What’s a Cult Lifestyle Brand, and How do You Create One?

When the Apple Corporation gave its annual report in 2015, it had a whopping $178 billion in cash, or enough to buy the Ford, Tesla, and General Motors car companies and have more than $41 billion left over. [1] Such is the power and worth of a so-called cult lifestyle brand. Here, we’ll look at what makes up a cult brand, and the characteristics that set the stage for your brand to obtain that coveted status.

 

 

What is a Cult Brand, and Why is it Smart to Build One?

  

A cult brand has worked so hard to build a following, it’s in a class of its own. Loyal customers feel there is no substitute for the benefits ‘their’ cult brand offers, and they’re often willing to go to great lengths to get access to those much sought after respective products or service.  Cult brands anticipate the tangible and spiritual needs of their customers and work to fill them on multiple levels. [2]

  

They’re usually associated with social benefits, too [3]. For example, Fender guitars are arguably not the most technically advanced instruments, but they nevertheless enjoy a cult following. Once people buy a guitar, they feel they’ve become part of a social club of other content like-minded customers, including some superstar players.

  

Once you’ve built a strong cult brand it will continue to inspire brand loyalty provided you both carefully nurture it and your loyal customers. That loyalty is likely to persist even if you charge a premium or intentionally produce products or services in limited quantities with restricted access.

  

Furthermore, in the event an untimely problem arises that momentarily blemishes the brand, its cult status will often be enough to carry it through those temporary low points.  Brands with cult-like status tend to engender staunch customers willing to buy the brand again despite mishaps.

  

 

Characteristics of a Cult Lifestyle Brand

 

Let’s take a deeper look and examine key characteristics that help some brands stand head-and-shoulders above the rest, seemingly immune to the many struggles causing competitors to flounder:

 

  • Cult Brands Have Recognizable Strong Personality Traits: Although brands don’t necessarily have all the attributes humans do, the best share many qualities with humans. They are like humanized entities. You may resonate with one of your most beloved brands because it appears to exhibit sympathy, honesty, integrity and motivation, among other emotionally engaging human-like traits, qualities and values that are potentially important to you.

 

  • Cult Brands Are Relatable: When a cult brand is relatable, it’s able to resonate with its target audience by encapsulating familiarities within everyday lives. A brand may be positioned so it’s optimally relatable via its packaging, customer service, employees, customer journey, brand collateral and even purchase receipts.

 

  • Cult Brands Encompass Broad Ideals: Some brands reach cult status because they successfully convey an ideal or lifestyle its purchasers aspire to and want to be part of. Maybe the brand’s associated with warm hospitality, opulent luxury, a rugged, adventuresome lifestyle or a hunger for high-tech items that regularly challenge what we think is possible. [4] By regularly purchasing items or services that represent what they aspire to having, buyers inch ever closer to their ultimate goals. Its what the beloved cult brand ‘stands for’ that its target audience identify, with and relate to as part of their own personal identity.

 

  • Cult Brands Have Their Own Catchy Brand Language and Buzzwords: At Walt Disney World, people who work there aren’t called employees, but “cast members.” Furthermore, the crew that designs rides is staffed by “imagineers.”

 

Also, don’t walk into an Apple Store and expect to get your MP3 player checked at the technical support desk. Instead, stroll back to the Genius Bar where a specialist bearing the title of “genius” will examine your iPhone. 

 

The distinctive language used by cult brands is not just an accidental cutesy extra. It’s quite deliberate and strategically developed as part of building the brand’s profile using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™. When people learn the lingo or brand language, they’ve become members of an exclusive club, the in-crowd, and are thereby more closely connected to one another and those they perceive to matter most in their world. [5]

 

 

4 Top Tips for Creating a Cult Brand

 

Now that you’re more familiar with some aspects of brands that have reached cult status, let’s explore actionable tips that could help your own brand achieve that apparently insurmountable feat. [6]

 

1. Tell a Strong Brand Story

The human brain responds instinctively to stories. We’ve shared stories since we lived in caves and learnt them as children on our parents’ knees. It’s how we make sense of the world. Your brand should develop and tell an engaging, memorable tale. When we’re working with our clients to create and develop memorable brand stories we use our Story Selling System™. Consider that most cult brands are able to successfully communicate which problems their products solve. Ideally, your story should not only be authentic and emotionally compelling, but prove how your product fills a demonstrated need.

 

 

2. Excel at Doing or Giving Something People Greatly Value

Cult brands are often excellent at providing a service or benefit to a far superior degree when compared to their competitors, and brands in other unrelated sectors for that matter. This is one of the reasons why it’s so crucial to understand what other brands in your industry are doing, and evaluate how you can reach beyond that point in a meaningful and feasible way. A brand audit is a very effective tool for uncovering this often hidden information. Your brand needs to be creating a customer experience in at least one very unique way that’s vastly superior to your nearest contenders.

 

 

3. Truly Value Your Customers

Regardless of how great whatever you’re offering is, your brand is highly unlikely to reach cult status if you consistently give customers the cold shoulder. Earlier, we talked about how people who follow cult brands may be more forgiving and willing to offer second chances. However, that’ll only happen if you have stellar customer service practices that make your customers feel like they’re genuinely worth your time and much appreciated for their business.

 

Besides just offering great service, try to include customers in your creative or product or service development process, even if its just to get feedback from them. People love feeling like they’re part of something important and that their opinion matters. If you make it clear their thoughts matter, they’re more likely to be loyal for life.

 

 

4. Give the Impression of Scarcity

Although this tip can backfire in some markets, profits and consumer interest levels can grow when customers feel the product you’re offering is not easy to acquire. When buyers believe an item is in limited supply, they’re often more likely to try harder to get it.

 

   Pixabay People Waiting 600px

 

  

Now, let’s look at a few case studies of companies that have used various brand strategies to build their cult brands and make them thrive very profitably.

 

 

Case Study: SoulCycle

 

SoulCycle is a brand of indoor cycling classes that’s beloved by celebrities, and some might say, a little overpriced. Class prices begin at $32 for 45 minutes of sweaty cycling. Yet, SoulCycle’s devotees don’t mind.

 

   Soul Cycle Home Page2 600px

Image via www.soul-cycle.com

 

 

Many of them cycle while wearing diamonds and Rolex watches. Being around people who are outfitted in the same way likely engenders feelings of even greater exclusivity.

  

 

  

  

  

Furthermore, certain superstar trainers have very small exclusive class sizes, leading fitness fans to scramble in hopes of landing an open slot, or getting lucky when someone doesn’t show up. Chelsea Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga are just a few VIPs singing SoulCycle’s praises, with Lady Gaga even bringing custom-made SoulCycle bikes on a tour. [7]

  

     Soul Cycle 600px

Image via www.popsugar.com

 

 

Case Study: J. Crew

 

Founded in 1983, J. Crew is an American clothing brand that has impressively been able to enjoy a long-term cult status, while other hopeful brands have faltered. Some analysts say the success is largely due to the brand’s fearless and forward-thinking president and creative director, Jenna Lyons. [8]

 

       Style Profile Jenna Lyons 600px

Image via www.letsrestycle.com and www.sohautestyle.com

 

 

She took the helm in 2008 and began running with the bold strategy that the brand should no longer be dictated by corporate strategies. Instead, J. Crew would not associate with a product unless its team members truly embraced it.

  

 

 

  

 

Furthermore, Lyons unified the company’s creative processes and gave employees more freedom to take risks. Ideas that don’t work well are quickly disposed of, leaving some to feel J. Crew is constantly in flux. However, rising profits and raving fans indicate the changes have resonated. Some of the brand’s YouTube videos have more than a million views.

 

 

Case Study: Vij’s and Rangoli

 

These two Canadian restaurants are run by a husband and wife team and have become some of the hottest eating establishments in Vancouver. A “No Reservation Rule” means people sometimes have to act fast to enjoy this beloved cuisine.  

    

   Vikram Vij 600px

Image via www.macleans.ca

  

  

Besides the tasty fare they offer, perhaps one of the reasons why the restaurants have such loyal followings is because their very creations represent an entrepreneurial dream many fantasize about.

 

 

  

 

  

The restaurants were funded by a small loan from a family member, plus personal savings. One member of the team is Vikram Vij, who’s originally from India. He was able to use talent, determination and dedication to help the restaurants prosper.[9] Vij and his wife Meeru have even written two acclaimed books.

   

      Vijs Indian Cookbooks 600px

Image via www.vijs.ca

   

   

Clearly, there’s not a single path that leads an emerging brand to cult brand status. However, a combination of key factors, such as cultivating desirable brand characteristics, a skilled team with a visionary leader, unwavering focus with a clear strategic brand vision and an exclusivity or scarcity strategy can result in impressive outcomes.

 

 

Key Takeaways

 

  • Cult brands must meet a need or solve a problem in at least one way that’s significantly superior to competitors

 

 

  • Cult brands are inspiring, yet relatable

 

  • People are often more forgiving of cult brands

 

 

  • Cult brands often encompass desirable lifestyles

 

 

 

Questions to Consider

 

  • Can you identify one or more desirable personality traits your brand possesses that may help it reach cult status?

 

  • What positive associations or lifestyles relate to your brand?

 

  • Can you think of a situation where it may be detrimental or inappropriate to use a scarcity strategy?

 

  • Which problems does your brand solve for consumers?

 

  • In what ways do you think your brand makes others feel inspired?

