A successful luxury brand strategy involves science, art, logic, intuition and emotion

 

All things crucial to raise brand equity, attract new consumers, heightening existing customers’ appreciation – and ultimately, realising higher profits and attracting investors.

 

Discover how to establish your brand as a preferred choice amidst all the competition by raising your brand’s perceived brand value and equity to attract more consumers – or enter a different market  – and to ensure your brand’s sustainability, even during a slow economy.

Globally, the 100 biggest luxury goods companies generated $214,2 billion in sales over the past financial year.

And in recent years, international luxury brands have flooded the local market to take advantage of a mushrooming black middle-class on the African continent.

According to an African Development Bank report released last year, 34% or 370 million people represent the middle-class in Africa, with growth forecasts expecting this group of highly aspirational people to represent 42% of the African population by 2060 – most of them with high spending power.

Perhaps there’s no better summary of why Africa’s luxury sector has such a bright future ahead of it: in a perceived black continent where poverty, famine and political unrests are rife; value has become everything.

There is a growing global interest in African design, textiles and products and one often see international fashion brands taking advantage of this fact, be-riching themselves as the world scrambles for Africa’s resources.

So the question is:

Why don’t more African entrepreneurs take advantage of this growing market that obviously has a taste for luxury?

Why don’t more Africans start their own luxury brands?

Africa is rich in raw materials in resources. We have the talents for great craftsmanship. We have the freedom to create innovate, and be great.

Their is the legitimate fear of diluting a brand’s exclusivity in the broadly accessible online world which requires brands to move carefully to ensure sustainable, long-term value creation,” said Andreas le Roux, Deloitte SA consumer business leader. “And there are global sophisticated consumers who appreciate African culture and believe that quality products can be made in Africa.

It is true that Africans need to be educated within this market as they simply don’t know such a possibility exists. It is true Africa has a distribution and infrastructure problem.

So what if you knew how to start a brand on this continent?

Or what if you knew how to turn your existing brand into a premium or luxury one and start earning much higher profits to support yourself your family and the community?

What if you could suddenly get finance to expand, purely because you raised your brand equity?

Would you do it?

Product excellence by itself is not enough anymore…

Brands must perform and excel at an customer experiential level as well.

  • Is your brand doing that at the moment?
  • Does your brand justify its perceived value in the eyes of the consumer?

The power of your brand rests in the perceptions, emotions, feelings and attitudes that consumers form towards your brand.

BUT:

If your brand is in retail –

  • Does the consumer get inspired the moment they walk through the door?
  • Or do they just turn away from pushy or unhelpful salespeople or shop assistants.
  • Even worse – are they irritated by the lack of brand knowledge which your staff may display – just shaking their heads with a “I don’t know….”?
  • Is your brand generating ongoing market relevance to keep up with consumer demands?
  • Are your customer leaving changed, elevated or touched by a divine experience when they leave your place?

People have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others, and that caring, affectionate bonds from close relationships are a major part of human behaviour.

  • Are you forming a close relationship with your customers and all other stakeholders?
  • Do you give them peace of mind? Make them feel like part of the family?
  • Do you make life easier? Are you rewarding them for their loyalty?
  • Are you clear on what solutions your brand has to achieve and are you clear of your target market?
  • Is your brand’s purpose and ethos clearly defined – and do you communicate that?
  • Does your brand have a soul? A story? The myth, the legend, the legacy, of why the brand was started in the first place?
  • Are your messages consistent throughout all your marketing and communications and conveyed appropriated by your staff?

Brand equity, brand values and customer experiences are key…

  • Are you 100% sure you have the right strategy to raise your brand’s awareness, and equity?
  • Are you making the turnover and profit you planned and wanted?
  • Is your brand strategy totally foolproof and rock solid against any slowing economic climate?
  • Do you have a long term growth strategy?

Luxury has morphed beyond high price points and iconic labels, and instead now revolves around everything from uniqueness, to meaning, to experience.

  • Do you know how the luxury markets has changed and do you know how to operate within the new perceptions of what a luxury market is?
  • Do you plan to make your brand a premium brand?
  • Or turn your premium brand into a luxury brand.
  • Do you know how to tap into new markets and disrupt old ones to make a stand and be noticed?
  • Do you think you can do better with what you’re currently doing?

