Updated: Oct 17
Crafting Compelling Narratives to Connect with Customers and Elevate Your Brand
Today's luxury consumers are more informed and educated than ever before. Branding is now a two way communication path, where consumers can directly relate and communicate with brands.
More so, HNWI (high net-worth individuals) are seeking brands who align with their core values. Choosing a brand today is more than just a purchase, it has meaning. This is why luxury brands are turning to Emotional Branding.
What is Emotional Branding?
Emotional branding is the use of emotional appeal and emotions which triggers an emotional response from a consumer.
The consumer attaches deep emotions such as love, nostalgia, empathy, pride, shame, anger, etc. to the brand, promoted product or lifestyle and makes their purchasing decision easier, despite the price tag.
Often emotional branding makes the consumer's demand more inelastic, meaning as price rises, demand will remain constant.
Why Luxury Brands NEED Emotional Branding
To Avoid Brand Dilution
Many luxury companies adopted growth strategies based on the diversification of their inventory or services. Luxury fashion brands such as Armani and Versace have already introduced interior design and furniture within their Armani/Casa and Versace Home Collection.
However, without strong emotional branding, diversification is at high risk for failure due to the increased resources required to expand and already potentially saturated markets. For example, look at the case of Pierre Cardin.
Pierre Cardin remains a cautionary tale for those who wish to expand into the world of licensing. Pierre Cardin was a high end fashion staple and in 1968, it expanded into its first ever license contract year outside of fashion, creating porcelain crockery.
From that point to 1986, Cardin had accumulated 800 licenses and expanded its reach across various products and platforms. However, this came at a cost, and the brand started to loose its credibility. Once a name brand becomes generic, the consumer does not care whether they bought it at Saks Fifth Avenue or Walmart.
In 1987, Cardin tried to re-enter the high-end fashion realm but due to over expansion and lax copyright laws which led to the development of counterfeit products, the brand couldn't be held as reputable in the luxury sector.
To Counter the Over-abundance and Aggressive Competition
Over the past decade, the luxury industry has seen numerous mergers and acquisitions which have led to the creation of diversified companies overseeing a wide variety of brands.
However, as brands under go M&As, it is paramount that those brands have their own set of differences making them unique, this requires emotional branding.
To Increase Strong Brand Loyalty & Connection
Emotional branding establishes itself as a critical factor in developing brand loyalty, which has been conceptualized as a long-term, committed, and affect-laden partnerships devised to characterize consumer-brand bonds.
Emotional branding can help create a sense of exclusivity and make customers feel like they are part of an exclusive club. This sense of exclusivity can lead to increased brand loyalty.
Emotional branding can help build a brand identity that customers can relate to. When customers feel an emotional connection to a brand, they are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend the brand to others.
To Develop a Competitive Advantage
Luxury brands consistently face the challenge of adapting to market changes daily, so that every aspect of the business can serve individual needs completely.
As more boutique luxury and luxury brands emerge and diversify their portfolio, it is important that brands shift their marketing strategy to include emotional appeal and lifestyle appeal. Brands who create a sense of culture, lifestyle or emotion perform better than those who do not in the luxury sector.
Emotional Branding Strategies
1. Sensory Experiences
Sensory marketing engages and heightens consumers' senses - sight, sound, feel, taste, and smell. All of which tend to influence consumers' perceptions, judgements and behavioral responses toward a brand.
Chanel is a prime example of a brand which utilizes many sensory marketing techniques.
The Chanel Brand is famous for its signature black and white coloring as well as it's perfume. Chanel's New York City flagship stores lights up in the shape of a perfume bottle at night and the scent of it's most known perfume, Chanel No. 5, is sprayed in the stores.
Humans are hardwired for stories. From ancient myths and legends to modern literature and film, storytelling has been a vital part of culture and collective identity. Stories have the power to engage, inspire and connect with customers on a deep emotional level.
Since 1865, Burberry was a household luxury brand name known for its high-quality trench coats and signature plaid, however at the turn of the century, Burberry was loosing mass appeal. In 2006, Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, revitalized the brand through storytelling which focused on it's iconic trench coat and moments in history.
The story communicated authenticity and quality through the use of icons like Shackleton, a British polar explorer who wore Burberry's trench coat to the Antarctic, and Lord Kitchener, a British Secretary of State who was known to wear the trench coat through Africa during World War I.
This storytelling was used in various digital media campaigns and in an augmented reality app targeted toward millennials.
3. Cause Branding
Cause Branding, or also known as Cause Marketing, has been a successful strategy for luxury marketers. Cause branding offers luxury consumers the opportunity to make a cause-based purchase, in, some cases a portion of the purchase is dedicated to a social, political, environmental, etc. issue and in others, part of the product development is humanly or environmentally sourced.
The implementation of cause branding allows luxury brands to position themselves as more than a brand, but a brand with morals, and aligning with their customers'.
Levi Strauss & Co. established a charitable foundation over 70 years ago, which supports the company's core values of originality, integrity, empathy and courage, the foundation promotes social changes related to HIV/AIDS, worker's rights, well being, and communities where they do business.
Empowerment marketing aims to empower the consumer and make them feel they have the power to fulfill their aspirations. The goal is to boost self-efficacy and self-esteem in HNI individuals.
Co-creating brand content has allowed luxury consumers to gain control over brand direction and express their opinions, ultimately fostering connection and brand loyalty between affluent consumers and luxury brands.
Emotional branding is an essential tool for luxury brands to create compelling narratives that resonate with their target audience.
Through sensory experiences, storytelling, cause branding and empowerment,
luxury brands can help customers develop deeper brand connection, while fostering a sense of exclusivity and prestige.
By creating stories that evoke emotion and aspiration, luxury brands can connect with their customers on a deeper level and elevate their brand perception in the minds of consumers.
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