 

 

 

 

You may also like:

 

• What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016

 

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

• Top 10 Packaging Trends for 2016

 

• Limited Edition Packaging: How to Use it as Part of Your Brand Strategy

 

• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

 

• Brand Audits: Why You Need Them and How to Perform One

 

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

  

• Colour Psychology: Cracking the Colour Code for Profitable Branding

  

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

  

• Luxury Branding: How to Establish or Re-Position Your High-End Brand

 

 

 

[1] Sam Colt, uk.businessnsider.com, “15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Apple’s Latest Quarter,” January 2015.

[2] http://www.cultbranding.com, “Cult Brand Defined.”

[3] Antonio Marazza, http://www.forbes.com, “A Survival Guide for Symbolic and Lifestyle Brands,” October 2013.

[4] Jessica Farris, http://www.printmag.com, “Branding Lifestyles: What Does Your Brand Represent?” September 2014.

[5] Frank Cowell, “http://www.elevatoragency.com, “Why Your Brand Needs Its Own Language”

[6] Dave Llorens, http://www.huffingtonpost.com, “8 Cult Lessons That Will Help You Build Your Brand,” December 2013.

[7] Vanessa Grigoriadis, http://www.vanityfair.com, “Riding High,” August 2012.

[8] Danielle Sacks, http://www.fastcompany.com, “How Jenna Lyons Transformed J.Crew Into a Cult Brand,” April 2013.

[9] smallbusinessbc.ca, “Meet Vikram Vij, CBC Dragon, Vij’s Restaurant, My Shanti, Rangoli and Vij’s At Home”

  

  

Top 10 Branding Articles in 2015

Are you curious which Persona Branding and Design articles have been the most popular over the past year?

 

We’re always interested to see which of our posts resonate most with you, our reader. Even though we do lots of research and planning, there are no guarantees which topics will trigger the most interest.

 

Here you’ll find an insider’s peek into our top ten most popular branding articles of 2015, some of which you might have missed.

 

I’m sure you’ll find at least one that will be very useful to your business in the year ahead.

Wishing you growing success in 2016!

   

  

Top 10 Branding Articles In 2015 600px

  

   

1. Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

The differences between a tired, old, has-been of a brand and a fresh, lithe and provocative one can be boiled down to a singular concept: storytelling. The art of telling a story, and telling it well, is integral to grabbing every potential customer’s attention, and a key part of your brand strategy.

 

The secret to success in the elegant art of storytelling lies in understanding its fundamental components. Though by no means comprehensive, what follows is a breakdown of some major elements that any good story should include. These are in fact some of the key ingredients we incorporate in our Story Selling System™ used when developing our clients’ brand stories:

 

The Top 5 Components of a Great Brand Story are as follows…

    

  

 Open Book 600px

   

  

2. Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

 

Launching a new brand is both exciting and challenging. The excitement comes in the promise of something fresh and new that could be wildly successful, be it for your well established, emerging or new start-up company — and the challenge comes in getting it right the first time.

  

Evaluating, articulating, developing and documenting your new brand’s position and purpose is crucial to building a strong successful brand.

  

It provides the roadmap and rationale to get you out of the starting blocks and heading in the right direction towards your ultimate success. And similar to your business plan, it’s also a key foundation to any successful business, be it product or service.

 

The question here is, do you know the key ingredients required for building a new brand?

 

To help you move in the right direction with your branding here are some of the elements we typically include in our branding process every time we’re working with a client to help them build their brand, whether it’s revitalizing an existing brand or launching a totally new brand to market.

 

These are actionable points which you should reference and evaluate before you launch your new brand, product or service, to market.

   

   

 Top 10 Branding Tips For Success 600px 


  

3. What Customers Want: Top 16 Branding Trends in 2016

 

More than a half century ago, the customer-centric branding pioneer Walter Landor said, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” [1] In 2016, the path to that consumer experience is a two-way street, and guess who’s in the driver’s seat? Brands with strong personality are the winners, because consumers equate experiences with brands.

  

Branding keywords for 2016 include: personalized, authentic, humanized, interactive, engaging, and mobile.

 

We take a closer look at some outstanding examples from brands that illustrate key 2016 on-trend pointers to successfully target today’s customers.

  

 

  Edelman Slide1 600px

Image via www.edelman.com

 

 

4. Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality  

 

Your brand is much more than merely a product or service, or a logo. Brands are an experience—the relationship between your business and your customers—and to create an exceptional customer experience, your brand must have an irresistible personality.

 

To quote Martyn Newman PhD “In the information age and globalised economy where values and meaning matter more in the market place, the value of emotional capital increases. This creates brand value and goodwill and results in repeat sales through customer loyalty, lifetime relationships and referrals. In other words, the brand is more than a name or a logo; it creates trust and recognition and is a promise and an emotional contract with each customer.”

 

Brand profiling is the systematic process of creating, developing and implementing your brand character and personality through shaping its brand promise, values, the do’s and don’ts of its behaviours, story, emotional benefits, its culture and what it stands for and so forth.

 

It’s this humanized entity that gets your brand message out into the market, cuts through the noise and gets the attention of your primary customers in a way that matters to them.

 

When creating and developing the profiles for our clients’ brands we use our bespoke Personality Profile Performer™, a systematic approach which underpins the commercial, rational, and holistic aspects of successful brand profile building.

 

The following six key elements are representative of some of the core ingredients included within this branding process, used to create and deploy a compelling personality for your brand.

  

  

 Martyn Newman Brands And Emotion

Image via www.eqsummit.com

 

 

5. Co-Branding: 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships 

 

Co-branding is defined as a partnership between brands. It typically works best when Brand A partners with Brand B, each with a different set of customers and brand associations of their own.

 

As in the expression, “the whole is bigger than the parts,” co-branding can add value when synergy exists between the brands; it creates an emotional energy, starts conversations and creates buzz around both partners and can delivery significantly increased financial returns for all involved when done right.

  

In addition to brand revitalization, co-branding objectives may include getting more bang for your buck, growing market share, building audience reach and altering perceived positioning. Co-branding is primarily used an alliance of two brand partners, although there’s no rule against bringing three or more to the party.

 

Checkout here:

• The Top 7 Benefits of Co-Branding

• 5 Co-Branding Risk Management Guidelines

• The Top 6 Tips for Co-Branding Success

with case studies and examples of who’s done it really well.

  

 

 Co Branding Multiple Examples 600px

Infographic via www.missvinc.om

 

 

6. Colour Psychology: Cracking the Colour Code for Profitable Branding

 

Colour increases brand recognition by 80%. 93% of shoppers consider visual appearance over all other factors while shopping. It adds huge power to communications, opinions, recall and emotive influence. In fact when used correctly, colour is a pivotal tool to substantially influence purchasing decisions, service or product.

  

Since colour choices impact every aspect of a commercial enterprise, brand owners should aggressively re-evaluate that choice throughout their brand strategy.

  

The question is, has your brand’s colour palette been selected with the right intent and applied to best possible effect throughout all your brand communications and touch points to ensure your brand grow and increased profitability?

  

Find out more about why colour matters and how you can use it more effectively within your business.

 

  

 Colour Infographic Cropped 600px

Infographic via Blueberry Labs

  

 

7. Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

 

The growing proliferation of multiple different brands in the market place has made customers spoilt for choice, but often at the expense of easy decision-making.

 

When presented with an assortment of packaging options in which nothing decisively stands out, with a compellingly clear message that speaks to a customer succinctly, analysis paralysis sets in. It’s when faced with this situation that a confused shopper will typically default to making decisions based on price alone.

 

The question here is, where does your brand sit in the mix?

 

Leading brands cut through the visual and cognitive noise created by an oversaturated market full of aggressive competitors and hook their ideal customers by meeting their needs both emotionally and rationally.

 

Here’s how…  

 

 

 Marmite Limited Editions 600px

Image via www.marmite.co.uk

 

 

8. Luxury Branding: How to Establish or Re-Position Your High-End Brand   

  

The combined value of the various luxury goods markets in 2014 was an estimated 865 billion euros, with luxury cars, personal luxury goods and luxury hospitality taking the top three places, with values of 351 billion, 223 billion and 150 billion respectively.

 

You might think those statistics make luxury branding a very interesting sector, however if you want to reposition or establish your brand targeted at a high-end customer then there are six keys factors you need to consider within your brand strategy.

 

Firstly there are four main characteristics by which the luxury customer defines a luxury brand. However the way in which someone perceives luxury will depend on factors ranging from their socio-economic status to their geographical location.

 

Here are the four main characteristics by which luxury brands are defined together with the six key brand strategies for building a winning luxury brand. 

  

  

Super Rich Shopping Habits Infographic 600px 

Infographic via Raconteur.net

 

 

9. Millennial Branding: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Appeal to Millennial Customers

 

Millennials, the newest generation of influential consumers (also known as Generation Y or Gen Y), spend more than $600 billion dollars annually with spending power expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, (or 30% of US sales) according to Accenture 2013 research.

 

While these statistics sounds like ‘gold bullion’ for many brands, in our experience often smaller companies and organisations struggle to develop their brand strategy in a way that relates relevantly to this fast changing group of buyers.

 

Millennial consumers are a very fluid constantly moving target with multiple devices overflowing with content clamouring for their attention 24/7. However once you really understand this discerning consumer properly and tailor your brand to really meet their needs, you can, like many others tap into this incredibly lucrative market.

 

Here are our top 6 key brand attributes you need to consider when developing your brand strategy to attract your Millennial customer.

   

   

 Millennial Entrepreneur 600px

 

 

10. Video Brand Strategy: Top 11 Tips for How and Why You Need to Use Video

 

The average consumer spends 88% more time on content with video and video is shared 1200% more times than links and text combined. A landing page with video gets 800% more conversion than the same page without video.

