How to create value - The power of narrative for Luxury brands

It is a common misconception that consumers are simply buying "things". Yes, they are buying the function and benefits of a product but luxury brands need to offer much more than that. They need to offer meaning.

Changes in consumer marketing About 100 years ago most of the ‘market places’ of the world were uncluttered. Products were marketed on the basis of what a product was and what features it had. They were sold as “things”. Typically these were the only products which did what the consumer wanted. Consumers had not come across them before. However as consumers became more educated and other, more refined products came to market with the same features which “did” the same things, the way products were sold changed.

No longer was it good enough to simply explain what the product was. Everyone could do that. It was a commodity.

Around the time of the 1920’s, the marketing focus shifted to the benefits the product would give the consumer. The slight advantages the product brought the consumer became the key driver of the advertising in order to get the product noticed. The more features that the product had, the more benefits, therefore the better the product was perceived to be.

As time went on and competing products developed similar refined features, market places once again became saturated and the way products were sold again had to change. At around the 1950’s, in order to differentiate products, marketing shifted focus to how a offering made consumers feel. The focus shifted to emphasis the experience. How the product made a customer feel as they used it and engaged with the business that sold it.

In recent times marketeers have become skilled at selling product features, benefits and experiences. The market place is now full and cluttered with products marketed on these grounds.

Although the features, benefits and experience of the product are all still important, what has become the new best thing to focus on is what the product says about the customer. It's all about human identity.