Pippa Isbell, CEO PRCo, speaks at the TTG Luxury Conference

The Future of Luxury Travel

Most of our time at PRCo is spent thinking about the luxury consumer, working out how to use our understanding of them and the media they consume to the benefit of our clients – and to maintain their presence with those otherwise elusive big spenders.

There has been a rapid maturing of the luxury consumer since the recession, and what has emerged is a focus on individual tastes, and much more subtle communications. Luxury itself is such an overused word and it has come to represent all that was wrong in a world of excess, bank bonuses and bling.

Today, high-end consumers are ever more discerning, warranting a reassessment of what is meant by “luxury” in light of their evolving tastes. They seek products and services that are bespoke, customised and personal. Although conspicuous consumption is out, ‘luxury shame’ has not entirely disappeared. Consumers are aware of what they really value and it is important to them not to appear insensitive to the wider economic landscape. Value has become very important. Excess is inappropriate.

There’s an interesting aspect of luxury in today’s world which is all about giving the consumer permission to purchase. They want to feel okay about spending a lot of money and recent advertising from luxury brands like Gucci and Vuitton reflect this. Gone is the bling of furs and ‘it’ bags, in is the demonstration of value through craftsmanship. These new ads are saying ‘look at the work that has gone into this. It is worth every penny’. The subtle message is still ‘you are worth it – you deserve this reward’.

This has not happened all at once. A gradual shift has been seen, with polarity in styles of advertising and consumer communication, moving inexorably towards deeper narratives and storytelling. This is no longer about selling a single product, but a lifetime of emotions and associations. Luxury brands are positioning themselves as more than just products or services but rather an accompaniment on life’s journey.

So how do luxury brands get their share of attention? How do you get the luxury consumer to engage with you when you’re well established and perhaps don’t have anything particularly new to say? You think about who they are and what they do. How they spend their time and how they live. What experiences will appeal. You engage their attention and then their emotions. You hook them into your world.

The opportunity is there but to take it you need to think about how your brand can stand out. It needs to be the familiar face in the crowd which draws the eye; a message carefully calibrated to appeal to a very distinct consumer, allowing them to feel as if you are communicating specifically with them, providing the comfort of familiarity and recognition. In today’s world, every customer wants to feel understood, appreciated, smart about value and at home with their choices. Speak in their language and your voice will be heard.

 

Imagery thanks to Steve Dunlop.

Responses 1

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  1. Yes, I agree – value through craftsmanship is lasting value, and nowt wrong with honesty and authenticity in luxury

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