We receive many new business enquiries from regions outside Europe. They all say the same thing: their country does not understand luxury properly. They don’t have the skill set or expertise to copywrite, conduct market research, design luxury brand marketing and communications to the highest quality and standards needed.
It’s good news for us. Sidestepping Brexit, Britain is still seen as a centre of design excellence. Especially here in London, at the heart of a flourishing cross-cultural epicentre of creativity. London’s love of storytelling, love of words, imagery, history, individuality and character is the luxury’s industry’s creative gain.
Along with France and Italy, we have proved to be the best communicators of the luxury brand mantras of heritage, provenance, narrative, experience, and emotionally engaging strategy. More importantly, non-Europeans feel we understand the feel, style, tones, moods and textures of wealth. We are indeed true keepers of the faith.
How has this happened?
Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Patek…etc have all famously become well-established luxury brands the world over. But they started off as small local artisan family firms. In the last 100 years, the industry has morphed into largely big European companies, ranging from the corporates such as LVMH (with its 75 luxury brands) and Richemont (127 ‘maisons and businesses’) to independent companies such as the Italian Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna, and industrial groups like Swatch and L'Oréal. The artisans still exist in a cottage industry format, and many are hugely innovative and influential as recognised by Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow.
Europe respects heritage
Europe is one of the most visited regions in the world. The South of France, Paris, Venice, Milan and indeed London can conjure up luxury, elegance, style, beauty – and indulgence. (Well, you have to go to the right parts of course. Nothing beautiful about the North Circular, or Junction 6, M1, Watford)
Pierre-Yves Donzé, in “Selling Europe to the World,” writes of the ascendancy of European luxury being due to “the powerful attraction of an idealised way of life, combining elegance, tradition and hedonism”. Those wonderful French impressionists and amateur Edwardian gentlemen inventors…
Europe is also the centre of taste, design and craftsmanship in the luxury business. Three of the Big Four fashion weeks are there: Paris, Milan, London - and since 1993 the new boy, New York.
The continent is littered with artisanal workshops that throughout history has hand crafted pieces for industry. There are specialists in every sector including, most famously, the watchmaking and jewellery cutting experts of Switzerland.
Pride in cultural tradition and provenance
Europeans are proud of their long-term luxury histories. Luxury brands created in these countries are guarantees of well-made craftsmanship, style, quality and an image of superiority in build/manufacture and style. Interestingly, as the Economist points out, German consumers may link luxury more with functional characteristics such as product performance and the price/quality-relationship. Think Porsche, BMW or Mercedes.
In part that has happened because of the relationship over time between big business, religion and art.
For example, during the Renaissance, the Medici's were big investors in artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Botticelli.
And the Roman Catholic Church used art to promote their message, dignity and power. Bernini designed St. Peters Square. Oh, and Michelangelo painted biblical murals on a ceiling to spread the good word to the people.
New empires, new luxuries, new politics
Europe’s quest for expansion is under the microscope right now. Fortunately, or unfortunately, colonisation brought in new materials, resources, and cultural influences which later became symbols of luxury. These played an important role in shaping people’s perceptions of what luxury, elegance and refinement actually meant.
At the same time, as money flowed in, the middle class grew wealthier, income grew, and people wanted to show off their status, which again created a culture of appreciation of art and design.
Experts at luxury brand imagery and design
We became experts in luxury brand marketing knowing how to communicate exceptional craftsmanship, timeless design, and meticulous attention to detail.
For example, ‘Less is more’. It is a phrase we London-based luxury brand marketeers routinely use. It means a specific attitude, value and tone for how luxury should be presented in UHNW/HNW marketing and brand communications.
It means simple colours, straightforward typography, design that promotes functionality and usually a sense of calm. We all believe such a minimalist approach to artistic or aesthetic matters is more effective creatively and commercially.
At its most purist, it is about expressing only the most essential and necessary elements of a brand design strategy by getting rid of any excessive and therefore, unnecessary components and features. Minimalism takes form, colour, and space and reduces them to such simplicity to attain their essential nature – which is a perfect design philosophy for many luxury brands.
It is a very specific approach not practised in Asia, India, the USA, Canada, and the Middle East. ‘Less is more’ in brand communications and image making means not overly showy. It is about subtlety, understatement, distance. It doesn’t shout. No bling, no big logos. It is what UHNW’s want now. And a very few European countries know how to do it well. We do though:
We are experts on making luxury brands count for more
What you see is what you get. Two experienced luxury brand marketers working on your business.
Anew are a London-based luxury brand agency who help companies – such as Bombardier, Universal Music, Hatch Mansfield and Boodles - increase brand profitability through sharper insights, distinctive propositions, creative ideas, new branding names, market research luxury logo design, messaging, online and offline content, coffee table books, luxury brand websites 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.
Based in the heart of London, we'd be delighted to meet for a coffee, either face-to-face or virtually, to discuss any new luxury branding projects you might be considering.
To get in touch do drop us an email.