   

If you ever thought using video to promote your brand was too difficult or beyond your reach these statistics might make you think again.

 

Find out exactly how you can use video to grow your brand here.

 

You can even find out how one small start up brand used video to achieve worldwide distribution and now has more online viewers than its competing massive global brands combined!

  

  

 You Tube 360 600px

Image via Google / YouTube

 

 

Did your favourite post feature in one these top 10 branding articles of 2015? If there was an alternative that was your first preference, drop us a line and let us know. 

 

Meantime I’d love to keep you up to date with what’s happening in the world of branding and make this blog really useful to you. If there’s anything branding related you would like to read about in this blog or if you have any questions or comments, suggestions for a blog post, feedback or even just to say Hi, just send me a short note, I’m here to help!

E: [email protected]

or give me a call at Tel: +353 1 8322724

 

Wishing you increasing success in the year ahead!

  

  

   

Luxury Branding: How to Establish or Re-Position Your High-End Brand

The combined value of the various luxury goods markets in 2014 was an estimated 865 billion euros, with luxury cars, personal luxury goods and luxury hospitality taking the top three places, with values of 351 billion, 223 billion and 150 billion respectively. [1]

 

In order to understand the branding strategies developed and utilized by the top luxury brands, those who have maintained their reputation for over several decades, as well as those that have successfully re-positioned themselves as high-end brands, we must first look at the very definition of luxury.

 

There are four main characteristics by which the luxury customer defines a luxury brand:

  • Quality
  • Craftsmanship
  • Exclusivity
  • Elegance

 

However, the way in which someone perceives luxury will depend on factors ranging from their socio-economic status to their geographical location. According to latest Albatross Global Solutions and Numberly study, “The Journey of a Luxury Consumer”, people from different parts of the world prioritize the order of importance of these key factors differently when defining luxury goods. For example, an overwhelming majority of luxury consumers worldwide value quality above all else, however, UK luxury consumers place more importance on craftsmanship, while elegance plays a more vital role when it comes the global luxury market.

 

Since customer preferences and definitions can vary from one jurisdiction to another, luxury brands need to tailor their brand communications strategy for each of the relevant market segments they are targeting, while remaining true to their core brand values, brand DNA and brand story. It can be challenging but with the right brand strategy it can be hugely rewarding, as evidenced by Louis Vuitton and their distinctly different approach to marketing their luxury brand in Japan.

 

The brand collaborated with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami in the early 2000’s to create a more colourful version of their classic monogram, and even reduced prices slightly during the economic crisis, to retain its position on the Japanese luxury market. However, it performed best when focusing on the quality and craftsmanship aspects of luxury brand on the Japanese market, as opposed to the allure of exclusivity and elegance — that had a greater impact with their customers in Western countries.

   

    

Luxury is About Exclusivity

In order to thrive, a luxury brand needs to secure its own unique corner of the market. Premiumisation strategies or high price points are designed to attract a particular kind of customer while alienating others – the high quality, and the unique experience that a luxury brand provides will not be right for everyone, nor should it be. To quote the head of Lexus Europe, Alain Uyttenhoven: “Our cars won’t please everyone.”

 

The brand strategy developed and deployed in different jurisdictions often varies because the definition of luxury changes amongst consumers as we move around the world and up the socio-economic ladder. Also, some of the top luxury brands strategically choose to stay out of the most obvious limelight. Very subtle marketing and the fact that the general public isn’t necessarily aware of their existence creates a unique aura of mystique and exclusivity. It also alludes to the fact that high-quality craftsmanship and aesthetics are amongst luxury brands’ highest priorities, values which are not compromised by things such as price sensitivities.

 

The brands at the very top of the luxury spectrum are not necessarily bound by the same constrictions of the more mainstream ‘accessible’ luxury or premium sector. Indeed, more exceptionally wealthy clientele might perceive price tags or ostentatious displays of affluence as lacking in taste in certain markets. In fact, there is a wise old saying in the luxury yacht industry: “If you have to ask about the price, you probably can’t afford it.”

     

     Super Rich Shopping Habits Infographic 600px

Infographic via Raconteur.net

 

 

The French purveyor of personalized luggage, Goyard, is a fine example of a luxury fashion brand that has retained its high-end status for over a century, continually prospering without engaging in many of the strategies that are considered to be the cornerstones of effective mainstream marketing.

  

The brand favours direct sales and word of mouth marketing over media hype, large-scale advertising and online sales, even though Goyard has thousands of followers on several social media platforms, including the luxury brand’s newly launched YouTube channel.

 

   

   

  

This extreme level of exclusivity amongst long established luxury brands, e.g. specialising in a single product category to the point of elevating a brand to the level of art or supreme craftsmanship, can be used as one element of a brand strategy to create distinction and separate it from the rest of the market, but it can also be a more challenging route for newer entrants to the luxury market.

 

The luxury landscape is changing, and a brand can quickly become irrelevant if it lacks online exposure. Millennials are close to outspending Baby Boomers, according to a Berglass + Associates and Women’s Wear Daily study that explored the retail industry, which means that a brand has to account for the values that drive Millennials when developing their brand strategy.

 

For Millennials the bigger purpose of a brand, its big why, has a significant impact on their purchasing decisions which means that CSR and so forth has a bigger role to play in brand strategy than every before — for this growing audience.

  

The smartphone is an essential component of the Millennial lifestyle because it allows easy access to multiple online platforms and immediate connectivity – 85% of Millennials in the 18-25 age bracket and 86% of those in the 25-34 age bracket own a smartphone[2], while 88% of Millennials use Facebook as their primary news source.[3] For more traditional brands this means embracing new fully integrated brand strategies that wouldn’t have seemed relevant eight to ten years ago.

 

Even luxury brands that are primarily focused on in-store purchases, e.g. Goyard, are investing in social media and reaching out to affluent Millennials. The way that younger generations perceive luxury is markedly different from the way Baby Boomers perceive it, and luxury brands have a challenging task ahead of them – educating Millennials on luxury goods and adapting their brand strategy to fit the Millennial lifestyle.   

 

 

Develop Trademark Brand Symbols and Assets Beyond Just Your Brand Logo

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé has been virtually unchanged for years, and the silhouette itself is just as recognizable as the logo, brand name and the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot attached to the bonnet.

 

It’s the Rolls-Royce uncompromising commitment to quality craftsmanship and attention to detail that has the brand where it is today. When we work with clients to develop a distinct brand identity that reflects their core brand values, personality, story and communicates their brand message it requires a similar level of focus from everyone working on the project coupled with a deep understanding of the brand’s primary target audience in order to achieve successful results.

  

   

 

  

  

Burberry’s trademark black, tan and red check pattern and Channel No. 5 perfume’s simple, yet elegant bottle design are both instantly recognised by the average consumer. These are distinct, different and memorable brand assets that are as important as the brand names themselves.

  

Founded 150 years ago Burberry is a particularly interesting case study because not long ago it was struggling to maintain a consistent brand identity leading to the brand falling off its luxury positioning, despite its admirable provenance. Inconsistencies in product variants, pricing and communication strategies all combined to undermine the brand. In fact this brand, now worn by Emma Watson and Kate Moss to mention a few high profile names, was once at risk of being considered frumpy before its very successful luxury revitalization strategy was implemented so successfully.

 

It wasn’t until Angela Ahrendts took over as CEO that a long-overdue brand repositioning and brand relaunch was set in motion resulting in the iconic and much sought-after luxury brand we see today. The company was restructured and the sourcing of materials and production was centralised in the UK. Burberry stores were modernized and equipped with iPads, digital displays and audio equipment that enabled the brand to showcase its quality craftsmanship through video material, and to provide a more engaging customer experience.

 

However, the true stroke of genius was the decision to focus on a younger demographic, and utilize social media as a powerful promotional tool. To successfully target the affluent Millennial consumer, Burberry had to diversify its product line and make significant stylistic changes, while at the same time retaining the timeless aesthetic that the brand was once known for.

 

The results of the brand relaunch were astonishing – Burberry doubled their revenue and operating income within five years, and successfully repositioned their brand as a luxury brand. Their famous Burberry check is once again associated with premium quality British craftsmanship.

 

 

Provide a Memorable Brand Experience for Your Customers

With a luxury product, the brand packaging, presentation and shopping experience are just as important as the quality and exclusivity of the product itself. Luxury customers are far from average shoppers, they are wealthy and powerful people with refined tastes. A luxury brand has to engage these customers on multiple levels – spark curiosity, engage all the senses, stimulate the mind, and make an emotional connection.

 

The Gentleman Floris, a new line of luxury men’s grooming products launched by the Floris London, a nearly 300-year-old British family perfumers brand since 1730, uses understated heraldic symbolism on the embossed navy blue packaging to reference its noble origins and royal patronage coupled with its renowned to quality, craftsmanship and rich heritage. The brand story is used eloquently to draw its audience in and sell its brand proposition.

 

We have created many different packaging design solutions for clients over the years, both luxury and FMCG, and when you consider that on average you have less than 9 seconds to engage your customer through the impact your packaging design has on them, it is critical that your customer gets an immediate sense of your brand story, promise and values if you want to close the sale.

 

  Gentleman Floris Gift Set 600px

Image via www.florislondon.com

 

In luxury branding everything from the customer journey to the brand experience and customer service, not to mention the accessories, has to be carefully considered to ensure that it’s elevated to an exceptional level.

