Guide to Luxury Digital Strategy: A Luxury Digital Agency’s Take on What High-End Brands Should Know
If you’re reading this, you don’t need me to tell you how important it is for a luxury digital agency
to guide high-end brands to start thinking about a digital strategy. You already know that there is a way to move forward without sacrificing the aura of exclusivity luxury brands have spent so long building up.
But perhaps you’re unsure of exactly how a luxury digital agency develops a holistic digital strategy that galvanizes a luxury name or why exactly the timing is so urgent for high-end brands to adopt an online approach. Fortunately, this comprehensive guide into luxury digital strategy serves to give you the most extensive understanding of succeeding in both connecting with customers and distinguishing yourself distinctively.
What does a luxury digital strategy entail?
For starters, a luxury digital agency’s strategy for high-end brands consists of promoting a brand’s product or service through any online means such as social media, website traffic, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, or content production (i.e., videos, newsletters, interviews, etc.).
How does a luxury digital strategy differ from any other brand’s digital strategy?
A luxury brand can become more accessible online without expending its high-end marque of exclusivity. In fact, a digital strategy can enhance customer relationships and even strengthen the authentic and personal experiences that have long been attributable to luxury brands.
Any luxury digital agency worth its salt will know that, because of the brand positioning, a luxury brand’s digital strategy will have to look different than any other brand’s in terms of how it engages with customers, showcases its products, and communicates its value.
The supposed best way to adopt a digital strategy would be to spend more money for better targeting reach and acclaim. But for luxury brands, such an approach would be detrimental to their image, where any perception that a luxury brand is pushing for the sale of its products could indicate they are low quality. Therefore, the alternative and much more fitting route for luxury brands would be not to push themselves through paid advertising or promotions in front of audiences but rather pull consumer interest in their brand through relevant and engaging content. How a luxury brand chooses to pull that interest is for them to choose.
Of course, every brand is unique in that it offers something no other name can, and the method in which you choose to demonstrate that can take on multiple ways this guide will later uncover.
But it’s important to understand that there is a reason why luxury brands have succeeded thus far. And how a luxury digital agency can help luxury brands properly translate that success online will mean they open themselves up to more publicity and consumer interaction in a time when the global luxury market has topped $1 trillion and counting, with the majority of luxury shoppers today being tech-savvy millennials and Generation Z.
From that information, a few questions remain:
“How can I best convey a luxury brand image to a consumer online?”
“How can I complement and enhance the luxury user experience through a digital strategy?”
The answer to these questions lies in the strengths and talents a brand possesses.
First, a good luxury digital agency knows that today’s consumers expect to be engaged across multiple touchpoints, and have a highly personalized journey that has always been quintessential with high-end names. People are far more likely to interact with and purchase from a luxury brand if they feel they are being communicated to in a way that is both relevant and appealing.
That’s good enough incentive for luxury brands to double down on what makes the buying experience with them unlike any other brand and to find ways to replicate that same strategy online. After all, one of the most important things when it comes to any brand strategy is that the experience is consistent throughout any engagement a customer may have with a luxury name.
How do luxury brands approach digital marketing?
As Alain Uyttenhoven, the former head of Lexus Europe, said: “Our cars won’t please everyone.” A luxury digital agency knows that a luxury brand isn’t made for everyone, either.
The age-old luxury adage of “it simply wouldn’t be luxury if everyone had it” applies perfectly in digital strategy, as well. The goal, as any luxury digital agency would understand, is not to attract every shopper, but to attract your shopper.
Out of the many luxury names in the world, no two can be said to apply exactly to a host of people. It is how a luxury brand chooses to position and differentiate itself from competitors that contributes to how it connects with and entices an audience.
The same must be said for a digital strategy. It is online where luxury brands can strengthen their image and ensure that it remains relevant to the fast-changing times, which bleeds into the next point: digital is the way of the future. It will not just be important for luxury digital agencies to help high-end brands adopt an online strategy, but having one will become entirely indispensable in the years to come.
To dive further into translating offline success to the internet, let us take the first step to acknowledge how to target affluent consumers.
How can luxury brands target high net worth individuals?
The key to targeting a desired high-end audience starts with an understanding of what the customer profile context is today. Where before, it was entirely plausible that high net worth individuals (HNWIs) would not be inclined to skip the in-store experience and pay premium rates for luxury goods online, now those wealthy consumers happen to be extensive users of online devices, averaging five or more hours of daily log time.
This change in consumer behavior underlies the need for change in strategy. But how exactly can a luxury digital agency help brands target high net worth individuals (Notice: “target” instead of “marketing to” HNWIs)? The other part of this equation is understanding what these high net worth individuals want.
