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The importance of emotion in luxury

Published on June 26, 2023  - Updated on December 05, 2023

The importance of emotion in luxury

Luxury has always been associated with opulence, elegance and prestige. However, beyond these outward attributes, the true power of luxury lies in its ability to evoke deep emotions. Whether it's a sparkling piece of jewelry, a luxury hotel or a sports car, luxury can evoke a whole range of emotions in those who seek it out or possess it. So today, the simple notion of experience is no longer enough to satisfy the expectations of luxury customers, who are more diversified than ever. The aim is no longer simply to outdo the competition, but to build a unique customer journey, customer experience, identity and relationship, so that comparison becomes impossible.

In this article, we'll explore the relationship between luxury and emotions, and how these two concepts feed off each other.

The impact of emotions on decision-making

To understand why our brain remembers some moments more than others, it's essential to refer to the work of Daniel Kahneman, an eminent behavioral scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002. His research has focused on human decision-making processes, which are not always rational - far from it! Kahneman was particularly interested in experience and how individuals choose one experience over another.

The impact of "Peak & End" refers to the way in which the most emotionally intense moments and the conclusion of an experience have a significant influence on how we perceive and remember that experience.

Decision making

Firstly, the most emotionally intense moments, whether positive or negative, are often overvalued in our memory. This means that when we think back on an experience, we tend to give disproportionate importance to these powerful moments. For example, if a luxury experience gives us a feeling of intense wonder or joy, this will make it more memorable and have a lasting impact on our overall perception of that experience.

Secondly, the end of an experience also plays a crucial role in how we remember it. Our brains have a natural facility for recalling the most recent events when thinking back on a past episode. So the conclusion of an experience, whether positive or negative, has a major impact on our final perception of that experience. If the ending is marked by an exceptional moment or an intense emotion, this will reinforce our recollection and commitment to the brand or experience.

In short, "Peak & End" highlights the importance of the most emotionally intense moments and the conclusion of an experience in how we perceive and remember it. Luxury brands can capitalize on this insight by creating remarkable moments and nurturing the end of the experience to evoke intense emotions and foster lasting customer engagement.

The specific strengths of the brand and the emotions generated

Luxury as a generator of emotions:

Luxury has the power to provoke a range of emotions, from excitement and joy to awe and wonder. When a person enters a luxury store, he or she is often greeted by a carefully designed atmosphere, where every detail is thought out to arouse positive emotions. Sumptuous materials, soft lighting, enchanting fragrances and impeccable service create a sensory experience that delights the senses and stimulates the emotions. Emotions can also drive demand for luxury products. Consumers are often looking for deep emotional experiences, and luxury is often seen as a means of achieving this. Luxury brands know how to tap into these emotions by creating evocative advertising campaigns, exclusive events and unique experiences. By responding to consumers' emotional desires, luxury brands can strengthen their appeal and market position.

Luxury as self-expression:

For many people, luxury is more than just a material acquisition. It's a means of expressing identity, taste and individuality. Owning some of these products can engender personal pride and boost self-esteem. The emotions that accompany the customer experience go beyond the simple satisfaction of owning a precious object. They are linked to the way luxury makes a person feel unique and special.

Luxury as a source of pleasure and happiness:

Luxury also offers the promise of superior pleasure and heightened happiness. High-end experiences, whether a stay in a world-renowned hotel or a dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant, are often designed to offer moments of intense happiness. As the desire to please oneself is the main motivation for purchasing luxury products or services, hedonism leads consumers to put aside price and focus on their own pleasure. The emotions felt in these moments of intense pleasure can leave lasting memories and reinforce the emotional link between luxury and well-being.

Luxury


Projection of the brand on the person:

Luxury also enables individuals to project a desired self-image. When someone wears a luxury watch or drives a prestigious car, they are often perceived as refined and successful. This association between the brand and desired qualities arouses emotions of self-esteem and confidence. Individuals feel special and valued because of their association with a luxury brand, reinforcing their emotional bond with it.