 

The brand experience has to be much more personal, which means that staff, your brand ambassadors, must be chosen to fit with your brand values and culture. They need to be fully inducted and trained in all the details of how your brand is lived and experienced, both internally and externally, and how that unique brand experienced is transferred and cultivated with each the individual customer.

 

Sometimes this training may also require the front line staff to make important judgement calls in the heat of the moment, in order to accommodate the customer’s specific needs. At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, each employee is empowered and trained to anticipate and fulfil their guests needs with an exemplary level of service.[4]

  

 

Ritz Carlton Logo 600px

Image via www.Ritz-Carlton.com

 

 

The Ritz-Carlton is another good example of a luxury brand that successfully maintain its positioning for decades and in fact case studies have been built around its success. The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Centre is now the place where executives from other companies worldwide in many different sectors come to learn The Ritz-Carlton principles of service.

 

The Ritz-Carlton success is due to a number key factors such as they have:

  • A formulated a set of standardized hiring criteria
  • Empowered their front line staff and instituted a standardized brand language
  • A consistent high-end luxury brand experience regardless of location
  • Take note of user feedback, perform regular brand audit health checks
  • Constantly evolved to adapt with the times while staying true to their core brand values

  

The Ritz-Carlton has created an admirable balance between maintaining a consistent brand image and evolving to meet the needs of a new generation of patrons who prefer more authentic interactions with the staff. It’s their uncompromising commitment to excellence which has made them the only brand to win the much sought after US Presidential Baldrige Performance Excellence Award twice, firmly establishing Ritz-Carlton’s positioning as a luxury brand and setting the highest standards for customer service throughout the luxury hotel market.

  

  

Create an Aura of Exclusivity by Limiting Supply

Special limited edition items often become cherished collector’s pieces and dramatically increase in value over the years. In fact, the lack of product availability doesn’t negatively affect a luxury brand they way it might other mainstream brands. Its limited availability to the select few makes it even more appealing to its target customers.

 

Long waiting lists have never deterred Hermès fans, who often wait several months for the privilege of purchasing the brand’s signature Birkin bag. [5] Some of the most popular luxury car brands are the ones with both the highest prices and longest waiting lists. Only the most persistent and loyal customers gain access to these limited items, which enables you as a brand owner or manager to create an elite subgroup within your customer base.

 

The Rolls Royce SG50 Ghost Series II is a prime example of a brand offering a limited edition product to a particular segment of their target demographic, another example of the exclusivity strategy at work, and establish an emotional connection with its customers. In this particular example, Rolls Royce honours the fact that 2015 marks 50 years of Singapore’s independence, helping it increase individualised customer brand relevance and secure an increased market share in one of Asia’s most developed economies, second only to Hong Kong in terms of financial freedom.

 

 

 Rolls Royce Sg50 600px

Image via www.luxuriousmagazine.com   

 

 

The Apple Hermès brand collaboration helped connect the luxury fashion brand connect to a well-developed demographic of tech-savvy affluent Millennials while at the same time opening the horizons of the wealthy Apple users to the allure of a luxurious brand such as Hermès.

 

  

Apple Hermes 600px

Image via www.apple.com

 

 

High-end craftsmanship and a sense of exclusivity have already been associated with both brands, but the halo effect of this collaborative project, the super-luxurious Apple watch, has proved to be quite beneficial in terms of exposing previously unexplored segments of the market to each brand.

  

  

 

  

 

  

Luxury watch aficionados and loyal Hermès customers who are delighted with this new offering will be tempted to explore some of the other Apple devices. On the other hand, the more affluent Apple consumer may easily eschew their previous luxury favourite and make Hermès their alternative preferred choice instead.

 

  

  

 

     

Be Proud of Your Heritage, but Offer Customization to Build an Emotional Connection  

Giving consumers some decision-making power over the production process, even if their contributions are limited to the choice of colour or engraving, accomplishes several things:

  • It turns each product into a personalised more unique item that is to be cherished
  • It creates a more personal connection between the customer and the brand
  • It enhances the overall customer experience

 

Goyard doesn’t offer a diverse product range, but what it does offer is the ability choose from a wide range of colours and styles. A luxury customer can leave the Goyard store safe in the knowledge that the product they have purchased is truly unique, and tailored to their personal tastes.

   

      Goyard Paris 600px

Image via www.Goyard.com

  

  

Luxury brands can also use their geographical location to their advantage. A luxury brand is often associated with its country and region of origin – sparkling wines from the Champagne region have become a key component of many major celebrations, BMW and Mercedes are touted as the epitome of German engineering precision and so on. The brand thus takes on the qualities associated with the local culture. We can use Burberry as a good example once again – its British heritage has been a key component in successfully repositioning the brand as a high-end brand.[6]   

 

  

Create an Epic Brand Story that Mesmerizes Your Customers

A good brand story is instrumental in capturing the imagination of customers, but a luxury brand needs to go beyond mere storytelling and develop a veritable fairy-tale that fully immerses a customer, to the point where he or she wants to become a part of your luxurious world. The brand experience and how that is created lived and experienced is the penultimate test.

  

  

Coco Chanel 600px

  

  

The legend of Coco Chanel and the immense respect consumers still have for the Chanel brand matriarch is a prime example of how effective legends can be in promoting a luxury brand. Her humble beginnings, timeless style and daring persona are woven into a narrative that all ambitious, independent, fashionable and adventurous women around the world find inspiring.

  

    

  

  

  

On the other hand, we have brands with a proud and storied history, such as White’s Gentlemen’s Club in London, which has no intention of expanding or opening its doors to anyone but the most select clientele.

   

     Goyard Paris History 600px

Image via www.Goyard.com

 

 

Much like Goyard, White’s has no need for heavily resourced marketing campaigns, as it relies on its few elite “members” for word of mouth marketing. With patrons like Prince Charles and several British Prime Ministers gracing the bar and gaming rooms with their presence, being a member of White’s Gentlemen’s Club is considered a privilege. Even David Cameron’s vocal critique of men-only clubs and the fact that the British Prime Minister resigned from White’s did little to tarnish the reputation built on several centuries of myth and legend.   

    

Key Takeaways to Consider

In conclusion, here are some key points to keep front of mind when re-evaluating your luxury branding or premiumization brand strategy:

  • Ultra premium luxury brands often use understated branding strategies coupled with word of mouth, but offer unmatched top end quality and exclusivity   
  • Brands that have successfully repositioned themselves have invested in brand audit health checks and embraced the affluent Millennial demographic and use social media to spread brand awareness
  • Luxury brands that have successfully maintained their positioning for decades have used their provenance and leveraged near mythical brand stories to maintain brand distinction, but continued researching the market and changing trends regularly, and encouraged customer feedback to maintain relevance
  • Providing an exceptional customer experience in-store, through empowering frontline staff and developing a consistent brand language, is very important, as a majority of luxury consumers make their purchases in person
  • Involving customers in the production process enables a luxury brand to personalise its offering with a diversified range of unique variations, even if it doesn’t have an extensive reach across multiple categories
  • Collaborating with a brand that has a significantly different customer base and brand associations can produce a halo effect that is highly beneficial for both brands

 

You may also like:

  

• Co-Branding: 13 Tips for Growing Your Brand Through Strategic Partnerships 

 

• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can it be Improved?

 

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

 

• Rebranding Strategy: Using Premium Repositioning To Increase Profitability 

 

• Colour in Brand Strategy: Colour Psychology and How it Influences Branding

 

• Video Brand Strategy: Top 11 Tips for How and Why You Need to Use Video

     

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  

   

• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

 

• Millennial Branding: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Appeal to Millennial Customers 

   

So, what do you think?

• Have you performed a brand audit to identify the holes in your luxury branding strategy?

  

• Is your brand utilising social media to its fullest potential and reaching out to affluent Millennials?

 

• Are you using appropriate brand language?

 

• Have you created a consistent brand image?

 

• Have you considered how you can make your brand more profitable by changing your brand strategy with a premiumization approach to reposition your brand, create an aura of exclusivity and attract luxury consumers?

 

• Do you have an exceptionally engaging brand story that elevates the brand to legendary status and could be leveraged to better effect with a rebranding?

 

[1] Statista.com, Value of various global luxury markets in 2014, by market type (in billion euros)

[2] Nielsen, Mobile Millennials: Over 85% of Generation Y Owns Smartphones, September 2014

[3] Americanpressinstitute.org, How Millennials Use and Control Social Media, March 2015

[4] Forbes.com, Micah Solomon, Your Customer Service Is Your Branding: The Ritz-Carlton Case Study, September 2015

[5] Uché Okonkwo, Luxury Fashion Branding: Trends, Tactics, Techniques

[6] The Australian, “Paul Smith, Burberry and Mulberry Revive ‘Made in Britain’”, September 2014

  

Limited Edition Packaging: How to Use it as Part of Your Brand Strategy

Store aisles and eCommerce pages are packed with products sold in limited-edition packages that are intended to drive increased sales. However, industry data publicized by Nielsen indicates that as much as 90 percent of new limited edition packaging designs don’t have the desired effect—and in some cases, may even hurt brand equity.

 

On the other hand, to a faithful collector of a favourite DVD series or dedicated brand loyalist, limited-edition packaging can be a compelling reason to purchase a new or alternative version of a much desired product as soon as possible. Indeed, it could be argued that the entire concept of limited-edition packaging is meant to urge consumers to open their wallets on the spot. Waiting too long could result in disappointment.

