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Luxury Branding: How to Build Expensive Brands

Luxury Branding: How to Build Expensive Brands

From creating your brand’s look and feel to establishing its positioning, there are several steps you can take to elevate your luxury branding.

Luxury brands are often the top of mind when thinking about luxury products, but what are luxury brands? What is the difference between luxury and premium labels? 

Luxury brands typically have higher prices, have more upscale styles, and are higher quality than their premium counterparts. Premium and luxury branding have the same characteristics, but they are perceived differently. Both of these brands have the same level of quality and style, but the consumer is likely to see them as having a different level of luxury.

This article looks at what luxury branding means and why it’s essential to consider the approach.

What is a Luxury Brand?

What Is A Luxury Brand

A luxury brand is a brand that appeals to people with money. It makes them feel good about spending their hard-earned cash on products that reflect status, sophistication, and quality. 

These brands share the following qualities: high prices, top-notch materials, well-known names, impeccable craftsmanship, and attention to detail. It’s important to remember that you can never make a luxury brand cheaply.

We’re all familiar with luxury brand names: Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, etc. What makes a luxury brand different from a mass-market brand? 

While luxury brands have become synonymous with expensive products, luxury branding also offers unique, thoughtful products with high levels of craftsmanship. 

Luxury brands are a broad category and include everything from clothing to coffee to wine. Some luxury brands focus on just one product type, while others are global brands and sell across several product categories.

How do Luxury Brands differ from other brands?

In their book, The Luxury Strategy: Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands, authors Jean-Noël Kapferer and Vincent Bastien note that “luxury branding has the potential to be some of the most powerful and distinctive marketing vehicles ever created”. 

On point are brands like Tiffany’s, Chanel, Hermes, Hermès, Gucci, Fendi, Versace, and Louis Vuitton. They may share several common business attributes, but each is differentiated. Brands like these don’t just sell products—they sell lifestyles and culture. Luxury branding makes people feel special.

The Luxury Strategy: Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kapferer, Jean-Noël (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 408 Pages - 09/25/2012 (Publication Date) - Kogan Page (Publisher)

This type of brand differentiation works well in luxury goods because people are willing to spend more money on something if they believe they are getting more value. 

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The luxury business market has become increasingly competitive, and the consumer has been trained to be more aware of the price. They will research, compare, and shop around for the best deal. So, luxury branding must provide an experience that will attract customers and hold their attention throughout the purchase process.

They tend to be perceived as high quality and exclusive. These brands stand out by offering unique products and services. These brands offer items that appeal to individuals who value luxury. 

Luxury brands may offer a limited number of products and services unique to their business. Top brands are also known to offer superior customer service to their consumers.

Luxury Branding Tactics: The Basics

There’s no substitute for being creative when trying to sell luxury branding to consumers. Brands that can differentiate themselves from their competitors through unique marketing tactics and promotions can often stand out from the pack. Here are some tips for those hoping to master luxury branding:

1 – Luxury Brands = Value Brands + Premium Products

Luxury Brand Customer Centricity

If we accept that luxury brands exist because of their value propositions and premium products, then it stands to reason that the brand’s mission statement must be to deliver both. 

The brand’s mission should articulate a value proposition and the premium products or services that deliver on that value. 

In addition, a luxury brand’s mission statement must be aligned with its core values. For example, a luxury business could deliver the ultimate experience, while its core values could be “service” and “authenticity.”

Brands like Apple, Mercedes Benz, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., and Cartier have a higher price point than their luxury competitors such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry. A high price tag usually signals a high-quality product, but there are exceptions to this rule. 

While a high-end watch is undoubtedly a luxury item, it’s often manufactured from substandard materials or poor quality control. The same is true for certain handbags.

2 – They Provide Experiences, Not Just Products

Rethinking Prestige Branding: Secrets of the Ueber-Brands
  • Schaefer, Wolfgang (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 05/26/2015 (Publication Date) - Kogan Page (Publisher)

When I ask people which brands they think of as a luxury, they usually think of the same names: Gucci, Hermès, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, etc. But all of these brands are more than products. They’re experiences. 