Social impact:

Luxury brands often cultivate a sense of belonging among their customers. They create an exclusive, sought-after community, where people share common values and a similar aesthetic. Simply owning a luxury product from a renowned brand can make a person feel part of a select, prestigious group. This generates an emotion of pride and satisfaction, reinforcing the individual's identity and social position within this group.

Luxury brands often have a significant social and symbolic impact. They are often associated with prestigious events, celebrities and influential personalities. Influencers are playing an increasingly important role in luxury brand communications. By choosing influencers who share the brand's values and aesthetic, content will be all the more authentic and relevant.

Owning luxury goods can therefore arouse emotions linked to social status, recognition and the admiration of others. This can be particularly powerful when individuals seek social validation or seek to stand out in their environment. The emotions of admiration and envy they generate can reinforce the desire to acquire luxury goods.

Outstanding experiences :

In addition to products, luxury brands often offer their customers exceptional experiences. Exclusive events, luxury travel and tailor-made services create emotions of fascination, happiness and excitement. These unique experiences enhance the emotional relationship between customers and the brand, creating memorable souvenirs and strengthening their emotional attachment.

Many luxury houses create immersive online experiences that allow consumers to virtually experience the brand's world. This can include immersive videos, virtual tours of boutiques or workshops, and interactive content that allows consumers to actively engage with the brand. Indeed, at this year's VivaTech, Europe's largest trade show for startups and technology, the LVMH group sought to sublimate its customers' experience by offering a unique virtual experience. At Louis Vuitton, a video game showcasing its Autumn-Winter 2023 collection and a VR headset experience to visit the company's workshops were on offer. Tiffany & Co. had designed a Snapchat filter enabling customers to view a key piece from its collection in augmented reality.

LVMH Vivatech The Dream Box

What's more, in 2021-2022, a number of luxury brands have launched NFTs. These include Gucci, Balmain and Louis Vuitton.

All these innovations enable these luxury brands to appeal to the younger, connected generation, and enhance the customer experience by generating emotions such as surprise or joy.

Creating emotional storytelling:

Luxury brands know how to adapt to evolving media and digital platforms to communicate effectively with their target audiences.

Luxury brands also know how to tell captivating stories that arouse consumers' emotions. They create a narrative around their identity, heritage and savoir-faire, allowing customers to immerse themselves in the brand's universe. These emotional stories establish a link between brand values and consumer aspirations, generating a sense of deep emotion and connection.

Storytelling is an effective way of capturing consumers' attention and arousing their interest in the brand. This is reinforced when a coherent and engaging narrative is created, captivating visual content is used, messages according to different audience segments are personalized, and emotion in brand narratives is integrated.

It is therefore crucial for luxury houses to use the various social media platforms strategically to reach their target audience and create an engaged community. Social media offer an essential platform for telling brand stories and interacting with consumers.

Exclusivity and rarity:

One of the key aspects of luxury is its exclusive and rare character. Luxury brands often limit the availability of their products, creating a sense of rarity and exclusivity. When someone is lucky enough to own a product or experience luxury, it evokes emotions of privilege and satisfaction. The idea of accessing something precious and exceptional strengthens the emotional bond with the brand. Indeed, luxury products are often designed with an exceptional level of care and quality. Attention to detail, choice of materials and craftsmanship all contribute to creating positive emotions in consumers. Perceptions of quality and refinement evoke emotions such as admiration, wonder and satisfaction. Consumers feel a real appreciation for the craftsmanship and creativity behind every luxury product.

In conclusion, luxury brands have the ability to evoke a range of powerful emotions in their customers. From a sense of belonging and the projection of a desired self-image, to social impact and exceptional experiences, these emotions strengthen the relationship between individuals and luxury brands.

