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Designer campaigns: 5 PR strategies for luxury brands

by | Mar 7, 2023 | Public Relations

Luxury branding can be a tough egg to crack. As a high-end company, your demographic is often niche, and those you do attract are harder to keep.

In the past, reputation alone has carried many high-end brands. With years of experience and a well-known logo, luxury retailers tend to shy away from traditional advertising and rely solely on their names to make a profit. However, on the back of a global push for online shopping, 70 percent of all luxury purchases are now influenced by an online campaign or interaction.

If high-end brands want to remain in the spotlight, it’s time to start connecting with a digitally native audience. Whether you tap into social media or focus on exclusive benefits, luxury campaigns may not target the masses, but must be perfected for their tailored demographic.

Here are five luxury PR must-dos for a campaign that’ll ensure your designer brand goes viral.

1. Become a storyteller

For the price of a luxury item, a consumer wants to feel as if they are stepping into your world. Taking time to guide them behind the scenes of your brand and delve into its origin can give your PR campaign a competitive edge and a human touch.

Some of the most successful luxury retailers are those with a powerful story behind their triumphs. Take Chanel, for example. Founder Gabriele ‘Coco’ Chanel was raised in an orphanage before working hard to turn her love for draped jersey fabric and the classic female pantsuit into a multi-billion-dollar business. While she may have passed away in 1971, the brand still uses her story to influence its campaigns.

For instance, look at Chanel’s microsite ‘Inside Chanel’. Taking their digital marketing efforts to the next level, Inside Chanel is a compilation of a number of chaptered stories that aim to immerse the viewer in the origins of the century-old brand.

Filled with interviews with the late Coco Chanel, insights into the brand’s rise to fame, and some of its key successes throughout its long history, this is a PR campaign you can get lost in.

Designer campaigns: 5 PR strategies for luxury brands

(Image Source: Chanel)

The key here is to pay attention to the details. Stories that encapsulate a personal journey or deep dive into the origins of a rare product material are always guaranteed to garner interest.

Brands that sell their story rather than their product are viewed as more authentic and are more likely to be trusted by loyal customers.

2. Invest in influencers

It’s no secret that influencers drive engagement. Dominating social platforms, opinion leaders like Zoella and Molly-Mae are likely to have more followers than most luxury brands put together.

If you’re looking to widen the reach of your campaign, influencers are great assets to partner with. With the ability to share product promotions on their own platforms and endorse your success, you will quickly see consumers flock to an affiliated link and appear straight in the checkout.

Word-of-mouth marketing works for a reason. Celebrities and influencers often have a loyal following. If they endorse your luxury brand, their followers are more likely to trust their review as a pose to a branded post. In fact, 60 percent of marketers believe that influencer-generated content will draw in more engagement than any other form of branded promotion.

Take Jeffery Star’s collaboration with Gucci as an example. With a whopping 13.8 million Instagram followers, Star’s high-end fashion and beauty-based demographic were the perfect targets for Gucci’s new luggage collection release.

Designer campaigns: 5 PR strategies for luxury brands

(Image Soruce: Youtube)

Creating a custom, pink set of products for Jeffery Star, the luxury brand saw a spike in sales as images and videos of their newest products were shared across Jeffery’s social channels.

3. Promote exclusivity

One of the key ingredients in a luxury PR campaign is the element of exclusivity. Part of the high-end allure is that those who own luxury goods are part of an elite group.

If you want to sell products to a high-end audience, the key is to make them feel special. Identify your easy-to-convert targets, and start creating personalized campaigns. Offer VIP discounts and run competitions to win one-of-a-kind goods.

Hermes provides a great example of this. Their Birkin and Kelly bags may be to die for, but they are extremely hard to come by. If you want to advertise yourself as a true luxury retailer, don’t mass-produce your products. Instead, make the stock you have desirable by showcasing celebrities styling them, accompanied with copy that a luxury buyer can sink their teeth into.

A successful designer PR campaign is all about the thrill of the chase. The harder your product is to come by, the more it’ll be talked about.

4. Tap into TikTok

As a luxury brand, TikTok could become your new best friend. Packed with influencers and celebrities and the chance for any video to go viral, a sprinkle of creativity could see your brand at the top of the For You Page.

By 2025, Gen Z will contribute 130 percent to the expansion of the modern luxury goods market. Alongside millennials, this makes them one of the most powerful generations to target with a designer PR campaign.

This is where TikTok comes in. As the most densely populated Gen Z platform, 70 percent of the app’s users are under the age of 30. This makes TikTok a prime targeting spot for luxury retailers.

Gucci is one step ahead after being covered in British Vogue for their #guccimodelchallenge that went viral on TikTok in 2020. With 1.1 billion views on the hashtag, the campaign encouraged users to post a video styled to the brand’s aesthetic.

Designer campaigns: 5 PR strategies for luxury brands

(Image Source: TikTok)

Not only did Gucci get the media talking, but site sales spiked as Gen Z caught hold of the trend.

5. Be original with your campaigns

Last but not least. Your designer PR campaign must be original. With a luxury budget and a hard audience to please, High-end brands should be the PR pioneers, aiming to take advertising to the next steps.

Take Balenciaga, for example. In 2020, the popular fashion house entered the metaverse in an attempt to bring immersivity to its newest campaign. Connecting with a whole new audience, the luxury clothing brand partnered with gaming developers at Fortnite to release a line of digital clothing.

According to LendEDU, Fortnite players spent on average $102 on game-based purchases alone, making them likely candidates to invest in high-fashion character accessories.

Designer campaigns: 5 PR strategies for luxury brands

(Image Source: Balenciaga)

From character hoodies to designer eyeglasses, Balenciaga added style to the gaming world.

As an innovative attempt at modern branding, taking PR into a digital realm got everyone speaking about Blaneciaga. Since then, the brand has become popular with Gen Z and released a physical Fortnite X Balenciaga clothing line that can be bought in store.

If that doesn’t give you the inspiration to think out of the box, we don’t know what will.

Designer campaigns of tomorrow

As we step into a new era of PR campaigning, it’s time to take your luxury brand online.

The future of Luxury PR will focus in on social media platforms such as TikTok and is already seeping into new online innovations such as the metaverse and augmented reality. Keep following key PR pioneers like Gucci and Balenciaga as we enter a new tomorrow for luxury ecommerce.

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith
Rebecca Barnatt-Smith is a UK-based freelance journalist and multimedia marketing executive.

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