Luxury brands are challenged with a big dilemma. Even when they achieve a high market value, they are often unable to fully monetize their premium brand equity with a broad customer audience.
In other words, they have a hard time matching their prestige and heritage with products that are accessible by the largest customer population.
If we look at the fashion market segmentation, which we address in full detail in this post, we can see how the audience of haute couture and ready-to-wear brands is limited, and cannot access the much larger market of diffusion lines and mass-market products.
The fashion market pyramid is in fact able to show us how the higher your brand value, the smaller the audience that can afford your products.
This could mean that a luxury brand would have a really hard time finding opportunities to sell its products at a high margin and in high volumes.
Is this a problem that fashion brands should accept passively?
Of course, not, there are in fact a variety of strategies that can be adopted to monetize your fashion brand by taking advantage of the unique dynamics of the fashion business.
In this post, we’re going to look at ways in which fashion brands, are not only able to break out of the traditional schemes of market segmentation but are able to increase their profits exponentially by monetizing their brand value with attainable luxury products and innovative distribution strategies.
With no further ado, let’s dive into the topic.
#1 Use Masstige Products to Monetise Your Brand Equity (At a Lower Price Point)
What Are Attainable Luxury and Masstige Products
Before we get started, let’s clarify what attainable luxury is.
Attainable luxury products are created by brands with a simple goal in mind, developing a selection of more accessible items that are able to attract customers through their high brand equity, but at a much lower price point.
These products will be affordable, while still providing the emotional reward and the experience of ownership that comes with purchasing a high-level brand.
These products are also called “masstige” products because they represent prestige products that are accessible to the mass, and allow a much broader audience to partake in the heritage and legend of luxury firms.
By developing strategies focused on creating a broad selection of aspirational products, luxury brands add a very valuable tool to their business strategy toolbox.
In the famous case of the partnership between Karl Lagerfeld and H&M, we can see how liquid and flexible market segments have become and how brands that apparently have nothing to share, such as haute couture brand and a fast-fashion retailer, can find a lot of common ground to trade benefits with each other.
As discussed in the article, Karl Lagerfeld realized that H&M customers were only waiting for an opportunity to become Chanel customers, as soon as the brand made itself available to them through a capsule collection.
Lagerfeld sold a time-sensitive, limited collection in H&M stores knowing full well, that customers who bought into the Chanel universe through Karl Lagerfeld were very likely to also purchase lipsticks, makeup, and fragrances from the main Chanel brand as well.
Again, by showing interest to engage with lower-price clients, Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld knew that a much broader customer community would be drawn to Chanel and would purchase products within their financial means with affordable luxury.
Using masstige products is certainly one of the more established approaches to increasing your profits, but what if your accessibility was embedded in your business model instead?
That’s what we are going to discuss in the next section of our post.
#2 Use Share Economies to Promote Accessible Luxury
Another way in which your brand can be accessible and profitable is by embedding a sharing economy and collaborative consumption in your brand’s business model.
An example of this approach is provided by Rent the Runway, an American online retailer that was able to identify a new approach to making luxury accessible through an online rental service.
The brand developed a unique business model around the need of affluent professionals, and fashion victims to have a more dynamic wardrobe, able to provide rental clothing to fit any occasion of use.
As a result, we can see how the unique connections built around the 9 blocks of the business model canvas allow Rent the Runway to provide the experience of high-end designer brands, through a rental service, as opposed to selling clothing.
This strategy allowed the organization to serve a much broader community of users who until then could not wear premium dresses at an accessible price point.
In this case, we’re able to see how the higher profits are connected to having more sales due to an extended customer audience who finds great value in renting as opposed to owning clothing.
In the picture below we can see a full breakdown of Rent the Runway’s business model, using the business model canvas.
In the next paragraph, we’re going to look at another strategy, based on the exploitation of the emotional value of fashion, by triggering customers with offers that are simply too hard to resist.
#3 Limit Distribution And Use Artificial Scarcity To Promote Emotional Value
A brand can also make a commodity product luxurious by altering its emotional value and distribution strategy.
Fashion products in fact have three types of value, functional, social, and emotional.
Commodities, like athletic wear, are usually connected only with the functional value of being comfortable while practicing sports.
But what if we were able to use communication and distribution to increase the perceived value of the product? This would allow us to draw a much higher profit margin on sales.
This is what many brands are doing by developing “collection drops” and product launches capable of providing customers with a sense of urgency and excitement connected to the limited availability of the items on sale.
An example of this approach is provided by Nike which uses limited collections and artificial scarcity to build emotional triggers that make customers pay a much higher price for a commodity, by connecting the purchase to experiences which test the customer’s loyalty to the brand.
This is also the case for many streetwear brands, that use luxury distribution strategies to enhance the emotional and experiential value provided to their customers.
We’re almost done, but before the end of our post, there’s one more strategy to consider.
#4 Make It Sustainable
Sustainability is one of the biggest drivers of change in fashion and taking advantage of the opportunity to increase your revenue while benefitting the environment is an opportunity that can’t be given up.
By analyzing customer segmentation and sustainability we can see that customers are often happy to spend up to 15% more on products that follow the principles of the three Ps of sustainability: Planet, People, and Profit.
By developing collections and items that have a sustainable supply chain brands can get a high return on investment by bringing to market products that are in line with UN 2030 Sustainable Goals.
Luxury products are not easy to match with sustainable needs, but in this post, we explore what options are available for your brand.
This last strategy is actually aligned with a trend in fashion connected with developing business goals that are able to tackle social and environmental needs and at the same time generate revenue and profits for the business.
These businesses are called impact-first and if this is something you’d like to read more about, here’s an article that can help.
Great, now that we’ve touched on all 4 of our strategies it’s time to draw some conclusive remarks.
There you have it. In this post, we’ve looked at 4 different strategies that can help your brand increase profits through attainable luxury.
As the fashion industry is so expensive, brands need to keep their profits in check if they want to stay competitive.
As we’ve seen in this post, leveraging the aspirational value of fashion is a key dimension of your brand strategy, and learning how to take advantage of fashion’s dream factor is key to success. We discuss this concept further in this post, focused on the impact of trickle-down theory on fashion brands.
If you’re interested in fashion business and luxury management, don’t hesitate to explore our blog, where you’ll be able to find a broad selection of articles and resources to help you and your business succeed. Enjoy!