  

Below, we’ll look at several case studies, along with the associated benefits and downsides. This information could help you decide whether limited-edition packaging is a great brand strategy decision that will lead to outstanding results—or whether it’s likely to incur more costs than benefits.

 

 

 

Limited Edition Packaging that Promotes the Concept of Scarcity: Special Monopoly Sets Offer Real Money

 

Sometimes indicating that a product is a limited-edition item only available for a short period of time is enough to stimulate sales. Interested buyers can quickly recognize that there’s a relatively small number being made, and that fact makes them want it more.

 

Those items are frequently prized by collectors, and in other cases, people just desire them for the novelty value. Hasbro, manufacturer of the popular game Monopoly, successfully used this concept of scarcity to market the game via a specially packaged limited edition version.

  

    French Monopoly Real Euros

 Image via www.mashable.com, Patrick Hertzog/AFP 

 

 

To celebrate the game’s 80th anniversary, 80 versions of the game that were sold in France came with real money. In most cases, the genuine currency was mixed in with fake bills. However, one of the packages came entirely with spendable real euros. The benefit of this approach is that it appeals to people who might already want to buy the game for nostalgic reasons to reminisce about their childhoods by playing this classic game. Plus, since only 80 game sets of this sort were made, the scarcity factor drives up the perceived brand value.

 

For many hopeful customers, the act of opening a Monopoly box to see if it came stocked with real spendable money was probably something akin to when Charlie Bucket of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory anxiously ripped open the candy bar wrapper to see if it contained the coveted golden ticket that allowed him and a select group of others admittance into Willy Wonka’s magical candy-making site.

 

 

 

Limited Edition Packaging Designed to Leverage Core Brand Messages: Scotch Magic Tape

 

Scotch’s Magic Tape is very popular because of the way it seems to disappear onto paper after applied. The brand has even developed a dispenser so people can only use one hand to put the tape in place.

 

 

 

  

A few years ago, German company Kolle-Rebbe designed packaging that contained mirrored panels inside to create the illusion that the Magic Tape package was empty, even though it was holding five rolls of the adhesive. The special tape package even won a CLIO Award, which is the equivalent of an Academy Award in the film industry, but instead honours design, advertising, and communication professionals.

  

The box design promotes the brand’s “invisibility” benefit, and is an unconventional idea that makes people take notice when surveying available adhesive choices. That’s true even if they are not already familiar with what makes the tape stand out from competitors. The branding message indicates that Magic Tape makes paper tears “disappear”, because it patches them up so clearly. Plus, as already mentioned, the tape’s material is made to blend into the paper after it’s applied.

 

 

 Scotch Tape Magic 3 M

Image via www.packworld.com and 3M

 

  

Furthermore, it was said that the decision to include green as the primary colour in the box’s design was a nod to a commitment to environmental sustainability. While that may be the case, it can also be strongly argued that the vivid green shade is already well-known to consumers.

 

There are many varieties of Scotch products, but the Magic Tape always has a green packaging design. Choosing to use any other colour when designing the “invisible” box could possibly have caused unnecessary confusion, and perhaps meant shoppers would have mistakenly overlooked the product when visually scanning store shelves.

 

This is a great example of how a limited-edition package can reinforce the brand message in a way which is both aesethetically ‘on brand’ and functional in its delivery, and we’ve had similarly favourable results when helping our clients combine aesthetics with functional benefits and practicality.

 

 

 

Limited Edition Packaging that Relies on Star Power: Michael Jackson Pepsi Cans and “Bad” Album 25th Anniversary Campaign

 

People around the world were devastated when Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” passed away. Pepsi had been a long-time partner of Michael Jackson, and that loyalty continued after the pop star’s death.

  

In 2012, the beverage brand launched its first global campaign to honour the artist, releasing limited edition Pepsi cans in over 20 countries. The packaging retained the brand’s usual blue background, but featured Jackson in a range of typically dramatic poses that were highly recognizable, consequently drawing instant attention from consumers.

  

  Pepsi Michael Jackson 600px

Image via www.marketingmagazine.co.uk

 

  

To further stimulate demand, Pepsi also tapped top music stars of today to pay tribute to the artist in relation to the 25th anniversary of the Bad album. That piece of work was the seventh studio release from Jackson, and is repeatedly cited as a major influence on today’s artists. The performances were heavily viewed online and served to reinforce the concept that Jackson is one of the few artists who can boast timeless appeal across generations.

 

This campaign had value to music collectors, and also helped stimulate the desire in diehard fans to buy products relating to the deceased artist. Because Pepsi had to strike a deal with the managers of the late artist’s estate, the campaign undoubtedly required a significant amount of logistics. However, the challenges paid off, especially in terms of brand visibility.

 

 

 

 

  

  

Limited Edition Packaging That Supports a Charity: Bottle Green’s Stylish Drink Bottles to Fight Breast Cancer

 

Bottle Green sells unusual flavours of sparkling water and thereby caters to a niche market. In 2011, it developed a set of limited edition bottles that were available in the UK. The containers supported a charity called Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and featured images of stylish women. The bottles had strong onshelf impact, and were atypical to the category, which undoubtably drew the attention of their primary target audience.

  

  

Bottlegreen Csr

Image via www.packagingoftheworld.com

 

  

More importantly, that effort was part of the brand’s dedication to corporate social responsibility, and reflected a continual effort to support causes that fight breast cancer. Research indicates that when customers are presented with two similar brands in the same category, the one that supports a clear CSR activity, charity or ‘gives back’ in some way for the great good, will typically be the preferred purchase and have higher sales than the one that doesn’t. Similarly the Bottle Green CSR campaign likely helped to strengthen awareness of the brand’s charitable heart. When working with our own clients, we tend to strongly agree that a target audience feels more compelled to buy something if it aligns with a charitable cause.

 

Interestingly enough, unlike some brands that are sold in connection with fighting breast cancer, the range doesn’t feature a dominant pink hue. However, the arresting design of the women’s faces is very powerful. Presumably, it was more than enough to encourage customers to pick up the containers and read them more closely to get the story behind the aesthetics.

 

 

 

Limited Edition Packaging That Leverages Premiumisation

 

Luxury brands often use limited-edition packaging as part of their premiumisation strategy for adding perceived value. Oscar de la Renta is one strong example of a brand that has done this successfully—but in this case, so-called “brand evangelism” is just as important, or even more so, than actual sales numbers.

 

In 2011, Oscar de la Renta launched the first-ever sales initiative that was completely contained within Facebook. The brand offered a solid perfume variety of its scent Esprit d’Oscar, which was packaged inside a wearable ring and sold with a price tag of $65. After a consumer bought a ring, he or she was encouraged to share that news via Facebook. Therefore, in the space of a few seconds, awareness of the product could theoretically spread to thousands of people or more, plus make a person feel special about being among those select few who were able to snag a ring before it was too late.

 

  Oscar De La Renta Facebook

Image via http://wwd.com, www.oscardelarenta.com

 

  

On the day of its release, one extremely eager evangelist found she was not able to access Facebook while at work, and was so concerned that she contacted the brand to inquire about the likelihood that the rings would be sold out before she could get one. Ultimately, a brand representative agreed to put one aside for her.

 

 

Oscar De La Renta Ring 

Image via http://wwd.com, www.oscardelarenta.com

 

 

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this case study is that people were not able to access the purchase page for the limited-edition product without first liking the brand’s Facebook page. Before offering the limited-edition ring, the brand tested that strategy by offering free samples of the perfume to people who liked the Facebook page. In just one week, the number of likes grew by 40 percent. Furthermore, 5,000 people agreed to fill out feedback surveys.

 

The limited-edition ring created a win-win situation: customers got the chance to order something that had built-in exclusivity, and the brand’s marketers built their databases of interested consumers.

  

  

  

Limited Edition Packaging Compromises Product: Halo 3 Video Game

 

Early versions of limited-editions of the Halo 3 had faulty hubs in the packaging that did not consistently hold the discs securely in place. This meant many people opening the packaging with the intention of starting to play the game, found that the discs had become loose during shipping and consequently were scratched, resulting in the brand owner Microsoft having to offer replacements to its customers.

  

  

 Halo3 Packaging

Image via http://www.dailytech.com

 

   

Despite this initial issue, Halo 3 ended up being the top-selling title of its time. It sold a total of $170 million on release day, and more than 1.7 fans decided to splurge on the $70 limited-edition version.

 

  

 

 

This is a good example of how limited-edition packaging must be properly tested to ensure they are fully functional as well as aesthetically eye-catching. The brand’s reputation didn’t really suffer as a result of the packaging problem, and neither did early sales. However, it’s important to remember that many brands don’t have the built-in advantage of such a large and dedicated fan base.

 

Those players were so eager to become immersed in the latest Halo release that the faulty packaging might have momentarily frustrated them, but it almost certainly wasn’t enough to cause the consumers to think twice about buying another Halo game or recommending them to friends. In this case study, the other inherent benefits of the game outweigh the issues with the packaging.

  

  

  

Packaging That’s too Bulky, Which Makes Storage or Merchandising Difficult: The Simpsons Box Sets

 

Boxed TV series sets are perpetually popular gifts, and great ways for TV fanatics to indulge themselves by being able to watch favourite episodes at any time. It’s not unusual for boxed sets to have holographic portions, fold-out sections, and other embellishments that aim to add aesthetic brand value. However, in the case of boxed sets for FOX’s animated hit, The Simpsons, the quest to dazzle possibly went a bit too far.

