Luxury’s Got a Brand New Style: How to Make Sure Your Brand Is on Trend

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Unity Marketing’s new trend report about affluent’s new values and attitudes toward luxury explains how to position your brand around customers’ new expectations of luxury. Out goes the old status symbols and conspicuous consumption associated with the wealthy and in comes new anti-status brands and conscious consumption that give affluents bragging rights as to how smart a shopper he or she is.

Pamela N. Danziger, Unity Marketing

Today’s affluent consumer is looking for a more understated expression of luxury style, not the traditional status-symbol brands and conspicuous consumption of the past.

Think about the ‘It’ handbag carried by an ultra-fashionable, ultra-affluent consumer, and you may picture the Hermès Birkin or maybe the little NN14 number from Louis Vuitton. These iconic bags can top five figures in price and have often boasted a waiting list of hundreds of customers and a wait time of months or years. "But it is time for the Birkin and NN14 to step aside," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. "Today’s affluent consumer craves a whole new bag, and it is pretty much the exact opposite of a product from Hermès or Louis Vuitton."

“Today’s affluent consumer is looking for a more understated expression of style, not the arm candy that ultra-expensive bags represent,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of a new luxury trend report, Luxury’s Got a Brand New Style: How to position your brand to the new affluent consumer psychology. In the report Danziger explains the shifts in how affluents view their wealth and consumption.

“There is a new kind of conspicuous consumption today required in a political environment that is demonizing income inequality and the excesses of the 1%. Rather than conspicuous consumption and status symbols that proclaim one’s wealth, the affluent are embracing brands that give them bragging rights to how smart a shopper he or she is. For example, this past season’s ‘It’ coat embraced by the wealthy wasn’t one from a tony Madison Avenue furrier, but the Uniqlo Ultra-Lite Down Jacket which sold for less than $70. This jacket is cool and chic in an anti-status, smart-shopper way,” Danziger explains.

The new report profiles successful brands that have brilliantly captured the new psychology toward luxury goods. One such company is J.W. Hulme Co., a U.S.-based maker of handbags that is quietly taking the affluent world by storm.

“J.W. Hulme sells to a quality and value-based consumer who is willing to pay a premium for the old-fashioned American heritage values that the brand embraces,” says Danziger. “You can see and feel the quality – so the bags aren’t inexpensive – but there is a sense of paying for construction and heritage, not logo and prestige. And what’s more a hallmark of the brand is lifetime guarantee of quality. Marketers can no longer assume that affluent consumers are willing to spend up without a compelling reason.”

“The recent recession has reshaped the American economy in ways that will affect us for decades to come. Affluent consumers no longer feel like carrying a symbol of wealth on their arm knowing that the American middle class has been severely weakened as a result of the recession. Most affluents, both the HENRYs (income $100-250K) and Ultra-affluents ($250K+), would rather throw their lot in with the 99 percent and avoid the conspicuous consumption that characterized luxury in previous years,” Danziger concludes.

Luxury’s Got a Brand New Style: This trend report details this important shift.

Targeting these new affluent consumers will take a completely different approach from that used in previous decades. Unity Marketing’s new 100+ page trend report explains these new strategies. Among the brands profiled in this new report are Profiles included Lincoln, Kia, Costco, Uniqlo, Black Box Wines, Leo Schachter, Michael Kors, Apple, Hearts on Fire, Havaiana, Alex & Ani.

Based on the most recent study of 1,335 affluent consumers in the top 20 percent of households by income, this report examines:

  •     Affluents’ shifting attitudes toward money.
  •     Affluent shopping strategies.
  •     How to position your brand to appeal to these consumers.
  •     The role of discounts and special offers.
  •     What purchases give affluents the most pleasure.
  •     What companies are doing things right in this new affluent economy.
  •     The psychographic profiles you will encounter, and how to talk to them.

About Pam Danziger and Unity Marketing

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer. She is president of Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992. Pam received the 2007 Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum by Harper's Bazaar. Luxury Daily named Pam to its list of "Women to Watch in 2013." She is a member of Jim Blasingame: The Small Business Advocate's Brain Trust and a contributing columnist to The Robin Report, a monthly newsletter for senior executives in the retail, fashion, beauty, consumer products and related industries.

Pam gives luxury marketers "All Access" to the mind of the luxury consumer. She uses qualitative and quantitative market research to learn about their brand preferences, shopping habits, and attitudes about their luxury lifestyles, then turns these insights into actionable strategies for marketers to use to reach these high spending consumers.

She is a frequent keynote speaker for audiences that need to understand the nuances and distinctives of the affluent consumer segment, including HENRYs (High-Earners-Not-Rich-Yet) and Millennials on the road to affluence.

Pam's latest book is Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury: How new consumer values are redefining the way we market luxury (Paramount Market Publishing, 2011). Her other books include Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience, published by Kaplan Publishing in October 2006; Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses-as well as the Classes, (Dearborn Trade Publishing) and Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior (Chicago: Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2004).

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