder innovation and presentation done with more flamboyance and audacity.
Or conversely it might mean a time to reassert old, timeless, luxury craft values. Nostalgia, which never went away, will still be reassuring.
Most likely a mix of both. The 1920’s is instructive. That era ushered in aviation, electricity, mass automobile ownership, jazz, Art Deco in design, Modernism in art, etc.
We may see more diversification.
Post 2020 we are unquestionably going to see more growth in on-line with many new technologies coming to fruition - AI, Augmented reality, space travel, electric self-guiding vehicles etc.
NB - For sci fi fans, in William Gibson’s ‘Peripherals,’ the rich can beam into artificial bodies anywhere in the world. Who makes these “Peripherals? Hermes and Louis Vuitton of course.
A brand-new future?
Many of us in brand marketing, are thinking about what the world will look like and, without overclaiming their power, how brands can help restore confidence and rebuild morale.
Brands do have a part to play in helping rebuild society.
The best ones have the power to unite and inspire.
Certainly, in luxury brand marketing, there is a strong and noble story in celebrating brands that been designed for longevity, durability, reduces impact on the environment – and are still stylish.
Sustainability for most luxury brands is built into their DNA. It just hasn’t been talked about in that way.
That’s got to be good for the world and for business.
Are you ready?
Marketers and brands should now be having the conversations that will set direction for the coming era.
Anew is well placed for both luxury and sustainability conversations, having in-depth experience of both.
We are brand development and marketing specialists for ambitious businesses of excellence. We help companies increase brand profitability through sharper insights, distinctive propositions, creative ideas and faultless execution. We are particularly adept at working directly with luxury brands, business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability, outstanding quality and craft.
You can read more about us here
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