How To Tell Your Story Like a Luxury Brand

Great brand stories capture your attention and inform you at the same time.

Luxury brands, or any premium-priced product, have to tell a great story. This gives them a tremendous advantage because it forces them to take the time to craft their story in a way that captures the imagination of their customers.

A brand that views themselves as affordable or even “just a little different” often overlooks the opportunity to tell a captivating story because it just assumes everyone understands their business. They can simply state what they offer and highlight their price or great service and move on.

But here is an important question:

Would you rather be captivating and informative or simply understood?

Now even though they aren’t mutually exclusive, you probably chose captivating and informative. You could even aim for captivating, informative and understood.

Just don’t settle for understood.

So what can we learn from these captivating luxury brands?

As I walk you through the steps of creating a story like a luxury brand, we will use one company as an example throughout to make each point more concrete. CREED fragrance company will be our example.

CREED refers to themselves as “the world’s only privately held luxury fragrance dynasty.” Now that’s a great start to a story.

Start With A Great Product

I know what you are thinking, “Thank you Mr. Obvious”. Seriously, if your product is average, you are better off making it great than working on your story.

As a copywriter, I’ve had experience trying to tell a great story about an average product. It doesn’t work. It never works. (On a side note, I don’t work with average products anymore.)

You must be able to find your greatness to tell a great story. – Click to Tweet

The smell of fragrances couldn’t be more subjective. If you are a luxury fragrance company, each product might not smell great to everyone but you better smell great to someone!

Decide Who You Are

You can’t let someone else decide who you are. If you are simply trying to be like someone else, you won’t be able to tell a great story.

Who are you and what is your business about? Why did you start this business? What do you dream of making happen for your customers? How are they going to feel when they get to be the hero in your story?

CREED is a seventh generation family-owned business run by a master perfumer focusing on fragrance creation and client service. They aren’t a fragrance built around a celebrity or a clothing line. It is clear that they know who they are.

Tell Your Customers Why They Should Care

Remember that the customer is the hero, not you. Your story needs to tell them how they get to be the hero.

CREED implies not only that you benefit from their extensive experience, but that by wearing their fragrance you get to be part of an exclusive club that includes royalty, celebrities and legends in business. Without the connection to your customers, you are just spouting off about how great you are.

What do your customers gain by being the hero in your story? Career advancement? More time with their family? Some mutual connection to a greater good?

Make Sure Your Story Is Authentic

If you are trying to be someone you are not, your story will fail. You have probably heard conflicting advice about being authentic and “faking it until you make it”.

No one will buy your brand story if it isn’t real.

By “real” I don’t mean a historical fact. For instance, you could create a hilarious fictitious character and story that properly reflects the true fabric of your brand. It’s authentic, just not a historical fact.

You can’t make promises and not deliver or your story is a lie. You aren’t creating a story to sell something once, you are sharing your story so that customers can join you as the hero.

If you tell your story well, customers will immerse themselves in it and want to bring others along for the ride.

You can’t fake a seventh-generation family business. Well, I guess you could. Does anyone want to send me to Paris to find out?

Answer The Questions Your Customers Don’t Want To Ask

Every luxury brand has one clear question that many customers are afraid to ask.

Why are you so freaking expensive?

Your business has that question or something similar. How are you different? Why are you more expensive than your competition? Why should I trust a new company?

Customers aren’t going to ask you every question. It’s your job to answer the obvious ones before they ask.

You also need to create an environment where they can ask the questions you haven’t anticipated. This environment is not created by being condescending, using high-pressure sales tactics or assuming they should already know this information.

Customers are looking for reasons to run and revert back to the familiar. Make them feel welcome and at ease.

Educate With Answers

You know the questions are coming so educate your customers first.

One of the best ways to alleviate price objections is to build value with your story. – Click to Tweet

Depending on the complexity of your product, you might have a lot of educating ahead of you. Education should be the goal of your content marketing program including your blog, case studies and white papers.

CREED does an excellent job of educating at their sales counters. They start by educating on the benefits of an oil-based fragrance over the less expensive alcohol-based fragrances.

After finding you a fragrance that intrigues you, they tell a captivating story behind the dignitary that might have commissioned the creation of the cologne. There are also often elaborate lengths taken to find and create the components of each fragrance.

This combination builds value that makes a customer think that, even if they don’t choose that particular fragrance, it should be expensive.

This process is often more easily accomplished face-to-face. CREED might view its website as simply a clearinghouse for orders (they have an ordering site called CREED boutique) from current customers but if it is attempting to capture this same process, greater care is going to need to be taken to deliver that message on the web.

Social Proof That Speaks To Your Customers

No matter the product, people want to know they aren’t alone in choosing your product.

Give that potential customer comfort with numbers or specific examples of those that have also chosen your company. Social proof makes a decision easier to justify.

