Marketers of high-end brands should always prioritize quality over quantity.
We live in a world of constant content, to the tune of 500 million tweets, 4.3 billion Facebook posts and 500 million hours of YouTube uploads each day. Often, we are force-fed the same content by a single corporation across multiple channels. There’s an idea among marketers that content is king, but the truth is, ineffective content is clutter, and clutter is annoying. Affluent consumers often have more money than time. They often pay others to deal with clutter so that they don’t have to. Content for content’s sake is toxic for a luxury brand.
The reputations of high-end brands thrive on an expert balance of exclusivity and craftsmanship—the latter because, as we’ve mentioned before, most high-net-worth individuals are self-made and retain certain middle-class values, such as discipline and functionality. One of the worst marketing mistakes a high-end brand can make is to offer tone-deaf content that wastes the two things most precious to many affluent consumers: time and mental energy.
A 2017 survey by Havas Media Group questioned 370,000 people in 33 countries and discovered that, while 84 percent of them expect content marketing from brands, 60 percent think of most content as “poor” and “irrelevant.”
“The data demonstrates an alarming ineffectiveness of existing brand content. Our expectations for the role or the types of content are simply not being met,” says Maria Garrido, Global Chief Insights and Analytics Officer with Havas Media Group.
But the study also found big payoffs for the brands that get content right. There was a 71 percent correlation between effective content and a brand’s impact on consumers’ personal well-being, and when something makes us feel good, we usually do, buy or experience it again. It’s the basic pleasure center principle.
“Meaningful brands”—defined by the Havas study as those positively impacting consumers on personal, collective and functional levels—outperform the stock market by 206 percent, see a 48 percent increase in wallet share and have 137 percent greater returns on key performance indicators.
With content marketing, luxury brands have more at stake than mass consumption brands. Luxury brands are selling an experience and an identity over a product, so story and history are vital. Discerning consumers expect content with high production value, just as they expect better quality and more enduring products.
According to the Havas study, many brands are doing well at explaining their purpose, but they’re failing to cultivate the intimacy and immersion that are critical to converting consumers to brand ambassadors. Often consumers understand what a product does, but they don’t understand what it has to do with them.
Affluent consumers want content that is relatable and aspirational. They want to be inspired and educated rather than solely entertained. They want to understand themselves as part of a select in-group that shares their values.
Louis Vuitton offers city guide apps that are so well-curated, consumers are willing to pay for them. LVMH—the merger of Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy—offers Nowness, a digital magazine about art, design, music, travel and culture that features edgy influencers and consistently wins Webby Awards. And there’s a level of exclusivity with Nowness. LVMH appears nowhere on the site—not even in the “About” or “Q&A” sections. This clever move reinforces branding by subverting it. The content may be shared among some who have no idea that LVMH is behind it, but those who know or who are engaged enough to become “members” are part of an elite and sophisticated circle.
Tesla Motors has a section on its website where real families talk about their Tesla. With a starting price of over $100,000, Teslas are, without argument, a tech-forward status symbol. But Tesla drivers also value their role as responsible consumers who care about the environment—the environment that, as illustrated in the testimonials—these busy, educated, successful parents know their children will inherit.
The takeaway here is that brands need to offer high-net-worth consumers a vision of who they want to be. Often no explanation is needed—affluents will make the jump from the experience to the product on their own.
Rather than clutter social media feeds with content, think about the purpose of your output. Is your product actually complex enough to warrant explanation? Is it aligned with a specific set of values you want to communicate and promote? Are you trying to inspire, reward, inform or entertain? Are you meeting your target consumers where they live online? Is your content repetitive across multiple channels or divided among too many channels? Should you cull channels and spend more time on quality?
High-net-worth individuals have the economic freedom to pursue meaningfulness through premium experiences. Brands would do well to remember that this premium experience begins long before a consumer steps into a store.
Written by Upward Home Team
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