Sunday, October 18, 2009

What Makes A Luxury Brand - Service!

It has become increasingly clear to me in the past twelve months that Luxury brands are becoming truly luxury again. The economic euphoria of the last ten years created many brands that benefitted by uncontrolled spending by consumers. This unprecedented spending created markets for luxury products that were trademark badges but not real luxury brands. They did not measure up in quality and features but even when they didn’t it was ok with the consumer because money was no object and many aspirational consumers wanted trademark (badge)prestige not real luxury. Image, quality and a long term relationship with the brand were not important just the image.

We now have a new reality that I believe isn’t new it’s just as it should be. And this just happens to be the way it was for many years leading up to the recent cycle. It is my contention that luxury brands have always been about more than just the label and the tangible product. A true luxury brand is just as much about the service that goes with the product as it is about the product itself. Pre-purchase service, the purchase process, the selling retailers image and reputation, the service after the sale and of course the ongoing relationship that the brand has with the owner after the sale is over.

These elements were often ignored or considered unimportant by both the brand and the consumer during a period of exuberant sales and spending. There was so much spending and so many customers a brand didn’t have to provide service or worry about a long term relationship. That party is over and the market has reset and there is a new, old reality. True Luxury brands will benefit from this change and the pretenders will fail. Authentic Luxury brands have long relationships with their customers including service, access, selective distribution and attention to detail in everything they do. The luxury consumers’ time is valuable and they want to own brands that understand this. They also want assistance and confidence that if something is wrong it won’t be a hassle to get it resolved…it’s more than just a product or badge.

I believe this is good - the brands that understand this will benefit greatly!

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