Products speak louder than the organisation or its marketing…

Build Brand Equity

Malinda Sanna, founder and CEO, Spark Ideas said the other day, “What has emerged as the new definition of luxury is the small, the rare, the thought leader. True luxury today is experiential; it’s having the inside track that not everyone knows about. It is highly personal and intuitive. It never copies, it leads. It surprises and takes risks. And it makes you see the brand as the only solution to your desire in a sea of sameness.”

One of the new definitions of luxury, is it encompasses a belief in something.  It’s a piece of global soul. The specialness comes not just from the connection you have to the thing or experience – but to the entire set of values that surround it.

A successful brand strategy heightens its value and equity (the amount of money customers are willing to pay for the value your brand provides).

In addition to generating revenue, brand equity makes your company more valuable over the long term. That’s why All brands should have some measure of brand equity. Brands with high equity enjoy high levels of brand awareness and customer loyalty. And if you do not have a high brand equity – you’re in trouble.

The aim of any ambitious business – whether retailer, tourism establishment, hospitality service provider, lifestyle or luxury brand – is to establish itself as a preferred choice amidst all the competition by raising its perceived brand value and equity to attract more or a different market of consumer – to ensure its sustainability.

Most importantly: consumers must demonstrate high respect for a brand for it to have equity.

Components of Brand Equity

Differentiation:  All brands make promises to consumers. The strongest brands make unique promises that they consistently uphold and deliver upon. These promises must be different from the promises of other brands so that consumers have a valid reason to purchase them. However, differentiation doesn’t guarantee sales.

Knowledge: Consumers won’t buy a brand if they don’t know anything about it. Strong brands have effective advertising and promotional campaigns that are successful in educating the market about their backstory, how it was started, the reasons, the burning need which started it. Brand stories must be told and retold to new generations of customers.

Relevance: Brands must address the needs and wants of their target markets. Successful brands constantly adapt to changing market conditions and evolving trends. Most luxury consumers are ‘digital natives and the traditional model of how a luxury brand takes its goods to market but as long as you remember: quality comes before exclusivity you will be successful online.

Esteem: Esteem represents how much your brand is respected. Esteem can be built by providing great quality, service, support, and so on.

Value – Branding is also about managing profitable customer relationships. To achieve such relationships, brands must attract new customers by promising superior value and retain existing customers by delivering satisfaction. Brands with more highly perceived value command premium pricing, better margins, and wider distribution.

The connotation of luxury as we have come to know it has evolved somewhat from even just five years ago. It now embodies a more rounded and meaningful customer journey and relationship.

“Give them what they want, when they want it, how they want it.”

This pretty much sums up customer service in the new economy.

Customers seek to understand and relate to a brand’s integral values, craft and expertise. It’s simply not enough to have a high price tag to denote a luxury item; customers need to feel an emotional connection and an intellectual investment in the pieces they purchase.

The experience rather than the expense is what true luxury is about for consumers. But the way consumers engage with brands has seen a fundamental shift in the last few years. The decision journey is highly unstructured and non-linear with multiple points of infraction.

The challenge thus becomes more onerous as the physical establishment continue to be the primary consumer touch point with the brand – but now forced to become integrated with an onslaught of other digital communication channels and mixes.
The fundamental premise of raising brand equity remains to put forward a strategy at key stages of the consumer decision journey.

An in-depth understanding of this decision journeys is thus critical. Branding needs to be strong and consistent across all touchpoints, convey a differentiated positioning and hold the consumer within its universe.

 

Consumers starve for that direct, authentic relationship with a brand

There’s something really luxurious about that connection you have with brands that goes beyond mere marketing campaigns and messaging, but rather having a more real-time and authentic conversation where brands actually listen and learn from customers to improve on their offerings, and even change it to a narrative that say what she/he wants to say about him/herself.

This is done by focusing on the following factors.

Brand strategy – Developing successful branding strategies requires excellent internal communications, planning, and coordination among all levels of manufacturing, distribution and sales, marketing and management.

Communication – Brand equity cannot be achieved without a powerful integrated marketing and communications strategy. Today’s multicultural marketplace further complicates matters and demands that communication be multilingual, culturally sensitive, online and mobile. Brands also need strong communications to attract investors, financiers, resolve legal matters, and direct cross-functional groups.

