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Information Democratization and Luxury Brand Marketing


The principle of luxury marketing is in question nowadays! How would that sound to you? Do you ever believe in "luxury marketing"? Or do you dream that certain products are just luxurious and therefore aspiring naturally? I write from the standpoint that yes, there is the long-trusted concept called "luxury marketing", mainly learning from the traditional luxury brands originally started from Italy and France in 15th century, and indeed it sounds just right. The traditional luxury formula, can not be proven to be unshaken these days. Why now? What all of a sudden, now? You might wonder. But yes, now. Now that the people feel like they are thriving in the flood of their own information made up if not found and manipulated, now that the people feel like democratization of anything good should rules the world and there is not order if it does not support their original idea, now that chit-chat between the happy few only remains miserable in attracting fans if done without the proper marketing. Now that "everyone wants to be like me." literally becomes hard to prove. We are certainly experiencing the radical change of "something" that requires luxury brands to alter and ascend their brand marketing.


We say Asian countries are about human relationships, while Western countries are about absolute values. Or we used to. So Western companies come into Asian culture looking for the "good one" that has the network, and can make things work for them. Not necessarily the "great" ones, they could be good or bad, but those who are plugged into the society in the way that certain capabilities are assured and can be promised for the foreign partners like the Western companies in this example. Our globalization has been, until very recent, how "global" companies and individuals can be. First it was the companies that had gone global, so through businesses, people can feel the bigger world out there and experience the little fusion of their owns mixed with the new acquisitions. With the invention of computers and internet world, it became individuals who demonstrated the globalization. There have become more and more diverse ways to live, for example, working as a well-branded freelancer, or becoming a YouTube star making money from advertising. The typical Western or Eastern cultural gaps have been successfully conquered by ambitious people experimentally mixing, importing and implementing what used to be foreign to them. Everyone is enjoying their own original blends of something new - this is also a tendency of millennials in their fashion choices - they do not loyally follow one brand, but get "inspired" to make their "originals". As fashion designs trickle down every season from the most luxurious haute-couture brands, all the way down to fast-fashion and mass brands, and as you might know, this is the world with no trademarks allowed in any innovative design pieces, this trend of "mash-ups" never ends. Then here comes the question - what do they want to be? What are their dreams? Who do they aspire? Do they buy the items held by someone they do aspire? Do they feel the same about the advertisement of the beauty products as the audience decades ago? When there was some sort of scarcity taken over people's focus, therefore the "aesthetic aspiration" could work as their "hope star", in other words, when things weren't this convenient and people used to dream through the movie theaters and products sold by global companies, the luxury was the way up above the top of the human hierarchy - or I should call, "dream" hierarchy, the top of the top of the "dream-able". But in the era of mash-ups and originality, when everybody is trying to grow in the total separate different angles, how could "a brand" win the attention, affinity and aspiration of all yet not being too reachable from them but siting far above them encouraging them to reach out to it? In other words, should there be "the King" nowadays, or "he" is within oneself of everyone and everything else is a little random piece to make it all happen for them? If latter is the new order, does not the traditional "aspiration from the mass" mean the unshakable buying power regardless of the price? Is God high above up there rescuing us from high position, or is he, "he", sisthing inside of us right next to our heart? When the world only permitted to the happy few gets democratized, and become experiential for anybody, how would it be felt by them? Would people rather not know, or once they know it, would they want it? What could ever be on top of mind of the people who "has known" everything in the world?


Even the lifestyle of the people has changed dramatically over time, the brand value is timeless. But the evolution proceeds and receptacles of the values, the human senses and emotions, also vary depending on when, where and how one lived. There had to be the pyramid of people devoting their souls and hearts loyally to provoke necessary aspiration. ....