CREED uses stories of those that have commissioned fragrances as well as letters from former Unites States presidents.

Never Compromise Your Story

Inevitably, there will opportunities for more business or exposure that could compromise your brand integrity.

CREED reportedly turned down the opportunity for a reality show to follow its founding family. Such a show would not only dilute some of the prestige of the family (in most people’s eyes), but it would also remove a bit of the mystery that creates some of the intrigue of their story.

Beware of adding a product line or slashing prices in a way that compromises the story you have worked so hard to create.

The art of storytelling can define your brand and remove your biggest sales objections. What are some of the brands whose story has helped move you toward a purchase?

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Comments

  1. Nathan King says:

    I think your point about social proof is spot-on. Brands can tell whatever story they want, but any brand equity built is taken apart when the social audience tells a different story.

    • Vince Robisch says:

      Absolutely Nathan. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Earl says:

    I’ve seen too many sites that don’t follow a single rule here. Moreover, they don’t even sell their products as a luxury brand – they sell their products as if it’s a gift from the gods themselves. It’s nice to see an article that speaks the truth for once. Thanks a lot for this!

  3. I thought this was an excellent article! Especially, never compromise your story.

    • Vince Robisch says:

      Thanks! I really appreciate the comment.

  4. Thanks for showing the importance of telling a story as opposed to telling people what you do. I think you hit the nail on the head that the customer should be the hero of the story, too many marketing messages make themselves the star. Cheers

    • Vince Robisch says:

      Thanks for the comment Gary.

  5. I appreciate your focus on authenticity. As storytellers we can (almost) always find something creative to say, but the truth does sound different and the customer can tell.

  6. Karen says:

    Good reminder about telling our customers why they should care… I think sometimes we assume too much. We need to remind them by consistently telling our story. Thanks for the post.

  7. Great article, people don’t like to be told what to do – it’s not always the nicest way to write something or to read either

  8. Great post! I especially agree that it’s essential to answer those un-asked questions. Most people come to your product with a passing interest, and if they don’t get answers immediately, they’re gone! Give them answers to burning questions and the questions they didn’t even know they had, and you open up a dialogue that turns into sales!

  9. I posted a blog about this topic just this morning. I went to a talk last week where the luxury brand approach to marketing was discussed at length, but what captured my imagine was the identity question – know who you are. Interestingly, the point made was that luxury brands decide who they want to sell to and then they go all out to target that group and actively exclude everyone else. The assumption is that being “vanilla” – so not offending anyone but not exciting anyone either – is not good enough for luxury brands.

    It’s an interesting topic to me and I’d be interested to get your thoughts on it. The post is here if you’re interested in some more background: http://blog.newsreach.co.uk/2012/07/nobody-loves-vanilla.html

    • Vince Robisch says:

      Great comment Karen. I also read your post and it was very interesting. I agree that it is very difficult to be vanilla and stand out.

      At the same time, I don’t believe in creating controversy simply to gain attention. It seems disingenuous and I don’t like brands (or even blog posts) that simply create controversy this way.
      If someone genuinely takes a stand or targets a market, I’m all for it (assuming I agree with the stand).

      You can also keep from being vanilla by being great. Beautiful design, high quality and fantastic customer service can set a brand apart from vanilla competitors rather quickly.

      Thanks again for the thoughtful comment!

      • Thanks for the reply Vince. I think you’re right – know who you are and stay true to that. If your brand values are about shock value, go for it, but if not, forced controversy will be, well, forced and contrived and put people off your brand or at least confuse them.

  10. Good points, thanks for sharing these steps! It is a big help especially we are learning more about brand storytelling.

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  1. [...] on moderncopystudio.com [...]

  2. [...] The secret to telling your story like a luxury brand. Captivate and inform your prospects with a brand story that truly reflects the greatness of your product or service.   Great brand stories capture your attention and inform you at the same time.Luxury brands, or any premium-priced product, have to tell a great story. This gives them a tremendous advantage because it forces them to take the time to craft their story in a way that captures the imagination of their customers.   A brand that views themselves as affordable or even “just a little different” often overlooks the opportunity to tell a captivating story because it just assumes everyone understands their business. They can simply state what they offer and highlight their price or great service and move on.   But here is an important question:   Would you rather be captivating and informative or simply understood?   [Image credit: gucci.com]  [...]

  3. [...] The secret to telling your story like a luxury brand. Captivate and inform your prospects with a brand story that truly reflects the greatness of your product or service.  [...]

  4. [...] How to Tell Your Story Like a Luxury Brand [...]

  5. [...] it be great if you could tell an interesting story about your company and build your email list at the same time? (Pause for fake [...]

  6. [...] Vince Robisch of ModernCopyStudio.com warns against this very issue. [...]

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