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Luxury & Premium Brand Benchmark Audits

Situational Analysis & Audit

What is a situation analysis audit?

A Situation Analysis Audit is a preliminary assessment of a particular situation which is inter-connected with a project to be implemented in a particular geographic area. 

It takes a snapshot view of an organisation or situation and where things stand at a certain point in time to determine gabs, solutions and potential opportunities. It’s a scoping and analysing process that helps project teams to develop a common understanding on the project’s context. 

RDL does

  • audits in communications covering, marketing, advertising, public relations, direct sales and content development.
  • Luxury & Premium Product Benchmark Audits …

The Situation Analysis & Audits provide the project team with information relating to internal and external factors that can positively or negatively affect the project – and to understand what is lacking or missing in communication strategies, how to resolve these with further opportunities for engagement to meet the organisation’s overarching goals and objectives.

Understanding external and internal factors, the project team is able to identify problems and needs in particular geographic areas, and are able to define what kind of project that can respond to the identified problems and needs.

OUTCOMES OF AN AUDIT

  • An Integrated PR & Marketing Plan Finalised
  • All communications problems and issues identified
  • A clear understanding of what needs to change and what does not need to change
  • Critical needs identified to enforce changes
  • Current resources identified, analysed and redirected 
  • Branding assets analysed and shortcomings identified 
  • Marketing positioning established
  • Differentiation established
  • A clearer visual brand identity articulated 
  • An updated logo devised
  • An updated slogan formulated
  • Articulated a stronger reason to exist
  • A stronger brand mission enforced
  • Stories that needs to be told updated
  • The critical need for Customer segmentation workshop discussed
  • Content that needs to be produced for each segment diarised
  • Content marketing plans defined
  • Marketing and advertising plans worked out
  • Public relations activities identified
  • Media and influencer relations planned
  • Stakeholder relationship strategies identified
  • Strong relationships identified with those that needs to be cultivated prioritised
  • Strategic direction for all is established and priorities are set

Market positioning…

You need to be crystal clear on your brands offering and what it embodies, as it will highly influence the way you position and communicate it, and the way a global clientele sees (perceives) it, and how it will achieve longevity.

At the origins of luxury – as a very strict and restrictive concept – one could only find a few brands within each category truly worthy of the attribute. Today, however, the term is totally overused and out of original context and proportions – and clear cut divisions are difficult to define.

For the sake of positioning, as a start,  luxury can be divided into three levels:

  1. Inaccessible
  2. Accessible luxury
  3. Premium

Inaccessible (out of reach for most – available and relevant only to a selected few determined by cost and/or other access criteria) Luxury products and services here, correspond to absolute exclusivity – being perceived as supreme luxury. It is a very exclusive item, available for a very high price and only available to a very limited number of people due to very specific barriers to entry sett on purpose. Generally personally tailored – and hand-made with carefully selected rare materials and distributed through a very selective channel. For an Inaccessible luxury item it is all about heritage, creativity, creator’s ethos, ethics and authenticity. 

Accessible (attainable by means of price afforded by most affluents – UHNWI, HNWI) where luxury products and services correspond to reachable prestige where products are made in a large quantity in larger factories or workshops for a wide range of customers. The distribution is larger on a mass scale but still gives to its customers the same luxury experience and emotion. 

Premium brands (attainable by the rising middle classes – the HENRYs) are those who aspire to be luxury and prestigious, but perceived more as an affluent mass market product or mass-luxury brands (masstige). Premium brands are more accessible but still available for a high price. It has a larger supply chain and sells products through multiple distribution channels (mono brand stores, department stores, franchising and multibrands). 

Accessible and premium brands are also the categories that are being criticised the most for not complying to sustainability practices.

Differentiation

For four years, I’ve been studying and researching all brands in the high end premium and luxury category to compile the Luxury Brand Directory, a means to serve as guidance for people who want to enter this exciting industry, either to just enjoy the thrilling life luxury brands offer – or to learn about all brands available to help them make better decisions when it comes to making trustworthy purchases.