Amplified Awarenessand Emotional Capital – An amplified brand awareness means that consumers will remember a brand among many competing products. Emotional capital converts a consumer into a loyal brand advocate who gives positive testimonials and word-of-mouth advertising. These customers commit to a brand and remain loyal to it.

Reputation Monitoring – To protect your brand’s reputation, you need skilled communicators who will respond quickly and professionally to customer questions and negative publicity online and off the line.

Legal and ethical decision-making – When customers, consumer protection groups, or businesses become upset over unfair practices, they may call for lawmakers to legislate and regulate the unethical behavior. Legal and ethical choices are a fundamental aspect of brand equity. Brands that operate legally and ethically help build trust and long-term relationships.

Collaboration with Experts – Collaboration is the driving force of success that brings together people from diverse fields and specialties to solve complex branding problems. Online collaboration tools make it possible for people around the world to come together quickly and effectively in real time to create marketing collateral, resolve technical questions, develop products, conduct financial analyses and resolve legal matters.

When developing a strategy with RD you receive the following benefits:

Be able to discover the one thing that gives you the brand’s best ROI

By breaking down your business into little segments or divisions and go deeper to really uncover where you are getting the best ROI. And that is probably going to be an area where you’re really comfortable, and where you’re really knowledgeable in, and you’re really efficient in. And that is going to be your niche to start developing that as the brand or a stronger one.

Be able to reverse engineer what your main competitor is doing to get the edge

We’ll find out who is your main competition in the space at the very top. Who is doing it absolutely the best? Who is absolutely crushing it? Then reverse engineer everything that they do because they do it so well.

Be able to implement the plan and execute the steps every single day

Following through on plans is one of the most difficult parts and sometimes strategies just die. Working with RD this won’t happen. Execution is which really can separate one company from another, and get closer to that higher brand awareness status. Everyone in the company has to be on their best game, whether that’s dress code, punctuality, the language that is used on job sites or communicating to clients.

Your customers will never be left in the dark

Companies that over communicate things tend to have less ratio for problems and call backs and punch lists, because everything gets taken care of immediately. There are no surprises, therefore there cannot be any delays. Slowly this will translate into an image, which portray that people can trust you and want to do business with.

Over deliver for your customers every single time

Never forget who got you there as a brand in the first place, – your existing, current, and potential clients. You can never, never, never take the eye off your customers as a way of repaying them for their loyalty.

Amplify your awareness and digital presence

If you want to scale your business across Africa and beyond, one thing that you will need to get right is your digital marketing strategy. When you work hard to create meaningful connections and a great customer service experience that people rave about, you still need a home base for all those things on social media and other channels to come back to – your website as a hub and instant connection point that hosts your brand story. Most of the time consumers don’t really understand what brands are doing as its nowhere clearly outlined or communicated as there is no point of focus or theme – or no clear corporate section.

Your brand will radiate trust and authenticity
Your brand will become known and respected beyond its current market. Your superiority will be made known to the masses, not just potential customers – with a greater perception of who you are – inspiring your target market and getting them aspired to be associated with you.

Increase revenue
Businesses that can not only protect but also build upon their brand equity are in a strategic position to generate more revenue – from (a) raising price and (b) getting far more referred customers.

Why work with RD?

With RD you get all the insider information from years and years of expertise in the business coupled with various inputs from a broad range of professionals and consultants.

RD helps putting you in the right business model and environments so that everything becomes effortlessly, start flowing and up-levelling your game.

You will be fully immersed in the process, we will convene to sort out problems and challenges often as we move along and RD will be available as support whenever you need it.

How RD works

RD’s role is to motivate, create desire, and build trust through various channels in the customer journey including merchandising, marketing and communication in order to meet the expectations of your luxury brand’s vision and strategy.

You won’t get the results you want or need without proper transfer of knowledge and skill. By listening to RD you will learn something new, but to really really transform – you will have to have skin in the game with us.

RD only takes on highly committed clients, simply because, the day we planted the seeds for the change is most certainly not the day you will pick the fruit. It takes time to make a real fruitful change, create great work, or see a rise in profits.

RD advises to work with her for at least six months to a year for the transformation process from where you are, to where you want to be, for proper transformation to take hold and for results to show.