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You Win Or Lose In Luxury With Brand Experiences

Recently, I audited the experiences of multiple luxury auto, fashion, and jewelry brands to determine how they were dealing with consumers.

For the car brands, which included some of the most prestigious brands on the planet, there was one clear pattern — none of them were differentiated. From the minute I entered these dealerships, the summary of my service experiences was in a word: horrifying, especially given my expectations towards these brands.

In some cases, I was offered a glass of water or tea, but in other cases, nothing. The sales reps only gave me general information, and in no case did the staff explain anything about the brand. There was zero brand storytelling, zero inspiration for why I should buy the brand, and zero value creation, across 100 percent of the audited car dealerships. When I asked to test drive several cars, I could feel them starting to get impatient after the second drive. Each dealer tried to close the sale immediately, even though I asked them to send me information about the cars by mail because I had to leave for another appointment. And to top it off, there were no follow-ups from half the brands.

I had similar observations when I audited luxury fashion and jewelry brands, with only a few exceptions. The staff was often friendly but indifferent, and there was zero brand storytelling. Everything was just basic information about specific products, with most places failing to inspire me. They didn’t create any memories, but instead, focused on making a single transaction.

In a recent report, Équité estimated that nearly 50 percent of luxury brands won’t make it through the pandemic. Those that fail will be the brands that are labeled “luxury” and charge high price points but can’t translate their ambitions into extreme value creation. The best-managed luxury brands won’t just survive; they’ll grow dramatically stronger, while others disappear because they couldn’t inspire or connect with customers.

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