As a complement to the earlier article, The Digital Exploration of Luxury Brands, we thought it also noteworthy to discuss the alternate side of the topic, the exploration of the consumer by the brand.
At Fashion’s Collective, we like to think that a deeper understanding of the audience can help craft a more purposeful and informed approach, one that is ultimately more rewarding for both the brand and the customer. While there is definitely value in a brand owning and understanding their unique legacy and image, there is also value in understanding how this relates to their actual customer.
For many reasons, including market over-saturation, an economy in turmoil and excessive competition amongst brands, people are becoming more savvy, more critical and more informed. With access to a plethora of information, consumers do their due diligence and make calculated and informed decisions on purchases. The Survey on Wealth and Affluence recently cited that, even in this recession, 59% of affluent people studied reported that they were not reducing the costs of the items purchased, rather they were reducing the quantity of items purchased. Despite a bad economy, demand for luxury items still exists, however brand competition is rising as the ability for consumers to purchase the same or higher quantities of merchandise has declined.
We are in an age of transparency, accessibility and information. Just as individuals are taking advantage of this to become empowered, so too can brands become more empowered by truly learning about their customer in a more comprehensive manner than simply demographics or sales figures.
Social media, blogs, CRM platforms, loyalty programs, in-store events and services, research studies and focus groups, are all tools for brand marketers to use when trying to better understand their actual audience.
Take Barneys, for example. In what domain does Barneys operate? Fashion? Yes. Style? Certainly. Is it an institution while still being known for innovation? Absolutely.
But there is another domain that Barneys operates in, a deeper one. What about the domain of confidence, of feeling cool, of trendsetting? What about tapping into the art of getting dressed where Barneys is the vehicle that enables fashionable people to discover and achieve their own personal style, one of the most unique and outward forms of self expression? And what if Barneys identifies with their customers on this level, and crafts their marketing strategy (online and offline) to celebrate in this? Imagine how powerfully in-tune with their target audience they would be.
Understanding the consumer not as a customer but as a person, changes the value that can be taken from surface level research, sales numbers and observations. If brands can begin to understand how their unique value fits within the lifestyle of their consumers, the connections formed with those consumers will be that much more powerful, and in turn drive loyalty, engagement and, ultimately, sales.
Photo Credits: Thomas Barwick
Edited by: Gina Conforti