Some people are on a constant quest for excellence. Gaurav Bhatia Sotheby’s Ex MD and the CEO of Maison India, is one of them. Before Maison, his experience at Sotheby's India brings his name to the power list of the luxury and lifestyle industry. Having built many luxury brands of his own, Bhatia’s journey is that of an expert in the lux and lifestyle arena. He talks about the key thoughts that go into the creation of a luxury brand.
“Before anything else, a brand must cater to a feeling of self-worth if it is to climb the slippery slope of achieving the luxury status”, says Gaurav Bhatia. He highlights various methods which can be used to accomplish this.
Customer striation is perhaps one of the defining features of a luxury brand. The market gap between the ideal customers of a luxury brand and competing lower-class brands defines its approach and standard. It is exclusivity that makes these private labels desirable.
In case a brand wants to keep the products exclusive to cater to a few individuals and not advertise to the general public because its goods are too complex to mass-produce, the esoteric nature of the brand would be the attraction of the customers. Gaurav Bhatia believes that exclusivity gives customers the thrill of being with the in-crowd. This drives the value of the brand because of its rarity.
“True luxury is art. It enhances your life. Setting the standard and creating a symbol of a brand’s own philosophy is very important”, Bhatia explains. Going against the conventions of peers leads to the products that are over-engineered or highly stylised, in a manner that is unique to the brand. It is important to convey the message of uniqueness from product to packaging and everything in between.
Every aspect of customer interaction with the brand is essential while going up the ladder. By creating richness in the price, image, and value, a brand can maintain sumptuousness. Highly targeted sales tactic gives the appearance of elitism. This could be achieved by setting up stores in high-class décor.
Carrying the image of a stylist, Gaurav Bhatia focuses on the aspects that some luxury brands overlook. Outfitting the staff in formal attires welfares the brand. Dressing well that befits the label is appealing to the customers. Adding a personality to the outfit elevates the idea of luxury.
“A luxury brand always treats its customer with discernment”, highlights Gaurav Bhatia. The customer interaction with the brand needs to be engaging. This adds up to the symbolic value of the product and brand. It’s a method of increasing a product’s worth in the eyes of the customer. This worth can be drawn by many sources such as mentioning the name of a prominent designer or creator, the country of origin, the company’s heritage, or the novelty of its material.
“To establish a luxury brand and its symbolic value, be true to the SNA for the brand and highlight it in your communication and marketing”, suggests Gaurav Bhatia.
Any luxury brand builds a relationship with its customers by maintaining the promise of quality delivery. To be taken seriously, a brand needs to protect its image and itself from external threats. An instance of extrinsic threat is the imitation by the competitors. Forging unique designs or innovative technologies are other examples. This can result in diminishing the exclusive image of a brand. Hence, maintaining the focus on superior value and unique brand experience is an important part of the uncompromising delivery.
Most successful luxury brands usually employ a combination of these methods. The CEOs aiming to create such outfits must include these tactics in their corporate strategies. A brand has to stay on the top of the charts in terms of high quality, exclusiveness and prestigious customer experience.
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