Why You Should Ban the L-Word Now
The times are changing—and reaching new affluents requires creative marketing for high-end home brands
“Do you like luxury?” Affluent and aspiring-affluent Millennials may be saying no, but their lifestyle habits suggest otherwise.
Millennials view the “luxury” label with suspicion, as an elitist holdover from a bygone era with little meaning other than a high price tag. But classic luxury brands Gucci, Louis Vuitton and others have attracted millions of followers on Millennial-heavy social platforms like Instagram, where a majority of users are between the ages of 18-29 and more than a quarter have incomes exceeding $75,000.
That same generation is expected to spend more than $200 billion annually from 2017 on, and $10 trillion as a whole in their lifetimes.
As I explored recently, the traditional concept of “luxury” in the post-recession economy—and notably with Millennials—is often seen as hollow consumerism. That’s why now is the time to ditch the L-word from your marketing and find new ways to connect with Millennials.
So what is making the now-largest group of consumers tick? Let’s dig into some overall traits.
As the generation with the highest student-loan debt ever but fewer job prospects, there is an emphasis on the independent, entrepreneurial spirit over joining the corporate herd. They’re more urban than suburban, but they embrace rustic values like organic foods, reclaimed culture and quality over quantity.
As digital natives, they are accustomed to easily acquiring goods and services. Experiences are valued, and they prefer to support organizations that aspire to a higher calling than simply selling, such as sustainable growth, environmental issues and social justice. And they’re leery of textbook, hard-sell marketing techniques.
Traditional luxury brands are already reacting to the preferences of Millennials in their marketing strategies. Brand storytelling plays heavily into Gucci’s current campaign, where a short film by Millennial director Gia Coppola, “The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice,” provides background to the designer’s latest line of clothing. The L-word is conspicuously absent.
As seen in Maya Rudolph’s character in that now-classic SNL sketch, who struggles to communicate with a Boomer-era relic whose grasp of luxury and truth are comically skewed, it’s safe to say that Millennials are decidedly less The Sharper Image and more J. Crew. And the concept extends to the high-end home goods market.
How are you exploring new ways of marketing your high-end home brand to Millennials? Let us know in the comments.