Suzanne Droese, founder of Droese Public Relations, opened her session by asking attendees what luxury meant to them. Droese worked with a variety of luxury brands, such as Gucci, Mulberry, Bumble, Valentino and Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Key Things to Remember
Luxury brands cater to small audiences. The key to any good public relations campaign is an approach tailored to the targeted audience. For luxury brands, that targeted audience is a much smaller pool and can be difficult to hit just right. Campaigns are typically tailored to customers with discretionary income.
The campaigns for luxury brands often have different objectives than most campaigns. Due to the specific niche audience it is trying to reach, the goal may not be as much to spread awareness as it is to create exclusivity. This does not apply to every luxury brand, but many create a scarcity in order to boost its exclusivity. Think a Birkin bag by Hermès or a product with very few made. “People want what they can’t have,” Droese said.
Similar to many companies, luxury brands have a distinctive voice. Overall it should sound educated, informed and concise. When a consumer is looking at the products of a luxury brand, they should feel like the brand knows who it is. “People are buying into you knowing your stuff,” Droese said.
Principles of Luxury
Providing a seamless experience: The experience audiences receive both online and offline should match. This includes experiences consumers have on social media, not just online shopping. The messaging social media teams put together should feel succinct with that of the messaging in store.
Offering convenience: Luxury consumers, like most people, value their time. When taking time out of their day to shop at a luxury store, convenience is one of the most important things they can be offered. This can range from tasks like offering coffee to gift wrapping.
Emphasizing lifestyle: The messaging of luxury brands does not always need to spell things out. Droese used the Johnny Depp Dior ad campaign as an example to explain this. The campaign consisted of actor Johnny Depp playing guitar in the desert and introducing “Sauvage elixir,” a new cologne. The underlying theme of the ad was “sexy” in Droese’s words, but that was never explicitly said.
Telling the story: This is not specific to luxury brands. All public relations campaigns should be focused on story telling. The aspect that is specific to luxury is history. Many luxurious brands (i.e. Gucci) have been around for decades. Telling the audience about its history and making it a part of its brand is one of the keys to luxury storytelling in the modern day.
Standing firm: Luxury brands must stick to their brand. Successfully communicating is required in any market, but specifically in luxury. With a niche audience, if a brand strays, it loses. “They have to know their DNA, they have to know their story and they can’t stray from it,” Droese said.
Suzanne’s Super Seven Secrets for Success
Droese ended the session with advice for attendees. This advice could be applied to the audience’s experience working in the field, as well as their day to day life.