  

  

 Simpsons Packaging 3 D

Image via http://www.tvshowsondvd.com

 

   

The DVDs were packaged in boxes with three-dimensional facial features from popular characters. However, this limited edition packaging feature made the DVDs very hard to store because the more bulky packaging required extra shelf space when stored alongside other DVDs. Eventually, the manufacturer announced it would also be possible to buy a version where the three-dimensional parts could be removed, making the front of the box flat for easier storage.

 

The Simpsons brand has a very strong established fan base so it’s very unlikely that viewers would elect not to buy the DVD sets just because they had a bulky design. However, by making the decision to also offer a version where the three dimensional facial features could be removed, the manufacturers had to incur extra overheads, which potentially cut into increased profits.

 

We frequently caution our own clients that it’s crucial to perform a brand audit or extensive research around the feasibility of a limited-edition packaging strategy from multiple perspectives before proceeding to brand design or production. A lack of research, proper prototype testing or unchallenged assumptions can incurr unexpected costs which eat into a campaigns profitability, or worse, cause it to run at a loss, so please do your homework before your invest in your limited edition packaging!

  

  

  

Limited Editions Packaging Delayed Shipment of Product: Batman: Arkham Knight Game

 

A special YouTube channel was created to stimulate demand for the Batman: Arkham Knight serial superhero game. However early adopters didn’t get entirely what they expected when they enthusiastically purchased the game online following a teaser campaign with video clips from scenes of the game.

  

  


  

  

Gamers who pre-ordered the limited edition of the Batman: Arkham Knight game from Amazon UK received an e-mail saying there was an unspecified problem with the packaging, which meant those shoppers would get their physical goods nearly three weeks later than expected.

 

Because many people specifically pre-order limited-edition goods to get them on or before the official release date, this announcement undoubtedly caused some disappointment. To compensate, Amazon UK said it would provide download codes so people could play the games on the release date, even without having their physical goods.

 

Unlike the above instances of packaging issues, this example probably caused more logistical headaches than financial ones. The availability of download codes meant that even though buyers couldn’t immediately enjoy the tangible goods they were promised when pre-ordering the limited edition, they could at least play the game on time—which was probably a sufficient compromise for many customers.

 

What’s unique about this case study compared to the others we have examined is that the limited-edition packaging not only caused hassles for the manufacturer, but also for a retailer.

 

 

 

What We Can Learn From These Case Studies

 

As the above examples demonstrate, there are many advantages to using special edition packaging as part of your brand strategy. Specifically, it usually works best when:

 

  • The limited-edition package is produced in extremely small quantities. This helps give items exclusivity and inceases desirability as consumers make dedicated efforts to buy them.

 

  • The packaging leverages and enhances the product’s branding, but still has design elements that are familiar to consumers thereby strengthening brand affinity.

 

  • Unusual packaging design details are integrated, but not at the expense of outweighing functional use or practicality or by becoming excessively costly or difficult to ship, store or merchandise.

 

  • Pop culture references and/or celebrities are leveraged through brand collaboration or joint venture to increase the perceived value of a limited edition package.

 

  • The special edition packaging is designed in support of a charitable cause. It’s especially helpful when endeavours like these align with a company’s already-established commitment to corporate social responsibility.

 

  • Items featuring limited edition packages are sold solely through social media, and people can only make purchases after first interacting with the brand’s social media page in a designated way. This approach can theoretically help a brand gain traction on social media, connect with people who might not ordinarily use social media except to buy the products, and assist with building a database that’s populated with customer feedback and contact details.

  

  

 

However, limited-edition packaging can also be very cost- prohibitive, to the point where profitability is undermined if not properly researched and tested. That scenario is more likely if:

 

  • Proper testing is not carried out in advance to ensure the elements of the limited-edition packaging performs well functionally and aesthetically. That should include taking steps to see if the packaging can withstand the rigors of being shipped around the world.

 

  • The limited-edition packaging is too ‘ordinary’, so it doesn’t resonate strongly enough with its primary audience. In some cases, this may mean the packaging only seems valuable to people who have proven that their brand loyalty is so deep that they’ll buy a limited-edition package even if it’s not really all that special or very eye-catching.

  

  • Packaging details are very complex and overly elaborate. Sometimes, focusing too much on the artistry can mean practical and functional needs get overlooked or undermined.

 

  • It becomes evident that the production time for a limited-edition packaging will be longer than expected, meaning the products won’t be distributed on time to meet customer expectations or launch timelines.

  

  

  

The Final Limited Edition Packaging Brand Strategy Takeaway

 

If you decide to use limited edition packaging as part of your own brand strategy then its important to ensure you blend all the functional brand essentials with the brand aesthetics, while remaining true to your core brand values and positioning.

 

You should also ideally conduct research, not only to test your prototype but to ensure there is actually a market for your limited line that will be attracted to your special limited edition packaging, and if you aren’t sure, weigh up the costs of doing a very small batch test of special packages. These precautions can help make your limited-edition packages much more successful instead of turning into marketing decisions that eat up profits, undermine your brand and frustrate customers.

  

  

You may also like:

  

• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

  

• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

 

• Rebranding Strategy: Using Premium Repositioning To Increase Profitability

 

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

  

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

 

• Brand Management: Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Brand Reputation

  

• Humanizing Your Brand : Why It is Key to Commercial Success

  

 

  

So what do you think?

 

  • Do you agree with the claim that the Scotch Magic Tape packaging was green to promote environmental sustainability, or was that message just being broadcast to urge eco-minded shoppers to buy the tape?

  

  • Is the approach of offering a limited edition product solely on Facebook, as Oscar de la Renta did, a worthwhile brand strategy, or do you think it might be missing an opportunity with interested customers who’d perhaps like to purchase the items, but don’t use Facebook?

  

  • Do you think it’s more effective to showcase corporate responsibility by using packaging design that’s very obviously made to support a charitable cause, or is the “less is more” tactic used by Green Bottle a clever one?

  

  • In cases where smaller brands want to use pop culture references for broader brand positioning, but don’t have the resources to consider global stars like Michael Jackson, what other possibilities could they explore?

  

  • While developing limited edition packaging, how important is it to get input from consumers about the features they would like to see? What do you think is the best way to acquire that information? Should you reward participants in return for their feedback?

 

Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

The growing proliferation of multiple different brands in the market place has made customers spoilt for choice, but often at the expense of easy decision-making.

  

As most of us know, shopping has become a far more arduous affair where we frequently find ourselves overwhelmed and sometimes confused by the array of products on shelf and amount of decisions we’re required to make.

  

When presented with an assortment of options in which nothing decisively stands out, with a compellingly clear message that speaks to a customer succinctly, analysis paralysis sets in. It’s when faced with this situation that a confused shopper will typically default to making decisions based on price alone.

  

The question here is, where does your brand sit in the mix?

 

Does it stand out from the crowd with a really strong message that attracts its ideal target audience with laser edged efficiency? Or is it guilty of the ultimate sin . . . hybrid mediocrity, blending in with every other competitor and lost in the crowd!

  

The question for under performing brands becomes how to differentiate themselves effectively from among their competitors in a way that makes it much easier for them to attract the attention of their ideal customer and convince them to buy, all in the blink of an eye.

   

  

Mc Connells 600px 

  

  

Part of the winning formula of these high performers lies in that fact that those leading brands have absolute clarity over who their ideal customer is. Consequently they’ve developed a really strong brand message, which irresistibly appeals to their particular customer who in turn sees that brand as different, distinctive and memorable in a way that’s totally relevant to their specific preferences.

 

A really distinct brand has a unique brand profile, with a clear position and purpose, which helps it cut through the competing noise so it stands out, head and shoulders above the rest.

  

By not only being perceived to be unique but also solving problems, making life easier, supplying exclusive solutions for a particular kind of customer and communicating this uniqueness through subtle and overt on pack messaging a brand can outperform its competitors.

 

However don’t make the mistake of thinking that packaging design aesthetics alone are going to provide you with repeated lotto wins! Effective design must be underpinned by a well-developed strategic focus, which provides the required creative direction.  It’s when you have those insights, understanding and a fully developed brand profile that a brand can speak directly and distinctly to its ideal customer through great design.

  

Leading brands cut through the visual and cognitive noise created by an oversaturated market full of aggressive competitors and hook their ideal customers by meeting their needs both emotionally and rationally.

  

  

Evaluate Your Market and Define Your Brand Position and Purpose

 

Before any of the above objectives can be met, brands must first define their ideal customer or customers and then develop their brand strategy to reach those customers. Their branding strategy will be guided by how they respond to several key factors that help set brands apart from one another.

   

1. Fit for Purpose

What function does your brand serve? Does it have a deeper purpose beyond the obvious — what’s its ‘big why’? Successful brands dig deeper beyond the superficial and glaringly obviousness of their product category, to something which meets the needs of their customers in more emotionally engaging ways.

A toothbrush might seem rather hum drum and ubiquitousis. It’s certainly used for cleaning your teeth, but is your toothbrush especially effective with its new cutting edge technology making it far more thorough than the competition in removing dental plaque? Is it made with materials which have been chosen to appeal more strongly to your customers with a particular set of values? Define your unique purpose, align them to your brand values and amplify these through your messaging so your brand is separated from the rest in a meaningful way.

  

2. Emotionally Engaging

An emotional connection might be seen as a secondary factor, but in reality, it’s equally important and often more important than functional benefits. Is your toothbrush commanding a more premium position that not only reduces visits to the dentist, but represents the preferred choice of professional dentists and oral hygenists, making the customer feel more confident and happier with their choice? Will your extra-thorough, VIP celebrity endorsed toothbrush, the preferred choice of ‘those in the know,’ help your ideal customer feel better and more assured they have made the right decision?