The wealthy customers of today and tomorrow want a brand that matches the level of personalization they can expect to receive in-store and who engages with them in a way that resonates with who they are.
Why is it important for luxury brands to adopt a digital strategy now?
Besides the telling fact that the vast majority of affluent shoppers are active internet users, one of the biggest reasons why it’s important for high-end brands to start thinking about a digital strategy now if they haven’t already is because their digital marketing efforts return greater value than traditional marketing methods. With sophisticated tracking capabilities, it has never been easier to evaluate a campaign’s strength and optimize for future success than doing so online.
It’s that reason alone why so many brands have been early adapters. The accessibility of the internet allows any business, regardless of size or age, to target the billions of users every day. We’ve already established that HWNIs are about as active online as they can be. And the democratization of the internet opens the door for any brand to target them, disrupting the way in which people and brands interacted before.
That means any established brand which had been reluctant to consider an online approach or even take it seriously are now becoming disrupted.
To put things in an even clearer and perhaps more prompting perspective: 40% of luxury purchases are influenced by what consumers see online. Digital interactions with brands play a growing role in whether or not someone feels compelled enough to purchase from a luxury brand.
Consumers are far and away engaging with brands that embrace digital as a tool to project their values that align with their own. It’s up to luxury digital agencies to help bridge the gap between the brand and consumers.
How do affluent customers use the internet?
We’ve established that high net worth individuals are by no means new to the internet. However, the real look at their digital use comes with the realization that affluent consumers are, on average, likely to have multiple electronic devices and are likely to use smartphones for five hours on average, daily.
This data point should be no surprise to people who are aware that the HNWI market has more than twice the smartphone penetration than the general population. But what these facts point to is that luxury brands should not only be adopting a digital strategy now rather than later, but make a mobile-oriented approach a serious focal point.
How luxury brands can utilize this information to target affluent customers on the internet is by first learning where the majority of affluent smartphone users spend their time. These include:
- Social media platforms
Highly visual social platforms are a luxury brand’s best friend. People use social media in mostly two ways: to gain an aesthetic appreciation and to be entertained. And through a utilization of social media to produce content that does either or both, luxury brands can engage with target consumers.
After all, the realm of social media has far more similarities with what luxury has always connoted: the position of status, bragging rights, reach of influence, and peer recognition.
- Organic keywords
Thinking about what is the consumer’s perspective and what keywords they would use to find you is paramount to online success. The most important note that comes with this is relevance.
It is crucial that when using keywords, you use relevant keywords that are closely associated with what your brand offers. As in any strategy, expect fierce competition for other brands looking to rank for similar keywords as you. But know that the return is worth it—more on this further into the guide.
- Retargeting website visitors
Perhaps the easiest group to persuade into purchasing from you are those who already know you and especially the ones who have already bought from you.
Utilizing these methods gives you a finer and more practical focus when it comes to targeting affluent consumers. And by diving deeper into where potential high-end goods buyers are and how they interact where they are, you are effectively perfecting your digital strategy for greater return.
How do affluent consumers use social media?
Let’s get into the specifics about social media usage, one of the most rewarding sources of prospective shoppers for luxury brands.
Most millionaires are already users of at least one social media network, about 70%, to be exact. Of those, over half are on Facebook, which makes it a readily available platform to be active on, especially considering its wide net of ad targeting capabilities.
Still, the breadth of high net worth individuals on social media indicate there is plenty of domain available for luxury brands to post and influence their decision to purchase something from them.
There is no shortage of ways in which brands today can utilize social media to build brand awareness and communicate with their targeted audience, not the least of which include high-end names hoping to engage with affluent consumers.
The first thing any luxury brand should recognize in pursuing a social media strategy is that it does not matter much what platform it chooses to adopt, but how it acknowledges the value of connecting with consumers and including them as part of the strategy.
What makes social media a powerful tool for luxury brands is that it can leverage a medium to use customer advocacy and allow others to speak for you, which lines up perfectly with the pull strategy we mentioned earlier. Ways in which luxury brands can create a strong pull factor include the following:
- Engage the audience
Social media requires social interaction. How you choose to interact and encourage engagement on social media is up to you, but it should always align with what your brand already expresses.
- Know who your advocates are
The old saying goes, “20% of your efforts will account for 80% of your results.” It’s exactly the same when applied to luxury social media digital strategies, where roughly 20% of your customers influence 80% of your marketing outcomes.
When it comes to social media, the influential heavyweights who vouch for your brand will account for an overwhelming majority of your marketing success. That means your marketing efforts ought to be designed to know who these advocates of yours are.