And what makes those experiences different is that they’re unique—they’re not exact replicas, but they’re not precisely replications either. Instead, they’re somewhere in between the two. They’re different. And there’s something unique and special about those differences. 

There’s a reason that even though each of the brands above is the world’s leading luxury names, the experience of shopping at any of them is wildly different.

A brand is defined by the relationship between its products and its customers. To drive high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, the business needs to consider their consumers’ emotional needs and develop strong emotional connections with them. One way to do this is by delivering a consistently superior experience through every interaction with a brand.

3 – Luxury Branding Appeals to “Affluencers”

Luxury Branding Affluencers

Affluencers,” as defined by Brian Solis, have a large social following. They can make or break a business in the social space. Luxury brands need influencers. Luxury branding needs to engage with influential and powerful people in their space—whether fashion, beauty, or travel—and whom they think might be influential to others.

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Luxury brands aren’t for everyone, but they are for influencers. For the average Joe, spending $100 on an expensive bottle of wine is out of the question. But if you want to be a top influencer of luxury, it might be worth it. 

Because it isn’t the quality or price of the product that matters, but rather how it makes the influencer feel and looks—the more expensive, the better. You should feel like your status has gone up a notch if you’re an influencer, regardless of whether it did or not. 

If you’re not an influencer, but you still spend more than $100 on a bottle of wine, then at least you’re doing it because you enjoy it. But even if you don’t have the means to afford a fancy bottle of wine, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a fancy feeling.

4 – Luxury Brands Don’t Need to Be Trendy

If there’s anything the digital age has taught us, the future of business and commerce is not about trends; it’s about staying ahead of the competition. Luxury brands often get caught up in the “trendy” wave of fashion and lifestyle; most consumers can’t afford to purchase their products. 

When it comes to extravagance, it’s all about quality and consistency over flash.

There’s nothing worse than a business that tries to play in the big leagues by going after the latest fad, only to have their customers quickly become disinterested. But there are some brands whose success seems to be built around staying the course rather than constantly trying to change with the wind. 

Nike isn’t the first company to create iconic branding. Tiffany & Co.’s distinctive yellow box design has been around since 1837. And BMW has been crafting a brand around its classic shape since the 1950s. For luxury branding to stand out, it needs to have a timeless identity that doesn’t change based on fashion trends.

5 – Their Brand Strategy needs to be Meaningful

Luxury Brand Positioning Map

Today, a luxury brand has to be meaningfully different from other brands. They have to stand out in a crowd, and they can’t just be “the same old, same old.” 

But how? There are many ways to tell apart a luxury brand from any other. The first is how they market their brand. Luxury branding should use a distinctive brand strategy that resonates with its target market rather than trying to replicate existing mass-market messages.

When customers buy luxury products, they don’t buy them because of the price tag. They buy because they feel like the product is meaningful, valuable, or represents something more than just the dollar amount. 

If you want your brand to achieve this level of relevance, you need to start making quality products and provide a quality experience.

The last point I want to make here is that if you’re trying to make luxury brands successful in the current climate, you need to be influential.

Luxury brands tend to have a higher perceived value than other product categories in the consumer’s mind, but they don’t have the same brand equity as mass brands. When you can give consumers why they should care about your brand, it can help drive sales.

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6 – It’s How they Make Money

Selling Luxury: Connect with Affluent Customers, Create Unique Experiences Through Impeccable Service, and Close the Sale
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lent, Robin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 06/15/2009 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

There is a common belief that luxury brands make money by selling products to rich people. But in reality, these brands make money in three ways: by generating revenue from luxury goods, luxury services, and luxury experiences.

It’s no secret that the luxury industry is thriving. According to the International Fine Art Trade Federation, global fine art markets have grown 25% annually over the past decade. 

Luxury brand names have been able to capitalise on this growth by taking advantage of the consumer spending power of wealthy consumers. This article shares two examples of how luxury brands have increased their market share and profits through an innovative approach: selling luxury experiences rather than luxury products and investing in marketing that resonates with the affluent.

Luxury brands need to make money, and they have to do it consistently with who they are. But that doesn’t mean they have to be bland. 

If you look at your favourite luxury branding, you’ll see that they’re much more interesting than your typical mass-market brand. They’ve done something right in their strategy—and they’re doing it because they love what they do. 

