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As one of the last sectors to fully embrace digital marketing, luxury brands have finally moved online. Due to the ubiquity of the Internet and the decline of print advertising this shift was inevitable. Affluent customers are heavy users of the Internet, both for information as well as online purchasing and 90% of high-income internet users shop online. But even as luxury brands embrace digital marketing, there are many challenges to the mission of presenting and promoting lifestyle products.
Today, numerous third-party sources provide information about any given brand, including consumer reviews, niche blogs, and price comparisons. Since customers can easily access this info, it is imperative that brands themselves have a voice as well. Content curation provides a solution to some of the common marketing woes of luxury brands. Below are four ways that content can help luxury brands solve digital marketing challenges.
Problem #1 Exclusivity:
All luxury brands fall somewhere on a spectrum of accessibility and exclusivity. Building a brand’s image and mythology helps make it desirable for customers. But the concept of exclusivity runs tangent to the nature of the Internet as a democratic space. Luxury brands must embrace the universality of the Internet by marketing both to paying customers as well as to those who want but cannot afford the products. Enter: content marketing. Brands can paint pictures of an enviable lifestyle by providing custom content on their websites and apps. While all online users can consume the content of a curated feed, not every user can purchase the product and live a luxury lifestyle. Gilt Groupe employs this strategy with its blog. The exclusive, high-end shopping website has a public blog in addition to its private content.
Problem #2 Consistency:
In the era of social media, flash apps, interactive websites, and online multimedia, it’s not surprising that companies feel a pressure to stand out over the digital buzz. But consistency is paramount for luxury brands and their websites don’t have to be flashy in order to gain the attention of online users. A curated content experience can integrate seamlessly into a brand’s website in order to position that company in the luxury space. Preserving a sleek, upscale, and pleasurable user experience while telling a story using curated content will provide consistency and propel the brand online. BMW is known for such consistency. In creating BMW TV, the car manufacturer provided a curated video experience, tailored specifically to the interests of its main demographic, that maintained the professional, powerful, and luxurious feel of the BMW brand.
Problem #3 Visibility:
No matter the industry or brand, visibility is essential to marketing. With luxury brands, visibility is a more complicated matter due to the delicate balance between exclusivity and brand recognition. Unlike consumer products that aim to be as overt as possible, luxury brand marketing must be subtler. Content curation can play a key role in subtle brand promotion. Curating content creates more opportunities for engagement with customers; more opportunities for fans to share content with others. By delicately extending the reach of the brand, that brand becomes increasingly more prominent without being cheapened. Burberry's Art of the Trench campaign provides a unique example. Users upload photos of them wearing Burberry trenchcoats to a public gallery in order to subtly increase visibility and customer engagement, all the while maintaining the luxury brand.
Problem #4 Social Media Taint:
Many luxury brands see social media as a tool of the masses. It doesn’t have to be. Not only are more affluent Americans interacting with social media and digital ads, but compared with fast-moving consumer goods, luxury brands have over 4 times more Facebook fans. As long as companies stay true to their brands and don’t blindly adopt the marketing strategies suited for consumer goods, social media can be an effective tool. When paired with content curation, social media can bolster the reputation and message of luxury brands through reposting of content. Brands such as Lexus have done a great job of maximizing social media and maintaining its luxurious reputation through providing relevant articles, news, and images on its social media profiles.