While doing so, and, what happened unintentionally, was that I could form an in-depth view of all players in each segment, basically seeing their products and services together as they compete for the same client group.

I was surprised to find that brands do not differentiate themselves aptly from their competitors, and wondered why that was, since they have – or should have – access to the most qualified marketing agencies and talent.

In luxury, brands are not – or should not be – really comparable to each other due to their individual provenance story – their ethos, their provenance, identity, character, natures, cultures, operations and flavours they bring to the global markets… 

But this is not clearly defined at first glance on their websites, if it is there, most of it is hidden among the clutter and difficult to discern. To capture attention online, this information should be there instantly, and clearly, easily accessible and delivered in an informative engaging way.

I found brands all say the same thing, use the same terminology, the same catch phrases and adverbs to describe how amazing their offers are. All say, the best in… the most advanced… the pioneer in technology… the leading… tailor made to our clients…

Best IS NOT DIFFERENTIATION if everybody uses it, or the brand’s goal is to capture a large marketshare.

The most advanced – or the pioneer in technology… the leading… NOT DIFFERENTIATION.

Tailor made to our clients are NOT DIFFERENTIATION.

All of the above have become buzzwords by almost every brand.

Although they are all true and accurate, it’s all very abstract and arbitrary, meaning not really related to what their brand stand for, the identity, personality, character, values… nor does it have an influential effect on the visitor/reader.

Do you know how many people just roll their eyes upwards when they hear these, again, and again, from several brands, for the 100th time? Especially if they are well-educated in this sphere. Brands need to speak to these eloquent market in more refined ways.

When talking to consumers during my market research this is often discussed and the general consensus are that there should be more tangible differentiation words and imagery used to describe a brand’s identity, ethos, values and what it stands for – first from the point of view of the creators, then augmented as inferred from the point of view of the customer or client.

So what is differentiation then?

Luxury brands, with distinctive phrases and captivating content, should describe and present themselves far more adequately to a discerning client who is researching every brand in that segment when they try to make an informed decision on where and on what to spend their money.

Contending in the luxury domain, a brand should say what they stand for instantly with their visual identity (logo and slogan) – and most brands are lacking that visual statement, and simply do not portray the image of luxury. Or quality.

What if I were new, and did not know the industry and came across a brand’s website content that has some good elements of copywriting and imagery, but lack a striking logo or very well produced corporate video.

Good videos specifically are very hard to find, so surprising – as today everybody knows what important role a video plays in conveying a brand and messages.

Your brand identity is a strategically cultivated package that represents you (the creator) the brand, the company, the founders, what they wanted to achieve and what they stand for today, who their ideal customers/clients are – and why people should also love the brand as much as they do.

Sure one can find that in the history section of the brand after searching for it with a few clicks, but to be honest, it is probably very few people that do search for that. I did it thoroughly, because as a luxury brand consultant and advisor, it’s my job to dig deeper to find that ethos and deeper meanings.

Not every potential client of yours will do so unfortunately.

It’s the first impression you make that entices them to look deeper into your brand, and then later on talking, and keep them talking about you.

If you want potential clients to think of YOU as soon as they think LUXURY in future – then you need to build an even better brand than what you already have, one that will stand out more, one with a better, clearer and very appealing visual identity and message.

Why?

Because you are not the only one in your segment.

You are but one brand in a sea of hundreds in the same market. For example, I found in the luxury yacht segment 164 other competitors out there all vying for the same client segment or group’s attention… and almost all of them say the same thing.

Of course you would say, most of your business comes from word of mouth, especially in these small elite markets, but new HENRYS are moving into the UHNWI brackets, people from other regions in the world enter as freshmen into your country, and they find you via the internet first, searching website after website for that brand that resonates with them best.

I made it easier for them with the luxury brand directory, but to present brands in an attractive, most credible and suitable way, we found some brand assets lacking somewhat in quality.

Start this conversation by doing a Luxury Brand Benchmark Audit and see how you fair and what position your brand takes in the market, so we can draft a proper differentiation statement with suitable content to enforce that.