Various studies have shown that it is the emotional associations made by luxury customers that actually play the decisive role in their purchasing decisions.
Emotions can perhaps best be described as those components of our thought patterns that reveal that which is truly important to us.
As human beings, our decisions are always both rational and emotional. It is simply practically impossible for any of us to isolate our rational thoughts so as to ever make any decision independent of any emotional considerations. After all, we aren’t robots. Of course, depending on the context, some of our decisions are more rational than others and some are more emotionally-driven, So today, we are going to take a more in-depth look into the immense role that emotion plays in luxury consumer behaviour, and, more specifically, in that all-important decision to spend money on luxury brands.
When asked about luxury brands, most consumers would probably claim to prioritize things such as unique design, great quality, high cost, and limited availability. For many people, these are the characteristics that separate luxury from the rest of the market. Nonetheless, various studies have shown that it is the emotional associations made by luxury customers that actually play the decisive role in their purchasing decisions. The appeal of luxury brands is primarily psychological, or rather emotional.
Emotions can perhaps best be described as those components of our thought patterns that reveal that which is truly important to us. As a rule, consumer behaviour in luxury is shaped and driven by the emotional connections binding customers to certain luxury brands. For luxury consumers, luxury is not simply something they own or experience once in a while: it is a lifestyle.
Luxury satisfies a deep psychological desire in that it transforms us to willingly become part of something timeless, precious and rare. Luxury is a consciousness not only of what a particular product signifies but how a particular experience shapes our view of the world. Luxury means a deeper appreciation of a brand’s essence and its historical, artistic or aesthetic significance to the point of becoming a part of that legacy yourself.
Naturally, therefore, an emotional attachment characterized by trust, awe, and confidence is an integral part of the luxury customer’s relationship to any luxury brand. The decisive factor for luxury consumers is that desire to become part of something truly authentic and timeless—something bigger than ourselves. How the notion of excellence is conveyed through your brand narrative is therefore just as important as the actual quality of your brand’s products or services. Authentic and gripping stories make an immense impression and are often much better remembered than the facts about your brand.
In luxury, the purchasing process itself should be an experience that trigger the kind of emotional responses associated with luxury. In this regard it is important to engage with customers’ senses, as the sensory experience of your brand—whether by sight, smell, touch or sound—has immense power to trigger just the right emotional responses that turn prospects into loyal customers.
Genuine luxury has the power to evoke new emotional territory. In the luxury business you aren’t simply selling products or experiences, you are selling emotions. Emotional branding—that is, purposefully associating your brand with the right emotions—helps create a real and unique connection and relationship between your brand and the customer, which triggers the kind of emotional response which results in the desired buying patterns.
Aiming to capture the hearts and emotions of your prospective customers is the heart and soul of luxury marketing. A brand that is able to portray a dream, an ambition, and sense of desire that falls in sync with that of consumers, becomes their companion.
Luxury has a unique ability to communicate and cultivate those emotions associated with prestige, fulfilment and exclusivity that it alone can bring to the table. And it is precisely these emotions that drive consumer behaviour in luxury. An emotional connection with a particular brand also cannot simply be replaced by another, so establishing such a connection clearly differentiates you from the competition. In the luxury industry, it is essential to always keep in mind that your brand does not merely offer products or experiences, but an immersion into a luxury lifestyle itself.
Paul Russell is co-founder of Luxury Academy London, a multi-national training company with offices in London, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam. Luxury Academy London specialise exclusively in the luxury industry and deliver training in leadership, communication and business etiquette training for companies and private clients across the globe.
Prior to founding Luxury Academy London, Paul worked in senior leadership roles within luxury hospitality. A dynamic trainer and seminar leader, Paul has designed and taught courses, workshops and seminars worldwide on a wide variety of soft skills.