As the global map of wealth shifts towards a growing HNWI market of mostly young, self-made consumers, the opportunity for brands to own “luxury” has never been better.

Luxury, however, is not a simple position to secure. You’ll see everything from Tiffany diamonds to toilet paper claiming “luxury”, but when it comes to truly owning luxury it’s really down to four key elements that determine the true connection with their audience.

1. Embracing digital
Luxury isn’t about how expensive a product is. It’s about how a brand is perceived, and as buying luxury items online becomes the norm; consumers have more confidence in the full experience. Take Net-a-Porter for example who after merging with Yoox only strengthened their luxury digital reach to announce that pro-forma sales indicate a larger-than-expected 31 percent rise in 2015 from a year earlier.

Brands will be investing even more heavily in video narrative, animation, 360-degree macroscopic photography, augmented reality and mobile apps to enhance connections and sales. And advertising will shift toward more existing and emerging digital platforms as opposed to traditional channels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfi_mD4hpSI

(Credit: Hugo Boss #bossfashionshow)

2. Unforgettable experiences
A product can only say so many words, but wrapped in an experience, a consumer has a million stories. Stories based on exotic and unthought-of experiences are some of the defining qualities of a luxury consumer, and they want this from the brands they’re loyal to.

Increasingly time-poor, there will be increased focus on luxury services that offer some opportunity for consumers to buy time back for themselves.

3. Sustainable by design
A decade ago, ‘ethical’ was associated with largely hippie type brands, but oh how the tables have turned. Rapidly moving away from fast fashion and instant gratification; today’s luxury offering is built to last. This is particularly evident in fashion where there are even more neutral pieces to give foundation to people’s wardrobes, rather than more garish,out-there pieces. A luxury purchase is long-term.

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4. Raw simplicity
Luxury brands capture many qualities within their offering, but must not forget that simplicity has and always will be key. Consumers switch off to noise and are drawn to stripped back honesty across everything from clean design to industrial interiors and stripped back concrete that looks almost unfinished. Luxury needs to whisper louder than standard brands in a way that allows people to feel mindful and relaxed.

So whether you’re a luxury brand, an aspiring luxury brand or even just an aspirational brand, these are the core qualities you should be capturing in all touch points. Not sure where to start? The right brand consultancy can help you to dig deep in order to first understand your audience, then to identify the right story and times that will appeal to them. You’ll then find that mapping a clear path to achieve all four key elements will help manage your journey towards a stronger brand position.