 

3. Commercially Viable

Your brand’s positioning must be congruent with your budget and marketing strategy. Your pricing strategy, for instance, could fill a gap in between existing competitor prices or command a premium. Perhaps your toothbrush is perceived to be so much more superior compared to its nearest competitor that a higher price point is justified.

 

Remember that pricing can be seen as a direct value-added relationship, but higher price points or margins can also be achieved by altering brand perceptions in relation to the brand’s position to appeal to a more upscale market through premiumisation, also known as premium brand positioning. 

 

4. Translates Regionally, Nationally or Internationally as Required

Brands looking to scale must plan for regional or national differences combined with having absolute clarity of their buyer personas, also known as customer profiles or pen portraits of their primary target audience, if they intend to penetrate other markets. A brand positioning and profile that works well for one region may not translate so well to another, even on an island as small as Ireland or the UK. Will your ultra-premium toothbrush, which appeals to high end Londoners, be seen as irrelevant by customers in Leeds?

 

Combining answers to these factors and questions will help you create an overarching brand profile that matches the needs of your core customer profile. A fully developed brand profile will typically include how your brand communicates its unique:

  • Vision — The way your brand sees the world and consequently stands out
  • Values — What matters to your brand, its aesthetics or the social causes your brand cares about the most
  • Personality — The characteristics of the humanised way in which your brand speaks to your market
  • Experience — The customer’s journey from discovery of your brand to usage, referral and repeat business
  • Promise — A combination of values and experience that you pledge to uphold to your customer
  • Story — Your brand’s purpose explained through both narrative and aesthetic choices

 

The development of your brand profile under all these key headings are what provides the much needed direction and rational for your brand packaging design. It’s one of the most important stages in the branding process and one we engage in with every client we work with before moving on to design or communications strategy, assuming the research or brand audit work as also been completed before hand.

 

Every considered detail in your packaging design from the colour palette to the typography, messaging and copywriting, graphics, photography or illustration references these factors to ensure the design route chosen is relevant and effective — or what’s known in industry jargon as being ‘on brand’.

 

To give you a better idea of how this process informs packaging design, here are some examples of strongly-positioned brands aided by unique package designs in order to establish a compelling shelf presence and wholly original brand position. 

  

 

Three Examples of How Effective Packaging Design Can Influence Customer Brand Perceptions and Buying Decisions

 

Lovechock

Dutch brand Lovechock recently underwent a major rebranding overhaul, pulling off their transition beautifully. Their new package gives them a unique shelf presence, atypical to competitors in their category, through a simple shape and strikingly singular vision. The overall effect of the packaging is one that engenders trust amongst those customers looking for “free from” products of natural origin.

 

 Lovechock Pure 600px

 Image via www.lovechock.com/en/ 

 

Colour

Plain, brown kraft cardboard boxes not only speak to environmental values, they also conjure up the rich tones of the chocolate itself. A band of vibrant and natural-looking colours on the differing product labels ensures each variant is clearly distinguishable from the next while also enticing the palate with colours that excite the senses.

The simplicity of the outer pack hides a wonderful surprise inside. Open the pack to find the beauty of illustrative patterns reminiscent of decorative hardcover book end papers. This subtle design element surprises and delights, connecting to their “happiness inside” tagline whilst broadcasting the brand’s personal value set that something simple and natural can hide a deeper inner beauty.

 

     Lovechock

Image via www.lovechock.com/en/ 

 

 

Typography

Continuing with their “raw” theme, Lovechock uses clean and modern sans-serif fonts but with a “chunky” look that reminds you of the products natural and ostensibly handmade origins. An all-lowercase logo and “happiness inside” tagline are contrasted with the all-uppercase “100% RAW CHOCOLATE” to clearly indicate the product’s difference from the majority of its competitors.

 

Illustration

A simple logo in the style of the hand drawn whimsical feeling typeface continues the product’s handmade, printmaking aesthetic. The little Aztec man speaks to the chocolate’s Central American roots. He holds a “molinillo” which is a two-handed tool for whisking chocolate and blending cocoa beans into an even mixture. The end is covered in chocolate to form a heart, blending “love” and “chocolate” together. Small hearts emanating from this first heart show how positive feelings can emanate from a single, natural source.

 

  

   

  

Structural Packaging Design Details

Lovechock uses a simple shape and an unfolding box to hark back to a time when packaging was of a more handmade aesthetic. The long, blocky shape also reminds customers of the mouthwatering, log-shaped product inside, so that each bar’s box is delicious-looking by association. A tiny visible patch of the inner pattern is also used to tease the mind about the hidden pleasures and secrets the box holds inside.

 

Packaging Digest called this approach “seductive,” and when the ideal customer opens the pack to see the product and beautifully patterned paper lining inside their expectations will have been exceeded, assuming of course the test excels too!

  

The package also uses 100 percent recyclable materials to give back to the earth that produced the chocolate while also helping customers spread the love rather than their love of chocolate hurting the planet in return — all of which is totally congruent with Lovechock’s core brand values, vision, story and brand promise.

 

 

Marmite

Marmite is a brand with a rich historical legacy stretching back to the nineteenth century and yet it’s managed to maintain primary consumer relevance combined with tradition throughout the decades. Admittedly this is a very British brand with an almost a cult like following between consumers who love this spread with its distinctive, powerful, salty flavour and those who don’t — and not much in between. Marmite knows this and plays to its polarising factor to the full in its branding strategy — to great effect.

  

This is a brand with a strong personality, individualistic and singular in its outlook and a clever sense of humour that is very British in its quirkiness and eccentricity. It has a really distinctive brand voice that is unmistakably memorable ensuring it really stands out, indeed proudly shouts out its idiosyncratic and unrivalled specialness!

  

     Marmite History Jars 600px

 Image via www.marmite.co.uk

   

  

Every pack successful expresses this brand’s unique personality. Its’ bulbous shaped jar is a very distinctive shape and it has been sold in this shape since the 1920’s. Even without a visible brand name it’s entirely recognisable and consequently a very definitive unique part of the brand’s identity. An owned asset, which can’t be copied!

 

 

 

   

   

Part of Marmite’s incredible success can be attributed to its limited or special editions brand packaging strategy, which it started in 2002 with its 100th year anniversary. Each limited edition jar has successfully encapsulated more of the brands uniquely British personality through its messaging and choice of language, and personably use of the British vernacular.

 

   Marmite Limited Editions 600px

Image via www.marmite.co.uk

 

  

Since then the brand has released a significant number of limited editions packaging design lines with great success. The brand has also aligned with other iconic brands in its limited editions packaging strategy. A great example is the limited edition Marmite Guinness range produced in just 300,000 250g jars using 30% Guinness yeast in 2007 which elevated the brand in terms of profile and positioning.

 

 

 Marmite Limited Editions2

 Image via www.marmite.co.uk

  

   

The brand’s most recent limited edition packaging is themed around ‘Summer of Love’ and ‘Summer of Hate’ Marmite jars which are only available from July next month until September. Only ninety-four ‘Summer of Hate’ jars will be available across the UK (one for each day of the UK summer). Such scarcity will make them even more appealing as collectibles amongst its fans. Made with a ‘lighter summery blend’, the packaging takes its inspiration from Woodstock and the summer of love in 1967, playing on its nostalgic provenance to the full.

   

 

Marmite Summer Limited Edition 600px

  Image via www.marmite.co.uk

 

 

 

Boss Monster Card Game 

Sometimes, a packaging concept can be so powerful that it stands in as a major selling point of the product unto itself. American card game designer Brotherwise Games struck a chord of nostalgia with Kickstarter funders.

 

  

 Boss Monster Cards 600px

 Image via www.brotherwisegames.com

 

 

Accuracy of design was absolutely crucial to this concept in order to win over the right type of fans. The box containing the card decks looks uncannily identical to a product box for original Nintendo Entertainment System games of the late ‘80s, all the way down to the shape of the illustration border and the placement of badges.

 

Card game enthusiasts were so enthusiastic about the nostalgic element of this packaging design that they funded the game’s initial Kickstarter campaign well beyond all the initial funding goals.

 

  Bossmonster Box Sleeve 600px

 Image via www.brotherwisegames.com 

 

 

Many buyers were adamant about getting the special packaging sleeve that slid over the original package and mimicked Nintendo’s famous first “Legend of Zelda” game box. Products like these create strong emotional connections, develop cult followings and invite “unboxing” videos galore on social media.

 

 

   

  

 

Conclusion: Plot Your Unique Brand Path Then Journey Down It Fearlessly

In an ideal world all agencies, organisations and companies would invest resources into developing their brand strategy to ensure that it is fit for purpose, emotionally engaging and commercially successful in the short and medium term while also ensuring that it translates nationally and internationally as required across all its relevant markets.

 

With so many choices and options available be it at the local supermarket or online, brands cannot afford to be unclear or equivocal about their brand’s positioning, promise, personality or the way in which it communicate its values. Instead, the brand packaging must be like a lightning rod drawing energy and enthusiasm towards the shelved product.

  

Our experience working with many clients over the years has repeatedly brought to the fore that one of the many challenges organisations and businesses face is evaluating and developing the most effective positioning and profile for their brand — the best way in which to engage their primary target audiences and give them a compelling reason to engage and become loyal brand advocates. It’s the uppermost issue that challenenges brand owners and managers all the time, and the reason why we developed the Personality Profile Performer™, a systemized process to provide them with a much needed solution. 

