What would make you put your name on a six-year waiting list for a handbag? Or pay five times as much for a product for its brand name? Luxury brands occupy a special place in our minds that keep us wanting them or buying them. But why is Hermès more desirable than H&M or Apple more than Dell?
Luxury branding agency SO is often approached by new clients asking how to create a luxury brand. Before anything else, you must first pinpoint the features that most luxury brands share:
Luxury has been around since the beginning. Around 100,000 years ago, Stone Age women were draping themselves in mollusc shells to indicate their status in the tribe; we’ve moved forward a step or two, choosing to display our spending power by buying luxury products. And while fifty years ago, only the wealthy could afford luxury brands, now they’re desired – and within the reach of – most people.
So, you want to know how to create a luxury brand and what exactly makes luxury brands so special? It’s down to half-a-dozen specific features:
1. Superb craftsmanship
Quality materials and high standards of hand-crafting that is hard to reproduce by machine are the embodiment of true luxury. This artistry, craftsmanship and durability appeal to the connoisseur and set it apart; it’s why Louis Vuitton boasts that one of its suitcases or handbags goes through more than 1,000 stages before it ends up in your hand. And Ermenegildo Zegna runs their own factories that weave the fabrics that they use in their suiting.
Often luxury brands started life with teams of skilled workers in small workshops, so artisan craftsmanship becomes central to their identity. Gucci emphasised this in their 90th anniversary advertising campaign, where they featured black and white photos of their workshops from the 1950s, pointing to the consummate crafting knowledge passed down from generation to generation.