They make money, but they don’t just focus on selling the products. They make sure that they’re adding value in some meaningful way to customers’ lives.

7 – The Top Brands Strive for Perfection

Dior Make Up

“We’ve made mistakes with every iteration of our product,” says CEO Ryan Rzepecki. “But that’s how you get better.” If you’re an entrepreneur looking to emulate the luxury goods industry, constantly refining your craft. “There’s no such thing as perfection,” says Rzepecki. “We know we’re never going to be perfect. We have to get over the fact that we’re not perfect and move on to the next iteration.”

Achieving perfection requires being willing to put in the time and money. Some luxury brands are willing to do what it takes to achieve it. 

From a marketing perspective, there are several ways brands go about this. They can focus on the product and be more selective in the items they choose to create; they can focus on the service and be more selective in the clients they accept; they can focus on both the product and service and be even more selective in their choices. The last approach is a combination of the two.

It’s a familiar brand strategy to offer a limited edition version of products. These limited editions may include fewer units, a unique case design, or a different material from the regular version. They’re also frequently sold through exclusive outlets or boutique shops to heighten the exclusivity factor.

8 – Luxury Brands Need to Build a Brand Identity

Kapferer on Luxury: How Luxury Brands Can Grow Yet Remain Rare
  • Kapferer, Jean-Noël (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 03/31/2015 (Publication Date) - Kogan Page (Publisher)

We’ve all heard the term ‘brand identity.’ When they hear or see the word “luxury.” Your visual brand identity needs to be consistent across all marketing channels if you’re a luxury brand.

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Luxury branding in the apparel and fashion industry faces many challenges in creating a brand identity. First, the luxury market is relatively small, which means that consumers recognise and respond to the brands much differently from the luxury branding of mass retailers like Wal-Mart. 

Second, the competition in the luxury market is extremely high, making it difficult to compete on price. This makes it essential to create a strong brand strategy and build a loyal customer base to help differentiate the luxury brand.

To build a brand identity, a luxury brand must create a personal experience—a sense of being part of something bigger than themselves, rather than being just another one of those people. 

This means being involved in the process of bringing a brand into existence. When luxury brands do this, they’ll have something to celebrate once their project is complete. They’ll be able to feel proud, even if they cannot take credit for everything that happens behind the scenes.

9 – Despite Exclusivity, they Need to be Human

Chanel Website Design Luxury Brand Marketing

As a luxury brand, the industry needs to take human connection seriously in its strategy. In a world where digital technology is everywhere, people expect that every brand they interact with cares about them. 

When they interact with brands, customers expect emotional connections and authentic experiences. 

Customers want to feel special, not like robots, so luxury brands should strive to treat their client with respect and show their appreciation in other ways. For example, they should send handwritten thank you notes or personal videos. Customers appreciate these gestures, reminding consumers that the brand knows them personally.

Most luxury brands have been known for their flawless branding, impeccable design and high-end fashion. However, some luxury brands have shifted toward embracing human-like qualities in their brand messaging in recent years. 

To quote GQ Magazine, “As long as people love them, they don’t need to be perfect.” This is because people associate perfection with being fake and insincere.

10 – Luxury Branding Appeals to the Emotions

People don’t just buy products; they buy emotions. When it comes to luxury goods, four things matter: exclusivity, quality, scarcity, and passion

Luxury brands have all four, and in fact, all four are so crucial to the luxury brand experience that most luxury shoppers are willing to pay a premium price for each of these elements. To keep customers, it’s not enough to make something luxurious or even better than other luxuries.

According to research conducted by the National Retail Federation, luxury goods are the most frequently shopped after necessities like food and clothing. 

A survey conducted by Luxury Institute found that luxury shoppers are far more likely to make impulse purchases than the masses, making it extremely important for luxury brands to build emotional connections with their consumers.


In conclusion, If you want to make a luxury brand your own, you need to know what luxury branding is all about. Learn more about what luxury brands are about so you can learn how to make your brand different, your brand better, and your brand better yet.

I’m so excited to share these Luxury Branding tips with you! I hope you find this helpful as you craft your luxury brand.

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Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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