Managing high levels of satisfaction

A second very important aspect of the relationship between luxury brands and their customers is the latter's level of expectations. Indeed, compared to most conventional companies, luxury brand customers have very high expectations and standards. There are a number of reasons for this, including the following:

  • A much higher purchase price. The first thing we think of when we think of luxury is the cost of the products. Luxury products are generally more expensive than their mass-market equivalents. So it's only logical that customers who spend a considerable amount of money on a product or service should expect exceptional quality and experience in return.

  • Personalized advice and products. When customers turn to a luxury company, they are often looking for products and services that match their individual tastes. They will expect the brand to offer them customization options or made-to-measure adjustments.

  • Overall customer experience. Finally, of course, they will place particular importance on the overall experience of buying and using products. They expect every point of contact with the brand, whether in-store, online or when interacting with customer service, to be exceptional. They are looking for a seamless, enjoyable and memorable experience at every level. Brand history and storytelling play a key role in the customer experience.

How can they meet these high standards?


Luxury brands have implemented a number of strategies to meet their customers' requirements and deliver the best possible customer experience.

Firstly, most of them make a point of offering products of superior quality. Indeed, this is the number one expectation of customers, which is why they use top-of-the-range materials and artisanal techniques to ensure that each product is made with exceptional attention to detail. Taking watchmaking as an example, they can be hand-assembled, while in leather goods, handbags can be made from top-quality leathers with great attention to finish.

What's more, luxury brands play on exclusivity and rarity to satisfy their most demanding customers. They often offer limited editions or unique products that are only available for a limited period. This rarity lends extra value to the products and encourages customers to snap them up quickly. For example, a luxury brand may collaborate with a renowned designer or another brand to create a limited edition capsule collection, such as Fendi and Gucci in 2019, or more recently Fendi and Versace with their "Fendace" collection.

Fendace

In order to offer this personalized customer experience, these brands attach great importance to knowing their customers' individual preferences, whether through satisfaction surveys, relationships with advisors, etc.... They seek to understand their customers' specific needs and offer them tailored advice and recommendations. Customers can thus benefit from services such as product personalization, expert advice and exclusive offers. What's more, they are often invited to private events reserved for a restricted clientele, such as fashion shows or other events. This is an excellent way of surprising regular customers.

Another key aspect in optimizing the customer journey is excellent after-sales service. Generally speaking, luxury goods companies are committed to offering quality service, including product repair, maintenance and cleaning. What's more, they often offer extended warranties to ensure customer satisfaction. Some privileged customers may even benefit from concierge services, such as travel or table reservations at exclusive venues.

Finally, these brands invest heavily in their communications and marketing to create a high-end image and create envy among their customers. Advertising campaigns and launch events are meticulously planned to create an immersive and memorable experience for customers.

The vectors of luxury perception:

Luxury is subjective and personal, each person sees the boundary of luxury in their own way, and when an individual goes beyond their own boundary, they consider it to be luxury. For example, some may consider a watch to be luxurious from €100 upwards, while others may consider luxury to start at €5000-10000. So the threshold can vary considerably from person to person. What may be considered luxury for one person may not be for another.

Many explanatory factors will play a part in varying perceptions of luxury, such as experiences, values, culture, aspirations, age, income and prior immersion in luxury.

This is why consumer perception of a luxury brand is an important element in its growth and success. This Fashion Network article identifies several factors that contribute to brand perception, such as brand heritage, product quality, exclusivity, customer service, innovation and customer experience. Luxury brands must strive to create a distinct, consistent image that generates high perceived value among consumers. The most effective communication channels, such as advertising campaigns, collaborations with influential personalities and marketing efforts, are essential for shaping the brand's image and reaching target consumers.

In conclusion, we can see that emotions are at the heart of the luxury experience and play an essential role in the relationship between customers and luxury brands and for instance conversion rate and loyalty. By understanding and harnessing these emotions, luxury brands can offer an outstanding customer experience to reinforce their appeal, commitment and position in the competitive luxury market. If you would like to learn more on how to use emotional and semantic analysis to improve customer experience in the luxury industry, you can read our use cases here.

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