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High-end interiors should focus on ethos and story

Wayne McMaster

23 November 2015

In traditional marketing, the brand is defined by its positioning: it aims to be the brand that offers the greatest promise or benefit to a certain type of person in relation to certain competitors. The positioning is the cornerstone of any such brand management programme. This is also is applicable to many premium brands.

However in luxury we don't talk about positioning. As the luxury brand cultivates its uniqueness; it prefers to be faithful to an identity rather than constantly worrying about its superiority over its competitors. Its not looking to compare itself - just like an artist. Imagine Renoir or Degas constantly looking over their shoulder comparing themselves to their contemporaries. Each paints in their own way, according to their personal touch, running with ethos.

For this to happen, this can ony be built through coherence. To acheive this you must know who you are and stick to it. While the creator is at the helm, they are the benchmark, the source of their creations mark their style and taste. When the creative person is gone, it is necessary to codify the brand to make it last through time. This identity is built upon its roots, its heritage, its values, its imagination and dreams. But more than anything else the luxury brand is about the epic tale, carried by its stories: storytelling is its mode of expression.

There are few industries that pride themselves with a dream, imagination, history and heritage like luxury.

Once digital media liberated storytelling from the confines of video and print, the luxury industry should rush to seduce customers with its rich tales. Archives should be opened, books should be dusted and dreams unleashed. Luxury brands should finally have the opportunity to weave the fabric of their fables in an interactive, immersive and compelling way, across all customer touchpoints. They should participate in a larger cultural conversation and provide their audiences with references, inspiration and lifestyle ammunition unmatched by any other industry.

Content strategy is not your brand story. It cannot replace the ethos and the defining point of view of your brand. Luxury brands were by default created by founders with vision, spirit and passion that attracted their first audiences and made them fall in love. Early luxury houses were arbiters of taste that worked with taste-savvy connoisseurs of culture who came to ateliers for the lush vibe and the stories as much as they did for the goods.

Today, greater cultural influence comes from companies who do not belong to traditional luxury. Unburdened with the way that the business is done, they look at storytelling with the fresh eyes of the modern luxury consumer.

Modern high-end interiors brands can succeed, just like the luxury houses of old, if they build their business on the cultural language of and direct relationship with their customer. They use their ethos and relevant stories to successfully compete in their marketplace, summoning up the spirit and passion of their founders to turn them into modern culture. Modern taste-aware audiences consume a strong point of view, convincing beliefs and compelling values. If they fall in love with your high-end interior item in the process, all the better.

 

Further reading:

Three steps to brand story-telling

The three pursuaders

 

 

 

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