The Anti-laws of Luxury Marketing #4

4. Keep non-enthusiasts out

In traditional marketing there is this obsession with poaching clients from other brands: sales growth is management’s principal measure of success and of the performance of its managers. This leads companies to come up with new products that will help extend market penetration and thus steal a march on competitive brands. To increase the relevance of the brand – the number of people who would say that the brand was of interest to them – it is necessary to avoid being too exclusive or too different.

When it comes to luxury, trying to make a brand more relevant is to dilute its value, because not only does the brand lose some of its unique features, but also its wider availability erodes the dream potential among the elite, among leaders of opinion. BMW is typical of a brand that is able to grow without cutting back on its rugged features, which are in any event highly exclusive. The Bavarian management has calculated that BMW’s target accounts for 20 percent of the premium segment of the population – only one person in five.

This means that 80 per cent are not at all attracted by BMW’s values. The brand has preferred to exclude these 80 percent and base its growth on its true target, those who wholeheartedly share its values. Brand growth is achieved by penetrating new countries, not new customer segments. In order to grow, the BMW Group preferred to buy two other brands which on their own, like BMW, define a segment – Mini and Rolls-Royce; having taken good care to keep Rolls-Royce’s identity separate from BMW’s.

Excerpted from: The Luxury Strategy: Break The Rules of Marketing to
Build Luxury Brands by JN Kapferer and V. Bastien, in partnership with
Kogan Page publishing.

Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop

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