FACULTY RESEARCH: How Luxury Brands Can Curate Luxe Experiences for Digital Media

As of late, luxury brands have shifted their focus to engage consumers with more meaningful and compelling digital content. According to Dr. Quan Xie, Assistant Professor of Advertising in the Temerlin Advertising Institute, only a small percentage of consumers can afford high-end luxury products, but it is not surprising to see those who aspire to this lifestyle also engross themselves in luxury branded content.

In recent research published in the Journal of Interactive Advertising, Dr. Xie studies luxury fashion brands’ content marketing practices on YouTube, and demonstrates that consumers’ perceived experiential value, social value, and unique value of the luxury branded content are positively related to their perceived brand exclusivity and customer intimacy, which in turn, will boost consumers’ loyalty toward the brand. In addition, consumers’ perceived functional value of the luxury brand’s YouTube channel is positively related to their perceived brand prestige and exclusivity. However, viewers’ perceived informative value was found not relate to brand prestige, exclusivity, or customer intimacy, suggesting that the informative value of luxury content may not play a role in brand building of high-end luxury fashion brands.

While a luxury brand like Bentley boasts around 7.8 million Instagram followers, Hermès has more than 10 million followers, and Dior maintains a following of 32.7 million. Having a large group of followers may generally be seen positively, but for luxury brands seeking to build long-term loyalty, marketers must boost consumers’ perceived brand exclusivity and concentrate on building an intimate customer-brand relationship.

Dr. Xie points to Chanel as the cornerstone for luxury brand-consumer engagement through an ambitious and meticulously planned content strategy. At the beginning of this year, they had around 52 million followers on Twitter and Instagram, and 1.65 million fans on YouTube, which makes Chanel the leading luxury brand across all platforms. For example, they post regularly and consistently while adopting a video-first strategy. This well-crafted content has successfully transformed general viewers into faithful audiences. That said, any time the focus is on luxury brand interactions, the experience must leave consumers with the perception of brand scarcity.

Brand scarcity refers to the rareness of the product or service (e.g., scarce materials, limited accessibility, and distribution) that enhance consumers’ desire or preferences. Since luxury experiences provide more customized services and cost more than conventional experiential purchases, luxury experiences are entitled to greater exclusivity. Luxury brands also aim to evoke exclusivity at all customer contact points.

In the end, Dr. Xie’s research suggests luxury brands should aim to create content that offers experiential value, such as backstage stories, intriguing legacy narratives, and content that is unique to luxury branding – like aesthetic close-up of craftsmanship, as well as content that promises social value to followers. These content values will contribute to followers’ perceived scarcity and intimacy of luxury brands, which, in turn, can build up to greater brand loyalty. Additionally, reliable social media channels can also contribute to increased brand exclusivity. Luxury brands should strategically humanize their owned social media channels to transform them into credible information sources among followers.

Click to learn more about Dr. Quan Xie and her research.

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