Three Myths About Marketing to the Mass Affluent

With 87% of mass affluents reporting use of social media, according to LinkedIn, it has become even more important for brands to entice this rapidly growing group with content. But creating content that’s both effective and unique means we have to dismiss some unfortunate untruths that plague our industry when targeting a more upscale audience.

Myth 1: Focus on the allure of the elite.

Exclusivity often implies limited access, but content has to be about reach and engagement. The mass affluent audience is broader and more complex than previous definitions of the 1%, but their success has a halo effect, making prosperity a bit more accessible for those just outside its reach. You’re not just creating content for people who can afford luxury products and services, but also for the people who aspire to own them.

Instead of making people feel like they’re part of a secret club, Jaguar wins their hearts by making them feel truly special. Last year, the brand allowed fans the opportunity to test drive the legendary F-Type through a contest run on social media using #MyTurnToJag. Winners across the U.S. were then filmed driving with celebrities (musician Kelly Rowland in Miami, football star Colin Kaepernick in Los Angeles and race car driver Davy Jones in Chicago). Winners’ sheer joy is positively infectious, quickly eschewing the notion that luxury brands need to maintain white glove formality reserved only for the privileged.

Myth 2: It’s all about being premium.

For better or worse, premium has become a bit of an overused platitude. It’s an easy buzzword to throw in to messages, but doesn’t translate well when it comes to creating content. Instead, consider emphasizing expertise as a worthy alternative.

Take a look at luxury e-tailer, Mr Porter, for instance. Mr Porter’s blog, The Journal, functions as an elegant weekly publication highlighting fashion trends, grooming tips, travel destinations, music and cinema. But the shining star in their content mix is a video series called “Ask the Experts.” The series calls upon designers, artists and icons to share their insights on topics like how to find the perfect suit and selecting the classic leather jacket. By aligning with professionals, Mr Porter establishes its fashion prowess while providing guidance for men to become smarter, more stylish shoppers.

Myth 3: User-generated = decline in quality.

The idea of passing the reins over to the masses sends most luxury brands into a cold sweat. Brand equity must be maintained across all channels and user generated content is perceived as a threat to continuity and quality. But in order to speak to an increasingly photo-driven audience on the web, even the most top tier brands may need to reconsider their approach.

Of course, Burberry’s Art of the Trench redefined how luxury brands use digital more than five years ago, but a number of new favorites have stepped in to the spotlight, including Tiffany & Co. Their What Makes Love True campaign allows real people to share photos of their most romantic moments and memories. The result is something that feels truly authentic and fresh without losing Tiffany’s classic appeal.

If we rethink the definition of affluence and how it affects purchase decisions, marketers have the distinct opportunity to take on brand positioning in new ways via content. What legacy practices do you think need to be put to rest — and what emerging techniques need to be put to the test?

Originally published on MediaPost’s Engage:Affluent channel.


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