One answer to that is that regardless, the luxury brands are the producers of the world's most beautiful and supreme products, breathtakingly best of the best in aesthetic perspective, and astonishingly greatest in their design and functionality. If they can keep running the race of economical world as the best of the best, including the price strategy and the design aesthetic superiority, there will be fans anyway, therefore it does not matter what kind of behavior the majority of people take when browsing, considering and purchasing the products. In this theory, luxury brands can sustain their marketing, to aspire the mass with the attitude of unreachable. But to do this, one must ignore the fact that the brand has to attain victory in its sales revenue, too, not just the image reputation. Usually, the regular marketing is applied on top of the traditional luxury marketing especially for the needs of digitalization. Data and systematic approaches can be added. The star agencies work for them with their winning pattern of marketing management. In this case, the problem is the lessened power of brand equity, it is not that the more means the most admirable. The most purchased is not most aspiring. Then the brand success itself can be said hard to measure. The brand marketing must uplift the entire brand perceived value. When all of the necessary information is in hands of every consumer, what is the tease for them? Wouldn't experiencing be enough for the consumers? And wouldn't taking a few products be enough for the product consumers originally aspired by their beauty?


Even in the era of total diversity and differentiation, the unity of humanity can never be ignored. We, as humans, have lots in common. And we, think, partially, but exactly, the same. We have similar bodies with the same mechanism. We all have the miracle of the human brains and therefore the world of consciousness bridging us to the higher realm of creation, the universe of something above and beyond, the greatest and the most miraculous. When there was materialistic scarcity taking over our lives, we appreciate businesses that provide us stuff we need. The business fulfills our need of "having it". When we want to be inspired, we need the business that fulfills our need of seeing or hearing something inspiring. When all the needs for the material possession are met, our need becomes the one to "be it". We learn stuff to be who we want. We get stuff to play a role of our choice in the society. When we finish "being it", we try to grow to get on the next level, where new needs and wants to "get" and "be" await. Gradually, getting and being become enjoyable. Some get over it and become less materialistic, while others remain the same, becoming better and better "at it". Alternately though, humans all want to break the hardest barriers, not the scarcity or the growth limit, but the highest hurdles. It comes back to life. To live, is the basic, the easiest, the foundation and the most difficult. And to live more, to live as who we are, and to live beyond (probably to live even after death) in the positive meaning, can be where our human's collective desire can be aimed. Beyond death, beyond the reality. Far above and more than what we are and what we see. And to want it is itself the reward for being the most successful, reaching near for "the King", and becoming "him". Being the top of the world, and leading it. This is the timeless value of the world demonstrated by the globally successful luxury houses. The "being" that was loved and admired by everyone else. What did the people see in that dream of unattainable? The top peak of and beyond the conscious world consisting of all the power held by everyone that could dream, collectively.


The aesthetic excellence and the high functionality, to describe the supremacy of the luxury products, can relate to where humans all "want to be", therefore when presented separately from them, they are what we want, almost eternally, and collectively, as human begins. There might be pros and cons to go after the typical beauty and just the highest functionality, but both area important and lead to one word, "strength". What humans recognize as "beauty and attractiveness", though we have to admit some exceptions considering psychological tricks and brain patterns, tend to be the most progressive forms of something all working in one direction. If it is the muscle, some might think that the thicker the prettier but anyhow, what he sees beauty in represents what he wants to some extent. Therefore when we become such connoisseurs about body beauty, we started to argue whether just the typical barbie proportion alone could be enough to showcase. Our senses have been developed more than before, and our level of strength requires us to create more greater beauty. Why? Beauty represents the desire, and the desire is changing and becoming increasingly diverse. Beauty then represents the progressive version of each of what we sense - the ultimate top of the world, but it has to keep evolving, with its own life. The same goes with the functionality superiority. Why can the world's masterpieces, the great art crafts, the amazing watches, the perfect dresses and the dream cars, why can they be sold for such high prices? They do magics that others don't do. They are the miracles people want to get, and to become masters of. This will never release the hearts of the people. Because beyond all the different identities and characteristics, this is all what we want. We humans, biologically and technically, are destined to desire it.



