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Derrick Daye Luxury Branding

The Anti-laws Of Luxury Marketing #7

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7. Make it difficult for clients to buy

The luxury brand is something that has to be earned. The greater the inaccessibility – whether actual or virtual – the greater the desire. As everyone knows, with luxury there is a built-in time factor: it’s the time spent searching, waiting, longing… so far removed from traditional marketing logic, which does everything to facilitate quick access to the product through mass distribution, with its self-service stores, self-checkout systems, the internet, call centers and introductory offers. Luxury has to know how to set up the necessary obstacles to the straining of desire, and keep them in place. People do eventually get to enjoy the luxury after passing through a series of obstacles – financial obstacles, needless to say, but more particularly cultural (they have to know how to appreciate the product, wear it, consume it), logistical (find the shops) and time obstacles (wait two years for a Ferrari or a Mikimoto pearl necklace).

Luxury needs to excel in the practice of distributing rarity, so long as there are no real shortages. It’s quite natural: just as actual shortages stand in the way of growth, so the absence of rarity leads to the immediate dissipation of desire, and so to the disappearance of the very waiting time that sustains luxury.

To create this obstacle to immediate consumption, it should always be necessary to wait for a luxury product – time is a key dimension of luxury, as with all desire for anything even remotely sophisticated. This anti-law has implications concerning the way luxury brands should use the internet which we will explore in future posts here on BSI.

Excerpted in part from: The Luxury Strategy: Break The Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands by JN Kapferer and V. Bastien, in partnership with Kogan Page publishing.

Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop

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