- Expand your reach
Cross-channeling is critical to a social media digital strategy. After all, not all social interaction happens to be concentrated in just one platform.
There are plenty of social channels that can be best equipped to suit a luxury brand’s image and strategy. The most important thing, though, is to remember that although your social media approach should be personal, it should also be platform agnostic. Allow your target audience to choose where and how they interact with you.
- Quantify everything
Numbers mean everything in business, especially in a digital strategy. You will need to understand where you want to measure up in terms of your goals and also know what causes lead to what effects.
Things like impressions, newsletter subscriptions, cart abandonment, and checkout rates all have substantial value in understanding how they play to a digital strategy and are vital to know how you can optimize them for more efficient spending.
How do luxury brands target HNWIs using search engine optimization (SEO)?
At its core, an excellent luxury search engine optimization strategy ought to target keywords that describe your product and include a thoroughly-optimized website for those keywords.
Do note that the use of words such as “luxury” or “high-end” at the beginning of a keyword or search query won’t do much to control your brand and products being viewed by affluent consumers. Remember that anyone is free to search any term. But also, affluent consumers don’t typically use “luxury,” “high-end,” or “expensive” in their search queries; high net worth individuals do not view many things as “luxury” given they can afford any product in the world.
What we’ve found that works best on a monthly search volume campaign is that the word “luxury” pales in comparison to product terms. However, product terms are incredibly generic, so much so that it is difficult to compete for them through SEO.
That means the best way to generate a return through search engine optimization is to truly think about what kind of person would be looking for your product or service and then identifying which keywords are most relevant to that product. There’s also the possibility that wealthy consumers may have someone like a personal assistant or wealth manager finding a product or service for them, meaning there must also be a consideration of what they might be searching for, as well.
One other thing: since the digital landscape effectively opens up luxury brands’ accessibility to more people, it may be a good option to consider making your eCommerce site multilingual and optimized for keywords in various languages to target non-English speaking affluent consumers around the world.
Let’s also not forget that the online world also allows us to narrow down in addition to reaching anyone in any country. With this, I’m referring to establishing a local authority in the digital landscape using SEO. Of course, this may not apply to products such as apparel, accessories, or vehicles, but more so services.
For example, high-end restaurants and bars, helicopter charters, and concierge will need to incorporate geography and specific seasons of the year applied to keywords, as people will want to locate a service close to them, which blends perfectly into the next point.
How do luxury brands create effective PPC campaigns with Google Ads?
For brands that wish to target and bolster their efforts with affluent consumers in a specific area, PPC campaigns can be a great addition to a digital strategy. Google is a powerful tool that collects data from users’ interactions and website visits, app usage, location, and searches to determine things such as age range, interests, and income level.
What this means is that a luxury brand, say a Mercedes-Benz dealership, in Beverly Hills can use PPC ads to target high-income people with an interest in luxury cars, are within the age range of those most likely to purchase a high-end car, and live within close proximity of the dealership. Google Ads go as far as to target people who attend high-end events for a more specific breakdown of people’s interests. Additionally, PPC campaigns offer the use of demographic targeting to avoid displaying ads to people not likely to purchase your products or use your services for a greater return on your spend.
With that level of optimization, luxury brands can effectively expand this strategy to reach their target audience in the wealthiest cities in the world. With PPC, this aspect of the digital strategy aims at what’s called “search intent,” or people who are already looking for something relevant to what you offer. These people may type in various key search terms in which an advertiser who has targeted those terms will have their ads shown to them to entice the user into visiting their eCommerce site with the hopes that they complete a purchase.
Of course, not every person will purchase on the first encounter. This is why it’s incredibly important to consider display ads as a way to retarget and remind a user of a product throughout the web. These ads can be located on specific sites of your choosing or on domains with certain audience characteristics.
All in all, the targeting capabilities based on consumer behavior, interests, and demographics provide an incredibly powerful tool for luxury digital agencies to help high-end brands to reach consumers.
With the vast methods of engagement and targeting at your disposal, it’s time to consider what you will adopt for your digital strategy. Given luxury brands each have their own strengths and attributes, what you decide to utilize will be contingent on what set of features and capabilities you want for the digital age.
Luckily, G & Co. is a full-service luxury digital agency and UI/UX design and development shop. With a specialized focus on high-end brands, G & Co.’s services range from mobile apps and brand identities to digital marketing and advertising strategy. Through our work with Burberry, CB2, and Dreem, our reach and level of experience with luxury brands, we’re confident we can help make your digital strategy a success.
Ready to move forward? Shoot us an email to help you get started.