Besides the pricing and the fundamentals of the luxury brands listed above, the beauty and the product functionality (the good expression of the high level craftsmanship and brand heritage), when we face the mash-up generations, it still feels like the dilemma to overflow the mass with the experiential luxury marketing. Marketers are not even tickling them but almost bargaining them with each of the precious brand world, and as of now, it seems like the right thing to do. The right marketing ROI, the right sales performance, the right M&A, the right store openings. The right brand equity, the right brand reputation. While the "mass" in one market is lining up to get the newest product, the brand must be fulfilling the need of the "top and unreachable", or as if. The brand's world must be far away from the top of the minds of the regular people, and has to be first dream-able when the brand exists. The macro economy explains that the human lives are getting better and better, at least, economically. In short, humans are to become richer and richer everyday, so the democratization of the information can be said to be unavoidable. Great secrets reveal themselves when we humans finally have the suitable receptacles that can understand them. It is as if, everything is beyond the timeframe and it is only looking to be perceived with reasonable love to it. Nowadays the brands' worlds are so exposed to everyone regardless of their economical successfulness or the willingfulness to pay the price. When we want to see how the high jewelry is made, we can just click on the YouTube channel. When we want to view the newest fashion, we can just stream the runway. When we get interested in the brand history, we can just read the articles. If it is necessary to happen, the consumers must be perceived differently. They are not the ordinary people watching the cinema dreaming about the world expressed by the movie stars. They are the next competitors who can start businesses at any time, stealing the brand's secret, not to make replica but to get ahead of it. Certainly, something has to be adjusted. And to be made adaptive to the growing diverse world.


For example, the attitude of the creative. When the brand world itself is unreachable yet dream-able, the souciness does not work as the tease for more pleasure. It can simply puts people down, and in the worst case, loses the existing loyal fans and potential buyers. Mostly luxury brand creative assets do not have many smily faces simply because they aim something else than what it does to people. They do not want people to feel relaxed or loved or wanted or warm. They have to be teased and left as they are. But the attitude works under the condition that the regular mass image advertisement for the brand is always working as it used to - to make the mass want them, desire them and dream about them to "get" and to "be" what brands can present to the world. The poor among riches and the poor among middle classes are not the same. The successful among the most successful and the successful among the not-yet-developed are not the same. They think differently, and feel differently about themselves. They see different worth about themselves, and react differently.


How about the overwhelming volume of ambassadors and casting calls for the ordinary people? The use of the top level movie stars for, for example, beauty products and jewelries, used to be more sensational and more effectively represented the high brand value. They went well with the world of cinema, and were leading the hearts of the people in the midst of the industrialization progression. Their transcendental popularity and some kind of authority that it made possible for the creatives with them in them, worked in hand in hand with the luxury brands, needless to say, that they were both, literally, at top of the world, possibly looking down on the mass market. However, the recent work-style transformation and digitalization affected the way people feel about celebrities. Like mentioned before, to become one is not a dream anymore (but advertised as a "choice"). People do not admire them but see them to steal their technics. While some celebrities keep revealing new and novel values to the society to sustain their brand value, not all of them ascend and grow to become greater all the time. Even if the brand characters match the ambassadors, would all the world they express be attractive? Wouldn't they make brands feel a little too amiable? One can like friends but not desire them all the time. The close distance in feelings can also cause abuse. Humans can desire to control what's obtainable. Without the shiny authoritative power that the luxury brand marketing used to penetrate into the global market, their brand engagement cannot "attract" fans but only contribute to their brand experience, which could have been the tease itself, but now just sobers us up.


Who would gaze at the peak of the low hill? They need nothing to climb that one up. They don't have to see and ponder, they don't even pay attention to it. The high altitude of the popularity hierarchy is an important element to consider when re-considering luxury brand marketing, but the issue is that the same hierarchy does not exist in minds of the people. I believe it is the time for the further development and the dramatical progress is going to need "a new ax" - so that the essence of hierarchy can be maintained in the marketing yet on the greater dimensional level! It could be the depth, could be the artistic expression of timelessness, it could be the new challenge of impossible. Because it is the world that cannot be dreamt about without the brand that the brand is presenting to the world, and without it, premium brands will certainly take them over in near future.


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