Brands lose luxury tag when they become mass market

Mark Ritson makes some valid points in his column about how luxury is attained by brands (MW last week), but surely luxury, in its opposed nature to necessity by definition, is a function of price divided by an arbitrary expression of the practical value of the item.

For example a wallet bought at the market might do exactly the same job as a wallet from Louis Vuitton, giving both the same level of practical value, but the fact the LV wallet is 25 times the price and is limited in supply gives it the luxury value.

Supply is key because exclusivity is one of the major facets of luxury.

Apple certainly creates incredible innovation in an unbelievably relevant way, sprinkles on design excellence and creates huge desirability, but it will never be seen as a luxury brand because the company wants to get its products into everyone’s hands. The minute something is mass market, it cannot be truly luxurious.

Luxury is all about being above the benchmark. Once upon a time, plasma screen TVs were seen as items that only the rich could buy.
However, as prices came down the price over practicality equation came down in value and everyone got one.

It cannot be a luxury if every council house in Salford contains one. When it becomes the norm, it cannot be a luxury. When one talks of iPhones and iPods, in the respective categories of phones and MP3 players, they are simply the norm.

To truly be a luxury brand, society, your friends and your peers must think it’s OK for you not to own its products.

Simon Williams
Head of commercial and marketing
Blackburn Rovers Football Club

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