Let’s face it. Most products positioned in the luxury sphere offer exceptional quality, workmanship and styling. These brands have aced the product-centric side of the marketing equation. As a result, luxury brands have largely become commoditized with comparable high-end products offering much the same features and benefits, with minor tweaks here and there.
How, then, are luxury brands to differentiate themselves and stand above the rest of the field? By focusing on personalized, customized customer experiences.
True luxury is a mindset, not a brand or a price point or a long list of product features. Luxury can’t be quantified or measured; it must be felt. While product features can make a difference, the way to truly elevate a luxury brand today is by creating emotionally compelling experiences that make the brand memorable. The customer must feel the luxury before, during and, most especially, after the sale.
Here are some ideas about how to elevate the luxury experience for their customers:
The Lincoln Motor Company delights drivers with an unrivaled level of personalized service
Over the last several years, Lincoln has worked at the product level to enhance its luxury reputation, releasing four new vehicles in four years, including the introduction of a reimagined Continental representing the pinnacle of its class. But, Andrew Frick, Lincoln North American director of sales and services, says, “We've recognized a luxury brand is more than just the product side of things. We had to elevate the client experience.” Lincoln’s big idea: personalized pickup and delivery service for all Lincoln owners across all 1,000+ Lincoln dealers nationwide.
It’s an unprecedented customer-service offering that builds on the brand’s commitment to providing human, warm and personal experiences at all Lincoln dealerships. Lincoln Service Valets will deliver a loaner when picking up the owner’s car for service, then bring it back fully serviced, spit-shined and in mint condition. Frick explains the importance of the personal touch, “Our guiding vision is for us to create clients for life by delivering the world's most effortless experience.”
Laudi Vidni engages customers in the creative process
Fashion-forward women have a seemingly endless assortment of luxe handbag brands to choose from. But while the customers pick a bag off the retailer shelf and spend a pretty penny to take it home, do they feel emotionally connected to the brand? Doubtful. It takes more than just selecting a bag off the shelf to get a customer deeply committed to a handbag brand. Laudi Vidni understands this and involves the customer personally in how the handbag is made.
Using an online platform and supported by a hands-on home try-on service and expert guidance from stylists by phone, the customer is given the tools to design her own handbag, and not just its color and shape but hardware accents, too. Now she gets bragging rights, not just from the designer logo on the bag, but the pride of being her own handbag designer. Blogger Anna Talyzin shares the thrill of becoming part of the process, not just a passive buyer, “So, at the moment when I realized that there was much more than having the new amazing 'bag', but the real design project, I wound up loving the process even more than the usual 'Paid. Shipped. Delivered' thing.’”
Look to Main Street to model exceptional customer service
Finally, when it comes to learning how to make a deep and lasting emotional connection with luxury consumers, you don’t have to look much farther than your local Main Street. Across the country, one can find small independent retailers that have mastered the art and science of customer care, that hand-to-hand, personal interaction that creates lasting emotional bonds.
Take gifts and home furnishings retailer Mary Liz Curtin, owner of Leon and Lulu, in Clawson, Mich., a Detroit suburb. Mary Liz understands that today success is less about what you sell and more about how you sell it. Her secret is delivering that personal touch that people today crave. “The relationships we build with our customers, the service we offer and the careful selection of offerings keeps us in business. That personal interaction is huge,” Mary Liz affirms.