The Exclusivity Behind Luxury Brands

 Limited. Exclusive. Status. High-End. Value. These words are most commonly associated with most luxury brands that we see today. But the real question is, what makes a luxury brand over any other? Is a brand’s luxury status easily obtainable? After doing a little research my guess would be no.
After reading an article from Forbes titled “The World’s Most Valued Luxury Brands,” it lists the top luxury brands and their net worth. These brands are listed as followed:
Ralph Lauren
Prada
Burberry
Tiffany & Co.
Cartier
Hermes
Gucci
Louis Vuitton

Forbes states that the luxury brands in this niche retail segment are “synonymous with quality, status and sex appeal.” So in order to be a luxury brand and stay in the luxury category you must be unobtainable to the general public (lower class) but in reach to the high rollers. You must be limited to the upper class with products that hold great quality and value. This exclusiveness that luxury brands carry adds so much value to their brand that it makes the demand for their products more than their quantity carried. Now that’s just a start of what makes a luxury brand actually luxury.
Just think about it, no one’s bragging about wearing L.E.I. jeans and Forever 21 tops. Why? Because these products are affordable, obtainable, and in reach to any and every consumer that each brand targets. On http://www.thefreedictionary.com it defines luxury as “a material object, service, etc., conducive to physical comfort or sumptuous living, but usually not a necessity of life.” So luxury is something that is not needed but wanted, and in today’s economy, it’s easy for items to separate themselves into the want and need category.
After reading an article called “How to be a successful luxury brand,” I was able to dive deeper into the roots of some of the luxury brands listed above and what business practices they have in place that gives them their luxury title. This article explains how to be a successful luxury brand through the five points listed below:
1. Have a story to tell (history behind a brand)
2. Use bricks and clicks (brick and mortar and e-commerce)
3. Tap into new wealth (globalize your brand and positioning)
4. Have a lawyer (counterfeit goods, copyright infringement and trademark issues)
5. Exclusivity
So most brands combine either some or all of these points, depending on how they cater to their target market. A great example of this is Tiffany & Co. They started off as a stationary shop that only accepted cash payments and priced their items higher than any other stores in their area. After being successful decade after decade, Tiffany & Co. has implemented a successful e-commerce site, opened shops worldwide, overcome tough times, and still is able to hold their exclusivity. Tiffany & Co. has a loyal audience that has helped keep value to their brand by continuing to spend a lot on their goods. An example of this would be their price of $375 for a sterling silver necklace.

Now that we understand luxury, the top brands in the industry, and what it takes to be successful we can now start to make a reference on what makes luxury brands luxury. Now I’m sure there are more reasons to how brands make themselves a luxury brand such as implementing strong advertising campaigns, reaching out to celebrities so that the upper class can associate themselves with them, heavy brand awareness, product placement, and maintaining their image. I believe the most important of these is to maintain a strong brand image. As a brand has a strong image, consumers are bound to follow them. With a strong audience backing, a brand can uphold value and prestige, making simple items luxury.
As long as a brand is providing value and the consumer perceives it as a limited quality product or service, a brand will be luxury and stay luxury. We know that consumers are the driving force behind brands so when a brand is exclusive and effectively pushes its products towards a high-profile target audience, they will succeed in their niche market.
Works Cited ReferencesHazlehurst, Jeremy. “How to Be a Successful Luxury Brand.” Campden FB. Campden Wealth, 26 May 2013. Web.26 Sept. 2013.

“Luxury.” The Free Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

Rapoza, Kenneth. “The World’s Most Valued Luxury Brands.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 07 June 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

“Tiffany & Co. History.” Www.tiffany.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

Works Cited Images
Porritt, Andrea. “The Luxury Oscar Awards.” The Garage Sale Luxury Auction House. N.p., 8 June 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

“Tiffany and Company Jewelry Store.” Jewelry Online Shop Tiffany And Company Jewelry Store Comments. Jewelry Online Shop, 28 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

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