  

People buy with emotion, regardless of gender, and justify with rationale. Consequently, every brand needs to be grounded in emotional appeal by tapping into the emotionally motivating factors that most readily engages their primary audiences. After all, there are very few, if any, truly new-to-the-world ideas anymore. To be perceived as truly distinctive, a brand must convey more compelling, sustaining differentiation, and the best way to do so is through emotion, as evidenced masterfully by Apple. Tying service, product details or even ideas to emotional values and seeking emotional connections with your primary audience cultivates more meaningful, sustained customer relationships.

  

In order to forge this type of relationship, your organisation needs to create an emotionally compelling, humanised brand through a highly-developed brand strategy. Part of this task includes shaping your brand, defining it and articulating what it is “all about” as well as what it stands for in the global scheme. Developing your brand’s profile involves defining: vision, values, personality, experience, promise and story, coupled with hierarchy planning — all focussed around the needs of your primary target audience. This process is accomplished using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™, which we use when working with our clients.

 

Applying a strategic approach in this way provides stronger direction and the essential brand foundations required for positioning, differentiation and directing the creative expression of the brand or design outputs — e.g. brand logo design, brand collateral design, web design, packaging design, etc. All of these elements can only come after the brand foundation work has been completed. The outputs from Personality Profile Performer™ help identify, and amplify differentiating brand messaging which is also used to shape the bespoke nature of integrated marketing communications as well as PR focused around the needs and preferences the primary target audience.

  

In the end, your brand must be able to speak to the world through its packaging in a clear, distinct voice that not only resonates with a clearly identified group but impels them to take action. Successful brands are able to reinforce emotional customer behaviours to the point where repeat business almost becomes a ritual in loyalty. Unsuccessful brands are faceless generic packs gathering dust on a shelf before they disappear forever.

   

You may also like:

  

Colour in Brand Strategy: Colour Psychology and How it Influences Branding

 

Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger

 

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

 

Packaging Design: How it Can Make or Break Your Brand

  

Humanizing Your Brand: Why it’s Key to Commercial Success 

  

 

So what do you think?

• What promises does your brand strategy make to your primary customers?

 

• Does your product packaging design accurately distil your brand’s promises and the values they hold dear?

 

• Are the colours, graphics, typefaces, illustration or photography style used in your packaging design conveying the right brand messages?

 

• Are you doing everything you can to reduce your packaging’s carbon footprint or impact on the environment?

 

• Are there elements of your current packaging design that no longer serve your brand appropriately, or no longer fit with current trends within branding or packaging and would be best eliminated as part of your rebranding strategy?

  

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you! 

Rebranding Strategy: Using Premium Repositioning To Increase Profitability

Repositioning or revitalizing your brand can be a powerful way to gain new market share and boost your profits. One of the most effective rebranding strategies is premium brand repositioning or premiumisation, which is about establishing higher perceived quality or specialness in order to achieve increased profitability by enabling you to charge more for your products and services.

 

Premium repositioning involves elevating demand and customers’ willingness to pay higher prices for your brand by adding value, which may be either actual or perceived. Checkout the following premium brand repositioning tips to help you make your rebranding strategy a success and grow your revenues.

 

5 ‘Premium Positioning’ Rebranding Strategy Tips

  

1. Increasing Actual Value

It’s only natural that improving the quality of your products or services will allow you to charge more. With a premium brand repositioning strategy, adding actual value typically represents a larger financial investment upfront but in turn leads to steady and substantial long-term growth profitability which considerably outweighs the initial investment. Some examples of actual value increase include new innovations, sourcing higher quality materials for product manufacturing, redesigning with new premium features, or delivering higher service quality.

 

Technology companies are a frequent example of adding actual value to achieve premium rebranding, in an industry known for rapid evolution and innovation. One of the most well-known rebranding campaigns involved Apple, which faced near bankruptcy in the mid-1980s before founder Steve Jobs returned as CEO to turn the flagging company around.

  

 Apple Logo

 Image via www.apple.com

 

Among several dramatic steps that included a partnership with primary competitor Microsoft, Jobs increased the actual value of Apple products and the company overall by eliminating a large, money-draining project, and introducing a new, sleek design for Apple personal computers with higher performance—the iMac, which would lead the way for the company’s best-known premium branded products in today’s mobile technology market.

 

 

2. Increasing Perceived Value

Premium brand repositioning that involves an increase in perceived value is a popular strategy because there is often less upfront loading and less ongoing capital investment, compared to the previous strategy mentioned, in order to achieve higher profits.

  

Adding perceived value to your brand requires engaging a rebranding strategy which causes a change in customer perceptions so that your products or services are considered to be worth more—even though you haven’t necessarily changed anything significant physically about the product or service. There are numerous strategies that can be deployed to increase perceived value. Some of them include:

We’ll explore some of these strategies in detail, all of which we’ve deployed with multiple clients over the years when enaging in premium branding repositioning strategies, with examples of brands that have successfully moved and repositioned to more premium markets through increasing their perceived value.

  

  

3. Premium Brand Repositioning Through Packaging Design

Birchbox, a subscription ecommerce company offering beauty products for women and men, underwent a premium rebranding campaign in 2013 that focused on its packaging, together with all its brand collateral. The company created a new global identity which included replacing its logo – with its light, somewhat illegible font and splatter style box – with a stronger modern, elegant sans serif font and a simple diamond, representing the ‘spark’ or ‘aha’ moment of the Birchbox brand experience.

  Birchbox Before After Rebrand

 Image via www.birchbox.com

 

The previous single shipping boxes were replaced with an inner box in a clean sophisticated brown with a silver foil embossed logo on it, designed to set off the boxes tissue wrapped interior contents to their best, and a colour-coded outer box with a large, monogrammed version of the new logo design – fuchsia pink for women’s products, and teal blue for men’s.

  

Birchbox Box Detail Inside 600px 

Image via www.birchbox.com

 

Adding an inner ‘gift’ box not only increased the aesthetic appeal of Birchbox, but also improved customer service, as the outer box tended to become slightly crushed or damaged during the typical rough and tumble of shipping or postage. In addition to the new packaging, Birchbox redesigned its website and messaging across all its brand collateral and communication channels.

    Birchbox Box Customer 600px

   Image via www.birchbox.com

 

Redesigning brand packaging as a premium rebranding strategy can be highly effective in shifting customer impressions of your brand and adding a stronger perceived value to your products or services, provided the total brand and product or service experience is congruent with what the packaging sells or communicates!

You won’t get a second sale or good ‘word-of-mouth’ if your packaging oversells and underdelivers in terms of product or service. In fact you’ll deservedly get so much negative customer sentiment both on and offline you’ll likely undermine your brand and its reputation, not to mention potential profitability even further.

 

  

 

  

 

4. Affiliations and Testimonials for Premium Brand Repositioning

Associations with well-known public figures, VIPs or trusted organizations can enhance your brand identity immensely and help accelerate your rebrand as a premium provider of products or services. A clear example of this theory in action are celebrity endorsements. People are willing to pay more for products or services when they have the perception that celebrities use them, which is why big brands continuoulsy shell out millions for endorsements from celebrities and VIPs, relevant to their target audiences.

 

 Kate Middleton Michelle Obama

 Image via www.stylist.co.uk

  

And some brands just have the good fortune to be chosen by the much admired. High street brands such as LK Bennett, Reiss and Whistles when worn by the Duchess of Cambridge are well know for selling out of the favoured items in less than a couple hours – as are items from brands such as J.Crew when worn by the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. In fact Michelle Obamas’ endorsement of J.Crew has helped the fashion brand rebound from plummeting sales enabling it to reposition itself as a premium line of casual wear.

 

 J Crew Michelle Obama

 Image via www.jcrew.com

 

However aligning your brand with premium affiliations doesn’t have to cost your company millions either. Local celebrities can have a significant, positive impact on your brand positioning and contribute to a more premium perception too. For some companies, professional certifications and ties with trusted organizations also work to create premium brand repositioning and enhanced brand credibility.

 

 

5. Brand Messaging and Premium Brand Positioning

Your brand can achieve a shift into the premium market through refined messaging that targets a more discerning marketing demographic. Many luxury brands use this strategy to increase perceived value of their products or services, by conveying their brand as a desirable “must have”.

 

Stella Artois is among the most in-demand beer brands in the UK. However, in 1976 when the brand was introduced, it was considered too strong, too different, and too expensive. When Frank Lowe took over marketing for the company, he launched an innovative campaign that transformed the perceived disadvantages into strengths. Using the tag line “Reassuringly expensive,” and a focus on the experience of the brand, rather than the taste, Stella Artois was effectively repositioned as a premium brand that still holds strong today.

 

   

  

 

Whether the focus is on increasing actual or perceived value, premium brand repositioning can be a powerful strategy for boosting your brand’s visibility, demand levels, and profitability.

  

Creative brand repositioning can revitalize a flagging brand and give new customers reasons to try your brand and existing customers new reasons to remain loyal to your products or services for years to come. As a rebranding strategy, repositioning is one of our most requested services from clients and one which has reaped them the most rewards, assuming everything else in the mix lives up to customer expectations or ideally exceeds them!

 

What do you think?

 

• Does your brand have a viable way to increase the actual value of your products or services?

 

• Would you focus on production values, customer service values, or both?

 

• What types of perceived values could you increase in association with your brand?

 

• Could your products benefit from a packaging redesign? How would you add premium value through your packaging?

 

• Are there any affiliations or professional organizations that would create a good premium association or match for your products or services?

 

• How would you shift your brand messaging to appeal to a higher value customer?