Luxury brands need to say “no”

30th January, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Luxury drinks brands need to learn to say “no” more in order to succeed in today’s tough retail climate, according to one of the UK’s leading brand strategists.

Brand strategist Peter Cross

“Luxury is about saying ‘no’. It’s about maintaining exclusivity and scarcity. Brands who are brazen enough to take the high ground will be able to separate themselves from their competitors,” said Peter Cross (pictured), brand strategist at retail marketing agency Yellowdoor.

Speaking at the G.H. Mumm and Perrier-Jouët Champagne Assembly at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel on Friday, Cross warned of the dangers of being too keen to please.

“Last year, the luxury industry said ‘yes’ a lot – to new markets, new categories and regional thinking – it bent over backwards to allow consumers to have it their way.

“But people want something even more when they can’t have it, it’s human nature,” he said, though he stressed that retaining exclusivity is not enough.

“You have to have integrity, values, a story to tell, and a clearly defined place in the market,” he said, citing the economic crisis and the digital revolution as having changed the way we shop.

“Luxury items have shifted from being out of reach to being accessible, and we expect brands to filter into our everyday lives. With consumer knowledge up and blogs and Twitter taken more seriously, today’s shoppers are empowered,” he warned.

Cross ended his speech by speaking of the extraordinary power of goodwill gestures.

“Small gifts, like extra laces with a pair of Churches shoes, can make all the difference and inspire brand loyalty. Understanding the subtleties of selling is crucial,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pierre Aymeric du Cray, global sales director of G.H. Mumm and Perrier-Jouët, spoke of moving beyond the “bling” era in Champagne.

“Consumers are less inclined to buy luxury brands as a status symbols to show off with, and are instead looking for genuine brand values,” he said.

“Today’s consumers want a sense of timelessness in the luxury goods they buy – something they can pass on to the next generation,” he added, citing personal customer relationships as key to success in 2012.

“Consumers that are spending a lot of money on luxury goods are now looking for a sense of belonging, to feel part of the brands’ family.

“2012 will be all about craftsmanship, and a refinement of brand values,” he said.

4 Responses to “Luxury brands need to say “no””

  1. John Boyle says:

    what a load of jack… “luxury” needs to be redefined…

  2. Tony Terlato says:

    What in the world does the last two paragraphs mean or say ?

  3. Charles says:

    I respectfully agree and disagree. With regards to luxury products such as Cars, Jewelry Clothes etc – where the experience with the tangible product is more than a few flutes or highball – exclusivity certainly perks up the LUXURIOUS SCALE – However, with spirits and such, the luxury is less about the product INSIDE the bottle and more about what the LIFESTYLE associated with the brand means. With spirits, the ASPIRATIONAL side needs to be built. It’s all about image and lifestyle experience with spirits – and with cars, jewelry and clothes it extends beyond that.

    LeSin Vodka is a Super Premium French Vodka – we are FIRST of super quality inside the bottle and 2nd very relevant to the Luxury Lifestyle that our consumers aspire to live and experience. Aspiration is available to ALL – not elusive and available only to a few.

    Different products and price points between cars and spirits – so you need to adapt this message back down to spirits as opposed to other consumer goods.

  4. aLoverNotAFighter says:

    How disappointing this information is about luxury in 2012, after decades of reports, case studies and articles. This is boring and repetitive stuff…a regurgitation of old comments.

    “Consumers are less inclined to buy luxury brands as a status symbols to show off with, and are instead looking for genuine brand values”.

    NOPE. The consumer today, is in most cases about first impression and creating their OWN brand by perception amongst their peers – luxury brands feed this ego-centric consumerism ofcourse…hence the explosion of social media such as Facebook. Everyone is competing for status through fame and to be ‘liked and worshipped’. Everyone is recommending and telling a friend FIRST – a bonus is brand values.

    So what’s really missing ?

    ‘Love’ in our brands, in the creation of them and to our consumer – this pinnacle element of the luxury brand with historical roots dating back to the artisan methods and sincere personal customer service (not just about making commission in our greedy world!) is missing and does not seem to be able to find its way back into the fold…so here is a marketing opportunity.

    Build back in that missing emotion called love…and NO I don’t mean paying ridicuolous money to a model to whisper something in French stretched across a bed indulging the copywriter in their fantasy.


    In our fickle world all about ‘show me the money’ an intangible such as love is suddenly fresh and priceless.

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