Let’s face it. Reaching consumers, in general and reaching affluent consumers, in particular, is becoming more and more challenging. The McCarthy Group notes that 36% of high-income consumers feel they are constantly followed by advertising online. Even more concerning is a finding that 84% of Millennials don’t trust advertising.
The more advertising is delivered through multiple devices and channels, the less consumers pay attention to it. Indeed, despite the speed and complexity of the world we live in today we still have to use the same brain and can only process a limited amount of information. This is reflected in research based on neuroscience conducted by Kantar TNS. This research brought to light that only 20% of all touch points in the consumer journey account for 80% of a purchase decision.
The key to success is to give affluent consumers what they crave the most: a personal, authentic experience and a means to belong to a group of like-minded individuals. Here are three approaches luxury brands can leverage to reach and foster long-lasting relationships with the affluent in today’s hyper-connected world.
Harness the power of technology to personalize the experience
Luxury brands must translate their status and values through a collaborative and bespoke interaction with consumers. From its inception in the early 1900’s, Ritz-Carlton’s credo has been to provide the most personal service by greeting guests by name and anticipating and fulfilling each of their needs throughout their stay.
Today, Ritz-Carlton harnesses the power of technology to deliver this same personalized experience through an extended range of touchpoints. The hotelier’s website is designed to engage guests before, during and after their visit. For example, it enables users to reserve the room and view they prefer. Also, Ritz-Carlton Memories on the website enables guests to capture and share their personal travel experience to create vivid memories that will be remembered long after the hotel stay ended.
Foster a sense of community around the brand
Beyond delivering a personal and memorable experience, Ritz-Carlton Memories enable its contributors to belong to a community of like-minded people. Just like personalization, belonging has always been a pillar of traditional luxury marketing. But conveying a sense of community has become more important in today’s marketplace, where quality and service are no longer differentiators.
Fostering a community around the brand has proven to be an effective way to attract and retain affluent consumers. Peloton went from being a startup to selling 500,000 of its stationary bikes in three years, notes Amy Biggart from Conductor Spotlight. Peloton’s success does not lie in the actual product (Peloton’s bikes sell for $1,995, while stationary bikes with similar features can be purchased for $350), but in its community of riders.
These riders pay a $39 monthly membership to take virtual interactive cycling classes in the comfort of their home. Peloton’s founder and CEO John Foley says their feeling of belonging is heightened through social media, where Peloton’s elite instructors post several clips each day, along with pictures from photo shoots and special events. While health clubs struggle to retain their members (According to the IHRSA, the industry’s trade association, health clubs on average have a retention rate barely above 70%), Foley claims an impressive monthly retention rate of 99.7%.
In The Kim Kardashian Principle, Jeetendr Sehdev notes that consumers are becoming indifferent to perfection. Flaws, on the other hand, convey authenticity and proximity.
Rather than relying solely on heavily produced videos and picture perfect advertisements, brands should to some extent put their marketing in the hands of its users.
The luxury leather bags, accessories and luggage brand Ghurka integrates customer reviews and pictures into its website. This makes these reviews more authentic, aspirational and glamourous than the plain text reviews found on other ecommerce websites. Both the brand and its customers promote this content on social media, enabling Ghurka to increase its visibility and affirm its values of long-lasting quality, authenticity and adventure.